Bathroom Archives

Master bathroom remodel, white counters, white sink

The Ultimate Guide to Master Bathroom Lighting

As a seasoned home remodeling contractor in South Jersey, we understand that the right lighting can transform a functional space into a luxurious sanctuary. This blog will discuss the key decisions of master bathroom lighting — from strategic placement to fixture selection — and how to balance artificial with natural light to maintain privacy.

Areas to Illuminate

As a place of relaxation and personal care, your master bathroom requires thoughtful consideration when it comes to lighting. Each area within this intimate space serves a distinct purpose, and the lighting choices you make should not only reflect this but enhance the overall ambiance.

Vanity Lighting

The vanity isn’t just another part of your bathroom; it’s where the day both begins and ends. It’s where you prep to look your very best, whether that’s through shaving, styling your hair, or applying makeup. To ensure precision, the vanity requires lighting that casts as few shadows as possible.

Side-mounted sconces or vertical fixtures flanking the mirror can provide the even, shadow-free illumination that is essential for everyday routines. This configuration allows light to evenly wash across your face, eliminating harsh shadows. The key here is the placement: ideally, master bathroom vanity lights should be at eye level to mimic natural light and provide the clarity needed to see finer details.

Shower Lighting

The shower is a place of rejuvenation, where bright, direct light is essential for safety and functionality. Waterproof recessed lighting is a prime choice for this area, offering a clean look that integrates seamlessly with the ceiling. These fixtures cast a focused beam of light that cuts through the steam and illuminates the space without creating glare, ensuring a well-lit environment — perfect for washing away the day’s stress!

Bathtub Area

The bathtub area is often the centerpiece of a luxurious bathroom, a haven for unwinding in a warm, soothing soak; lighting this area requires a balance between practicality and style. A statement chandelier or an elegant pendant light can add a touch of sophistication and serve as a focal point.

However, safety and suitability are still important for master bath lighting. Ensure that any fixture you choose is rated for damp locations to prevent damage from humidity or splashing.

General/Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting in the bathroom is similar to soft background music — it’s what ultimately sets the mood. Ceiling-mounted fixtures or LED downlights can envelop the space in a soft glow, creating a calming atmosphere that’s perfect for a spa-like experience. This layer of lighting should fill the room without being overpowering, providing a comfortable level of brightness that complements the specific lighting of your task.

Accent Lighting

Finally, accent lighting should be used to draw attention to the bathroom’s architectural features or to showcase artwork. For example, you might decide to utilize LED strip lights tucked under a vanity or behind a mirror for a floating effect, adding more depth to the space.

Small recessed lights can also be strategically placed to accentuate bathroom tile work and other design elements. This is ideal for homeowners looking to give their master bathroom a custom, designer feel.

neutral master bathroom double vanity with backlit mirrors

This master bathroom takes a more understated approach, with backlit mirrors, recessed lighting, and a single double-hung window doing the work.

Types of Master Bathroom Light Fixtures

When it comes to master bathroom lighting, the fixtures you choose are just as important as the placement. Each type of lighting fixture offers its unique benefits, and can significantly impact the look and feel of your space. Whether you’re renovating or simply looking to enhance your bathroom’s lighting, understanding the different types of fixtures out there can help you make the right choice for each area of your bathroom.


Sconces are a popular choice for vanity lighting due to their versatility and directional light. Mounted on the wall, they can provide the perfect task lighting needed for activities like applying makeup or shaving. Sconces come in a myriad of styles — from sleek and modern to ornate and traditional — allowing you to complement your bathroom’s decor while achieving the desired functionality. When placed on either side of the mirror, they help to eliminate shadows on the face, ensuring even illumination.

Recessed Lighting

Recessed lighting fixtures blend seamlessly into the ceiling while providing a clean, streamlined look. They are an excellent choice for general lighting in the master bathroom, as well as for shower areas where a non-obtrusive light source is needed. These fixtures are tucked away, making them ideal for bathrooms with lower ceilings. Able to cast a wide beam of light, recessed lighting can brighten the entire room or focus on specific areas without drawing attention to the fixture itself.

Pendant Lights and Chandeliers

For those looking to add a touch of luxury to their bathroom, pendant lights or chandeliers are the go-to fixtures. These decorative elements serve as both ambient lighting and focal points, elevating the design of the space. Hanging from the ceiling, they provide a soft, diffused light that contributes to a relaxing and inviting atmosphere. Whether you opt for a modern pendant or a crystal chandelier, these fixtures transform your bathroom into the perfect lavish retreat.

LED Strip Lights

LED lights are a modern and versatile option for creating accent lighting in your bathroom. These flexible strips can be installed in a variety of locations, such as under cabinets, along toe kicks, or even around a mirror to create a backlit effect. They are particularly effective at highlighting architectural features or adding a layer of light to the room without being overtly visible.

LED strip lights come in different color temperatures, allowing you to choose a warm or cool glow to match your design preferences. What’s more, they are also energy-efficient and can be a subtle yet impactful addition to your master bathroom lighting.

Balancing the Lighting

The next step is all about how you place your bathroom features. Ideally, you’re looking to strike a nice balance between color temperature, direction, and luminosity so that one component doesn’t overwhelm the others.

Color Temperature

Color temperature plays a crucial role in setting the mood of your bathroom. Warm white light (which ranges from 2700K to 3000K) is often recommended for master bathroom lighting, as it creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere. This temperature is similar to the glow of incandescent bulbs, providing a soft light that is more conducive to relaxation. It’s particularly pleasant in spaces where you want to unwind, such as the bathtub area.


Another factor you’ll need to think about is the direction of light, which is key to avoiding unwanted shadows and ensuring even coverage throughout the space. A combination of uplighting, downlighting, and side lighting can illuminate your bathroom effectively. Uplighting will soften the ambiance by casting a glow on the ceiling, while downlighting will provide focused illumination for your daily routine.


The ability to control the brightness of your master bathroom lighting helps to adapt the space for different functions or times of the day. Dimmers are an invaluable tool in this regard, allowing you to adjust the luminosity to suit your mood. Brighter light may be necessary for morning routines, while a dimmed, softer light may help you relax in the evening. With dimmers, you can customize the lighting intensity to create the perfect ambiance for any moment.


Layering different types of lighting is the final step in achieving a balanced bathroom. Ambient lighting provides the base layer of illumination, task lighting addresses specific needs at the vanity or in the shower, and accent lighting highlights the bathroom’s architectural features. By incorporating a mix of these lighting types, every corner of your bathroom is appropriately lit. This approach not only enhances the functionality of the space but also adds depth and dimension to your design.

wenonah nj master bathroom with skylight

This second-story master bathroom in Wenonah NJ is flooded with beautiful natural light, thanks to a skylight and several sets of windows.

Incorporating Natural Light

Natural light has a way of transforming a space, infusing it with a sense of freshness that artificial lighting struggles to replicate. While incorporating natural light into your bathroom certainly elevates the aesthetic, it also promotes a visual connection with the outdoors.


Of course, windows are the most common way to bring natural light into any room. However, given the private nature of the space, it’s important to choose the right type of glass. Frosted or textured glass windows allow for ample sunlight to enter while obscuring the view from the outside, ensuring your sanctuary remains just that. Master bathroom windows can be designed in various styles to match your bathroom’s decor, providing both function and fashion.


Skylights can be a stunning addition to any bathroom, as well. They invite a flood of daylight into the room, creating an illusion of a larger and more open space. On sunny days, a skylight illuminates the entire bathroom without the need for any artificial light. Meanwhile, on cloudy days, it provides a diffused light that adds a calming ambiance to the room.

Solar Tubes

For bathrooms where traditional skylights are not feasible, solar tubes present an innovative solution. These small, reflective tubes channel sunlight from a dome on the roof directly into the interior space.

They are especially useful for interior bathrooms without direct access to an exterior wall. Solar tubes provide a surprising amount of daylight, brightening up the space with a natural glow that can make even the smallest bathroom feel more welcoming.

Privacy Concerns

Keep in mind that while natural light is desirable, a bathroom is still a bathroom. Window treatments such as blinds, shades, or shutters can provide the best of both worlds. They can be adjusted throughout the day to let in light while keeping prying eyes out, or fully opened to bask in the sunlight when privacy is not a concern. With a variety of materials and designs available, window treatments also serve as a stylish addition.

Create Your Escape with Ayars

Here at Ayars, we offer personalized service to bring your vision to light! Contact our team to make your dream master bathroom a reality.

A bathroom with a white double-sink vanity, one mirror, and wall sconce lights

Bathroom Vanity Ideas: A Comprehensive Guide

No bathroom is complete without a vanity. Consisting of the bathroom sink and surrounding storage (some definitions include the accompanying mirror and lighting) the ideal vanity combines functionality and style and is a crucial part of any bathroom remodeling project. With that in mind, here’s our comprehensive guide to bathroom vanity ideas. 

Space Planning

Before choosing your vanity, you need to know how much space you have in your bathroom. Measure the bathroom’s dimensions and the space between pre-existing fixtures. As a rule of thumb, you should have about 30 inches between major fixtures and walls or other fixtures. The type of bathroom will affect this number, however — you’ll have more room for a vanity of any size in your master bathroom than you will in a half bathroom. Be sure to note the electrical outlets and plumbing fixtures in the room as well. 


Your vanity shouldn’t take up an entire wall of your bathroom, nor should it be shoved and hidden in a corner. Instead, choose your vanity according to your needs. Is this vanity for a half bath, or is it a master bathroom? Will you be sharing the bathroom with multiple people simultaneously, such as romantic partners or roommates? Are you hoping for extra counter space and additional storage? 

Storage Requirements

On the subject of storage, it’s important to consider the additional storage your vanity could create. This is especially important for vanities for small bathrooms, where storage space is already limited. There are several places you can integrate storage into your vanity if necessary: 

Under the Sink

The space under the sink is a common storage choice for many homeowners. It’s often used to hold larger items, such as cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Note that not all vanities are big enough to have a cabinet under the sink. 

Vanity Drawers

Drawers are another way to incorporate storage into your vanity. While they don’t offer as much space as a cabinet under the sink, they can hold toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and other personal items. These tend to work better on large vanities, as they require additional space that may not be available in smaller models. 

Behind the Mirror

Placing a medicine cabinet behind your vanity’s mirror is an excellent way to incorporate additional storage space into your vanity without needing a larger model. While it won’t hold larger items, such as cleaning supplies or toiletries, it works well for toothpaste, makeup, and pill bottles. Note that this works best with smaller mirrors — it isn’t practical to break up a full-wall mirror for cabinets, after all.

A bathroom vanity made of dark wood, with double sinks and double mirrors

Vanity Style

Once you know the amount of space you have to work with, your next step is determining your vanity’s style. Ideally, your vanity should complement the rest of your decor — as charming as unique bathroom vanities are, that charm is wasted if they clash with the rest of your bathroom. Is your decor traditional? Rustic? Something more modern? Keep the style in mind as you select your vanity’s features. 

Countertop Material

Vanity countertops come in a wide variety of materials:


Laminate is one of the most common countertop materials. It comes in various colors and designs, is relatively cheap and easy to install, and doesn’t stain easily. It scratches easily, however, and has a short lifespan. It also can’t be repaired beyond shallow scratches. 

Solid Surface

Another popular choice, solid surface is durable, stain-resistant, easy to clean, and easy to repair. It does scratch and burn easily, however, and can be damaged by strong chemicals, such as nail polish remover. 

Natural Stone

Natural stone, such as granite or quartz, makes for a highly desirable countertop surface. It’s scratch-resistant, heat-resistant, highly durable, and easy to clean, all while increasing your home’s resale value. As a downside, it’s one of the more expensive options, both in installation and maintenance. 


