Upgrades

Karl Lohnes: Easy bathroom upgrades so you can pamper yourself

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I love the trend of small round penny tiles. They add a graphic element, especially when the grout is different from the colour of the tile, and pay homage to the classic water-closet tile. Make it modern and fresh by using it with a punchy colour (like fun pool blue) or black to add drama.

Want to add wallpaper? Textured vinyl is super-hot in prints of stone and marble look. And don’t forget the ceiling: wallpapering the ‘fifth-wall’ can make a tall room feel more intimate for that spa-like experience.

White grout will give penny tiles a traditional feel, while dark grey or black grout will lend a modern edge. Hudson Penny Round Matte Black Porcelain Mosaic Tile, $15.98 /sft., homedepot.ca
White grout will give penny tiles a traditional feel, while dark grey or black grout will lend a modern edge. Hudson Penny Round Matte Black Porcelain Mosaic Tile, $15.98 /sft., homedepot.ca

Add a little tech

Technology has infiltrated every area of our homes and the bathroom is no exemption. Look for mirrors with built-in lighting or hidden television monitors to create a streamlined look. You’ll also want to incorporate sound into the bathroom with built-in speakers hidden in the exhaust fan — perfect for a relaxing bath. Or energize yourself with your favourite dance music playing from a shower head that is also part waterproof speaker.

Of course, micro technology gadgets can make life easier, too: auto-pump soap dispensers, weight scales that talk to you (not sure I need that kind of pep-talk these days), and sensor taps all make life easier … and if you get lonely in the bath, you can always talk to Siri.

Listen to your favourite music while showering. Moxie 2.0 Showerhead with Wireless Speaker (shown in Oil-Rubbed Bronze), $393, homedepot.ca
Listen to your favourite music while showering. Moxie 2.0 Showerhead with Wireless Speaker (shown in Oil-Rubbed Bronze), $393, homedepot.ca

Do you have a decor dilemma or want to give feedback? You can contact Karl on Instagram at Karl Lohnes.

Karl has worked as a home decor expert and product designer

21 Home Upgrades That You Can Do Yourself for $50 or Less

Are you dreaming of improving your home, but you don’t have the budget to do major remodeling? If so, there’s still plenty you can do to scratch the home-improvement itch — and make your home look great.



a woman standing in a room


© kurhan / Shutterstock.com


Here are some cheap ways to spruce up your home for $50 or less.

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1. Paint the front door

Painting your whole house? That’s an expensive project that takes time. On the other hand, painting the front door gives your house a fresh, new look in one afternoon. Choose a fun, contrasting color, and don’t agonize too much over it. If you decide you don’t like the new color, paint the door again next summer or next month.

If you want to try out a few colors before committing, Home Depot offers you free delivery of paint samples, with thousands to choose from. 

In total, the project — including painter’s tape, a good paintbrush, a quart of primer and a quart of exterior paint in your favorite color — should run you less than $50.

2. Add a bird feeder

Add a bird feeder for your feathered friends to visit near a kitchen or living room window. You will find a range of options and price points. Amazon sells one by Perky-Pet that promises anti-squirrel features — and that is key. After all, if left to their own devices, squirrels will consume all your bird feed.

Related: 10 Common Ways Seniors Get Scammed

3. Add path lighting

Add a little romance to your sidewalk or garden path with some solar-powered lights, and make the walkway safer for visitors in the evenings. You can find path lighting at Amazon.

4. Replace the porch light