Homeowner’s Workbook: How to Remodel Your Bathroom

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So you’re ready to remodel that bathroom. Congratulations! As you probably already know, you’ve got some tasks ahead of you. Even with the help of a professional bathroom designer and a general contractor who will take care of the construction and installation, a lot of the mental work inevitably falls right on you, the homeowner.

So it’s going to be up to you where you want things to go, how much you want to spend, what you want it to look like and how you want it to function. This step-by-step workbook will help you navigate the process through the planning and conceptual phases. Just remember to keep your eye on the prize, and seek the help and guidance of people who’ve been there before. And above all, plan thoroughly.

Shotglass Photography

Step 1: What Are You Trying to Achieve?

It seems like a simple enough question that should have a simple answer: “Well, I need a new bathroom.” But when embarking on a journey that will take a good chunk out of your time and bank account, you want to get it right. And you want to be happy with the end result.

Before you do anything, think about what your ideal bathroom would be. Forget constraints of money and space; just imagine what you want and what the intended purpose will be. Who is this bathroom for? Is it a master bathroom? A powder bathroom? A kid’s bathroom? How often will it get used and what will the function be?

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Other considerations:

  • How many people will use it?
  • How much time do you spend in the bathroom during the morning, afternoon and night?
  • What’s your routine — how does your current space hinder it and how could a new space improve it?
  • Do you plan to grow old in this house?
  • Do you have medical issues like poor eyesight or arthritis to consider?
  • Do you just want something that’s easy to clean?
  • Is storage the catalyst? Relaxation?
  • Or do you just want to update the look for resale?

Would your dream bathroom include towel warmers, steam showers, fireplaces or TVs? All these things will help guide you in your decisions.

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Stanley Photo

Why Are You Remodeling?

There are three main reasons people want to remodel a bathroom. (For some, it’s a combination of these or all three.)

Updating the look. If you’re happy with the layout of your current bathroom but feel it just needs a refresher, then you’ll be focusing your attention on material selection and perhaps new cabinetry or plumbing fixtures.

Pay attention to the age of your home and the remodels done by previous homeowners. Putting new tile over a foundation rife with dry rot or severely outdated or junky plumbing is only delaying a potentially huge problem down the road. You may want to wait until you can do a complete job right.

Kate Lester Interiors

Resale value. If you’re updating your bathroom to sell, you’ll want to look at what potential buyers might want. While it’s hard to anticipate what a random buyer is looking for, you can do a little research on what appeals to the majority of homeowners. Houzz’s Bathroom Trends Study is a good place to start, but also talk to designers, neighbors, friends and family about what’s best for your area.

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