Ceramic countertops are versatile and easy to replace when necessary. It’s also one of the cheaper countertop options. Unfortunately, the tiles make for an uneven surface, and ceramic isn’t very durable when compared to other options. 


A less common countertop material, concrete is extremely durable and easy to repair while providing a strong, dignified look to your counter. However, it does scratch very easily. 


Wooden countertops are a rarity, most likely due to their high maintenance requirements, low durability, and potential for harboring bacteria if not sealed properly. However, when installed and treated correctly, they can provide a uniquely rustic and beautiful appeal to your bathroom. 

Stainless Steel

As the name implies, stainless steel countertops are almost impossible to stain or burn. The metal is fully recyclable, and the countertops are easy to install. As a downside, they dent and scratch easily and can be noisy when colliding with pots, pans, and knives. 

Sink Options

Next, decide what kind of sink you want in your vanity. There are three main types of sinks:

  • Undermount: Undermount sinks are set into the countertop. They’re easy to clean and leave plenty of space on the countertop. 
  • Vessel: A vessel sink is a sink that sits on the countertop instead of in it. They tend to splash less than undermount sinks and work well as a statement piece in your bathroom. 
  • Integrated: Similar to undermount sinks, integrated sinks are set inside the counter. The major difference is that integrated sinks are fused to the counter itself. This means they’re made of the same materials as the counter, creating a seamless surface. 

In addition to these types, you must also choose between a single or double sink. As the names imply, these vanities come with either one or two sinks. Note that a small bathroom doesn’t necessarily disqualify a double sink — many vanities come with narrow and shallow options to help conserve space.

A white bathroom with a gray tile floor and a white vanity

Faucets and Fixtures

Once you’ve chosen your sink, select the faucets and other fixtures. Just like countertops, faucets come in a wide array of materials:


Brass is the most popular material for faucets. It has a striking appearance, is durable, and even has microbial properties if left unplated. The biggest concern from brass fixtures is the lead content — while low and rarely an issue, it’s advised to let the water run for a few seconds before use. The bright color of brass faucets can also clash with some bathroom styles. 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel faucets, like stainless steel countertops, are highly durable and stain-resistant. They do tend to be more expensive due to the increased manufacturing difficulty, however. 

Zinc/Zinc Alloy

Zinc and zinc alloy faucets serve as a cheaper alternative to brass faucets. While they’re corrosion-resistant, they’re less durable overall. 


Plastic faucets are the cheapest faucet option available, as well as being entirely lead-free. However, they also feature the lowest durability. 

In addition to various core materials, faucets also come in a variety of finishes, such as chrome, stainless steel, gold, silver, and platinum. Make sure the finishes match any other finish present in your bathroom to create a cohesive style. 


Vanity lighting is an excellent way to add an extra light source to your bathroom. While they can work in any space, they’re an especially good idea for a master bathroom vanity, where the extra room space may warrant extra lighting. This can come in the form of wall sconces or lights mounted directly on the vanity mirror. As always, be sure to match the style to the rest of your bathroom decor. 

Mirror and Medicine Cabinet

Your mirror will sit over your vanity. A well-chosen mirror does more than just show you your reflection: it can hide a medicine cabinet, amplify natural lighting, and highlight the rest of your bathroom’s decor. Your mirror should serve both a functional and aesthetic purpose, regardless of whether or not it conceals your medicine cabinet. Combining the two is useful for saving space, but they can function just as well separately. 

Budget Considerations

The final decision maker for your vanity choice will always be your budget. As you’re budgeting for your remodel, make sure to allot a reasonable portion towards a vanity and make your choice accordingly. Remember: it may be more expensive to purchase durable materials now, but they’ll save you money in the long run. 


Once you’ve chosen the perfect vanity in your price range, the last step is installation. While you may be tempted to install your vanity yourself, especially if you’ve chosen a smaller model, it’s best to hire a professional. Not only will they ensure the vanity is seamlessly installed in your bathroom, but they’ll also make sure the plumbing and electricity are properly connected. 


Selecting the perfect bathroom vanity is a vital part of your bathroom remodel. If you need an installation team you can rely on, contact Ayars. We’ve provided our clients with reliable remodeling solutions since 1970. Our dedication to quality craftsmanship and excellent customer service means you can rest easy knowing your project is in good hands. Contact Ayars today and take the first step towards the bathroom of your dreams.

marbled slab backsplash in south jersey

How a Slab Backsplash Can Make a Room Pop

Let’s say you’re renovating your kitchen. You’ve gotten a new fridge, finished polishing your new countertop, and picked out the perfect accessories—but something’s still not right. Your kitchen just doesn’t feel complete, no matter how you reorganize your appliances. What’s missing?

When redesigning a room, it’s easy to overlook the walls, especially in a kitchen or bathroom where those walls might be predominantly taken up by cabinets. However, neglecting the spaces in between means you might miss out on a simple but effective way to make the room pop: adding a slab backsplash.

What’s a Slab Backsplash?

A slab backsplash is a continuous slab of material applied to the wall behind a sink, stove, or countertop. While their function is to protect the wall from water, food, or other “splashes”, they’re also very visually striking. They’re also relatively easy to clean due to the fact that they’re formed of a single solid slab. Backsplash slabs are usually made of stone, either natural or engineered, but they can also be made of glass or porcelain.

Slab vs. Tile Backsplash

If you’ve dabbled in interior design and backsplashes before, you may already be familiar with tile backsplashes. Like slab backsplashes, tile backsplashes cover the wall behind the sink, stove, or countertop. The difference between the two is that tile backsplashes are formed from a layer of tiles, as opposed to a solid slab.

There are many benefits to a tile backsplash. Using tile gives you access to a wide variety of colors, patterns, and even textures. If part of the backsplash gets damaged, you can simply replace the affected tiles instead of redoing the entire wall. However, a full slab backsplash is generally easier to clean due to the lack of seams. Dirt can easily accumulate on tile backsplashes, staining the grout and making it look grimy without regular cleanings. Ultimately, the choice between a solid slab backsplash or a tile backsplash comes down to three factors: your budget, the amount of time you can dedicate to maintenance, and personal preference.

How to Utilize a Backsplash

Slab backsplashes are highly versatile due to the variety of colors and materials available. They can be placed behind sinks, stoves, and countertops in almost any kitchen or bathroom, although they work best with sleeker, more modern applications. They also work well in places with an opportunity for material synergy: for example, if your kitchen has granite countertops, a backsplash in the same shade can create a feeling of unity.

marbled slab backsplash in south jersey

This marbled slab backsplash mirrors the kitchen countertop pattern, creating a sense of continuity and breathtaking elegance.

Slab Backsplash Ideas

Looking for ways to make a slab backsplash your own? Here are a few ideas to help set yours apart:

Colored Backsplash

While many people use neutral tones such as white, gray, or beige for their backsplashes, bold colors can have a powerful effect when used properly. Darker colors can be offset with lighter cabinets to provide fun visual contrast. Just be sure to use it in moderation, especially if it’s a dark color—if used in excess, it can make a room feel cramped and gloomy.

Porcelain Slab

Porcelain slabs have gained popularity in the past few years, and are quickly becoming one of the most popular materials for slab backsplashes. They’re lighter and more affordable than marble but can be patterned to look like natural stone. This makes them perfect for those who want the look of a marble backsplash but can’t afford the material.

Glass Slab

Not a fan of stone or porcelain? Try a glass sheet backsplash. These slabs can be painted different colors to match your kitchen’s decor or left clear to provide a glossy protective layer over the kitchen wall.

Adding a Shelf

If you want to spice up a pre-existing backsplash without redoing the whole thing, try adding a shelf. Not only will this break up the backsplash without forcing you to use tiles, it also creates usable storage space.

Add a Splash of Class with Ayars Home Improvements

If you’re interested in a slab backsplash as part of your next kitchen or bathroom remodel, we would love to work with you to complete your vision. Our intake process is as follows:

  1. Tell us about your project via phone or our online form.
  2. Determine if we are the Right Fit for one another, based on timetable, project scope, and shared home remodeling sensibilities — we want to work with people who care as much as we do!
  3. Chat with interior design consultant Sharon Vick or visit our new design showroom to get your inspiration flowing on materials and finishes.
  4. We’ll determine the timeline for your project based on the availability of labor and materials,  and show up on Day 1 ready to apply our craftsman’s touch!

We hope to hear from you soon!

powder room with custom trimwork in mickleton nj

Powering Through Modern Powder Room Ideas

A hundred years ago, the term “powder room” referred exclusively to a place where ladies “freshened up” in public — a fancy commode at a restaurant or club, or your everyday women’s lavatory. Three hundred years ago, it was only a feature of the wealthiest estates (at the height of the powdered wig era).

Fast forwarding to the 21st century, the powder room has evolved to occupy a place in today’s homes. These miniature bathrooms can go a long way toward refreshing your ground floor and are well worth a long look in the mirror.

So, with that, let’s power through some modern powder room ideas — we have a lot to cover.

What’s a Powder Room?

In the context of a private home, a powder room is pretty much synonymous with a half bath — aka a bathroom without the bath (and/or shower). Most powder rooms contain both a vanity and a toilet, but in some cases, the toilet is omitted. They are almost always located on the ground floor, although sometimes you’ll find them in finished basements.

How Big Is a Powder Room?

Per the International Residential Code (IRC), a powder room must be at least 11 square feet. The average size of a powder room, however, is a slightly more generous 20 square feet. Of course, you can go much larger, but as always that comes down to the space you have available and your budget.

There are a number of other IRC-dictated requirements for powder rooms that your home remodeling contractor must follow (subject to change):

  • At least 15 inches between the center of the toilet and the closest wall on either side
  • At least 21 inches in front of the toilet
  • A ceiling height of at least 7 feet for head clearance
  • Door must be a minimum of 32 inches wide
  • Ventilation by either an operable window (at least 3 square feet) or fan (providing venting at a minimum rate of 50 cubic feet per minute)
half bath pitman nj

Even working with minimal space, we manage to squeeze both functionality and refinement into this powder room with this handsome stained-wood vanity set.

Why Have a Powder Room?

There are two major reasons why homeowners install powder rooms — convenience and privacy.


Powder rooms are generally on the ground floor, they are at the heart of the action. They provide an easily accessible spot to wash your hands, fix your hair or makeup, or relieve yourself on your way in or out of the house.

And should someone be taking their sweet time in a full-sized primary or master bathroom (we all know that person), a powder room allows you to attend to your most urgent matters without disturbing their zen.


Because powder rooms are relatively “public,” they divert attention away from areas of the home you’d like to remain private. Although residents certainly stand to benefit from a powder room, its real value is as a “go-to” place for guests to, well, go.

It’s far less likely that you’ll have a visitor wandering down hallways or entering private chambers if you have a powder room at your disposal. That’s good news if you haven’t made the bed today.

Powder Room Design Essentials

As we’ve learned, powder rooms have a very practical purpose — but that doesn’t mean we have to play it safe when it comes to their design. Modern powder room ideas range from minimalistic to bold, and because they are so small, we can really get creative with what we do. Less space = fewer materials = fewer worries.


The color schemes we see in larger bathrooms also play well in powder rooms — whites present a clean and bright aesthetic, neutrals are serenely unobtrusive, and soft blues and greens lend a hint of spa-like calm.

But a darker or stronger color might work better than you think, inflecting a dash of cozy or a splash of excitement. And because there is no bath or shower to saturate the air with water vapor, wallpaper tends to hold up much better in powder rooms vs. bathrooms.

Wall paneling and trim

Custom millwork can make a tremendous difference in a tiny space, adding contrast and pop. At the very minimum, you should consider how the baseboards complement the walls and fixtures. However, we can go much further to distinguish our space with decorative wall paneling.

