10 Tips for planning your bathroom remodeling project

Tips for planning your bathroom remodeling project so you get the bathroom you want.

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You know you want to remodel the bathroom, but you have no idea where to start. Planning is the most important aspect to remodeling the bathroom.

From planning your budget, to deciding how far you want to take it, to hiring the right contractor, we'll make sure you're ready to tackle remodeling the bathroom.

Consider the size of your family when you are remodeling the bathroom

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1. Consider the size of your family and their needs

Larger families will require more storage and more space, not to mention a range of items you may need for the bathroom remodeling project. Does anyone in the family have specific physical needs, such as a wheelchair? Are you getting older and concerned about your own mobility a few years down the line?

These are things to think of up front, when thinking about how you want to remodel the bathroom. A few simple design rules can make a world of difference, depending on each family member's needs. For example, you can adjust the height of counters if you have small children or anyone who requires a wheelchair. You may want to add grab bars in the bathtub, or choose a bathtub designed for people with mobility issues, such as a step-in tub.

2. Think about the activities and lifestyle of the family

Not only does size matter, but who and how many will be using the space does too. You need to consider storage needs and what type of fixtures you need to include in your bathroom remodeling project.

If your restroom is a high-traffic area or have several people using it, you may want to consider two sinks. Lots of storage and counter space is ideal if you have several people, especially those who use lots of items and products like a hair dryer, hair-care products, make-up, towels, etc.

A couple is planning the budget for their bathroom remodeling project

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3. Set up a budget for your bathroom remodeling project

One of the most important things to think about before starting to remodel the bathroom is how much you're willing and able to spend. Your budget should include estimates for every aspect of the bathroom remodeling, such as:

  • • Any plumbing that needs to be done
  • • Electric work, such as moving wiring for new lighting
  • • Countertop, vanity or cabinets for storage
  • • Sink and faucet
  • • Flooring
  • • Lighting
  • • Accessories
  • • Hiring a bathroom remodeling contractor

Some of this is major, specialized work that will require a licensed tradesman, such as a plumber or electrician. All these must be factored in when deciding just how much, or how little, you plan on changing when you remodel the bathroom.

4. Decide how far you want to take the bathroom remodeling project

Now that you've figured out how much you can spend with remodeling the bathroom, you need to decide how much work you can realistically complete to stay within it.

You may find changing just a few things, like perhaps a new sink and countertop, is just the lift your restroom needs. Or perhaps you want to change the layout of the restroom to give your family more space. This can get costly if any plumbing needs to be changed, so keep that in mind as well.

Perhaps you want to go all out and fully remodel the bathroom. Completely remodeling the bathroom can typically cost about $15,000 so be prepared for high costs.

Even small bathrooms like this can feel roomy if you consider the floor plan and leave space around fixtures when remodeling the bathroom

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5. Don't make your toilet the first thing you see

You should be able to move easily between furniture and fixtures in a well-designed bathroom. A tip for making a floor plan for the restroom remodeling is to divide the space into areas depending on the family's needs. The restroom remodeling layout should include things like:

  • A toilet area. You want to make this the least visible area in the restroom. The restroom remodeling trend is to separate the toilet area from the rest of the space by blocking it with a half wall, cabinet or a room divider. Try to keep about 30” of space on either side and 30”-40” in front for comfort.
  • A bathtub or shower area. Regardless of the tub or shower configuration you should have about 60” of space along the side for access, and another 30” in front.
  • A sink area. Whether you have a pedestal sink, a vanity with a vessel sink, or a drop-in sink and counter, you need to leave about 8” free on either side of the sink. If you want a Jack and Jill type, you can have a full counter with two sinks, or two individual pedestal sinks, depending on your restroom needs.

6. Don't forget the lighting

Many people don't consider how lighting affects comfortable use of the bathroom. Effective lighting for your bathroom remodeling project is important. Your lighting should complement natural lighting and suit the needs of those who use it.

When remodeling the bathroom, think of your lighting scheme in layers, such as:

  • General lighting. Ideally, your general lighting should be adjustable depending on the natural lighting that changes throughout the day. Track lights, pendant lamps and recessed lights with dimmer switches are ideal.
  • Wall Lights. Specifically lighting certain areas, like a light for the bathtub or shower, and a light by the mirror promote visibility and reduce shadows
  • Decorative or accent lighting. These add ambiance to the room.

