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10 Essential Bathroom Remodeling Tips

Nautical Bathroom - San Jose, California

A fantastic bathroom holds a certain allure, doesn't it? Ever find yourself returning to your table in a restaurant only to gush about how gorgeous the restroom was? Guilty as charged! I even have a collection of photos of bathrooms that have left me inspired. There's just something about stepping into a beautifully designed bathroom that instantly lifts your mood, making you feel serene and maybe even a tad extravagant. But with the plethora of options out there, choosing the right design for your bathroom remodel can be overwhelming. Here are ten key considerations to guide you through a successful bathroom remodel:


1. Create a Budget

When you decide to transform your bathroom(s) into the exact style you want, you're making an investment in your property and yourself. Any home remodeling project can cost as much as you let it, and without a solid budget, costs can spiral. I highly recommend to research local building costs, set a realistic budget, and then aim to stick to it. Bathroom remodels can get expensive quickly, mostly due to labor costs and the type of products and materials you select. Always, get multiple contractor bids for your project. To make it easy to compare, provide each contractor with the same scope of work that lines out exactly what work needs to be done and who's providing what materials. This way you avoid a lot of headaches and discussions later on. When you add the contractor bid and the cost of materials you will provide (e.g. tiles, fixtures, and shower door) you will have the total cost/budget for your bathroom remodel.


2. Add a bathroom and boost your home value

Adding an additional bathroom not only alleviates morning congestion but also boosts your home's value. While it's a significant undertaking requiring plumbing installation, combining projects can yield cost efficiencies. If you are adding a new bathroom, also consider remodeling your other bathrooms at the same time. You'll already have a parade of subcontractors and inspectors in your home, and there are cost efficiencies that come with combining jobs.


3. Choose the type of bathroom

Bathrooms come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, 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 during the planning phase. 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 nearby closet or bordering bedroom.


Full Bathroom

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

Master bathrooms have the same basic features but are accessed via the master bedroom. Homeowners remodeling or adding a master suites often go for a luxurious spa-like vibe. Think deep soaking tub, an oversized shower, double sinks, and lots of natural light. A properly designed master suite can be a rejuvenating escape at home. Often times, a master suite can be added on to a home if one doesn't already exists. That can free up the existing standard bath for family use and 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 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. I'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.

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.


4. Plan your bathroom layout

Depending on the shape and size of the area you have, there are countless variations in bathroom layouts. Before you think about the aesthetics of your new bathroom, you have to nail down the layout. If you like the general position of the tub/shower, sink, and toilet and would like to keep it, then go for it. The reason, rearranging plumbing fixtures or moving walls can quickly drive up the cost of your bathroom remodel. So, keeping your existing layout will keep costs down.


Of course, sometimes the existing layout simply doesn't work. Maybe your 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 bathroom designer can help by offering design consultations and creating a 3-D rending of what your new bathroom will look like. In general, the smaller the space, the fewer the layout choices. 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.


5. A word about the bathtub

Most older homes have at least one bathtub, but our need to soak seems to be in decline. Traditional bathtubs may not align with modern preferences. However, if you're the kind of person who takes full advantage of the utter relaxation a bath can provide, then fitting it into your bathroom remodel will be a big yes. Large, soaking tubs are best in a master suite bathroom, where you can soak in peace, away from anything else going on in the house.


6. Illuminate with care

Lighting is something that a lot of people forget about when designing a new bathroom. But you'll instantly recognize bad bathroom lighting when you see it, and it can completely destroy the look and utility of the space.


Natural lighting

Nothing makes a bathroom feel brighter and airier than ample natural lighting. If possible, try to incorporate plenty of windows and maybe a skylight into your design. If the design of your home isn't conducive to a traditional skylight, you might still be able to use a suntunnel.