For instance, you might lean into a nautical or woodsy aesthetic by employing shiplap. You could give the space a more boutique feel with traditional wainscoting. Or if you’re feeling especially adventurous, wood slats or geo paneling can help you achieve your most modern powder room ideas.

powder room with custom trimwork in mickleton nj

The wainscoting in this powder room features a band of mosaic wall tile to add visual intrigue.


As we’ve established, most powder rooms don’t contain much more than a toilet and a vanity. Unfortunately, toilets don’t offer us a lot of versatility in the design department. That leaves the vanity as our focal point and our opportunity to shine.

A wall-mounted (aka floating) vanity or pedestal sink is your best bet to conserve floor space; both are available in a wide array of attractive designs. However, freestanding and cabinet-style vanities come with the benefit of built-in storage — a precious commodity when square footage is at a premium.

For more visual interest, experiment with different mirror shapes and styles (backlit mirrors have become popular in recent years), backsplashes, and vanity lighting.


Unlike larger rooms of the house, overhead lighting is not necessarily mandatory in a half bath. With a much smaller area to illuminate, some form of wall-mounted lighting will usually suffice (a window for natural light, of course, is a welcome bonus). Common options include:

  • Vanity lights: Mounted above the vanity mirror, in the form of one or more bulbs or bars. Usually angled downward.
  • Sconces: Mounted on either side of the vanity mirror — light can be angled upward (as more of an accent) or downward (as functional/task lighting).
  • Track lights: Installed along the top or bottom edge of a wall, mostly for mood.


A half bath is not intended for bathing or grooming, so storage concerns are not as prevalent. That said, it is always nice to have a spot for spare hand towels, hand soap, reading materials, or decorative items. Vanity cabinets, shelves, and drawers can often accommodate everything you need.

But if you’ve opted for a minimalist vanity profile, we can still find a place for all our essentials with wall-mounted or floating shelves, recessed shelves or cubbies, over-the-toilet cabinets and more. Necessity is the mother of creativity!

Half Bath, Full Inspiration

Ayars cleans up in the craftsmanship dept, no matter how big the bathroom. Powder rooms are a popular option for our full interior renovation customers, who have discovered a newfound enjoyment of their homes after seeing their spaces reinvented.

If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor for a 2024 remodeling project, join our waiting list.

woodworking template

Five 2023 Interior Design Trends to Inspire Your Next Remodel

Self-improvement is at the heart of many New Year’s Resolutions; home improvement is at the center of many others. Although if you ask us, they are one and the same! After all, your home is ultimately a reflection of you — and when you enhance your surroundings, you enhance your mindset.

So, in honor of our new design showroom and the new year, we asked our project design consultant Sharon Vick to define the zeitgeist of home remodeling in the here and now, based on the wishlists of Ayars customers. If you’re resolving to remodel in the months to follow, we hope our top five 2023 interior design trends will set you on the right path.

Oak is in

finished basement bar counter

Oak has long been a favorite of furniture-makers for its resilience (one of the toughest North American hardwoods, as measured by the Janka hardness test), characteristic grain pattern (resembling rays), and versatility (it takes on wood stains very readily).

However, homeowners of the ’90s went a little overboard with the oaken aesthetic, especially as it applies to cabinetry. These golden oak-stained cabinets often showcased wider, more prominent grain patterns, and yellowish tones that were never a great match for more contemporary styles — by so declaratively flaunting their woodiness, they became almost a caricature of woodiness.

It took a couple of decades to come back around, but more and more home remodeling customers are starting to realize oak is okay again. In fact, white oak cabinets are one of the most popular 2023 home design trends. According to Vick, this is because latter-day oak-adopters have rediscovered subtlety: “Whether it be washed white oak or a cleaner rift white oak with closer grains and less yellow/orange tones, the look is now more natural and clean.”

“Oak is back and it’s better than before,” she confidently proclaims.

Stain has staying power

modern kitchen remodel with peninsula and open shelving

It’s not just oak that’s reasserting itself; stained wood kitchens in general are garnering greater acceptance. This 2023 kitchen trend directly mirrors 21st-century lifestyle trends — which continue to be go, go, go.

“The wood and stain combination is more forgiving with everyday wear-and-tear as opposed to painted cabinets, which show miters and separation within the cabinetry,” explains Vick. “Busy families appreciate the forgiveness.”

Not only that, stained wood lends an organic warmth that most of us desire in a kitchen. And as with everything else, there are more options than ever in 2023 — far beyond the glossy reds and browns of yesteryear. You might opt for a lighter or more transparent stain to highlight the wood’s natural color, a dark stain to deepen the warmth, or go with a white, blue, or silvery stain to mesh with more modern and contemporary aesthetics (without hiding the grain pattern).

Choose one stain color or mix it up. Apply it in select areas or everywhere. There are many ways to work it in, and we’re pleased to report that many of them work quite nicely.

Mingling mixed metals

master bathroom west deptform vanity

Mixing metals is an interior design trick that long predates 2023. Regardless, it’s still so widely requested that it warrants discussion. The logic of mixed metals is simple — to play up the visual interest and dynamics of a space. The execution is more nuanced but can make a huge (even if understated) impact.

“Whether it is in the lighting details and cabinet hardware or faucets, it really gives people more flexibility and helps the look last longer and not become dated too quickly,” asserts Vick.

There are two main aspects of metals that can be mixed and matched:

  1. The finish metal: This is the plating that overlies the base metal, whatever it may be (usually zinc, copper, or brass). It’s responsible for the tone and color. For example, brass and bronze are “warmer,” whereas nickel and chrome are “cooler.”
  2. Luster: How shiny the finish metal is — from highly lustrous polished metal to low-luster matte finishes.

However your mixed metals manifest, it’s important to be intentional about it. A good general rule of thumb is to strive for complementary contrast (e.g. warm vs. cool, shiny vs. matte), designating and distributing evenly and judiciously. In the context of 2023 bathroom trends, for instance, you might employ brushed metal vanity cabinet pulls down low while applying polished metal around your vanity mirror’s edge, or vice versa.

We love testing our design mettle (and metal)!

A gentler white

modern kitchen remodel woolwich nj

Echoing the rationale of the stained wood 2023 kitchen trend, today’s homeowners are embracing subtlety — even when it comes to the very model of neutrality, the white kitchen. While it’s unlikely the popularity of the white kitchen will ever wane, recent kitchen remodels have tended to be a little less white.

“I am noticing lately people don’t want that glaringly white kitchen. They are leaning more towards a more neutral, softer white,” reveals Vick. “This is proving very successful with clients whose homes are still very brown and wood focused throughout but still want a brighter, whiter kitchen. This version of ‘white’ keeps the kitchen still very consistent with their homes but gives them a more modern ‘of today’ look.”

Still open to open concepts

modern kitchen remodel with peninsula and open shelving

Our last 2023 interior design trend is another that isn’t exactly “new” — open concept home design has been steadily gaining momentum for decades, even as far back as the groundbreaking American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) or further. His reasoning was that with fewer physical walls, people would feel more connected with one another and their environments, and that still holds today.

“Open design is still one of our clients’ top priorities. Many clients want to feel included in day-to-day family interactions while having open entertaining space as well. Homework stations and meal prep areas have become the family connection,” expresses Vick.

Open-concept home design comes with the expectation of spaces being multipurpose and multifunctional, and that especially holds true for kitchens.

More inspiration

Our business has consistently trended up, and we could not be more grateful to our customers! The Ayars team is booked through 2023, but we encourage you to browse our project portfolios for inspiration and see if we’re a good fit for one another in 2024!

finished basement cubby under stairs

Small Space Ideas for Doing a Lot with a Little

For most, space within the home is at a premium. As such, homeowners are constantly in search of creative ways to make the most of what they have, especially when what they have isn’t a lot.

Even if you do have more square footage to work with, it’s not always clear how to make the best use of it. This month, let’s talk about small space ideas and design — you’ll see that spatial limitations are no match for the imagination.

Conceptualizing small spaces

When you’re dealing with small spaces, design with functionality first in mind.

Sometimes, that function (or those functions) will be obvious — we know what we need to accomplish in a kitchen or bathroom, for instance. So if they’re undersized, our focus needs to be on flexibility and efficiency — how do we conquer clutter and organize that small space so we can achieve our essential tasks less stressfully?

If the small space doesn’t have a pre-assigned role, our first thought should be context. Where is that little awkwardly in-between spot located within the house? Unutilized niche between the kitchen and dining room? Try built-in shelving or storage for wines, spirits, or servingware. That bumpout in the living room for bay windows? Let’s build a bench into that nook to extend seating capacity for guests.

Another way to approach small space design is to play with perception. Here are some ideas to make those small spaces seem bigger. (Without sacrificing their inherent coziness and charm, of course!)


The physical dimensions of a space are defined by their length, width, and height — floors, walls, and ceilings. So how can we make them seem longer, wider, or taller? The most common solution is probably the build-in — a functional component built into the wall so as to conserve floor space. But you might also give yourself more room to stretch out by removing all or part of a wall, or installing a movable wall — aka a sliding “invisible” or pocket door and nestles into a hollowed-out wall pocket

If you have higher or cathedral ceilings, you might consider incorporating a loft or other mid-level living area to make use of the unused vertical space.

Furniture and storage

We already touched on built-ins as an excellent way to add storage without sacrificing floor space. But supposing you’d like some furniture in your space, that can also be cleverly designed to pull double duty — benches or ottomans with under-cushion storage compartments, compact desks or tables that can be folded up or tucked away with slide-out storage baskets or totes.


The interplay of light and shadow has a huge influence on how we perceive a space. We can make tight areas feel more open by distributing multiple light sources along the room’s periphery (e.g. sconces, floor lamps, directed spotlights, recessed/can lights), employing transparent or reflective surfaces (e.g. metal, glass, polished wood), and inviting in as much natural light as we can via a window or skylight .

Color and decor

Light and color also work hand in hand, affecting how we process a space visually. For smaller spaces, our goal is to draw the eyes outward so we are taking everything in as a cohesive whole, rather than in parts. Neutral tones will not call too much attention to themselves, while cooler tones tend to create a sense of distance. Darker or richer paints might serve to accent built-ins and insets, again highlighting elements along the edges rather than in the middle.

built-in angled wine rack

Small space design in action

Small bathroom ideas

Primary bathrooms and primary bathroom suites are among the most coveted remodels annually. But if you’re stuck with a tiny hallway bathroom, do not despair. There is plenty of design wisdom we can employ to squeeze functionality out of every square inch.

Sink and vanity

To fit a full bathroom into a small space, any idea will have to account for a sink/vanity, toilet, shower, and/or tub. To this end, we must design our vanities for efficiency. A floating single vanity or wall-mounted faucet leaves space for an open shelf or storage baskets while giving us the whole floor visually.

Pedestal sinks, by virtue of being slender, are also commonly employed in small bathrooms. If you’re still really tight on space, you might consider a corner sink, or at least rounding the vanity. And do not overestimate the impact of mirrors in creating the illusion of space.


In a hall bath, we’re restricted to a typical shower/tub combo, a standalone shower stall, or a standalone tub — a separate tub and shower aren’t possible, so it’s either pick your favorite or pick the compromise.

For your more standard all-in-one surrounds, shower curtains are tried and true and stay out of the way. If the tub and surround aren’t a single unit, and you have some nice bathroom tiling you’d like to highlight (or to avoid blocking a window), a glass half-wall could make sense. It gives some of the effect of a shower enclosure without the need to install door hardware.

If you are opting for a walk-in shower enclosure, utilize a sliding glass door (versus a hinged), and make your sundries accessible with built-in shower niches.

