Re-modeling a bathroom can be a nightmare, or a dream come true. Next to kitchens, bathroom re-modeling can be the most complex – and can yield the most life-enhancing results. Since it’s a project that most of us don’t tackle often, it pays to do some homework ahead of time. With a few tricks and hints, you can remodel your old bathroom into a modern, beautiful masterbath or guest bathroom that you’ll fall in love with.
Set a realistic budget
Bathroom remodeling projects can range from basic to deluxe. Here’s roughly what you expect to spend.
A basic bathroom remodeling begins at around $3,000 – $12,000. With this budget, you can update fixtures, backsplashes, lighting, cabinetry and countertops with off-the-shelf products. Use your creative eye to find items with colors or shapes that speak to you, and create accents with unique accessories.
A mid-range bathroom remodeling project can run anywhere from $10,000 to around $35,000, depending largely on where you live and how extensive your project is. At this level, you can consider better quality fixtures and appliances, and make adjustments to the layout.
At the deluxe level, you can expect to spend $30,000 and up. You can gut the plumbing and completely change the layout to suit your needs. You can add a sauna, radiant floor heating and beautiful, high-end appliances.
There are ways to save money where you can, at any price point. If you are handy, you can probably hook up your new toilet yourself, for example. And don’t forget that you can economize mostly but splurge for a few key items.
Pay attention to the walk-past view
Whether the bathroom is a guest bathroom or a private one, the toilet should never be front and center. When the door is open, the view into the bathroom should be pleasant. Cabinets, mirrors and dressing or makeup areas with well-thought-out accessories create a calm and soothing space.
Embrace the old along with the new
Think carefully before gutting your space. Some older features may be expensive to remove, and may be better left in place. Vintage wall tiles in particular prove costly and difficult to replace. Including them in your design may provide a lovely retro feel.
Lighting is everything
You’ll want to incorporate several layers of lighting in your bathroom renovation. Subdued, mood lighting is flattering and soothing to tired eyes early and late in the day. Brighter task lighting will help with shaving and personal grooming. Women appreciate the ability to apply makeup under simulated daylight and evening light. Decorative lighting should be part of your overall design scheme.
Create a detailed plan
Make sure you have all measurements of appliances and cabinetry. Showers, bathtubs, toilets and sinks all have standard size requirements. Make sure everything will fit your design. You don’t want any last-minute surprises! Also, check your tile sizes. Most tiles these days are sold in millimeters, European-style, and the list size may include grout joints. This can affect your tile layout design and plumbing and create ugly corners if your plans don’t take this into account.
Sinks, tubs and tight spaces
Typical bathroom cabinets come in two standard heights, but you should look at the sink you’ve selected when considering which one to choose. Some sinks add inches to the height of the countertop. You don’t want to have to reach or stretch when using the sink, so take time to plan it out. Also, if space is particularly tight, you can opt for a corner sink. You can even fit a tub into a tiny bathroom. More and more companies are offering cute, innovative mini-bathtub designs. Who needs to actually lay down flat in a tub? On the other hand, if you have a tub but never use it, converting it to a dream shower is a great idea.
Vanity, vanity, all is vanity
When it comes to bathroom vanities, the one you choose will definitely set the tone for the entire room. You’ll want to balance the size of the vanity to the room, so it’s big enough to store what you need and provide countertop space, but doesn’t leave the floor-space feeling cramped. The right color, material and design will cue your whole design theme, whether your look is rustic-spa, techno-forward or warm-country.
A little bling goes a long way
Even if you’re keeping to a tight budget, consider springing for one or two well-placed indulgences. Cool faucets, unusual choices for floorings/walls, or even radiant floor heating may be just what you need to feel luxurious. You may not be able to afford everything you’d love to have, but you can probably afford a little bit. Don’t assume it’s out of your budget until you’ve considered an edited version of the ideal.
You just have to vent
Bathrooms are damp places, and you want to be sure that you can keep yours dry. Otherwise, they provide a prime environment for mold and mildew. You should be able to ventilate your bathroom in two ways, with a fan that vents to the outside, and a functioning window.
Transitions are key
Going from your sometimes wet, tile-floored bathroom to the adjoining space, whether a bedroom or hall, is a transition that requires attention. Connecting a hardwood floor or carpeted floor to a tile needs care to make the transition work. Don’t overlook this part of your plan.
Plan thoroughly now for best results later
Ultimately, your bathroom can be a haven for relaxing, and for preparing for or unwinding from your day. A well-planned renovation will increase your enjoyment of the space, and add to the resale value of your home.