Rub-a-dub-dub, do you really need a tub?

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Seriously, when was the last time you used your bathtub?

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, about 50 percent of homeowners are opting to remove an unused tub and update the area to a luxurious yet functional walk-in shower.

Imagine, if you will, floor to ceiling marble or porcelain tiles, a frameless glass panel and a chrome rain shower. Throw in a couple of body sprays, a hand shower and a bench ... heaven!

You won't miss that unused soaking tub. Chances are, potential buyers won't miss it either. For years, Realtors and interior designers espoused the idea that every house needed a tub.

However, the times they are a-changing. From Millennials through Generation X-ers to Baby Boomers, lifestyles aren't what they used to be.

Young adults don't have the time for a leisurely interlude in a soaking tub. Older adults might no longer have the agility needed to safely enter and exit a tub.

The recent trend is a tub-to-shower conversion to make the bathrooms safer, more functional and opened up to everyone's needs. Frameless glass and frameless doors, sleek tile work, and the new shower systems are so much more stylish, practical and easier to maintain.

New homes are being designed and built with double showers and large niches for bath products, hand showers and a little ledge for shaving.

Our bathrooms are becoming pet-friendly with pet washing stations. An extra handheld, waist-high spray allows you to give your dog a quick and easy bath.

From small updates to complete renovations, dream big but remember a few things for a successful remodel:

  1. Smart storage space. Take vertical shelving up to the ceiling. A handy makeup drawer insert is easy to clean and keep your makeup organized and tidy.
  2. Lighting. Use multiple zones; makeup lighting along with a vertical wall sconce and a bath bar will provide the best lighting. A dimmer will provide flexibility to adjust the level.
  3. Ventilation. Very important! This removes extra humidity and trapped moisture, and controls and eliminates odors. It is also great for reducing fumes from cleaning agents that could potentially cause health issues.
  4. Use of classic whites. White matches everything and never goes out of style. It is timeless and makes decorating easy.
  5. Plenty of space. Pay attention to the doors. Are they fully opening? Same for the shower door. Is there enough clearance? Is it hitting the shower head if you open it inward?
  6. Choose the right materials that can stand up to harsh cleaners. If they don't, it will be very costly to replace them.
  7. Grab bars. Plan them for safety and to maneuver within the shower area.

Finally, don't go it alone. Even if you're the DIY type, make sure to consult a bath design expert before starting your project.

A professional will be able to help fine-tune your remodel plan, offer tips and advice, and maybe even recommend some ideas you haven't already considered.

Sophia Schade has been in the home improvement industry for more than 30 years and currently works at Prestige Stone Inc.

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