Cabinets and shelving

A floor-to-ceiling linen closet is probably not a practical idea for your small bathroom, but we can still devise some pretty nifty methods of storing our towels and personal effects. Open shelves are ideal for stacking towels or decor. Also, consider utilizing the vertical space behind the toilet, whether in the form of a ledge or a medicine cabinet.

hall bathroom with hexagonal floor tiles in south jersey

Small kitchen ideas

We ask a lot from our kitchens. We want ample counter space to prepare our meals, and plenty of cabinets and cupboards to store our gadgets and ingredients. And that’s without considering shiny appliances and seating for residents and guests. A small kitchen might not be equal to all of these tasks, but by working smarter and not harder, we can still accomplish much.

Small kitchen layout

As we discussed in a previous blog about kitchen layouts, the primary goal of kitchen design is optimizing the work triangle — the path between refrigerator, stove, and sink (food storage, preparation, and cleanup). Three layouts tend to predominate small kitchens:

  1. The galley kitchen: These kitchens are all business — counters, cabinets, and appliances all in parallel, with the home chef in the middle. Usually impractical for dine-in purposes.
  2. The U-shaped kitchen: Enclosed on three sides with one open end, offers a little more flexibility than a galley kitchen by virtue of the additional of the extra wall.
  3. The G-shaped kitchen: A modified U-shape kitchen with a partial counter extension (peninsula), allowing for bar-style seating.

Small kitchen storage and shelving

Creative storage and shelving solutions are everything in small kitchens. While we want to maximize the places we have to stow away our cookware, dishware, tools, and ingredients, going wall-to-wall and/or floor-to-ceiling with cabinets can leave us feeling boxed in and dampen the lighting and mood.

One of our favorite ways to break things up is open shelving. Open shelves expose more wall area, and if we’ve painted our walls a lighter or neutral color, will allow the room to “breathe” more. Stack or arrange your sightlier kitchen items (or decorations) on these platforms, or in a glass display cabinet.

Small kitchen seating

Try as we might, the smallest kitchens probably can’t accommodate a proper kitchen table. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re consigned to eating our meals standing over the sink. Not only are breakfast bars charming, they can be constructed so that stools can slide in towards the wall, conserving precious floor space (bench seating paired with a narrow table achieves a similar goal).

As mentioned previously, a peninsula with seating located in the adjoining room maintains that connection with the space without crowding it.

kitchen breakfast nook

Big ideas for small spaces

Ayars has long prided itself on making the absolute most of our customer’s spaces, no matter how large or small. Our reputation for clever design and careful craftsmanship has culminated in a long waiting list for our services, but we assure you it’s worth it! In the meantime, browse our project galleries for more examples of how we maximize every project.

master bathroom sink basin west deptford nj

Laying Out Beautiful Bathroom Tiling Ideas

Bathroom tiling ideas — laid end to end, the possibilities would easily wrap around the Equator a hundred times over. You’d be hard-pressed to find a bathroom remodeling contractor to take on a project of that scope, but at Ayars, we still like to give our customers plenty of latitude to explore their options.

Like the Equator, bathroom flooring and shower tiling can be a centerline for our design decision-making. Are we going for a more subdued and subtle space, or more vibrant and energizing? Our tile selections will have a major influence not only on the overall look and feel of the room, but on all our other design decisions — vanities, countertops, paint color, fixtures and accessories, and so on (it is one of the first things our in-house designer discusses with our clients before starting a project).

So let’s make sure we get this right, shall we?

Diverse bathroom tiling ideas: colors, textures, and patterns

The number of bathroom tiling ideas out there may be infinite, but when we begin thinking methodically about the dimensions of the room we have to work with, where the tile will be placed, and the aesthetic we are aiming for, we can narrow down those choices pretty quickly.

If you have a specific tile you’ve fallen in love with, all the better — we can use the “star” of the show to help pick out our “supporting cast.”

Color scheme

Softer, cooler, earthier, and more neutral schemes predominate the landscape of modern bathroom design — but that is not to say you can’t opt for a more vibrant or dramatic palette. As a general rule, lighter colors are recommended for smaller bathrooms, while darker ones can help make a large space seem “cozier.”

Whatever the case, once you pick a scheme, stick with it. And don’t forget about tile grout — the more it contrasts with the tile color, the more starkly those tiles will stand out.

soft green master bathroom in mickleton nj shower tile detail

Utilizing the subtleties in shading and sizing, we can create a lot of visual interest using the same tiling.

Texture and finish

Even within a monotone bathroom, a sense of visual interest and dimension can be created by mixing and matching tile textures and finishes. For example, glossy tiles will “pop” when interspersed with matte tiles on a shower wall, implying a pattern even if they are the same color value. For stone or stone-look tiles, we can capitalize on the subtleties of their veining patterns to often stunning results. Sometimes it only takes a little to get a lot!

Size and shape

Tiles can be cut to virtually any shape and size, and in more abstract or artistic applications, you might see several craftily fitted together on the same plane to tell a visual story (e.g. a mosaic mural).

More commonly, though, bathroom tiling comes in square, rectangular, hexagonal, and circular (e.g. penny tiles) shapes, with plenty of opportunities to play with proportions. Large format tiles lend a luxurious look when used as shower tiling, akin to a bathhouse or wet room. Smaller tiles are great used as border elements, and are the practical choice for shower floors: more tiles = more grout = better grip.

Pattern and layout

Now that we’ve sorted out the parts, we’re ready to arrange the whole. Generally speaking, we’ll need tiles to cover the bathroom floor, the shower enclosure (walls and floor), and perhaps a backsplash for the vanity/sink area.

While it’s certainly possible to tile a bathroom from floor to ceiling, this locks you into a particular aesthetic for the long haul, and it’s not so easy to reverse course. The idea here is to impress but not overwhelm — 3 tile types is typically plenty.

The size and shape of the tile will dictate the layout and the particular patterns that can be achieved. Deceptively diverse, rectangular shapes can inspire a plethora of bathroom tiling ideas:

  • The classic “subway” pattern
  • Herringbone (V-shaped)
  • Basketweave (illusion of overlap)
  • Modular (mixed and matched sizes)

You might use variations on the same shape in different areas, use different shapes to define different areas or even fit shapes within shapes! Isn’t laying tile fun?

mullica hill master bath shower and bath combo

Perpendicularly adjoining at a diagonal, the herringbone tiling pattern is a customer favorite for both bathroom floors and walls. Here its dark coloring is mirrored in the veining accents of the tub/shower surround.

Bathroom tile materials

Now that we’ve discussed design, let’s talk about materials. Bathroom tiles come in a wide assortment of those, but there are definitely a few more popular than others.

Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles

Glazed ceramic tiles reign supreme in most bathrooms across America, and for good reason — they’re attractive, versatile, durable, and cost-effective. They can be made to mimic a number of other textures and patterns from nature — such as those found in natural stone or wood (e.g. plank tile flooring) — without the headaches that come with trying to maintain those materials.

Porcelain differs from the standard glazed ceramic tile in that the clay is kiln-dried and hardened at higher temperatures, lending to even more enhanced performance. While both options are highly water-resistant, porcelain is the more impervious of the two.

If your bathroom remodel is giving you cold feet, both are superb candidates for an underlying radiant flooring system, as they are excellent conductors of heat.

Natural stone

In terms of beauty and elegance, it doesn’t get much better than natural stone tile — which may come in the form of marble, granite, limestone, and slate. However, a level of caution and care is required with these materials to avoid damage and wear (e.g. avoiding abrasive scrubs on scratch-prone marble, sealing porous limestone and slate), as it is pricier than ceramics.


Multicolored glass tiles can serve as an eye-catching accent as a backsplash, along wall borders, or within custom shower enclosures. It’s not recommended for bathroom flooring, as it’s susceptible to scratches and extremely slippery when wet.


Metals have also found roles as accent tiles or within mosaics, typically on a wall or partition. It’s available in several tones with shiny, matte, or brushed finishes.

Engineered materials

Manmade materials like linoleum and vinyl still have their supporters, with affordability and stylistic flexibility being the draws. Although linoleum often has a reputation for being cheap or tacky, it actually performs quite well as a bathroom flooring material and is easy to install and replace.

Even more impressive, though, is luxury vinyl tile, aka luxury vinyl plank. Stronger and thicker than conventional vinyl flooring, it may do an even better job at emulating wood or stone than ceramics, and stays warmer and more comfortable underfoot. It’s a favorite among the crew at Ayars.

powder room with custom trimwork in mickleton nj

In this powder room, we integrated mosaic tiling into the surrounding custom millwork, with a light-stain wood-look vinyl plank tile for the floors.

Bathroom remodeling inspiration from Ayars

If you’re dreaming of your next bathroom remodel, you’ve come to the right place to allow your imagination to roam free. Browse our portfolio for bathroom tiling ideas and see if your project is a good fit for us in 2023 or beyond.

full bath single vanity woodstown nj

4 Reasons to Choose Ayars as Your Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

Year after year, the bathroom remodel tends to show up at or near the top of Americans’ home improvement wishlists. Obviously, these projects are a little more involved than a fresh coat of paint or laying down a new floor, and thus not nearly as DIY-friendly. Bathrooms are so integrated into day-to-day regimens and routines that any delays, missteps, or setbacks can seriously affect household relations — especially if you only have one!

Therefore, most people turn to a professional bathroom remodeling contractor with the expectation the work will be done right and done right the first time, all within a firm timeframe. In South Jersey, customers choose Ayars as their bathroom remodeling contractor because we consistently and confidently check all those boxes. How? Read on.

1. Ayars coordinates and collaborates

Every project we take on is not only part of someone’s home, it’s also part of us (and our reputation). That being so, it’s vital to us that we establish a collaborative relationship from the start. Alignment is important. We want to get to the heart of what you want before we even lift a hammer. We want to hear your grievances with your current bathroom layout so we can (potentially) devise a better one. We want to hear what you like and dislike in bathroom design so we can purchase tile, flooring, cabinetry, and fixtures that appeal to you — we even have a dedicated design coordinator on staff to help with this process.

Once the project is underway, your project manager will check in with daily updates on progress, outline goals, and frame expectations. Communication is everything to us. With Ayars, you will always know what’s going on — always.

2. Ayars knows its stuff

We’ve been doing this bathroom remodeling thing in South Jersey for a while — since 1970, in fact. Bathroom trends come and go, but quality materials and quality workmanship stand the test of time. Throughout our more than 50 years in business, we’ve developed an intimate understanding of what works and what doesn’t, and we leverage this knowledge as an asset to our customers.

It is our aim to create bathrooms that are as functional as they are beautiful, and that also stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use. It has long been a focal point of our company and will continue to be for as long as we’re around. The proof is in our portfolio.

hall bathroom with hexagonal floor tiles in south jersey

3. Ayars hires the best

Skilled interior craftsmen with a strong background in finish carpentry, these aren’t schlubs showing up at your home, they’re people who take pride in their work and care about the outcome. Effort and attention to detail is reflected in the final product, and Ayars customers are categorically satisfied with the results

Whether or not it’s in South Jersey, the best bathroom remodeling companies hire the best people. Those who make their career with Ayars tend to follow a specific blueprint — a skilled interior craftsman with a strong background in finish carpentry, independently talented but excellent in a team setting, with the ability to clearly communicate ideas and expectations.

4. Ayars treats your home like it’s our own

We realize that any kind of renovation or remodel represents a disruption — but we also recognize that impact of the disruptions can be mitigated with cleanliness, organization, professionalism, and respect. Our work area will be sealed off and ventilated, and our messes will be contained throughout the length of the project. Our interior craftsmen will conduct themselves in a friendly and professional manner, and do their absolute best to stay out of your way if you are at home. After all, we would want the same treatment if we were in your position.

