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Bathroom Remodeling Tips

May 09, 2022 6 min read

Bathroom Remodeling Tips

There’s something special about a really great bathroom.  Do you ever get back to the table in a restaurant or hotel and feel compelled to comment on how wonderful the bathrooms are? When we find ourselves in a beautiful bathroom, it’s easy to feel calm, happy, and a little bit fancy.

If you’re  looking for bathroom remodeling ideas, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the choices. Bathroom renovation magazines and websites are full of stunning designs that each look as lovely as the last. So which one is right for you?

Although it’s often subconscious, we’re drawn to bathrooms that have been thoughtfully designed to meet our needs perfectly.

Many considerations go into creating a bathroom that makes you smile each time you look at it. I’ve narrowed it down to ten of the most crucial ones. Keep reading to get prepared for a successful bathroom remodel.

1. Create a Budget

When you get the opportunity to transform your home into the exact style you want, you’re making an investment in your property and yourself. Home and bathroom remodeling can cost as much as you let it, and without a solid budget, costs can spiral.

The solution is to research local custom building costs, set a realistic budget, and then try to stick to it. This is made easier if you choose a remodeling contractor or design-build firm that offers fixed pricing rather than estimates.

Bathroom remodels can get expensive quickly, mostly due to labor costs and, to a lesser extent, materials. Top bathroom general contractors and the licensed subcontractors they work with are highly skilled professionals, and they are in demand. If you want to upgrade your existing bathroom to higher-end materials, you’ll need to factor in the cost of everything from tiles to a bathtub.

To create your budget, you’ll need to take into consideration a few things:

  • Are you looking to sell within a few years?
  • Do you want to change the location of plumbed-in items?
  • What parts of the new bathroom are absolutely essential?
  • What can you afford to invest?

Remodeling your bathroom before selling your home

I usually advise clients to remodel their home with their own use—not resale value—in mind. With few exceptions, you will only recoup part of your remodeling investment when you go to sell your home. If you only plan to stay a year or two before you sell, you might want to think twice before investing in any major remodeling projects.

That said, bathroom remodels tend to recoup a healthy portion of their cost when it comes time to sell, particularly if your old bathroom was excessively worn or outdated. In 2018, the average bathroom remodel had a 70% return rate when the property sold. If you plan to be in your home long enough to really enjoy the new space, it may very well make sense to invest in a remodel.

One quick tip: If you are trying to keep resale value in mind, make design and materials choices that are likely to have broad appeal and aren’t too specific to you. Consult a real estate professional or interior designer for guidance.

2. Choose the type of bathroom

Bathrooms come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and layouts. Chances are, you probably won’t change the type of bathroom when you go to remodel. However, it’s a good idea to look at all your options before you set your ideas in stone (or grout!).  An experienced interior designer can help you see possibilities that you might have missed. For instance, a cramped half bath could be transformed into a luxurious master suite just by borrowing some space from a walk-in closet or bedroom.

Standard Bathroom

A standard bathroom or full bath is one that contains a sink, toilet, and a bath, shower, or both. Some older homes were designed with just one full bathroom that the entire family was meant to share.

Master en-suites have the same basic features but are accessed via the master bedroom. Homeowners remodeling or adding a master suite often go for a luxurious spa-like vibe. Think skylights, a soaking tub, and separate steam shower. A properly designed master suite can be a rejuvenating escape at home.

In most cases, a master suite can be added on to a home if one doesn’t already exist. That can free up the existing standard bath for family use and can eliminate long lines at morning shower time.

Half bath

A half bath, or powder room, is a small space that has only a sink and a toilet. If you live in an older Seattle home that has only one full bath, your life could really improve by adding a half bath. If you have guests over for dinner, they can use the powder room and not have to invade your personal bathroom space. Likewise, if you have house guests staying over, it can take some of the pressure off your main bath if you’re all trying to get ready at the same time in the morning.

One of the best things about a half bath is that it doesn’t require a big footprint. We’ve fit half baths in the tightest of spots, including closets and unused corners. Adding a half bath can be an easy way to boost the value of your home as well as make your life easier.

Wet bathroom

A wet bath is a type of full bathroom where the shower isn’t in a separate cubicle or behind a curtain. Wet baths  are completely waterproofed, including the floor, cabinets, and walls.

Creating a wet room is one of my favorite approaches to bathroom design. It can look sleek and modern, without any cumbersome shower doors to get in the way. But it is also eminently practical. Because they are fully waterproofed, you don’t have to give a second thought to water splashing on the floor or walls. Wet baths also lend themselves well to universal design principals because there are no curbs or other obstacles that keep someone with limited mobility from passing safely into and out of the shower.

Another advantage of wet baths is that they make efficient use of space. If you are remodeling or adding a bathroom to your home, square footage can be precious, and a wet bath approach lets you fit more into a smaller room because you don’t have to devote space to a shower frame or stall.

Wet baths cost a bit more, but they are an excellent investment and the most durable way to build a bathroom.

3. Develop a bathroom layout

So you’ve settled on the type of bathroom you’re installing or redoing (half or full bath, wet bath or standard). Now it’s time to think about layout. Depending on the shape and size of the area you have to work with, there are countless variations in bathroom layout.

Important tip: Before you think about the aesthetics of your bathroom remodel, you have to nail down the layout.

I often advise clients to consider keeping their existing layout. If they like the general position of tub/shower, sink, and toilet and can go on living with that general layout, then I say go for it!

Rearranging plumbing fixtures (and walls) can quickly drive up the cost of your bathroom remodel, and if you can leave well enough alone, then do.

Of course, sometimes the existing layout simply doesn’t work.

Maybe your original bathroom was poorly designed. Maybe you need more space. Maybe you are converting a half bath to a full bath. You might need to change the layout for any number of reasons. And that’s when it can get tricky.

When you’re looking at your existing bathroom, that image gets stuck in your head. It can be a mental leap to re-imagine it as anything other than its original form.

Your designer can help by offering design consultations and creating a 3-D rending of what your new bathroom will look like. At CRD, for instance, we are able to let our design clients immerse themselves in potential new bathroom designs using a virtual reality headset. This way, you can explore several approaches until you settle on one you love.

In general, the smaller the space, the fewer layout choices you will be confronted with. There are only so many ways you can fit a tub, sink, and toilet into an 8′ x 8′ footprint. Obviously, more space opens up more possibilities and more opportunities for customization.

An experienced interior designer can help you make the best use of a small space. He or she can also help you customize a larger layout to fit your unique needs.