Time for the holidays! Time for gifts! And if you've got a relative, sweetie or buddy who's been thinking about remodeling his or her bathroom, you have the unique opportunity of getting him something that will help him make everyone's bathroom experience a pleasant one.
But what do you get the bathroom remodeler? A shiny new toilet auger? A gift certificate for air fresheners? A box of screws? No, all of those are as terrible as getting socks for your birthday. If you don't want to watch your DIYer hide disappointment when he opens your gift, you're going to have to find something he wants more than he needs.
It's a thin line to walk when buying a bathroom remodeling-related present. You want to be helpful, but not intrusive, and you need to make sure that gift you give won't change what the DIYer is trying to do already. A robotic toilet or a set of solid gold faucets, though expensive, may not square with the aesthetic he has in mind for the bathroom. On the other hand, gifts that are too practical should also be avoided -- for example, bidets are definitely out.
The perfect gift is something that will not only make the bathroom better, but will make the work itself more fun. Think useful, but also powerfully cool. To that end, there are three rules of thumb to keep in mind when shopping for the bathroom remodeler: Go for things that are interesting, high-quality and just barely too practical for the recipient to buy on his own. Read on for some helpful ideas.
Bathroom Design Tools
With any remodeling project, half the fun is in the planning. Maybe even more than half, depending on how many tiles you'll have to rip out. And DIY remodelers, having most likely spent their childhood drawing awesome plans for tree forts on graph paper, will be grateful for anything that can allow them to indulge that urge.
That's one of the reasons interior design software can be the perfect gift for the bathroom remodeler who's still in the planning phase. With a design suite, your DIYer can let his or her imagination run wild. Some programs even have features that will suggest less expensive or more environmentally friendly materials.
And if your bathroom remodeler (or you) feels like a professional opinion might be in order before anyone starts smashing up the existing features in the bathroom, a consultation with an interior decorator can also make a great gift. A professional will keep the hemming and hawing down to a minimum, point out any potential problems and make sure the room fits together.
Next up, what's a good gift option for the DIYer who's ready to start demolition.
Tools to Gut a Bathroom
We'll let you in on a little secret for this one: Every DIYer wants a power drill. This even applies if there's nothing to use it on. Right now, there are people all over world remodeling bathrooms in houses, tents, submarines and ice caves, and they would all love a top-notch cordless drill. Don't let the practicality fool you -- this is no boring-as-underwear gift. Throw in some extras like a magnetic screw holder, a spare charger or a 180-degree swiveling head, and you may even see some grateful tears during the unwrapping.
Sledgehammers also have some gift potential. Widely regarded by DIY remodelers as the most fun you can have without a chainsaw, the trick to finding a good sledgehammer is to one-up the classic model. For instance, some wrecking bars can pull nails, rip through flooring, smash walls like a demolition ax and even double as a chisel.
And while tools are great, don't forget about tunes. Nobody likes to work in silence, and a high-quality job site stereo that can take a beating is a welcome addition to any tool set. Just make sure it's tough because it will most definitely get splattered with paint, kicked around and covered with sawdust. But that's a small price to pay to hum along to "Another One Bites the Dust" as you rip out old tiles.
Bathroom Plumbing Tools
Too crazy, and the tool isn't useful anymore. If you're planning on giving your bathroom remodeler a plunger or a toilet, you might need to reconsider. "But," you say, "the man at the toilet store said that this was the nicest one they had!" We sympathize, but toilets are just too weird to give as a gift.
You can still find something that will make your DIYer's job easier and more fun. Propane torches for soldering pipes, for instance, are good presents because they're slightly dangerous. If you really want to give a plumbing tool as a gift, it's going to have to be at least as awesome as an automatically adjusting socket wrench.
But this doesn't mean that anything that attaches to a pipe in the wall will make a bad present -- a toilet would be strange, but giving a plumbing fixture is a great chance to really pamper the DIYer (and yourself, if you'll be using the bathroom) with rain-style shower heads, double shower heads, high-end low-flow heads or those faucets he wanted but decided were too expensive.
Then there are work accessories. What about a bucket sleeve to keep tools in order for the chronically disorganized? During a big job, toolboxes are only useful for about the first five seconds of work -- a bucket sleeve keeps tools on hand without the hassle of digging through a toolbox over and over.
Bathroom Finishing Tools
Here's your chance to really go nuts in terms of the impractical. Think SkyMall catalog meets "This Old House" -- one-time gadgets that will really put a luxurious touch on the bathroom and only seem frivolous until you actually use them. We're talking heated towel racks, automatic toothpaste dispensers and bathroom cleaning robots (though you may have to wait a little while 'til those are on the market).
And while gadgets are great, there are also plenty of finishing touches you can get to finish off the bathroom -- even some luxurious ones that are affordable, too. Think about things that your DIYer may not have thought of himself, like springing for that eco-friendly bamboo flooring, running an electric tile-warming net underneath a new set of tiles or embedding LED lights (which are great when someone has to get up in the night but doesn't want to wake up his or her partner).
Anyone who's remodeling is definitely operating under a budget, which means he's had to drop some things to cut corners. This is your chance to put those corners back in.