Remodeling Your Bathroom: Inspiration and Planning

Project planning
August 14, 2018

There are plenty of reasons to renovate your home’s bathroom, whether you’re creating a new master bathroom with his and her sinks or crafting a beautiful guest bathroom for your family and friends to use. Maybe you’ve been saving up for a while to make your bathroom dreams come true, or perhaps you’ve encountered a drainage problem that makes your bathroom redesign a necessity.

Regardless of your motivations, when you’re finally ready to renovate that bathroom you’ll need to be prepared for the ins and outs of bathroom remodel planning. This home improvement project can be quite the undertaking, but with a little bit of project planning, you can get the most out of your bathroom budget.

Before demolition begins, check out our guide below. We’ll cover project planning, inspiration techniques, project ideas, and tips for surviving the renovation process. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your renovation and learn how to redesign a bathroom to suit your needs.

Project Planning for Your Bathroom Renovation

Consider Your Motivations

Before you start looking at materials and getting bids from contractors, take a step back and consider your motivations for your new and improved bathroom. If you can pinpoint your reasons for remodeling, you’re more likely to get a room that captures your vision. Just like if you’re packing for a trip, knowing what you’re doing on that trip helps determine what is important to pack.

  1. Modern updates: Does your bathroom look like a well-preserved relic of the 1980s? It may be time to add some modern touches. From new cabinetry, flooring, counters, to a fresh coat of paint, there are plenty of ways to bring your bathroom up-to-date.

  2. Accessibility: If you have an aging relative living in the home, you may need to make changes in the bathroom to better accommodate them. This could mean adding rails next to the toilet or a walk-in bathtub.

  3. Fixing a plumbing problem: Some plumbing problems are minimal, and can be taken care of quickly with some minor work. However, if there are issues that require you to demolish walls or rip up the floor, it might be the right time do some remodeling.

  4. Water efficiency: There are endless ways to save water in the bathroom, from low-flow toilets to greywater system installations. Reduce water use (and potentially your water bill) with the right bathroom improvements.

  5. Energy savings: Conserving water is wonderful, but the utility savings don’t have to stop there. Improve the energy efficiency of your bathroom with new light bulbs and energy-efficient ventilation features, and you may save on your electricity bill.

  6. Adding a bathroom: Maybe your single bathroom just isn’t cutting it anymore. Adding another bathroom is a big undertaking that comes in a variety of forms: perhaps you want to create a new master bathroom suite, or turn a closet downstairs into a half-bath for guests. If your bathroom location is far from the plumbing connections, this can be an expensive project, so be sure to budget accordingly.

  7. Functionality: Create a bathroom that works well for your family. Perhaps it’s a tub for your children’s baths, or added storage if you frequently entertain guests. Regardless, consider your wants and needs and what would help make your family’s lives easier.

Finding Inspiration for Your New Bathroom

  1. Head to Pinterest: When it comes to bathroom redesign, Pinterest is your new best friend. Browse boards that detail design schemes and project ideas, then use those to create a list of your priorities.

  2. Watch home improvement shows: Turn to television when in doubt—there are plenty of programs to provide inspiration.

  3. Work around a statement piece: If you’re unsure where to begin, start small. Choose a favorite tile or sink style, then center the rest of your design on that statement piece. This will add a cohesive look to your bathroom and make it easier to gather complementary accessories.

  4. Talk to an interior designer: Who better to plan a bathroom redesign than a professional? Book a session with an interior designer and get some feedback on your current bathroom space. They may be able to provide invaluable advice that guides your project plans.

Upgrades to Add to Your Bathroom

When it comes to a bathroom redesign, you might think only of aesthetic upgrades—it’s important to consider function as well!

During your bathroom remodel planning, consider a few of these upgrades for a bathroom that’s as beautiful as it is practical:

  • Cabinetry: When considering cabinetry, focus on storage—and try to get as much of it as possible. Get inspiration by browsing your local home goods store to look at options. Before heading out to shop, take preliminary measurements of your bathroom in order to get more precise estimates and ideas for your cabinet needs.

