6 Must-Know Bathroom Remodeling Tips

Close your eyes and envision your dream bathroom. Is it a place you go to unwind at the end of the day, with heated floors and a soaking bathtub? Or, maybe you’re a makeup aficionado and have always wanted a vanity with lights framing the mirror. Perhaps your dream bathroom hinges on functionality and it’s essential that you make it safer and more accommodating for those with limited mobility or of venerable age.

The bathroom is one of the most important areas of your home. It’s where you start and end your day; from getting ready for work in the morning to brushing your teeth and calling it a night. Yet, often our bathrooms leave something to be desired. And a bathroom remodeling project is the only way to truly create a space that caters to your every need.

With any remodel there are a lot of moving parts: getting ideas and inspiration, picking fixtures and materials, budgetary concerns—to name a few. But once the renovation is finished, you’ll be able to enjoy your newly re-designed bathroom and the increased resale value of your home. It’s important to have a solid plan when executing a bathroom remodel to keep the project on track. To help you build your dream washroom without feeling overwhelmed, the experts at Mr. Handyman of S. Orange/Westfield/Scotch Plains, and Metuchen have put together the following 6 helpful tips.

1. Set & Stick to Your Budget

Right off the bat, one of the most important aspects to consider when remodeling your bathroom is the budget. It’s all too easy for your renovation to get out of hand and end up costing much more than anticipated if you don’t have a solid plan. Part of ensuring your budget is successful is keeping it realistic. This means doing research to get a sense of what your ideal budget should be.

The Cost of Contractors and Labor

The majority of bathroom remodeling costs go toward labor. Labor costs vary depending on the efficiency and rates of your contractor. Do your research and get estimates from a few different companies before deciding who to trust with your bathroom renovation. Talking to a prospective contractor will also give you an idea of how long the washroom will be out of commission for.

When looking for a contractor, choose a company that is known to be professional, provides pictures of previous work, and comes highly recommended. You can see the quality of a handyman's service by checking their online reviews. While looking at reviews, pay attention to how many there are, and when the latest 5-star ratings were posted. A contractor is only as good as their last job, so it’s important to check that the business’ quality has not gone downhill in recent weeks.

Once you’ve narrowed down the contractor you’d like to handle your bathroom remodel, there are a few questions you should ask before they get to work:

  • What is your contractor’s license?
  • Are you insured?
  • Do you subcontract your work?
  • What are your guarantees?

The Cost of Features and Materials

Factor in the cost of materials to stay on budget. There is a lot of variation between materials that serve the same function. Go to Pinterest for ideas and inspiration, and then shop locally, on Amazon, or at Home Depot or Lowes. Keep in mind, glass and ceramic tiles are equally durable, beautiful, and easy to clean. But glass is significantly more expensive because it’s a luxury item. Brands such as Grohe, Kohler, Hansgrohe, Delta, and Moen all make restroom fixtures available at a range of prices—from the low hundreds to thousands of dollars. Not to mention, toilets, bathtubs, showers, and countertops can get quite costly depending on the brand and material. Ask Mr. Handyman about the materials they commonly use and which they would recommend keeping to your budget.

Installation can also factor into the cost. For instance, hiding a toilet’s tank in the wall is becoming increasingly popular for a minimal, clean aesthetic. But installing a floating toilet is more expensive than installing a regular toilet. Likewise, adding a bathtub where you initially had a shower will take longer and be more involved than swapping out a shower head—all of which adds up.

Additional Budgeting Factors

Aside from labor and materials, there are a few other questions to ask yourself that will affect the budget for your bathroom remodeling project:

  • Do you want to sell your home in a few years?
  • Do you want to install any luxury features?
  • What areas of your bathroom are absolutely essential?
  • What can you reasonably afford to invest?
  • Do you need to change the location of plumbed-in items?
  • How much can you afford to go over budget?

2. What Kind of Bathroom Are You Remodeling?

While it’s not likely you’ll be changing the type of bathroom—although you might consider transforming a basement powder room into a standard washroom for guests—it’s helpful to know what you’ll be working with during the remodel.

Standard Bathroom

A standard bathroom is also known as a full bath and includes at least one sink, toilet, and a bath and/or shower. Older homes are built with one full bath that was meant to be shared by the entire family. However, newer homes are constructed with multiple standard bathrooms including the master bath, one for children, and possibly a guest washroom.

Half Bath or Powder Room

Smaller than a full bath, a powder room does not include a shower or a bathtub. Adding a half bath to your home is an excellent investment—and is much easier than constructing a standard bathroom. An additional powder room gives guests a place to go while over for dinner without having to be in their personal space. Half baths are also highly sought after by homeowners, and adding one to your first floor will boost the resale value of your home.

Wet Bath

A wet bath has no separation between the shower and the rest of the bathroom. In a standard bathroom, it’s commonplace for the shower and/or bath to be tucked away behind a curtain or door. Conversely, in a wet bath, the entire room is waterproofed and open. There are pros and cons to this kind of washroom design. It’s easier to clean, offers more space, and has a sleek, modern aesthetic. But as other areas can get wet—including the floor or toilet—it may be less appealing to homeowners with small children or elderly parents. The wet floor increases the risk of a fall.

Ensuite Bathroom

Technically, an ensuite bathroom is a full bath. However, ensuite bathrooms connect to another room in your home, like the master bedroom. Ensuite bathrooms tend to be larger than a regular full bath and may also include separate bath and shower features, such as a whirlpool tub.

