How to Plan A Perfect Bathroom Remodel
A bathroom remodel can result in a great return on investment if well-planned and thoughtfully executed. This article explains how to do that.
The budget determines how extensive the remodel will be. It is important to know exactly what you are prepared to spend on this project. Then it is recommended to set aside a percentage, often based on how complex the bathroom remodel is, as a contingency fund. In other words, the more complex the project, the larger the percentage of your budget the contingency fund should be. For example, if you are moving plumbing or electrical, or opening walls for any reason, the likelihood of finding additional work increases. This figure is usually somewhere between 10 and 20 percent. Having this cushion reduces the stress of those unexpected challenges. If the project goes off without a hitch, this fund can be returned for savings or used in many ways to enhance the project.
The First List: What Do Hate About Your Bathroom Now?
Expanding the footprint isn’t usually an option, but a list of everything else you dislike about the current bathroom is the starting point.
What isn’t functional? Is there enough storage? Is the task lighting adequate? Does the floor always look dirty? Is the tub dingy no matter how much you scrub?
What prevents this space from giving you the vibe you desire? For some, it’s a place to relax at the end of the day – to literally wash away the day’s stresses. For others, it may be an energizing space to get charged up to face the day. Or both. Knowing what it means for you and specifically what isn’t working will help you hone in on what needs to be done.
This list can then be segmented into priorities, creating a second list. Some things, like color, are easy and inexpensive to change. Rearranging where the fixtures are – tub, toilet, sink – is complicated and expensive. For most, a bathroom remodel falls somewhere in between. Replacing a vanity, sink, and toilet (perhaps adding a bidet) or converting a tub/shower to a walk-in shower are all popular upgrades. Changing or adding lighting improves function and ambience. Smart fixtures, like a handsfree faucet, help in practical ways (think water conservation, easier for kids to wash up and brush teeth).
Storage is important. This can be accomplished with vanities, cabinets and shelves. Lighting is an excellent tool, as is color, to create the mood you want to evoke. There are light fixtures that have a feature that allows for changing from warm to cool so the effect changes. Practical lighting and ventilation with an exhaust fan/light or fan/light/heat makes being in the space more comfortable.
Adding multiple shower heads and body sprays to a tub/shower or walk-in shower creates a spa-like experience. Niches for bathing products and a bench raise the bar for design and function. And speaking of raising the bar, is this a home where you plan to age-in-place? Do you have family members that live in or visit your home that require, or could benefit from, safety features?
Imagining what your dream bathroom will look like and shopping for it is the fun part of the project. But before you go too far . . .
Seek Professional Advice For Your Bathroom Remodel
You can probably skip this step if your bathroom remodel is uncomplicated. For instance, if you are only changing the color, or maybe the vanity and sink and updating some lighting you can probably focus on steps 1-3.
But if you’re really unhappy in this space, engaging an experienced design/build firm in the beginning makes this project much less stressful. A design/build firm is with you from day one, from the design to the end of the build. This means fewer revisions and delays because of their early involvement. More importantly, it ensures you have the bathroom of your dreams, within budget.
Because of their expertise and experience, they are able to take your list of dislikes, evaluate your wants and needs, align them with your budget, and take your bathroom remodel from vision to reality. They know how to scale the project to accomplish as much as possible within the budget constraints. You may not be able to increase the actual footprint, but they can offer ideas to visually increase the size. And they may have suggestions on how to stretch the budget.
When you engage a design/build contractor, you are getting their construction knowledge – for example, which projects require permits – as well as their design talents.
A bathroom remodel is a big undertaking, but following these steps will help it stay manageable.
Create your budget.
List 1: everything you hate about the current bathroom.
List 2: wants and needs.
Engage professional guidance.
Your dream bathroom awaits!