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There are a few places where most of us spend a lot of time in the home: the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. So it makes sense that bathroom remodels are saturating the renovation marketplace.

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, bathroom remodel projects have increased in the last two years, up 17 percent. In fact, they are the most common remodeling project these days.

But in these tighter economic times, surveys show that homeowners aren't necessarily going for the McMansion-style bathroom, but rather something that suits their needs. Practicality is top of mind.

For sellers, this means doing all you can to position the all-important bathrooms in the best light. If you're planning to do some remodeling, at the top of the list are things like ceiling-mounted "rain" shower heads, handheld shower heads, doorless showers. The big whirlpool tubs aren't quite as popular as a bit more luxurious and spacious shower.

But even though bigger showers are popular, homeowners and buyers are highly interested in green technology and energy-saving devices. They're looking to save money on their utility bills each month.

So, be prepared for buyers to ask questions about your utility bill and what types of energy/cost-savings devices you have installed, such as a dual-flush toilet. One button flushes solids by using more water; the other button flushes liquids using less water.

Also popular, bigger is better when it comes to tile. Personally, I never really liked the small tile and it seems today the trend is moving toward larger tiles, even in small bathrooms. I think the larger tiles are easier to clean. Additionally, glazed tiles have lost their shine with consumers, unless it's the white subway-style tiles. Those are still hip.

Let there be light and plenty of it! Buyers and homeowners are drawn to warmth in the bathroom. So, the more ways to let the sun shine in, the better. Also, windows that open to air out the bathroom and reduce the chance of mold are good options.

Another bathroom remodel request these days is automatic lighting dimmers that stay on for a period of time and then turn all the way off. Leaving lights and fans on increases the energy bill. Homeowners are opting for automated ways to help save money and this remodel addition can payoff in the long run.

Another important area for buyers concerns storage space. Do you have it? And do you have any more? They want to know. Bathroom remodels are offering more counter space by eliminating two-bowl sinks to one and leaving more countertop space for storage. In two-bowl sinks, a built-in cabinet between the two is a likely choice. It provides shared space between the sinks and some useful extra storage.

Finally, separate toilet rooms or at least, have a glass-glazed wall to separate the toilet from the sink and bath/shower area. And, can you guess the top priority for the toilet room? An effective and cost-efficient fan for odor and noise elimination! Makes sense to me.

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