Given the universal aversion to cleaning, it’s no wonder that homeowners are constantly on the hunt for cleaning tips and tricks to simplify their lives. Most of us would rather avoid cleaning as a whole – let alone dealing with pesky mould or seemingly never-ending gunk-filled crevices.
While we don’t have a magic solution that removes the necessity of giving your home a thorough clean every now and then, we do have suggestions that’ll make cleaning your home 200% easier. Don’t underestimate these 12 reno design choices – they may seem small, but they make a world of difference.
Bathroom reno design choices
No one wants to discover filthy crevices and unsightly hairballs a mere 2 weeks after moving into their spotless flat. Whether it’s stubborn soap scum or leftover spittle and toothpaste in unfortunate places, most of us know that bathrooms are notorious for accumulating nasty dirt and gunk.
Half-wall, half-glass shower partition
A half-wall, half-glass shower partition versus a full-length glass shower partition.
Image credit: @goframelessatx, Decor Palace
Water stains aren’t a pretty sight, and scrubbing away chalky residue from your shower glass isn’t the best Sunday morning activity either. While many homeowners automatically default to installing a full length glass partition in their shower area, opting for a half-wall half-glass shower partition is a reno design choice you’ll thank yourself for in hindsight.
Having a smaller surface area of glass in your shower area means that you’ll have less water stains to deal with. Because full length glass partitions have a longer surface area for water to drip down and dry up on, prominent water stains build up more quickly, which means you’ll find yourself with more scrubbing and cleaning to do.
Strategically constructed wet zone.
Image credit: @alchemists_design
Alternatively, homeowners can consider doing away with shower glass entirely. Most of our small HDB bathrooms don’t offer the liberty of completely ridding ourselves of shower partitions, but if it’s within your means, consider opting for a strategically constructed wet zone that places your shower area around a corner.
Choose shower ledges instead of shower niches
A shower ledge versus a shower niche.
Image credit: Hackrea, Megan Grehl
While a shower niche may be an aesthetic and functional addition to your shower area, it isn’t the most practical reno design choice when it comes to maintaining cleanliness and hygiene.
Shower niches tend to have a fast buildup of product and dirt, especially from residual soap suds and excess moisture that gets trapped in the corners. Choosing a shower niche is a commitment to extra-effort cleaning – you’re really going to have to scrub into the nooks and crannies to get rid of the grime.
In comparison, shower ledges or shower racks are more open and allow water to evaporate at a faster rate, eliminating moist corners which are breeding grounds for mould. Shower ledges or racks are also much easier to clean – giving them a quick rinse from above after each shower is good enough to get rid of residual soap suds.
Install a curved base bathroom sink
Curved base sink versus flat base sink
Image credit: @alchemists_design, @alchemists_design
With the plethora of bathroom suppliers in Singapore and abundance of choice, choosing the perfect bathroom sink isn’t the easiest thing to do. The good news is that this reno design tip helps narrow down your search – look for a bathroom sink with a curved base rather than one with a flat base.
Sinks with curved bases harbour less stagnant water compared to those with flat bases, which not only results in less bacterial accumulation and reduced chance of mould growth, but also combats dengue by eliminating stagnant water from the corners of your sink.
Another cleaning perk is that bathroom sinks with curved bases are easier to wipe and clean, since it’s much more effortless to glide your sponge over a curved surface rather than scrub into corners.
Opt for wall-mounted toilets & faucets
A wall-mounted toilet and wall-mounted faucet.
Image credit: Victorian Plumbing, US Bath Store
The idea of getting down on all fours to scrub the crevices between the toilet base and the bathroom floor isn’t appealing to most of us. Wall mounted toilets save us from that horrible experience – the floor space under a wall-mounted toilet can easily be reached by a mop, and you won’t have to scrub around an irregularly-shaped toilet base.
In a similar vein, choosing wall-mounted faucets over counter-mounted ones removes the need to clean around the faucet base when you’re wiping down your countertop. It’s a lot easier to give your wall a quick wipe rather than cram your hand into the awkward space between the countertop, wall, and faucet base.
Kitchen reno design choices
Whether you’re an experienced cook or someone who rarely uses the stove, it’s impossible to evade the task of cleaning your kitchen. Avoiding kitchen reno mistakes and making clever design choices saves you from the headache that comes with dust accumulation and excessive oil splatters – you’ll still have to clean, but at least it’ll be 200% easier.
Go for closed overhead cabinets over open shelves
Closed overhead cabinets versus open shelves.
Image credit: @atticstudiointeriors, @ebbys_home
Displaying your china set or mug collection on open shelves may be tempting, but you’ll regret the decision once dust begins gathering on your homeware or your shelves. Compromise by going for overhead cabinets with glass doors – closed cabinets significantly reduce dust accumulation, and also prevent oil splatters from dirtying clean kitchenware.
Another reason to choose closed overhead cabinets is the peace of mind they’ll give you – no open shelves means no lizards or other creepy crawlies crawling over your kitchenware during the night.
Lastly, it’s also worth keeping in mind that smooth and flat laminates are easier to clean and maintain than ribbed and textured laminates, since the latter is tougher to wipe and also tends to collect more dust.
Don’t opt for protruding drawer handles
Drawers with protruding handles versus handleless drawers.
Image credit: Amazon, DTC Homes LLC
Protruding handles on kitchen cabinets and drawers certainly have aesthetic value, but they’re also an extra surface to clean and maintain. Instead, handleless drawers allow you to effortlessly wipe down your entire kitchen in one go, without the hassle of manoeuvring around protruding handles.
