How to Make Your Bathroom Renovation a Success

In redesigning an existing bathroom there are so many details to consider. The following is a contemporary guideline to help in the planning and designing, so your project will be sustainable, efficient and successful without any regrets or oversights.

1. Budget. Make a budget first. Today, bathrooms are the most expensive rooms to remodel. A typical 5’ X 7’ upgrade within an existing home dimension, including low-flow toilets, new fixtures, and mirrored walls with new lighting could cost around $18,000. Floor tile installed could cost around $10-$100 per square foot.

2. Room Size. Is the bathroom size comfortable enough for two people to use in the future? Is your budget open? If so, you might want to enlarge it so you can have two sinks in the vanity.

3. Storage. Do you have enough storage for towels, cosmetics, medicines and other things?

4. Floors and Walls. If you are considering new flooring and wall tiles, you should then demo the complete bathroom. Leaving an existing tub, shower and toilet will not look so good with the new vanity and finishes. Do this room right, so you are always satisfied.

5. Water. You need to consider water efficiency for the sinks/faucets, tub/shower and toilet. Low-flow toilets save money on water bills. Is your hot water system energy efficient? If you are replacing or changing plumbing make sure every valve needed is specified.

6. Tub or Shower. If you are not increasing the size of your bathroom, I would suggest moving the tub and making room for a frameless shower with grab bars and a sitting area (bench) finished in tile.

7. Energy. Think energy efficiency. Lighting is a critical part of a bathroom. Do you have any natural light? Your lighting should be layered for putting make-up on, shaving, and using the bathroom at night. Do not use a white light next to the mirrors. Use fluorescent or LED lighting.

8. Finishes. Use green and sustainable materials! Otherwise, your investment in this bathroom will be out dated before it is even finished. If you would ever sell your house this is important. Keep in mind, in order to sell a home you will need to list what is inside it, just like a car.

9. Maintenance. Consider low-maintenance in your selection of materials. Consider light-colored grouts rather than white. Choose tile that can be set close (1/4” or less). This means less grout to clean. A denser grout mix makes it harder for mold to take hold.

10. Flooring. Make sure whatever you put on the floor is a non-slip finish. If you go with tile, use large size tiles, as they make the bathroom feel larger.

11. Fixtures and Accessories. Fixtures and accessories are the jewels of the bathroom. Make sure they work together.

12. Ventilation. Invest in a bathroom fan with a timer. A fan should run for about ten minutes after each shower to exhaust water vapor from the space.

13. Color. Select your colors carefully. As we age, we see colors differently.

14. Atmosphere. The atmosphere of the space is very important. You want your bathroom to feel like a relaxing retreat. Mirrors and layered quality lighting will strengthen the mood of the space. Bath fixtures including body sprays will give a “spa” feel to the room.

15. Universal Design/Aging-in-Place. Is there space for a wheelchair to maneuver? (You never know what the future can bring.) A bathroom door entry should be 34” to 36” wide. Provide all shower walls with in-wall plywood or blocking reinforcement to allow (future) installation of grab-bars with 250 lb. load support capacity. Install heavy-duty towel bars securely mounted in case of need to grasp during a fall (250 lb. minimum load support). For vanity cabinet counters, the trend is to install taller cabinetry; counters can be as high as 36” (AFF) above finished floor. Taller vanity heights allow users to get closer to the sink opening without having to bend over, a position that puts more stress on the lower back and legs. Another option is to increase the height of the toe kick to as much as 9” with a 6” setback.

As we all know, “you get what you pay for,” so always invest in the best quality bathroom fixtures and materials you can afford. They will always speak for themselves and will last a long time. We see our bathrooms first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. Why not make them into a room that brings you joy?

Do you need help with designing your home? Lynn Hoffman Design can help you. We will design your home for beauty and comfort, all while promoting long-term health. Contact us at 203.984.4695 or at sitemail@lynnhoffmandesign.com.

Image: istockphoto.com/Bombaert

Lynn Hoffman

203.984.4695 | lynn@lynnhoffmandesign.com