6 Big-Picture Ideas to Consider for Your Bathroom Remodel

Does your bathroom resemble the drab facade of a forgotten motel bathroom?

A bathroom can be a sanctuary, and giving it a makeover can uplift the spirit and breathe new life into a neglected space.

Here are 6 ideas to consider for your upcoming bathroom remodel:

1 Dream big- start with a vision of everything you want.

If you’re considering a bathroom remodel, it will become evident very quickly that there are a ton of decisions you’ll need to make along the way.

I want to walk you through some of the most important things to consider, but before we jump in, I always recommend taking a step back to dream up a vision. If you know what your ideal is, you can always refer back to it in every decision you have to make.

There’s a golden rule of interior design… “Live with what you love”. I love that saying and it’s become a bit of a mantra for me. Your environment affects you, in both positive and negative ways, so you want to be sure that the space you build, will be a space you can love and feel comfortable in.

Think about how is the space going to be used. Will it be a guest bathroom or a master bathroom? Will you be sharing the space with a partner every morning?

Once you’ve got an idea of what you want, take some time to think about your finances. How much are you willing to spend? We’ll go into cost-saving measures below, but where you land on many design aspects will depend on what you’re willing to spend.

bathroom remodels for small bathrooms

2 Dollars and Sense: Budgeting for your bathroom remodel

Let’s get straight to the bottom if it.

The average mid-range bathroom renovation costs approximately $12,000. A mid-range remodel involves replacing fixtures such as toilets or baths, but largely leaves the layout of the space unaltered. Luxury remodels which involve pushing out walls, re-working where fixtures are, and adding additional windows can run higher than $25,000.

How can you cut back on these prices?

It’s pretty simple…

labor is the highest cost of your renovation. To the extent that you can do the work yourself, your cost will drop dramatically. This doesn’t mean that you need to install a new bath- there are plenty of middle-ground options where you work with a contractor, but take on a few labor-intensive tasks your self.

One easy (and fun) thing first-time DIY enthusiasts can take on is demolition- we do of course recommend talking to a contractor before taking this on (pro-tip: when searching for a contractor, ask for several references of past renovations to hear other’s experience working with the contractor).

I’ll keep coming back to this question of how to save money renovating your bathroom, but the big take away should be: Reduce Your Labour Costs!

A quick side note, this might be a good chance to go big. Bathroom renovation generally permanently increase the value of your property on a one-to-two ration. If you invest $10,000 in a bathroom, you can expect your property re-sale value to go up by double the amount, so think twice before taking the cheapest route possible.

bathroom shower fixture

3 Big-picture thinking: laying out your floor plan

So you’re ready to get started- probably the first thing you might be thinking is how will I re-arrange all the fixtures to create more space?

Changing the feel from 1970s to 21st century doesn’t necessarily mean knocking downs walls or swapping your toilet and your shower.

When it comes to floor plan, it’s important to remember that keeping the plan as it is is the cheapest way to renovate. Any time you’re moving water and waste lines your cost will skyrocket. Moving pieces around Tetris-style within the existing space might not be worth the cost—if you really want to open things up, go big and push out your wall an additional two feet.

If you’re trying to keep things economical, there are a few simple tricks that can transform a small bathroom.

If you’ve still got a tub in your bathroom, consider swapping it for an elegant shower with room for two. With new curtains you’ll feel like you’ve claimed back half the bathroom. A nice middle ground for renovation is to swap out your toilet and sink for classy stand-less fixtures. You’ll be amazed how this opens up your floor and makes cleaning and keeping your space fresh loads easier.

bathroom remodeling small bathroom

Take a look at how you/re currently storing things in your bathroom- installing open shelves inset between two studs is a great way to clear out space from an old floor dresser or armoire.

And of course, if you have a radiator in your bathroom, a renovation could be the perfect time to upgrade to under floor heating. And a wide-open floor plan that will have you breathing easy, while reducing running costs in the form of energy/gas savings will make you thankful for this cost-saving luxury.

Lastly, think back to your vision, how will you use the space? Consider swapping out one sink for a long table that gives you and your partner your own sink in the morning. If you’re looking for inspiration and some technical best practices, check out these floor plans for some creative ways to flip your space.

4 Getting down to business: walls and floors

redoing bathroom
More than anything else you change, the opportunity to upgrade your old paint, wallpaper or tiles will change your space. Here are a couple ideas for how you can think about transforming your canvas:

  • Paint an accent wall in your bathroom, or do a clean horizontal paint split- eggshell white on bottom and your favorite earth tone on top.
  • Consider laying down stones in your shower, or a clean, checkered Parisian tile throughout.
    Looking to mix class and cost savings? Break-up less expensive tiles with thin accent lines of high-end stone or glass mosaic tiles.
  • Think about whether it’s time to revitalize that hardwood currently hiding under your old tile.
    (We mentioned it earlier, but if you’re thinking of re-doing your floor, it’s the perfect time to install an under floor heating system. They’re as simple as plug and play.)

5 It’s the little things

Small accessories can transform your bathroom. Swap in a beautifully framed mirror to change the way you interact with the space. If you’re going for a farmhouse feel, consider insetting a sink into an old dresser. Consider laying a granite counter-top to replace the old Formica one. Window and shower curtains can change your space. A rainfall shower spout can instantly create a sense of luxury.

6 Breathe

At the end of your brainstorming session you may feel like you’ve got too many ideas buzzing about. Take your time to settle into your vision. If it feels like a lot at once, consider doing an iterative renovation- first replacing the shower, returning to the floor a year later.

I hope I was able to kick-start your creative juices as you peruse your options.

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