Preparing for a bathroom remodeling project

From figuring out the fixtures, getting pipes rerouted and upgrading your storage, a bathroom upgrade project isn’t the easiest task to take on. But the beautiful space you have at the end makes it all worth it.

The key to successfully remodelling your bathroom is to be prepared. Have realistic expectations of what can be done, how long it’s going to take and whether you need to get professionals involved. You should also know what kind of fixtures would work best for you, how to plan storage that suits your needs and how you want it to look. Figuring this out beforehand will make your project more successful. Here are a few questions that you should think about before you start pulling up tiles.

How much does it cost to renovate your bathroom?

It might cost anything from $5000 to $20,000 depending on what you want to do. Deciding your budget at the beginning will set your expectations and make decisions easier as the project goes on. Your bathroom renovation cost will depend on the quality of the materials that you want to include, the size of your bathroom and the cost of labour. If you are doing the remodel yourself, it will bring down the cost — but bathroom renovations can be tricky and time consuming so really think about whether you want to do it yourself. You should also have some wiggle room in your budget in case you unexpectedly discover mould or damp spots that will need professional help.

What can you do with your space?

Bathrooms are usually small. Think about this realistically, filling a small space with too much will make it cramped while leaving out too much may not be convenient. Look up and understand standard measurements such as how much space your bathtub will need or how much room to leave for a toilet.  

Consider how to best organise your storage, with some clever design decisions you don’t have to settle for less storage in a small space. For instance, find a recess that you can fit your medicine cabinet into to save a few inches. Consider vanities that are fixed into the walls or sinks that can stand in a corner.

Wall-hung toilets have their tanks hidden in the wall so you have more space in the bathroom itself. You also don’t have to rule out a bath just because your space is small. There are sleek, chic models being designed for just such a space. Consider consulting a builder who is experienced with bathroom renovations in Auckland for advice.

How can you use lighting to your advantage?

Lights can do a lot for a space. Recessed lights across the bathroom can make it look brighter, cleaner and more pleasant. You can layer this with more functional lighting around the mirror where you do your make up or shave.  Try and come up with a lighting scheme that uses functional, ambient and decorative lighting to the advantage of your space.

Don’t rule out natural light though. You can have a well-placed window to let natural sunlight in during the day. Have frosted glass installed to protect your privacy and this will also fill your space with soft, diffused natural light. A window that opens is important for fresh air and better ventilation. Tilt and turn windows are a great way to have your privacy even when the window is open.

What can you do to improve functionality?

Most often, our favourite spaces are those that are the easiest to use and maintain. These make it simpler to go about our daily lives. The bathroom is a key area at home and there are a few things that you can do to improve its functionality. For instance, upgrading your current drain to a wider one will ensure that it clogs less, just check to see if the framing can hold a larger drain first. Also, if temperatures in your region drop below freezing in the winter ensure that your water supply lines are not going through an exterior wall (and that you have adequate bathroom heating).

 Functional bathrooms aren’t just about the gadgets and the plumbing. They should also be well organised. Having your shower door bump into your sink or block your storage every time it swings open can get frustrating quickly. Having an experienced builder will help you anticipate potential problems when it comes to using your space and prevent them with smart design.

How do you remodel a bathroom on a budget?

A limited budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to settle for a less amazing bathroom space. With some smart decisions and design hacks, you can have a chic, functional space that fits your budget. For example, rather than buying the best of everything, invest in a few high-end products that elevate your space. Opt for those that draw the eye and give the bathroom that special polish.

You don’t have to replace everything in your bathroom. Assess it critically and leave some of the features that suit the space you have in mind. Some ‘vintage’ features add character to the décor. Following a few rules to improve aesthetics can go a long way. For example, don’t let the toilet dominate your space or be the first thing you see when you open the door.

Learn the basics of bathroom renovation

If you are planning a bathroom renovation, NZ has challenges with the climate and the way our homes have been built. For instance, is your bathroom well ventilated or should you add a fan vent? Just having one window for this job is often not enough. If moisture collects, you will have a mildew problem on your hands.  

Once you’re better prepared, remodelling your bathroom will not be stressful or have you spending over your budget. In the end you will not have to settle for anything less than the space you wanted to have.