  • Tile accents: Tile isn’t exclusive to floor design. Adding a tile accent wall can bring a bit of elegance to your bathroom. You might choose to install a tile backsplash above your sink, or add a tiled-inlay to your shower.

  • Windows and skylights: If you’re working with a small bathroom and want to make it look larger—without adding square footage to your home—consider installing new windows (but remember, you may have to deal with added permit issues for this kind of renovation). If you have limited wall space, consider a skylight that offers both ventilation and added natural light. Your contractor may have additional ideas to help you re-design this space.

  • Upgrades to add to your bathroom - New sinks
  • New sinks: When it comes to bathroom sinks, you have plenty of choices, including the following:
    • Countertop: This is the most common bathroom sink style, which features a sink sitting in or on top of a countertop—generally as one part of a vanity with cabinetry. You can choose from integrated sinks, top-mount sinks, under-mount sinks, and above-counter sinks.
    • Pedestal: This style of bathroom sink features a basin on top of a tall, slender base. Homeowners looking for vintage appeal often elect for pedestal styles.
    • Wall-mount: This sink style is hung from the wall, with drainpipe and water supply lines are visible. If you’re looking for industrial appeal, a wall-mount bathroom sink could be the right fit.
    • Console: This style is technically an iteration of wall-mount sinks; picture a wall mount sink with the legs of a console table.

  • Shower bench: Slow things down and enjoy your time in the shower with new seating. A shower bench could make you feel like you’re bathing at a resort spa. Couldn’t we all use a little more relaxation?

  • Bathtubs and whirlpools: A high-quality bathtub offers more than practicality—it can become the statement design piece in your bathroom. Whether you go with a freestanding tub or a tub-and-shower combo, you have plenty of styles to choose from. If you’re looking to add some spa-like relaxation to your bathroom, consider a whirlpool bathtub. These self-contained, jetted tubs offer water massage, and come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.

  • Steam showers/saunas: Invest in a shower that does double-duty, serving as both a shower and sauna. Steam showers require a few different design elements, so check with your contractor to make sure this feature will work in your bathroom.

  • Upgrades to add to your bathroom - Radiant heat flooring
  • Radiant heat flooring: We can all agree—it’s tough to get out of a warm shower in the middle of winter, especially when you know your feet will be greeted with a cold-as-ice floor. Bring ultimate comfort into your bathroom by installing a radiant-heat system. Typically, these systems work well underneath ceramic tile and stone floorings.

  • Water-efficient project ideas: those looking for added efficiency could consider low-flow toilets, showers or water-efficient faucets. There are plenty of ways to reduce water waste. You might also consider installing a greywater system; these systems redirect the gently used water from your bathroom sink, shower, and tub, which you can then use to irrigate your yard. A water-efficient bathroom and a lush garden? We’d call that a win.

  • Energy-efficient lighting: Conserving water is important, but don’t forget about the ways you can save with energy-efficient appliances and lighting. Install energy-efficient light bulbs, dimmers, and motion-sensor lighting features to help cut back on your electricity usage.

Before Getting Started on Your Bathroom Redesign

  • Custom-built solutions vs. store-bought additions: Once you’ve got a detailed vision for your ideal bathroom, it’s time to seek out accessories to make it come to life. If you are looking for a truly unique design, you may find it necessary to hire a professional that can custom-build your accessories. If you’re working on a tight budget, store-bought additions are likely the better deal.

  • Sourcing and pricing materials: You may be able to save on bathroom renovation materials by purchasing them ahead of time, especially when it comes to things like tile and hardware. Settle on your style, then figure out where to shop. You can find amazing deals online, but you may also consider checking out local bath showrooms. Work with your contractor to determine whether or not they will handle buying materials, or if you should purchase them on your own.

  • Packing away valuables: Make sure to move any valuables and breakables out of the construction zone. It’s best to safeguard anything of value (whether that’s sentimental value or otherwise) when going through a remodel.

