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Q: What is trendy in bathroom remodels?

A: Whether you live in an older house with a bathroom that was state-of-the-art 30 years ago, or you just want to remodel your bathroom to suit your preferences, reworking a bathroom is the second-most-common remodel (kitchens are the top).

A more modern and functional bathroom adds to the quality of life at home, and potentially adds to a home’s resale value.

Of course, there are limits to consider — from budgetary to footprint restrictions — but here are some of the major trends in today’s updated bathrooms.

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Do you really need or want that tub? Tubs, especially oversized soaking tubs, take up a lot of room in a master bath.

While they look glamorous, large tubs require more water than most standard water heaters can supply to completely fill with hot water. They tend to go unused.

If a good soaking bath is not a high priority for you, consider converting a tub into a larger, more-luxurious shower. The shower possibilities are almost unlimited.

For example, showerhead options include body sprays, handhelds, rain heads and more. Know that some of the innovative options could increase the fixture and plumbing costs of the project.

Consider the ideal height and location for items in a shower. If a shower bench is part of your new dream shower, consider installing a handheld showerhead that can be used while you sit to shave your legs.

For a smaller shower space, folding benches can be there when you need them and out of the way when you don’t.

Shower caddies are useful but usually lack aesthetic appeal. Built-in shower wall niches can be as functional as they are striking.

Niches can hold a wide range of items, including shampoo bottles and candles for ambience. One niche could even have lighting and a fog-free mirror with a ledge to hold a razor and shaving cream.

Just remember to have the wall framed to accept a niche.

Speaking of functional beauty, zero-threshold showers exude elegance. Plus, because there is no shower sill to step over, they are practical for handicapped family members and helpful for aging in place.

Height is also a consideration for sinks and vanities. If your home is more than a few decades old, the vanity is probably only 30 inches high instead of the 36 inches that is now standard in newer homes.

As you work with your contractor, remember to factor in what height you’d like for your sink and vanity.

As part of your planning, consider whether you want just a mirror over your sink or a recessed medicine cabinet. Perhaps a wall-mounted cabinet is more to your taste.

From spalike luxury to utilitarian simplicity, there are many options to create your own version of a bathroom update.

HomeWork is the weekly column by the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties’ Remodelers Council about home care, repair and improvements. If you have questions about home improvement, send them to

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