There’s also a higher tendency for grease and grime to accumulate on protruding handles as compared to flat vertical surfaces, not to mention the potential safety hazard of having protruding objects in households with younger children.
Nevertheless, if you decide to install handles on your kitchen cabinets and drawers, consider vertically placed handles instead of horizontal ones. Vertical handles reduce the likelihood of oil splatters and dust collection, since there’s a smaller upward exposed surface area.
Choose a full stainless steel kitchen backsplash over a tiled backsplash
Stainless steel backsplash versus tiled backsplash.
Image credit: @susanyeleyhomes, @onestopbuilders
There’s no denying that a tiled kitchen backsplash is a gorgeous kitchen addition. However, having a tiled backsplash in close proximity to your cooking hob also means that you’re signing yourself up for elbow greasing and tile cleaning.
A full piece stainless steel kitchen backsplash is a smart alternative. In addition to looking sleek and neat, having a full piece backsplash eliminates the need to scrub the gunk out of the grout lines of your tiled backsplash – especially since areas near the hob tend to be particularly prone to oil splashes and other food stains.
Stainless steel is a choice material due to its durability as well as heat resistant and non-porous nature. Glass or marble backsplashes are other contenders, but the former comes with the risk of cracking under high impact, and the latter requires regular resealing to maintain and upkeep.
Get an undermount kitchen sink
An undermount sink versus a drop-in sink.
Image credit: Victorian Plumbing, The Home Depot
Undermount sinks may come with a higher price tag and are more of a commitment than drop-in sinks, but they’re also much more convenient when it comes to keeping your kitchen clean.
While drop-in sinks are surrounded by a visible rim which tends to collect dirt and be a breeding ground for bacteria, undermount sinks are seamlessly integrated into kitchen countertops without a lip around the edge of the sink, which allows dirt and debris to be directly swept into the sink.
Aside from the cleaning convenience and hygiene advantage, undermount sinks also have greater visual appeal – since they’re installed beneath the kitchen countertop, they often look more neat and sleek.
Select an extendable kitchen sink tap
An extendable sink tap versus a normal sink tap.
Image credit: Plumbworld, Howdens
Pull-out extendable sink taps are one level above the traditional fixed spout. In addition to allowing corners of the kitchen sink to be cleaned properly and directly, an extendable sink tap facilitates the cleaning of items that are larger, or items that have hard-to-clean edges.
It may not seem like much of a difference, but being able to conveniently bring the tap to the narrow mouth of a big bottle and adjusting the angle of the water flow makes a big difference when you’ve got a lot of washing and cleaning on your hands.
Living area reno design choices
Use large format tiles
Herringbone tiles versus large format stone tiles.
Image credit: Mandarin Stone, Mandarin Stone
Deciding on what tiles to use in your home can be a challenge, especially when you’re juggling different factors and trying to find a balance between aesthetics and practicality. It’s no secret that mould and unsightly dirt tend to accumulate in grouts between tiles – so it’s important to choose your tiles carefully if you don’t want to end up routinely scrubbing grout.
Herringbone tiles are an example of a high maintenance tiling design. The numerous grouts converge and diverge at differing angles, making them particularly difficult to scrub and clean. Similarly, while KitKat tiles are wildly popular, the sheer amount of grouts between the slim tiles makes cleaning a real nightmare.
In comparison, stone tiles tend to come in larger slabs, and have fewer and often thinner grouts. There’s a lower tendency for dirt to get trapped, so you’ll be saving yourself quite a bit of cleaning. Another advantage of larger tiles is the visual illusion of more space – something that homes with cramped living spaces will definitely benefit from.
Settle on wabi sabi blinds
Wabi sabi blinds versus Venetian blinds versus curtains.
Image credit: Pinterest, bece, Pinterest
Opting for wabi sabi blinds over Venetian blinds or fabric curtains saves a lot of trouble when it comes to maintenance.
With their single flat surface, wabi sabi blinds have a sleek appearance and are much simpler to clean compared to the multiple slats of Venetian blinds, where each individual slat accumulates dust on both the top and bottom surface, making it extremely time consuming to wipe.
Unlike fabric curtains, which come with the additional task of detaching the entire curtain and putting it through a washing and drying process, wabi sabi blinds do not need to be removed during the cleaning process. Getting rid of dust and wiping down wabi sabi blinds is convenient and fast – optimal for homeowners who are looking to make cleaning less of a hassle.
Use micro cement instead of cement screed for flooring
Image credit: @stiekema0911
Heads up if you’re planning on going with cement flooring in your home: using micro cement instead of cement screed is a decision you’ll thank yourself for in the future.
While both materials are sufficiently durable and suitable for flooring, micro cement is more long-lasting and can withstand heavy foot traffic, water, and stains. In comparison, cement screed may be more prone to cracking or chipping over time, especially if it’s not installed correctly, or if the underlying floorboards structure shift or move.
Reno design choices that make cleaning easier
Say goodbye to laborious cleaning sessions, and enjoy the convenience and ease that comes with a thoughtfully-renovated home. From investing in easy-to-clean surfaces to minimising the number of dirt and grime magnets in your home, these reno design choices offer practical solutions to common cleaning challenges.
It doesn’t require a miracle to make cleaning less of a headache. Your future self will thank you for planning ahead – these 12 reno design choices are the key to making cleaning your home 200% easier down the road.
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Cover image adapted from: Victorian Plumbing, @alchemists_design, @goframelessatx