Mirrors are also great to not only make the room appear bigger, but also brighter.

When remodeling the bathroom think of the materials you choose. An acrylic bathtub like this is a good choice.

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7. Choose your materials

Many will only choose the materials for their restroom remodeling project based on aesthetics, but it's good to think ahead. What materials will withstand the wear and tear of frequent use? Are the materials easy to clean?

For example, Acrylic is popular for bathtubs because it's durable and easy to clean. Cabinets and drawers made from Melamine or PVC are good choices because they are moisture-resistant, durable and easy to clean.

8. Decide what kind of flooring you remodel the bathroom with

Flooring is extremely important when it comes to bathrooms. You want to use flooring that is durable, easy to clean and withstands moisture. Hardwood flooring, while it looks nice, is the worst type of flooring to use when you remodel the bathroom. It won't withstand moisture, it's difficult to clean and it will most likely be ruined quickly.

Some popular flooring choices when remodeling the bathroom are:

  • Vinyl or linoleum: These are both popular for the variety of colors, patterns and textures. Both are inexpensive and easy to install. Some designs even replicate ceramic or wood flooring, so if you want to remodel the bathroom with a cozy, wood feel you can choose wood replica Vinyl that won't be ruined.
  • Ceramic tile: It's versatile and durable, so it can withstand all the bumps and scratches your family puts it through. Ceramic is stain-resistant and repels moisture and water. You can arrange tiles in stylish ways for different effects. Just watch out for glossy or smooth finishes on the tiles, as they could be slippery when wet.
  • Stone: Think slate, granite and marble. They are durable, elegant and look attractive. Seal them properly and they repel stains as well. Stone will be more expensive, but can be worth it for a sophisticated restroom remodeling project.

Once the planning step is finished you should consider hiring a bathroom remodeling contractor

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9. Hiring a bathroom remodeling contractor

Now that you've got a design plan, a budget, and your materials decided on, a bathroom remodeling contractor is essential to executing your restroom remodeling plan. You'll need to hire a professional bathroom remodeling contractor to ensure that every detail to remodel your bathroom is completed efficiently, and to the standards you need them.

A few things to think about when hiring a bathroom remodeling contractor:

  • Ask if the bathroom remodeling contractor is a licensed plumber or electrician. If so, he will be able to handle all your needs, including moving your plumbing if you are changing the layout of the bathroom. If not, keep in mind you'll need a licensed tradesman for the work.
  • Is the bathroom contractor insured? Always hire a professional bathroom contractor with insurance, to protect you and your home from damages.
  • Can the bathroom contractor complete all the work within your budget and time constraint?
  • Make sure to get references from your bathroom remodeling contractor before hiring, to ensure you're getting a professional, capable bathroom contractor to trust in your home.
  • Get an estimate from your bathroom contractor up front, and ask what his guarantee is if something goes wrong down the line. When you remodel the bathroom, the last thing you want to do is pay for something to be fixed a year down the road.

10. Decorating your new bathroom

There's a few things to think about once the bathroom remodeling contractor completes everything you specified to remodel the bathroom.

Have a checklist of all the work for your restroom remodeling, and do a walk-through with your bathroom contractor. If there are things that aren't complete, or something that isn't to your standards, make sure it's done before you make your final payment.

Now that all the work is complete with your restroom remodeling, you can think about decorating. Some things to consider:

  • Storage: Your family's needs vary, so ensure you have enough drawers or cabinets for all your family's storage needs. There are several options for storage systems to keep your restroom clutter free. Pull-out racks, drawers in the cabinet or vanity, adjustable shelving. The possibilities really are endless.
  • Accessories: When it comes to decorative accessories, less is more. Mirrors are a simple, yet elegant decorative accessory, as are picture frames. Don't forget decorative and durable towel racks. Soft towels and a bathmat are really all you need. Don't over-fill the space if you can help it, because a cluttered bathroom will make your space much smaller.
  • Window treatments: Consider curtains or blinds that are moisture-resistant and easy to clean. Remember, you'll not only have water splashing them, but also soap and beauty products will soil them. Curtains that can be put in the washing machine, or blinds that can be wiped clean with a cloth are ideal.