Is Ayars the right fit?

For the reasons above, Ayars is one of the most trusted and most requested bathroom remodelers in Southern New Jersey. Your consideration means a lot to us — if you’re a good fit for us, we’d love to talk.

mudroom laundry area with hangers, cabinets, convertible utility sink, and bench with stowaway totes

Folding Creativity Into Laundry Room Design Ideas

The laundry — few of us enjoy surrendering our time to it, and few of us like ceding our space to it either. But given its place in the housekeeping trinity next to cooking and cleaning, all homeowners must sacrifice at least some square footage to a laundry room, whether it is confined to its dedicated room or integrated into another.

Despite its reputation as a utilitarian space, there are plenty of surprising ways to fold structure and creativity into laundry room design, making a chore we all hate to feel like less of one. Let’s take a look at the best laundry room ideas for any size room!

Where to locate the laundry room?


In many homes, especially older ones, the laundry area is delegated to a corner or section of the basement (also sometimes referred to as a utility room).

Pros: Extra storage space, easy utility access, flood containment, removed from bulk of activity and commotion of other rooms in the house.

Cons: Lugging laundry up and down the stairs can be strenuous for some, greater likelihood of cycle signals going unheard/unnoticed.


Locating a laundry space either within or immediately adjacent to a bathroom can be highly convenient if space allows.

Pros: Utility lines are already available, and clothing and linens have a minimal distance to travel.

Cons: Potentially conflicting with the private space of other household members, noise factor.

Second story

The second story has become fashionable in recent years for many laundry rooms.

Pros: Dedicated space for laundry, typical proximity to bathrooms and bedrooms, possibility of a light-filled laundry room.

Cons: Can be a complicated retrofit if your home is not set up for it.

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj stacked washer dryer custom cabinet

Maximize space for small laundry room ideas

It follows that the more space you have to work with, the more spacious laundry room ideas you can play with. We’ve even seen those with larger homes mirror design concepts from popular kitchen layouts, including island space, decorative lighting, a large window for light, and custom cabinetry. But for those with tighter living arrangements, the focus is on small laundry room design ideas that emphasizes vertical space, economy, and efficiency over visual interest.

Let’s look at the key tasks we need to accomplish in the laundry room and how we can implement clever design features to lighten the load.

Washing and drying

The most essential function of the laundry room, of course, is to wash and dry clothing. As such, our design process has to begin with where we locate the washer and dryer units.

Front-loading washers and dryers are far more versatile than their top-loading counterparts for layout purposes, especially in the context of small laundry room design ideas. By stacking the units, we can free up a good deal of valuable wall and floor space for the design elements to be discussed in the sections that follow, such as a sink, cabinetry, floating shelves, and/or countertop.

When placing front-loading units side by side, we also have the option of sliding them under a countertop so we can fold our clothes fresh out of the dryer. For air drying, we can utilize vertical space for a hanging rod or drying rack in a small laundry room.

Pre-soaking and stain treatment

Life can get especially messy at times, so it’s highly advisable that your laundry area includes a utility sink for pre-treating stubborn stains (or hand-washing delicate items). In terms of utility sink styles, the cast iron or white plastic tubs are probably the most universal. Although a freestanding metal tub could mesh well in some settings, most modern laundry room designs ideas will include a washbasin inset into the counter, with an attractive fixture to go with it.

If you go this route, you’ll want to ensure the surrounding countertop is composed of water-resistant material such as quartz, porcelain tile, or granite — these are non-porous and thus will not warp or grow mold easily. Likewise for your laundry room flooring — always choose vinyl, stone/concrete, laminate, or ceramic tile instead of carpet as your base.

However, a nice area rug can help add both style and traction underfoot.

Storing, organizing, and sorting

A sensible storage solution can go a long way to making your laundry area less cluttered, less chaotic, and safer. Open shelving and door storage are smart small laundry room design inclusions. But if you have the budget and the space, we recommend installing cabinets to hold all your laundry products – your cleaners, sprays, detergents, wicker baskets, rags, and towels.

While these are pretty mundane items, putting together the right combination of cabinets and pulls can truly elevate your laundry room to a hardworking space on par with the rest of your house. Again, some of the more luxurious examples we’ve seen take major cues from modern kitchens — complete with backsplashes and all.

We also have to think about what we’re doing with our clothing pre- and post-cycle. Pull-out baskets and sorting bins are a stylish and subtle way of containing clutter. If your home is old-fashioned enough to have a laundry chute, this might feed directly into your hidden hamper.

Ironing and folding

For a lot of people, ironing and folding clothes look a lot like anarchy — bath towels draped over kitchen chairs, this week’s work fits spread haphazardly over a living room sofa. It doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.

For the most compact of laundry spaces, a countertop built above front-loading laundry machines is probably your best bet for a folding area. If you have more wiggle room to work with, you might consider a small floating countertop projecting from an adjacent wall or a pull-out laundry table that can retract within your cabinetry setup.

There are plenty of nifty laundry room design ideas that pertain to ironing as well — ironing boards that fold out from the wall, can be flipped up like a leaf on a table, or slide out from under a counter. But if you can’t go with an integrated solution, you can hang that clunky ironing board on a wall- or door-mounted storage stand, or find a narrow gap between tall cabinets to wedge it into.

A fresh start with Ayars!

Laundry can be a source of high agitation for a lot of us, but there are ways to make things a lot gentler on ourselves. Start a new cycle with Ayars Complete Home Improvements or by incorporating any of these design ideas into your home.

soft green master bathroom in mickleton nj

New Bathroom Trends for 2022: Time to Freshen Up?

Many new bathroom trends are like bathwater — hot at first but becoming lukewarm over time. Whereas we blushed over pink bathrooms in the 1960s, we were scoffing at them by the time the ’90s rolled around, when big and bold geometric patterns bowled us over. As we entered the new millennium, jacuzzis and subway tiles captured our fancy, but 20 years later some homeowners are starting to cool on these. 

Of course, things like nostalgia or pop culture can refill the hot water tank on virtually any bathroom design trend (for example, there is a growing movement to save the pink bathroom) — that’s why it’s always best to prioritize the functional over the topical when planning a bathroom remodel. Not only will that serve you better in the long run, it will also serve whomever the next homeowner is, eliminating the need for another major overhaul. 

That said, what are the latest trends for bathrooms? Let’s take a look at what today’s homeowners are frequently asking for.  

Emergence of the bathroom suite

What has long been known as the master suite (i.e., master bedroom + master bathroom) is now being commonly referred to as the primary suite (i.e., primary bedroom + primary bathroom). Regardless of what you call it, the design principles remain the same — favoring seclusion, escape, and a certain degree of luxury. 

Primary suites have long been a coveted feature in modern houses, but with an uptick in work from home situations and time spent at home in general, their popularity is peaking. There are many potential layouts for primary bathrooms, but the ideal is a spacious, spa-like space with distinct “zones” for toileting, bathing, showering, and vanity. To enhance the spa vibe, organic and natural elements (such as plants and skylights) are often employed to full effect in modern bathroom suites.

primary bathroom suite in clarksboro nj

Distinct “zones” for toileting, bathing, showering, and vanity are hallmarks of the large primary bathroom suite that has become ever more popular during the pandemic.

Mixing and matching

Thanks to Pinterest, HGTV, and the proliferation of home improvement blogs and websites (such as this one), today’s homeowners are being exposed to more ideas and possibilities than ever before. As such, we’re seeing customers with a keener sense of their individual preferences, which may not strictly be confined to one era or one philosophy of design. The mix-and-match mindset might manifest in a number of ways — colors, textures, furniture, fixtures — as long as harmony can be achieved amongst all the elements, virtually anything goes.

Nonetheless, there is still a contemporary undercurrent to all of this in that a calm, soothing, and minimally distracting atmosphere is still the overarching goal. Although we may be getting more creative than subway tiles and all-white bathrooms, and we may be a little more adventurous in where and how we add visual interest, we should still be wary of overwhelming ourselves and others. There’s a reason bright red and yellow bathrooms are much rarer specimens than those that layer soft blues or greens. 


Today’s homeowners are becoming more confident about mixing and matching color tones and geometric patterns, as seen in this bathroom project in West Deptford, N.J. Note the variation in tile patterns between the floor and walk-in shower — all black and white, but employing different shapes to add visual interest.

Integrated technology

Technology is forever trending upward, and it’s being integrated into nearly every aspect of the bathroom experience in 2022 — partially motivated by cleanliness and efficiency, partially motivated by convenience and luxury. Among the smart bathroom technologies on the market are:

  • Smart toilets: touch-free, self-cleaning, even equipped with speakers or seat warmers.
  • Interactive LED (smart) mirror: with built in-display (for time, weather conditions, reminders, etc.) and voice recognition technology.
  • Adjustable privacy glass: Allows you to adjust the opacity of bathroom windows with a smartphone or voice assistant. 
  • Smart showers: Digital shower systems allow you to personalize your shower experience to your exact preferences (temperature, water pressure/spray, lighting, music, etc.)
  • Touchless faucets and soap dispensers: More in vogue than ever during the pandemic.
  • Radiant floor heating: To keep your feet warm.
  • Fine-tuned light, sound, and smell: Chromatherapy lights, waterproof Bluetooth speakers, aromatherapy diffusers.
modern master bathroom clarkboro nj shower control panel

Programmable digital shower systems are a popular example of integrated technology in the bathroom.

Universal/inclusive design principles

Guiding many current bathroom trends in 2022 is universal or inclusive design, which centers first and foremost on accessibility. One place we see this in play is the location of the bathroom itself — whereas the primary (or master) suite is traditionally situated on the second level, it’s now pretty common to locate it on the ground floor, thus accounting for aging and/or loss of mobility.  

Within the bathroom itself, one of the more prevalent applications is in a custom shower. A walk-in shower is virtually a must, with barriers to entry minimized as much as possible (e.g. no curbs to step over, doors that are easy to open or even partially automated, if they exist at all). In fact, it’s not unusual for some bathroom suites to be built with a wet room, much like you’d find at a health club. These might also include handheld showerheads and benches to help make bathing more comfortable for all. 

Of any of the top trends in bathroom design, this seems likeliest to stick.

white natural wood master bath west deptford nj

Easily accessible for those with mobility issues, this curbless walk-in shower is an example of universal design principles at work.

Custom bathroom designs from Ayars

At Ayars Complete Home Improvements, we are constantly fascinated by the new developments in bathroom design, but also well-versed in what works. We take a collaborative approach with our clients to plan bathroom remodels they’ll not only love today, but well into the future. 

Understanding the Rules of Thumb for Master Bathroom Layouts

For many homeowners, master bathroom layouts tend to be an area where dreams and reality butt heads. Sure, you can imagine anything you want — especially if you’re starting from scratch with a master bath addition built from the ground up. But first, you must ask yourself whether your current floor plan supports your fantasy master bathroom. Otherwise, could you adapt the space you currently have into something you’d grow to love?

A professional bathroom remodeler like Ayars can often answer that question with a resounding “yes.” Below are a few of the things we look at when we’re helping our clients plan their spaces.


Size matters when you’re discussing the floor plan for any room — the more space you have available, the more you can do with it. When we’re planning a master bathroom floor plan, we must make sure we accommodate the essentials first:

  1. A shower and/or tub
  2. A toilet
  3. A sink

Storage is another biggie. A double bathroom vanity — with a “his and hers” sink — is a pretty standard request in master bathroom floor plans, and that alone usually offers a good deal of storage space, both on the countertop and in the drawers and cabinets under the sink. If that should prove insufficient for your needs, we might start looking at various wall shelving solutions — either hung or recessed. For some of our larger master bathroom remodels, we’ve included a floor-to-ceiling linen closet. 


