Investing in a bathroom renovation is a smart move, improving your living space and increasing the value of your home. In order to ensure your new bathroom meets, and exceeds, all of your expectations you'll need to plan ahead and follow these five essential steps.
Step 1 — Determine Your Goal
Think about the look and feel of the space you envision. Are you dreaming about a luxurious spa bathroom with space to indulge and relax? Or will your new bathroom need to be built for function, allowing the whole family to make good use of the room daily? Do your goals fall somewhere in between, with certain elements of luxury and a functional flare? Nail down the vision first.
Sketch out your thoughts on paper and clip pictures from magazines or start an online board of images that capture your vision. This exercise will help you shape the space in your mind, which is an important first step in the bathroom renovation process.
Step 2 — Choose the Basic Fixture Types
Keeping your vision in mind, you now need to opt for the basic style and size of fixtures required to fulfill that overall image. Consider the sink and vanity, toilet or bidet and shower or tub. Browse through your local plumbing supply store or shop online for an extensive selection of quality fixtures. You have more choice in fixtures than first thought. Full vanities provide ample storage space, but pedestals and wall mount sinks help create a more spacious feel — which style will suit your vision best? The old tub and shower combo is one option, but what about opting for a soaker tub and neoangle shower or installing a larger walk in shower and forgoing the tub altogether? Take the time to properly make these decisions and your bathroom renovation will be that much better.
Avoid purchasing anything at this point. You're simply deciding on the basic styles in preparation for the next step.
Step 3 — Lay Out the Elements on Paper to Gauge the Room
Draw your new bathroom to scale and place representations of the desired fixtures around the sketch. Now is probably the time to hire a contractor and get them involved in the project design. Their expertise and knowledge will be invaluable in terms of plumbing issues (do you know where your drain will need to be, depending on where you place the toilet and tub?) and other considerations.
By laying out the space on paper, you should be able to narrow down the dimensions of your new fixtures and get a good idea of the flow and feel of your renovated bathroom. Think about traffic patterns and envision using the room in your head. Will you be comfortable? Is it spacious enough and is there enough light?
That last question brings us to the next step.
Step 4 — Lighting and Flooring Considerations
Although your bathroom is mainly made up of plumbing fixtures, lighting and flooring play a major role in the overall feel and function of the space. Bathroom lighting is essential, and where you have placed bathroom fixtures will dictate the optimum lighting design.
Remember to incorporate natural light whenever possible, without detracting from the privacy aspect. Allow sunlight in through a window or two, and if wall space is at a premium, consider a skylight for much needed natural light.
The type of lighting installed is also important. Track lighting and bright fixtures work well for bathroom tasks, but you can also install a dimmer switch to allow for mood lighting in the room. Wall sconces work to redirect light and create a gentle glow, while pot lights and vanity strips are perfect for over the sink and in the shower task lights. Be sure to use moisture-resistant light fixtures and install a GFI outlet for safety.
Flooring also connects with the lighting to help create a safer, brighter bathroom. Consider the best type of flooring in terms of durability, bypassing carpet and focusing on either tiles or a high quality vinyl. Hardwood and other types of wood flooring are not well suited for the bathroom, where water is a permanent resident and spills are inevitable.
Look for tiles that create a warm feeling, both physically and visually. Many natural stone tiles actually absorb heat and help to create a more comfortable space. Think about whether or not an under-floor radiant heating system would be appropriate for your space. And always have a professional install your bathroom flooring, to ensure durability and an attractive finish.
Step 5 — Budget for the Bathroom Renovation
It seems strange to leave this step for last, but the reasoning is sound. You want a bathroom renovation that fulfills your vision and creates the space your family can comfortably live in. You also want to be sure that all bathroom fixtures installed are of high quality and well placed in the room, both for function and form. The optimum lighting and flooring choices round out the space and create a bright, inviting bathroom no matter the size. Why skimp on any of these vital steps in the name of a budget?
Once you have decided on all of the first four steps, hired a contractor and hammered out the final design, it's time to finally tackle the budget. Remember that bathroom remodeling projects increase the value of your home and allow for a more efficient and even hygienic living space. It's important to value this investment correctly and opt for the very best quality you can afford.
Plan for the ideal bathroom renovation by following these five steps. Begin with a well thought out vision and the right fixtures. Move to hiring a pro and laying out the room on paper. Design lighting and flooring that creates a safe, bright space and finally, do your budget. These steps will help you design and build the bathroom of your dreams, a renovation for life.