Finding the Right Contractor for Your Renovation

Enlisting help is a crucial part of the bathroom remodel planning process. Find the right contractor to make your bathroom redesign more enjoyable.

  • Use referrals: This is one quick way to find a trusted contractor. Use referrals from family members and friends to land a great contractor for your project.

  • Consider credentials: Before hiring a contractor, make sure they have the proper licensing required.

  • Get multiple estimates: Don’t settle on the first contractor you speak to. Get multiple estimates from varied vendors and companies, and find the right contractor for your vision and your budget.

  • Consider previous renovations: An easy way to determine if your contractor’s work matches up with your vision? Look at previous renovations. Many contractors will provide portfolios of past remodels when asked, and you’ll have images to base your decision on.

  • Working with your contractor: The person you hire will play a big role in your renovation experience. Use these tips to create a great working relationship with your contractor.
    • Communicate often: Stay in contact with your contractor and check in throughout the renovation period. The better your communication, generally the happier you’ll be with the outcome.
    • Follow up on permits: Your contractor likely will handle permits, especially if you plan on adding square footage or incorporating new windows in your bathroom. However, it’s important to check on the status of these yourself to double check that your project is completed following all requirements.
    • Breakdown change orders: When unexpected issues arise, make sure you’re prepared and track all change orders in writing. This will reduce any chance of miscommunication, and help you keep an eye on your budget throughout the renovation process. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you want clarification.
    • Check their work: Checking in regularly will help you get exactly what you want out of your renovation.
    • Review a job well done: Once your bathroom masterpiece is complete, make sure you give your contractor the credit they deserve. Take pictures of your new space and leave a review; these reviews will come in handy for other homeowners in your area, so pay it forward!

What to Expect During a Bathroom Renovation

Bathroom remodel - Grouting tile flooring

Any home renovation can cause a bit of upheaval, but your bathroom redesign doesn’t have to be stress-inducing. With these tips, you’ll be well prepared to survive your bathroom renovations.

  1. Dealing with demolition: Once your contractor gets started, prepare for dust and loud noises. Whether they’re tasked with ripping out an old shower or knocking down a wall, you can pretty much bet on a flurry of dust. Place a fan in the window to direct dust outdoors, and use drop cloths to avoid tracking demolition dust all over your home.

  2. Consider setting up a temporary bath: If this is your only bathroom, or it’s the one you rely on for daily use, you may need your contractor to set up a temporary bathroom during the renovation. Most contractors can set up a temporary shower unit and toilet hookup; while this solution typically will require an additional cost, it’s worth it—you don’t want to have to run to the neighbor’s home every time nature calls. If you can’t do a temporary bath setup, consider getting a hotel room and plan a mini staycation in your city until renovations are completed.

  3. Be realistic about your timeline: Even with careful planning and detailed timelines, your contractor may run into unexpected challenges during your bathroom redesign. Allow a bit of leeway and be realistic about how quickly your renovation will be completed. Expect the unexpected, and be prepared for your timeline to be a bit longer than you might have originally anticipated.

Tips for a Stress-Free Bathroom Renovation Project

  • Clean up daily: Dust will be flying, and it’s important to clean up a little bit when renovation work is done for the day. Taking 10 minutes after your contractor leaves to organize and pick up the demolition space will ease a great deal of renovation stress.

  • Roll with the punches: Like any house renovation project, you’ll likely run into a few bumps in the road during your bathroom remodel. Learn to roll with the punches and expect the unexpected. Embrace the renovation process and stay focused on the end goal—your dream bathroom.

Like any house renovation project, you’ll likely run into a few bumps in the road during your bathroom remodel. Learn to roll with the punches and expect the unexpected. Embrace the renovation process and stay focused on the end goal—your dream bathroom.

Bathroom renovations can be complex, but keeping these tips and strategies in mind can make it a stress-free experience. Put together the bathroom of your dreams and enjoy every part of your home to the fullest!