More than anything else, plumbing sets the parameters in a master bathroom layout. Although it can be moved, it’s a labor-intensive process that comes at some expense. Unless budget is truly not an issue, you’re best served to leave plumbing fixtures where they are and base the plan around that. 

Generally speaking, master bathroom floor layouts fall into one of two main categories: those that have only one plumbing line, and those that have two or more plumbing lines.

With the first category, we’re restricted to the “three-in-a-row” concept, where the toilet, sink, shower, and/or tub are all located along the same wall. It’s more common in smaller or hallway bathrooms, but it’s worth mentioning.

In the latter case, we open ourselves up to “opposite wall” concepts and a whole host of possibilities, depending on how much space we have. 


Once you’ve determined what your current setup does (or doesn’t) allow, we can begin to consider functionality. Think about user demographics — will master bathroom access be limited to adults only? How many? Younger or older? Working or (semi-) retired?

Honestly contemplate how much time you spend in the bathroom, how you like to spend it, and whether that time needs to be shared between more than one individual. Does each individual value privacy, or are you the type of couple that likes to do everything together?

From there, you can start to “zone” your master bathroom layout according to function. Again, size will dictate how many zones you can create within the large space, but here are a few of the more popular requests we get:

  • Powder room/makeup area
  • Separate or enclosed toilet/water closet (with a pocket door)
  • Standalone tub/bathing area — use rugs, furnishings, and decor to reinforce this as a “spa-quality” space. Locate in front of a window to create a focal point in the room.
  • Walk-in shower area — a custom shower enclosure with full or partial walls can make your shower feel like an oasis within an oasis. 

An Ayars master class in master bath functional zoning

This spacious master bathroom layout in Clarksboro, NJ demonstrates functional zoning to a tee. 

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj vanity and toilet

Back: Vanity and toileting area

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in is the beautiful double vanity straight ahead. The vanity is divided into separate “his” and “her” areas, and the backlit mirrors enhance the room’s sense of depth. A floor plant and painting help fill in and add color to the open space to the left.

The toileting area is hidden out of view, tucked away in the back corner of the room, behind the bump-out created by the shower enclosure. The sliding pocket door keeps obstructions to a minimum.

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj free standing tub walk in shower and double vanity

Center: Showering and bathing area

A huge window frames a gleaming white standalone tub on the left side of the room; on the opposite side we have a luxurious shower enclosure with a custom mosaic, built-in bench and recess, and computerized temperature controls.

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj walk in shower double vanity and powder room

Front: Makeup and laundry area

The shower bump-out also creates a natural nook in the front of this master bathroom, which we turned into a powder room with its own sinkless vanity and backlit mirror. 

In the other corner, we installed a stacked washer-dryer unit with a matching head-to-floor linen closet. As you can see, dirty rags and towels do not have far to travel in this setup!

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj stacked washer dryer custom cabinet

Plan your master bathroom layout with Ayars

Not everyone is so fortunate to have the same amount of space to work with as our Clarksboro customers, but you’d be surprised how much can be done with even a more modestly sized bathroom. Even if you don’t like your current master bathroom layout, you could learn to love a reimagined master bathroom from Ayars Complete Home Improvements.

front porch and siding remodel

How to Increase Home Value in 2021

People often fantasize about finding their “forever home,” but what they should be daydreaming about is ways to increase home value — particularly those with a high return on investment (ROI). A National Association of Realtors study showed that the median time span between a home purchase and a home sale was around 9 years — far short of “forever.” 

How you approach a remodel or renovation depends on your long-term goals — do you plan on sticking around a while (5 years or more), or is your current residence just a stop along the way? It doesn’t make sense to delve into a highly involved, low-ROI project if you won’t be around to enjoy the fruits of that labor (and recoup those costs yourself). Conversely, a simpler, high ROI project will yield greater dividends over a shorter period of time — consistent with a seller’s mentality.

The Cost vs. Value Report for Home Remodeling Projects

So what are the best ways to increase home value then? The answer can vary from year to year and region to region, which can make it hard to know where to start. Thankfully, the Cost vs. Value report published annually by Remodeling magazine helps keep things straight. The report compares the average cost of 22 popular remodeling projects with the value they retain at resale across 101 U.S. markets — in our case the Middle Atlantic and more specifically Philadelphia (right across the Delaware River). 

Compared to 2019, the costs of nearly all project types went up while the perceived value dipped. It’s important to note, however, that there are many factors that figure into the numbers — such as the condition of the rest of the house wherein the project is taking place, the economic health of the surrounding region and home values within the neighborhood, and the fact that many projects come with some sort of tradeoff. A solution you’re creating for yourself may actually be problematic for a prospective buyer. 

For instance, say you absorb the walk-in closet or spare bedroom beside your master bedroom to create a luxury master bath. Yes, certain buyers may appreciate the beauty and indulgence of that reimagined space, but the loss of an additional bedroom may be a dealbreaker for buyers with growing families. This is why we see such variances from region to region (e.g. a population heavy with single young professionals vs. families) 

Three popular remodeling projects (and their ROIs)

In South Jersey and across America, kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects were among the most coveted in 2020. Home Advisor’s annual State of Home Spending Report polled 5,000 Americans about their home improvement spending habits, and kitchens (22.6% of respondents) and bathrooms (30.9%) both ranked within the top 5 most popular. On average, people spent $745 more than the previous year on home improvement — a byproduct of higher prices and a lot more time spent at home due to the pandemic. All that stress had some Ayars customers wanting to retreat into a beautifully appointed new master suite.

Kitchen remodeling projects

kitchen remodel south jersey

Midrange minor kitchen remodel

The midrange minor kitchen remodel mentioned in the Cost vs. Value Report assumes a “functional but dated 200-square-foot kitchen,” the project calls for replacing cabinet fronts with shaker-style wood panels and drawer fronts with new hardware, as well as upgrading the range and refrigerator with new energy-efficient models. Laminate countertops, sink, faucet, and flooring all receive mid-priced replacements. The walls, trim, and ceilings get a new coat of paint.

Major kitchen remodels

A midrange major kitchen remodel takes all that but ups the ante with a more functional layout, including 30 linear feet of semi-custom wood cabinets and a 3×5 foot island. An upscale major kitchen remodel spares no expense: fully customized cabinets, stone countertops, imported tile backsplash, commercial-grade cooktop and wall oven, designer faucets and filtration system, upgraded general and task lighting. 

Return on investment

The midrange minor kitchen remodel had the highest ROI, with 73.2% of costs recouped at resale. The midrange major kitchen remodel still saw South Jersey homeowners recover over half (54.0%) of their investment, while the upscale remodel yielded the lowest return of the three.

Bathroom projects

mullica hill master bath herringbone floor and vanity

Bathroom remodels

The Cost vs. Value Report bases its midrange bath remodel (5×7 bathroom) on updates to all fixtures with quality but affordable materials (porcelain-on-steel tub, ceramic tile surround, solid surface vanity top), with features you’d expect in a modern bathroom (single-lever temperature and pressure control in the shower). Its upscale bath remodel template greatly builds on that, not only in size (100 sq. ft. vs. 35 sq. ft.) but in luxuries (recessed shower caddy, body sprayers, freestanding soaker tub, electric in-floor heating, etc.). 

Additional bathrooms

The Cost vs. Value Report’s baseline bathroom addition projects call for very similar features and functionality as the remodeling projects mentioned above, but with the added preliminary steps of framing walls and extending HVAC, wiring, and plumbing. 

Return on investment

Generally speaking, bathroom projects had some of the lower ROIs listed in this year’s Cost vs. Value report, with remodels (45.1% to 54.9%) faring better than additions (41.9% to 43.1%) — running new plumbing and wiring is not a cheap date. That said, an extra half bath adds about 10% to a home’s value, while converting a half bath to a full bath adds about 9%. By extension, a brand new full bath would increase home value by 19% (National Association of Home Builders).

Master suite additions

clarksboro nj master bathroom renovation


The midrange master suite addition involves 24’x16’ of new space, with a carpeted master bathroom with a walk-in closet and dressing area, and a master bathroom with a double-bowl vanity (his and hers), freestanding soaker tub, and 3’x4’ ceramic tile shower


The upscale master bedroom suite addition is an even classier affair, with 32’x20’ of additional space with a lounge area, custom millwork, a high-end gas fireplace with a stone hearth, fully functional wet bar, custom lighting controls, master bathroom with a dual shower, freestanding tub, and separate custom vanities, and a whole lot more. 

Return on investment

A new master suite is worth the investment if you’re looking to spoil/pamper yourself for years to come, but maybe not so much if you’re on your way out. The midrange project had an ROI of 44.1%, while the upscale project had an ROI of 37.3%.

High ROI vs. Low ROI remodeling projects

The top 5 ROI remodeling projects in South Jersey (i.e. Philadelphia area) favored exterior home improvements: manufactured stone veneers (94.1%), garage door replacement (70.0%), wooden deck addition (66.6%), and vinyl siding replacement (64.0%); midrange minor kitchen remodel (73.2%) ranked second. 

Across the board, more “luxury” and “upscale” remodeling and renovations projects tended to not increase home value as much as one might hope. So is it worth it to add an upscale bathroom, totally reimagine a kitchen with state-of-the-art features and materials, or build on a gorgeous new master suite? 

Again, it depends on your long-term plans and your willingness to spend. If you’re ready to settle down and have the budget, there’s no question that significantly upgrading and beautifying your home will seriously enhance your enjoyment of the space, and in turn, your quality of life. If you’re planning on selling soon, think more surface level. But if you’re planning on staying for the long haul, think deeper about what you want and what would make you happy. 

Custom Showers: Your Master Bathroom’s Main Attraction

If you were to poll folks on what they most look forward to when starting or ending their day, a hot shower would probably be near the top of the list. A custom shower design will have you looking forward to it even more, as you curate every aspect of the experience from your head to your feet.

There are many ways to go about designing a custom shower enclosure for a master bathroom, and few of them are objectively “wrong.” The “right” design all depends on the space you’re working with and personal preference. Let’s explore the options!

Custom shower layout

One of the very few constraints you’ll have when customizing a walk-in shower (other than budget) is the master bathroom layout itself. Its dimensions and setup will force some decisions about the custom shower’s size, shape, and location. Given the number of choices you’ll be making otherwise, that may come as a relief!


Generally speaking, most people prefer a shower that is cozy but not claustrophobic. You should be able to fully extend your arms and spin around in a circle without bumping into anything. The standard size for a walk-in shower is 48” x 36,” but larger or more upscale master bathroom remodeling projects might want to consider an enclosure that is 60” x 36” or larger.


A square or rectangular shower enclosure will work for most master bathrooms in a corner or along a wall, whereas a circular shape is typically only possible in the middle of a larger space. Of course, some homeowners opt to forgo an enclosure entirely, in an effort to capture the vibe of a steam room or spa.


Once you’ve determined the shower size, location, and orientation in the room, it will be a lot easier to choose a door.

  • Sliding doors are good for smaller bathrooms and shower enclosures flush with walls
  • Hinged doors swing outward so you’ll have to account for how an open shower door may interfere with (or be interfered with) other master bath elements, such as the sink, vanity, or the entrance to the bathroom itself.
  • Pivot doors are a more modernized cousin to the hinged door, operating by the same out-swinging mechanic. However, since it is either hinged at the very top and bottom or hinged continuously, the door is tighter to the frame and does not swing out as far. 

From there, you might consider whether you want clear or obscure glass, a partial wall, or windows depending on your aesthetic preferences and privacy needs.

Custom shower tiling

The selection of shower tile materials available today are virtually limitless, and can pretty convincingly mimic many aesthetics and textures found in nature. 

