6 Tips for a Successful Bathroom Remodel
The two quickest ways to add value and personality to a house are by remodeling the bathroom or kitchen; the bathroom generally being less expensive with greater creativity. For this article, we assume DIY (Do It Yourself) where possible.
Start with your budget:
Work out beforehand how much money you have available for the project and proceed from there. Build in a ‘cushion’. Any project takes longer and costs more than originally planned. A good rule of thumb is to take 10% off for these contingencies. (Remember to subtract it from the usable budget. If, for example, you have a TOTAL of $5,000; your budget is $4,500. That 10% has ceased to exist as far as you are concerned.)
Make a scale floorplan:
Map out on graph paper both the bathroom and the surrounding area. Measure multiple times to ensure your measurements are correct. Knowing the surrounding area as well will let you determine if you can move a wall for more space if necessary.
There is now software available that can render your floorplan in 3-d and allow you to change and try things out in a virtual world before doing it in real life.
Take your budget, calculator and floorplan with you when viewing bathroom fixtures. Most are stock sizes and your bathroom must accommodate them rather than the other way around. Keeping a running total of cost and size will help you choose which options are most important.
Make a mock-up:
Remember that what looks workable on paper (or the computer) doesn’t always translate in practice.
Using your floorplan (in the bathroom after it is stripped or another area entirely) –
A) Mark the location and size of bathroom objects with tape
B) Place boxes or other items to act as surrogates
C) Move around the room
You may find the size or placement of something too awkward or inconvenient. It is much quicker and less expensive to correct the floorplan than have to redo the bathroom. (This is especially true for smaller bathrooms)
Buy everything at once:
It allows you to verify all components are present, and makes sure you don’t have to ‘match’ something later.
Changes on a shoestring:
Changing handles, pulls, towel racks, faucets, lights and/or shower doors can completely change the look and feel of the room.
For the price of a solid or composite stone countertop, you can change a formica-type countertop several times. There are now colors and patterns that match any surface found in nature, (and several that are not). Edges can now be shaped and corners rounded for a seamless, flowing look.
Help for small bathrooms:
The illusion of more space is aided with mirrors and windows. However the ‘wall of mirror’ is generally regarded as inelegant and should be avoided. Using ‘shortie’ tubs (popular in Europe); or installing only a shower will increase the open space. If there is an area nearby for storing essentials, you can switch to a pedestal sink, removing counter and cupboards. Corner fitting toilets make the most of tight spaces without giving you the cramped feeling that sometimes happens with traditional ones. Shelving over the toilet can generally be added without reducing the spaciousness of the room.