Artificial lighting

Of course, no matter how good your natural lighting plan, the sun sets every day, and you'll need an equally good artificial lighting plan. Thinking in terms of layers is a good start. Recessed LEDs on a dimmer switch can provide ambient light, but remember that overhead light can cast shadows on the face, which isn't pleasant. For this reason, be sure to layer in soft lighting at head level at the vanity. Some modern medicine cabinets have built-in lighting that provides pure, broad-spectrum light that gives your skin a natural appearance. Avoid harsh light sources and bare bulbs. Don't forget to provide adequate lighting in the shower area or spot lighting if you like to read in the tub.


7. Good ventilation is key

If your bathroom has a shower or tub, building code requires adequate ventilation in form of an exhaust fan. All bathrooms need excellent ventilation to keep occupants in good health and prevent mold from growing. Mold spells big problems for bathrooms and, if left untreated, can stain and do expensive damage, especially in hidden areas. Externally vented exhaust fans on timers are a good solution to ventilation problems, and your contractor will help you decide where they should be installed in the bathroom for the most effective airflow. For my bathroom projects I use Panasonic ventilation fans that are whisper quiet and efficient.


8. Add a touch of luxury

When you're thinking about your bathroom remodel, you might want to add in a few extras to make your space feel more luxurious and elevate your bathroom experience.


Heated flooring

Imagine stepping out of the shower and having a warm floor to rest your feet on. It's a small touch that makes a huge difference to your enjoyment. Heated tile floors are not only luxurious on your feet, but they also make economic sense. Having a floor heating system installed will add upfront cost, but it enables you to remain comfortable while keeping your main thermostat a bit lower.


Heated towel rack

Is there anything better than getting out of the shower and wrapping a pre-heated towel around yourself? I think not! A heated towel rack provides a spa like experience in your home.


Wall-mounted toilet

Wall-mounted toilets offer several advantages that make them a popular choice in modern bathroom designs. Firstly, they create a sleek and minimalist aesthetic by concealing the cistern within the wall, freeing up valuable floor space and giving the bathroom a more spacious feel. Secondly, their elevated position makes cleaning the floor beneath them much easier, contributing to improved hygiene and maintenance. Additionally, wall-mounted toilets can be adjusted to a comfortable height, providing ergonomic benefits for users. Finally, their innovative design allows for flexible installation options, making them suitable for bathrooms of various sizes and layouts. Overall, wall-mounted toilets combine style, functionality, and convenience, making them a desirable option for contemporary bathroom renovations. For our projects we use Geberit or Toto wall-mounted toilets.


9. Choose durable bathroom materials

Bathrooms endure a lot of wear every day. They need to be able to cope with big temperature swings as well as significant humidity changes and outright water exposure. Bathrooms also need to be easy to clean, withstand harsh chemicals, and look attractive.

It's quite the task!


Getting the most out of a bathroom remodel often means knowing where to save and where to spend money on high-quality materials. Often, cutting costs on materials will end up costing you much more in the long run as they'll need replacing in a few years.

Quality bathroom materials will look like new for much longer and some will last a lifetime. They'll retain their high-quality aesthetic and won't be prone to damp-related issues. Be sure to specify high-quality, non-porous tile in your design. Porcelain is usually a good choice. Avoid cheap particle-board cabinets that can quickly swell and fail in damp environments. Likewise, choose solid wood trim over MDF.


Most porcelain sinks and cast-iron tubs, even less expensive ones, will hold up well, but avoid cheap fiberglass or acrylic surfaces. Invest in high-quality plumbing fixtures with solid brass mixing valves; they will last a lifetime, whereas cheap plastic fixtures will likely fail within a few short years.


10. Assess your needs

A bathroom remodel can be an exciting opportunity to upgrade to the space you've always dreamed of. But doing it right requires you to think carefully about what you and your family need and want. Do you ever use the bathtub or would a large walk-in shower be better? Are you looking to add value to your property in the short term, or do you want to build a luxury master suite you can enjoy for years to come?


I hope these ten bathroom remodeling tips have provided you with some valuable insights. But don't feel you have to do it alone. Take advantage of our Free Discovery Call to find out how we can assist you with your project.

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