3. Choose Your Bathroom Layout

If you’re remodeling your bathroom, it’s likely for three reasons: aesthetic, function, or both. Your bathroom’s layout is a big factor in how much you enjoy the space. Perhaps it works well the way it is and your remodel will focus on updating the room’s appearance. Or, you find the layout frustrating and not suitable for your changing needs. If you’re planning on making the bathroom more accessible or converting a powder room into a full bath, you should carefully consider the floor plan.

Start by thinking about what areas you use the most. For instance, you’ll obviously need a toilet. Is it placed somewhere that’s easy and comfortable to access? Likewise, your shower, bath, or hybrid takes up significant real estate in the bathroom. Do you even use the bath, or would you prefer to remove it entirely? Do you want the toilet separated from the shower with a wall? Or, maybe you’d like to open up the space by converting a standard bath into a wet bath?

Storage, sinks, and counter space are also key parts of the bathroom floor plan. Will the room include a linen closet? If so, how much space will that take up? Do you want to add a second sink? If you have a lot of beauty products, are drawers a better option than cupboards? Does a medicine cabinet work in your space, or is it too crowded?

It’s also helpful to consider how many people are using the bathroom. Will you and your better half be in it at the same time? Do you have multiple children sharing the same space? The more people using your bathroom, the more storage you’ll need for various items such as toiletries, toilet paper, and linens.

4. Select the Right Materials

As one of the areas within your home that receive the most traffic and use, it’s important to choose durable, stain-resistant, and easily cleanable materials for the bathroom. Of course, appearance is also an important consideration as the space should look attractive, clean, and welcoming. Of all the areas in your home, your bathroom is where you want to invest in quality materials. Especially after spending significant time and savings on a remodeling project, your cabinets, countertops, and fixtures should last for many years to come.

5. Prioritize Ventilation

Proper ventilation may not be the most glamorous part of your bathroom, but it’s arguably the most important. Your bathroom is the source of a lot of humidity and moisture. The fans suck out wet air and remove it from the room. If your bathrooms are not properly ventilated, there’s a risk that moisture will accumulate and damage your drywall. Water damage is very difficult to get rid of, and can lead to bacteria growth. Finishing a bathroom remodel only to have the drywall replaced a few months later because of poor ventilation would be very frustrating. There are a few bathroom ventilation alternatives to choose from:

Exhaust Fans

Exhaust fans are the most efficient means of reducing humidity in your bathroom. We do not advise constructing a bathroom without an exhaust fan. Depending on your space, there are a few different options:

  • Ceiling-mounted exhaust fans are designed for bathrooms located on the second or third floor. Since warm air rises, a ceiling-mounted fan catches the stale air and releases it outside through the attic.
  • Wall-mounted exhaust fans are installed on an external wall of the house. Simpler to install than a ceiling-mounted fan, this design is a great option to reduce noise.
  • Inline exhaust fans are mounted in your home’s ducts and blow out stale air through the duct system. This model is a great option for small bathrooms.
  • Exhaust fans with lights expel stale air while also acting as a lighting fixture.

Windows and Window Vents

Does your bathroom have a window that opens? Or, are you planning to add a window during your remodel? Opening the window while showering helps reduce humidity. Some windows also have built-in vents, which always stay open to release moisture outdoors.

6. Lighting is Transformative in a Bathroom

Your lighting can transform a cold, lifeless bathroom into an oasis of calm. Yet, there are a few things to think about when planning your lighting. There are two different kinds of light: natural and artificial. If you have access to natural light—from a window or skylight—make the most of it by installing a mirror opposite the natural light source. The mirror will reflect daylight into the rest of the room. For privacy, you can install mottled or textured window panes.

When it comes to artificial light, a good rule of thumb is to have three sources in the room. (This tip follows for any room of the house, not just the bathroom!) Think of your lighting in layers. Most designers categorize lighting in three ways: ambient, accent, and task. Layered together, these three light sources enhance the bathroom’s appeal.

Ambient Lighting

The first layer is basically your general lighting source. Its purpose is to illuminate the room effectively so you can see. Examples of ambient lighting include pendants, semi-flush/flush mount ceiling fixtures, and chandeliers. The benefit of ambient lighting is that it illuminates the entire space. However, it’s also typically dull and flat.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting is considered the decorative layer. It highlights points of interest in the room and is a secondary source that makes ambient lighting more dynamic. Accent lights include wall sconces, track lighting, and even rope or fairy lights.

Task Lighting

The last layer, task lighting, is like a spotlight. It highlights areas of a room that are used for a specific purpose. In a living room, task lighting might be in the form of a floor lamp next to a reading chair. But in the bathroom, it’s the star of the show: vanity lighting.

Vanity lights illuminate the area used for self-care and grooming, making it a prime feature in your bathroom. Twin-light fixtures, mirror lights, and track lights make excellent options for your vanity.

Get Started on Your Bathroom Remodeling Project Today!

Are you ready to start your bathroom remodeling project? Once you’ve used our helpful tips to inform your renovation, then give the expert contractors at Mr. Handyman of S. Orange/Westfield/Scotch Plains, and Metuchen a call; you can also request a service online to get started today. Our skillful, professional, and experienced technicians are more than happy to help with all your remodeling needs.