  • Ceramic and porcelain tiles, which are both formed from clay, remain the most popular option — they’re typically more economical and easier to clean and maintain (porcelain even more so).
  • Natural stone materials such as marble, slate, and travertine are among the most striking and beautiful ways to finish shower walls and floors. However, they’re more high-maintenance and may fade, discolor, or degrade more quickly without proper sealing and regular cleanings.
  • Man-made materials such as engineered quartz, cultured marble, or solid surface (e.g. Corian) combine ground stone with other binding and fortifying substances. They’re available in a wealth of colors and patterns, replicating materials that would otherwise not be recommended for a shower environment (such as natural wood). 

Custom shower systems

When we talk about shower systems, we are talking about how water temperature is controlled and regulated. There are three main types.

  • Manual mixer: Features one or two valves that adjust the ratio of hot to cold water flowing through the system
  • Thermostatic: Allows precise temperature control through a thermostat, and is sometimes digital.
  • Electric: A heating unit directly heats cold water from your water supply continuously. This occurs separately from your hot water system. 

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj shower control panel


Water pressure and spray patterns are governed by showerheads, which greatly influence the sensory experience of your custom shower. They are classified in one of two ways.

By mount position

  • Fixed showerheads are mounted to a shower wall.
  • Hand-set showerheads are also mounted to a wall but attached to a hose. This not only allows you to hand-maneuver the spray to virtually any angle you desire, but also makes for easier cleaning.
  • Ceiling-mounted showerheads rain down water from above at low or medium pressure.

By control settings

  • Single-setting: Offers only one spray setting and flows at a constant pressure.
  • Multi-setting: Variable spray patterns and pressures, from beads to mists.
  • Rainfall: The most coveted type of single-setting showerhead. The experience is like showering under a gently cascading waterfall.
  • Shower tower: If you’ve ever wanted to use a jacuzzi standing up, this is for you. You’ll be able to adjust several vertically oriented jets and nozzles to caress you from all angles for the ultimate spa experience.

master bath walk-in shower west deptford nj

Custom shower features

Now that the essentials are taken care of, we can turn our attention to finer details. Liven up or tone the mood with LED lighting and Bluetooth speakers. Accommodate all your sundries with built-in shelves or cubbies. Incorporate a shower bench to make personal grooming tasks that much easier. 

If all these possibilities excite you, you’re not alone! The professionals at Ayars Complete Home Improvements take a true craftsman approach to master bath remodels — a beautiful custom shower is just the beginning!

modern kitchen open concept view from living room mullica hill nj

Getting Started on Home Interior Renovations: Form Follows Function

Residential interior design is so much more than wall paintings, vases, and area rugs (i.e. interior decorating) — it’s a philosophy. Specifically, it seeks to question how our indoor living spaces work for us, how they make us feel

Consider your day-to-day life and the rooms where you spend most of your time — are they laid out in a fashion that frustrates, or in a way that facilitates? That should always be the starting point when contemplating home interior renovations. The finer details of colors, styles, and textures are the icing on the cake!

Floor plan designs

One of the core tenets of residential interior design is the floor plan. Do your home’s rooms flow together in a way that makes sense? Are its shared spaces accessible from more than one direction? Are rooms with similar functions adjacent to one another (kitchen and dining room, for instance)? How easy is it to get to the nearest bathroom? 

While it’s important to ask yourself these things prior to buying a house, deficiencies aren’t always apparent from the outset. But before you change your floor plan, think about how you might make better use of the existing layout. For example, you might shuffle the kids’ bedrooms around or finally get around to finishing that basement

Knocking down and/or reconfiguring walls can get complicated quickly, and might become more than you bargained for if structural engineers, plumbers, or electricians need to get involved. If your home’s layout just isn’t working for your or your family’s lifestyle at all, you may be better off looking for a new house altogether.  

modern master bathroom clarkboro nj full detail

Functional living spaces

In residential interior design, form always follows function. Having a beautiful space is secondary to having a usable space, although it’s certainly desirable to have both! 

Open and inviting kitchens

Consider the example of a kitchen. Of course, a kitchen’s most important function is the preparation and cooking of food. If there are obstructions between the sink and fridge and oven (the work triangle), that’s a problem. If there is inadequate counter space to prepare food, that’s another problem. If it’s a struggle to store or locate food, utensils, appliances, or cookware, you’re going to be tempted to order out more frequently than dine in. 

But for most people, kitchens serve another essential purpose — gathering, socializing, and entertaining. That is why open concept kitchens are among homebuyers’ most coveted items. Without walls between the kitchen and dining area (and possibly living room), communication is free and easy. People are pleased to be in one another’s presence as opposed to in one another’s way. 

modern kitchen with island mullica hill nj

Rounding home interiors into form

Once you’ve arrived at a floor plan design you’re pleased with, then you can turn your attention to surrounding yourself with the features, fixtures, and decor that reinforce or support a room’s intended function. For instance, you might choose kitchen lighting that helps illuminate workstations and a color palette that is warm and inviting.

Secluded and peaceful home offices

Now consider something like a home office — focus and privacy now become paramount. You’ll want it located in an area of the house that is more isolated or removed from the action. You might tab a socially distanced corner of your upper story (with a nice view of the backyard or nature) or the basement so you can focus on work and not get distracted by play. You might invest in soundproofing to muffle foot traffic and commotion overhead (basement) or a skylight to add more natural light (upper story). 

home office south jersey

Find the heart and soul of your home’s interior

Residential interior design has too much impact on daily mood and quality of life to ignore. Whether you’re shopping for your dream home or mulling over home interior renovations, it’s important to honestly assess how each part functions — both independently and in relation to others. Find a floor plan that fits your lifestyle, then maximize its potential. 

Don’t know where to start? Ayars Complete Home Improvements has been helping South Jersey homeowners through this process for decades. 

walk-in shower stone

Modern Master Bathroom Ideas to Fuel Your Design Imagination

Of all the rooms in the home, the master bathroom may be the most sacred — a place to decompress and unwind in a space that is distinctively yours. We have modern bathroom design keeps that firmly in mind, helping you get away. Are you dreaming about a new powder room, soaking tub, or a new bathroom vanity? Below are some of our favorite bathroom modern master bathroom design elements!

Simple geometries

mantua nj bathroom renovation

The modern master bathroom remodel incorporates graceful curves and/or straight, clean edges. This master bathroom project we completed in Mantua, NJ utilizes a few basic shapes to great effect and gives the room a cohesive feel — the rectangular form is present in the herringbone floor tile design, the walk-in shower with glass shower doors & large format tile, the bathroom vanity drawers, and the backsplash (which is also echoed in the shower as an accent). By varying sizes and orientations, visual interest is generated from a minimalist design element. The large circular mirror is a nice counterpoint and focal piece for the space and captures natural light from the other side of the room showing off this grand master bathroom.

Neutral or basic colors

mantua nj bathroom renovation

Sometimes designs uses louder or brighter colors sparingly, allowing softer neutral colors to provide a tranquil and relaxing backdrop. In the opposite corner of our Mantua bathroom, this white freestanding tub stands out against the various grayscale applied tones throughout the space, from the steelier gray of the vanity to the medium grays of the floor and shower tiles to the lighter gray of the paint. The white walls of the wainscoting, doors to extra space, and window trim tie the tub and tub filler in with the rest of the room, while the tub’s placement in the middle of that gray flooring spotlights it as the featured attraction. The greens of the plants on the vanity top and the red towels add modest but not overbearing pops of color.

Natural elements

clarksboro nj master bathroom renovation

Many modern master bathroom ideas focus on uniting natural wood, lighting, and material with higher-tech features and functionalities. This master bathroom suite in Clarksboro, NJ sees several modern design ideas in play. A softly lit, spacious walk-in shower with glass shower doors employs simple square and rectangular shapes; the subdued warmth of the paint plays nicely with the handsome stone and wood accents. Darker shower fixtures and lines add contrast and a sense of interior design. The double vanity with double sinks allows this couple to share their space while providing plenty of storage and maximizing space. Ayars customers often prefer DuraCeramic flooring, which can mimic the look of natural surfaces while also offering great durability and clean lines.

Open design

walk in shower and dressing table open design

Modern master bathroom design encourages a sense of depth and openness through the use of outdoor views (where privacy and opportunity allow), mirrors, glass panels and/or doors, walk-in showers, and mixed metals. It may also highlight different features in a single space based on context, such as this master bathroom project in Sewell, NJ. Notice how the dressing table is slightly set in from the walk-in shower, sharing the same room but defining itself as its own area much like a water closet or medicine cabinets. Subtle design choices like this can make all the difference!

No matter how you go about it, feeling free and uninhibited in your modern master bath suite is the key.

Bring your master bathroom ideas to life with Ayars!

Bottom line: life’s busy; a modern master bathroom, primary bathroom, or powder room should not be. These modern master bathroom ideas represent only the tip of the creative iceberg to maximize space, efficiency, and interest in your primary bathroom project. Your inspiration and our expertise can make your dream master bathroom a reality. We build with alluring, durable materials and an eye for detail, optimizing your space and integrating a double vanity, soaking tub, brass accents, or other features. To further feed your muse, visit our bathroom project galleries and bathroom remodeling services page

custom millwork fireplace

4 Good Reasons to Save Interior Home Remodeling Projects for the Winter

Preparing for hibernation this winter? A little R&R is fine — and probably well-deserved — but if you sleep through the whole thing, you might miss the best time for interior home remodeling projects. Whether you’re in the market for minor touch-ups or a more major undertaking, winter can actually be quite kind to the opportunistic homeowner. Here’s why.

You have more downtime

During the spring, the outdoors demand our attention as we prepare for a busy summer. When the warm weather finally arrives, it can be a struggle to go everywhere, see everyone, and do everything we want to. Autumn is a scramble with back-to-school shopping quickly giving way to a string of holidays. When things finally settle down for the winter, the quiet can seem downright eerie. Interior home improvement can be the perfect way to fill the void. Consider what’s working for your space and what isn’t, and use that as a springboard to plan your remodeling projects.

Remodeling contractors have less volume

Quality remodeling contractors are busy year-round — repeated successes build trust, and a good reputation breeds more opportunities. However, warm weather means longer work days and more projects. That means if you wait until the spring or summer to schedule your kitchen or bathroom remodel, it make take longer for your contractor to get around to your project. Therefore, winter is the ideal time for interior renovations — your contractor will appreciate being kept out of the elements, and you’ll appreciate additional insight during the process, including the scoop on available and forthcoming specialty products that can elevate your project to the next level. 

kitchen remodel hardwood floor

Home improvement material prices increase in spring

The leaves may have fallen, but the laws of supply and demand are evergreen. Manufacturers leverage the fact that more home renovation projects occur in the spring and summer and adjust prices accordingly. On average, material costs increase 2.5 to 5 percent at the start of the spring season. Beat the rush by slating your home improvement project for the winter and reap the savings. 

Winter remodeling is a good excuse to travel

Interior remodels can be disruptive. Although most professional contractors will try to minimize their footprint as much as they can, there’s just no getting around it. Fortunately, however, the colder months often coincide with vacations and holiday getaways. South Jersey winters can be harsh at times, which is the perfect excuse for an escape. Meanwhile, your contractor will enjoy unimpeded access to an otherwise crowded workspace. This can alleviate much of the stress that a bathroom or kitchen remodel can impose on some families. When you return, much of — if not all— the work may very well be done. And you’ll be much happier and may even have a sun tan. 

