(BPT) - When it comes to home improvement, Americans have embraced doing it themselves - in a big way. Among homeowners who plan to make improvements, 64 percent say they will do it themselves, according to American Express' Consumer Spending and Saving Report. Yet one area of home improvement continues to give even adventurous and confident DIYers pause - bathroom renovation.
'Many people who don't think twice about installing flooring or cabinetry or even tiling on their own, still feel they need a professional to upgrade their bathrooms,' says Gray Uhl, director of design for American Standard. 'However, with the availability of easy-to-install products, like no-tools toilets and Speed Connect faucets, bathroom upgrades are well within the abilities of most do-it-yourselfers.'
Upgrading or adding a bathroom continues to be a winning home improvement for owners, whether they intend to sell or stay in their homes. A mid-range bathroom remodel recoups more than 65 percent of its cost at the time of resale, according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value report. An upscale bathroom renovation returns more than 58 percent.
If you're considering remodeling a bathroom, here are quick, easy ways to spruce up your bathroom yourself, and still end up with professional quality results:
Start small: the power of bath accessories
When you think of bathroom accessories, towels and toothbrush holders likely come to mind. But anything that enhances the look of your bathroom decor can function as an accessory. Simple moves like swapping out dated cabinet hardware (or adding it where there was none) can help transform the look and feel of the bath.
Switching out a boring mirror with a beveled option can turn a functional background element into something eye-catching. Or, dress up an existing mirror by adding a frame. It's easy to find mirror framing kits online or in your favorite home improvement store.
Keep thinking creatively when it comes to accessories, and imagine what you could do in the shower area. If your shower is a tub/shower combination, replacing a standard straight curtain rod with a curved one not only creates an elegant appearance, it can give you more elbow room while you're using the shower.
If you have a shower stall with a door, consider swapping a plain glass door with a decorative one. Home improvement stores often carry a variety of designer options that are frosted or have a pattern. A new shower door can make an old shower look fresh and bold.
Style and function: replace toilet and bathroom faucet
The toilet, sink and faucet are essential elements that can be beautiful as well as functional. Replacing dated, inefficient models with newer options can give a bathroom a whole new look - and improve its usability. Easy-to-install products make updating these important bathroom fixtures simple and speedy.
Replacing a faucet can be a challenge when there are so many moving parts to contend with - not the least of which is the drain. Typical bathroom faucets can have as many as 14 parts to connect. American Standard's Quentin bathroom faucet collection features a Speed Connect pre-assembled drain that requires no special tools or plumber's putty.
Products like the American Standard Champion line of high efficiency toilets (HETs) blend powerful performance and water savings with easy installation. The WaterSense-certified Champion HETs use 20 percent less water than standard toilets without losing any flushing power. Available in tall height and elongated or round-front models, these toilets offer practical features like a slow-close seat that eliminates loud slams. Plus, their permanent EverClean antimicrobial finish inhibits the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew on the surface. Made for fast, easy installation by DIYers, Champion toilets that feature the EZ-Install kit include everything do-it-yourselfers need to install the toilet without the use of special tools or difficult bolt-cutting.
Added bonus: Buy a Champion and be a champion, joining a campaign by American Standard to raise awareness that almost half the world lacks a safe way to go to the bathroom. For every Champion toilet sold in the U.S. and Canada during 2013, American Standard will donate a hygienic latrine pan to a developing country to help raise the global standard of living through safe sanitation. Learn more at FlushForGood.com.