Best interior home remodeling projects for the winter

  • Walls: Cooler, drier air conditions are ideal for painting. Interior crown molding and wainscoting add a refined touch to any room, especially dining rooms, living rooms, and master bedrooms. Tiled backsplashes can add a pop of color to a bathroom or kitchen while protecting walls from moisture and water damage. 
  • Floors: New carpeting, tiling, or hardwood flooring can help refresh the look and character of any room. Exposed hardwood floors have especially gained popularity with modern homeowners for their timeless appearance and ease of cleanup. 
  • Basements: A finished basement or home entertainment center is not only a great place to huddle together during the winter, but it’s also a great place to escape the heat in the summer. It’s also a terrific boost for home resale value. 
  • Kitchens and bathrooms: Build the kitchen or bathroom you’ve always dreamt about with stylish lighting, fixtures, and decor.
  • Custom Millwork: Installing new cabinets or shelving systems can both reduce clutter and uplift a room’s aesthetic.

Whatever your winter upgrade plans are, Ayars Complete Home Improvements has the staffing and experience to help you make the most of the season. Contact us for a free estimate today.

freestanding bathtub

Bathroom Remodeling Tips That’ll Make You Want to Indulge a Little Longer

Many people would agree that bath time is the best time. As the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler, a warm bath or hot shower is a superb way to fade stress and escape reality. However, an ugly, outdated, or under-equipped bathroom can seriously detract or minimize the experience. Fortunately, the bathroom remodeling experts at Ayars Complete Home Improvements know a thing or two about creating a spa-like ambiance that you’ll be reluctant to leave. The following bathroom remodeling tips are based on hundreds of bathroom remodels across southern New Jersey.

Optimize your bathroom’s color scheme

Do you prefer colors that pop or colors that blend into the background? Bright reds, oranges, or yellows are going to evoke a very different response than more subdued whites, beiges, or blues. If you’re a morning person at heart, then perhaps a zesty color scheme might suit you as you get yourself fired up for your day.

If you’re one of the many who are not, however, you probably treat your bathroom as a place to wind down. Softer, cooler, or earthier tones figure to pose less of a distraction from your luxuriant bubble bath, steam shower, or novel. In this case, you’ll want to choose paints, tiling, wallpaper, fixtures, and decor that reflect this purpose.

walk-in shower stone

Set a spa-like mood

A spa setting is all about disconnecting with the outside world’s responsibilities and reconnecting with the self. With prudent planning, you can replicate this phenomenon with these bathroom remodeling tips. Well-placed greenery, natural stone, and skylights can simulate the feel of an oasis. Adding mirrors or reflective surfaces can create the illusion of more space. Consider dimmer switches (for dialing back the light), oil diffusers (for an aromatherapy element), or portable speakers (music, audiobooks, or podcasts) for a more immersive experience.

bathtub relaxing

Don’t forget plumbing and fixtures

A shower or bath is a tactile experience as well — variations in temperature, moisture, and pressure can either relax or invigorate, soothe or energize. A rain showerhead can transport you beneath a rainforest waterfall; a hot tub with bubble jets can melt tension away in aching muscles or joints. Stepping out of the tub or shower can be jarring if the bathroom floor is freezing cold. Either opt for a heated floor to maintain a better equilibrium or go with a surface that stays warmer, such as DuraCeramic flooring.

bathroom fixtures showerheads

Remaster your master bath or make your hallway bath a getaway

Whether your ambitions are grand or more humble, Ayars Complete Improvements is ready to guide you to your own little slice of paradise by putting these bathroom remodeling tips into practice. Check our hallway bath pricing guide for an idea of typical project scopes or contact us for a free consultation.

Increase Your Home Value with 8 Home Remodeling Ideas

Increase Your Home Value with 8 Home Remodeling Ideas

Did any of your home upgrades pay off when it came time to sell?  There are many things you can change and remodel in your home, but these 7 key home improvements are guaranteed to increase the value of your home.

  1. Remodeling the Kitchen

The kitchen is usually the first room in the house that needs updating.  After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home.  I’m not sure about you guys, but the hang out spot at my house is usually the kitchen.  Remodeling continues to have the highest budget allocation.


For many families (mine included), this room is where everyone gathers around or entertains their guests.  Holidays, birthdays, a little family get together; this room is definitely utilized the most in a home.  For this reason, you can expect to recoup 60%-120% of investments from remodeling a kitchen, as long as you stay within your budget.


  1. Adding a Bathroom

You can never go wrong with having more than one restroom in your home. This is why you can recoup 80%-130% of investments from adding another bathroom. Most homebuyers will use any room with underutilized space or take an extra room to upgrade it into a master bathroom.


  1. Reinventing a Room

This home improvement can be the most expensive upgrade to a house. Adding more square footage to your home can easily accumulate costs but it can bring you a 50%-83% return on investment.


  1. Adding Energy-Efficient Windows

Energy-efficient home improvements not only recoups 60%-90% of investments cost, but it can also reduce energy taxes as well!  When you replace your windows or doors with energy efficient models, you can receive a tax credit and 10% of costs, up to $200.00 per window.


  1. Adding a Deck

Outdoor living spaces, otherwise known as staycations, can significantly increase the value of your home.  As more homeowners are adding decks and patios to their backyards, it instantly becomes more appealing to prospective buyers when the house is for sale.


  1. Energy-Efficient Insulation

It’s about that time everyone has basic insulation installed, otherwise the cost to live in and maintain an unmodified home can be a burden.  Most potential buyers make sure to include this home improvement into their reports.


*One way to ensure your house is well insulated is with the right masonry.


  1. Basic Updates

Making basic updates to your home is a no-brainer.  Making small improvements such as fixing a leaking roof, replacing rotting wood and keeping paint fresh will always add the most value to your home.  A solid and safe home is always appealing to homebuyers.


So if you plan to remodel or make improvements to your home, remember that even the smallest of projects can make a big difference to the value of your home.  Also, focus on making your home safe and energy-efficient because it guarantees lower energy costs in the future.


  1. Flooring

Take a look at your home’s soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and replace the others as your finances allow.  Hardwood flooring is also an upsell.  Visually it’s beautiful, and gives such a natural feel to your home.

Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodeling.

There comes a time when you are just in need of remodeling your bathroom.  This can be for many reasons, but the point here is not to put up with the problems around your home if you are not happy.  Fix anything in your home before it gets worse, otherwise you will be paying more than you would have in the first place.  Here are five reasons why remodeling your bathroom may be necessary.

It is not safe to use:


If for any reason your bathroom it is not safe to use, then this a clear sign that something needs to be done.  A simple way to solve your safety issue is just to remodel your bathroom, instead of just making do with the issues you have.  Safety issues can be anything from broken floor tiles to a broken shower door.

It will increase the value of your home:


If you get an estate agent to value your house before you remodel your bathroom and then afterwards, then there will be a difference in the value.  If you remodel your home, the value is bound to increase because it is making your home more modern and desirable.

It has too much mold and mildew:


If there is too much for you to clean and it is becoming impossible to maintain, then this is a sign that you should be thinking about remodeling.  Mold and mildew are a nightmare and it would be simple for you to remodel and start over with your bathroom.  There are cleaning supplies that you could purchase, but if you are unhappy with your bathroom anyway, then remodel.

Too many plumbing problems:


Bathrooms are an obvious place for plumbing issues to occur; they happen all the time.  If you are beginning to have too many problems with plumbing, for example a leaky tap or dirty water, then you would most likely call a plumber.  Instead of calling a plumber to fix everything that goes wrong win your bathroom, why not remodel and hire the plumber just once to install your knew appliances.

Completely outdated: 


Sometimes bathrooms can just become completely outdated and you may not be happy with that.  If you are unhappy with your bathroom, then this is a good reason for remodeling your bathroom.  Everyone would like to walk into any room in their house and be happy with it and let’s face it, a bathroom is probably the most frequently used room in the house.

If you have any of these problems in your home, then remodeling your bathroom is a great idea.  Obviously if you cannot afford a whole new bathroom, then there are little things you can do to make your bathroom better, for example, try replacing the taps; this may not seem like it would make a very big difference, but you would be surprised.  Wouldn’t you rather have nice new taps in your bathroom than old and rusty taps?

5 Steps to Maintain your New Bathroom Design

5 Steps to maintaining your new bathroom

You spent so much time dreaming about your new bathroom, saving photos of design ideas, discussing the plan with your bathroom design expert, and then watching the transformation take place. Finally, your dream bathroom is finished and you can enjoy your new space! Now you need to properly maintain this room to keep it looking good as new.

Here are a few tips for cleaning and maintaining your new bathroom.

  • Use new storage space to stay clutter free.
    • Your bathroom renovation probably included a new vanity cabinet or recessed medicine cabinet with plenty of specialized storage. Use it!  Keeping the countertops and floor clutter free is the first step toward properly maintaining and cleaning your bathroom. A clear space will be more enjoyable and also make it easier to clean.
  • Maintain new surfaces rather than waiting to do a deep clean.
    • Daily cleaning habits only take a few minutes and are the best way to make sure your bathroom maintains that new appearance. Bathrooms attract a lot of dirt, hair, soap scum, and moisture. Allowing this to build up not only leaves your bathroom looking grimy, but it can also cause damage to the new fixtures you carefully chose for your bathroom.

A prime example would be a glass shower enclosure, which looks sparkling and clear when it is installed. Every shower you take after that leaves soap residue on the glass that can build up and become difficult to clean.  It also leaves water spots, but water is harmless, right? No! Water spots can etch the glass causing irreparable damage over time. The simple solution is daily maintenance using a squeegee or m microfiber cloth to wipe down the shower. It may seem tedious, but this step only takes a minute and can extend the life of your glass shower.

Daily cleaning also benefits the sink and faucets, where soap residue builds up and evaporating water can leave mineral deposits. A daily routine of rinsing away soap residue and wiping down the sink and faucets with a microfiber cloth saves time and effort later.

  • Regular or occasional cleaning will be a breeze once you follow a brief daily care routine.
    • Here are a few tips for keeping that new bathroom sparkling:
      • Scrub showerheads regularly with an all-purpose cleaner, or depending on the finish you may want to opt for a softer cloth. Several times a year clean your showerhead by securing a plastic bag filled with undiluted white vinegar over the showerhead. Leave it overnight, and in the morning scrub the showerhead and run hot water through it.
      • Spray the glass shower enclosure with a cleaner and wipe it down using a microfiber cloth or old t-shirt. For built-up dirt, you could occasionally use a “magic eraser” or even wipe the glass with a dryer sheet.
      • For a tub, tile walls, and floor, run hot water with the bathroom door closed before cleaning. Steam and heat help to loosen dirt and make cleaning easier. You can use a standard or disinfectant cleaner unless otherwise instructed.
    • There are many effective natural alternatives to harsh cleaning products.
      • If you are concerned about the effect of harsh cleaning products on the environment, as well as your product finishes and skin, consider using more natural cleaners. Everyday household products like vinegar and baking soda can be very effective in keeping your new bathroom clean.
        • Let vinegar sit in metal tracks around a shower door to loosen dirt and then wipe clean.
        • Baking soda can be an effective alternative when cleaning grout lines.
        • Combat moisture by allowing light and air to circulate, by making use of fans and natural light sources.
      • Some products or finishes may require particular cleaning products or special care.
        • Your bathroom design expert should advise you if there are any special cleaning requirements or restrictions for your products. Most products used in a bathroom wear well and are designed to withstand moisture and dirt.  Some products or finishes are more susceptible to wear and tear.  Get informed before finalizing product selections if your chosen faucets, countertop, or floor need a special care routine.

BONUS TIP!  If you are still thinking about a bathroom remodeling project, then consider picking a design that is easier to maintain.  A frameless shower, for example, is much easier to clean than one with a metal frame or tracks.  Better yet, go for an open shower design that gives your bathroom a spa-like feel, is accessible, and is much easier to keep clean!