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Bathroom Renovation Ideas – Doing it right the first time

Don’t worry… you’re not the only newbie renovator that’s having a tough time coming up with bathroom renovation ideas. It happens to all of us; I promise.

Take a deep breath. This article is going to make it much easier for you in the future.

Calm now?  Good.  Let’s get to work laying out how to renovate your bathroom the right way, where to get bathroom renovation ideas and how to save yourself time/money/headache/insert-valuable-thing-here.

Let’s take it from the top:

As the saying goes, “if you fail you plan then you plan to fail.”  This is particularly true when it comes to renovation projects.  Before laying out a red cent for materials or wasting hours coming up with desigs, first we need to figure out what we want to accomplish here.

Are you looking to build equity so you can sell and/or refinance?  Or are you looking to make the bathroom more comfortable for your next X years living there?

Once you know the reason you’re taking on this project, we can sit down and put together a basic outline.  You don’t have to go over the top here; just something basic that will guide our decisions as we move forward.

This sounds like common sense, but as my buddy Carlo always says “common sense isn’t that common.”  If I had a penny for every DIY remodeler that runs down the Loew’s or Home Depot with a dream in mind but no game plan… well, let’s just say that I’d be a wealthy man.

Don’t be one of those guys.

Returning materials after you realize you can’t use sucks.  Get your ideas in order first; set up a plan for your bathroom before you step out the door.  Figure out how much you can afford to spend (a.k.a. – budget) and if you can do the entire project alone (i.e. – no need to hire a professional).

Small renovations

Don’t overlook the value of smaller renovations.  Things like changing the lighting, adding water efficient faucets and toilets or putting in new decorative tiling can make a big difference.

Rearranging bathroom layout

To be clear, this is not a cheap thing to do.  Whenever you’re tearing things up your apt to find unwelcome surprises; mold, rodents, rot…. The list goes on and on.

So, before you decide to mess with the layout think LONG and HARD about how committed you are to this renovation.  And how much money you have set aside to get the project completed.

If, after serious contemplation, you still want to change your layout make sure to set aside enough for all the other goodies (new fixtures, shower enclosures, tiling, toilet, etc.).  If you’re expanding through a wall, you’re going to need more permitting.  This should go without saying, but make sure you’re not planning on expanding through a load-bearing wall.  That obviously is a bad idea, but again, if I had a penny…

Also, don’t forget to check up on current building codes when getting your permits.  If your home is older you may have to update various fixtures to new standards.  Older codes are usually “grandfathered in”, up until a renovation is to take place.

Retiling the bathroom

Retiling is one of the most popular bathroom renovation ideas, and it makes a noticeable difference.  Tiles can really set the tone of your bathroom; choose wisely.  Personally, I’m a fan of brighter and colorful contemporary tiles; they fit the personality of my home.  If you live in an old Victorian, you may want to consider a different approach.


Don’t underestimate your bathroom’s lighting; it is the unappreciated heart of the room.  Keep it bright and bold.  If it floats your boat, a dimmer switch can do wonders for setting the groove especially when you want to take a bubble bath.

I’ve read elsewhere that track lighting adds to the general environment of the bathroom, if you have the space for them. Just make sure not to clutter your bathroom for the sake of having track lighting.

Faucets and sinks

Next up: the faucet and sink pan.  If the lighting is the heart, then this would be the soul.  Of all the sections in your bathroom, you’re going to spend the most time using the sink.  Why not make the faucet say something more than “boring”?  Why not give the sink more to say than “dull”?

The options out there for both are endless.  From contemporary to antique, you can find a faucet and sink set to match the desired environment.  If you’re renovating on a budget, look for cheap alternatives that still get the job done… like brass plated faucets instead of solid brass ones.  Or using Decopave instead of marble for the sink.

When you’re switching out faucets, don’t forget to look for water-efficient models.  Beyond the fact that many building codes now mandate them, it’s just a good thing to do for our Mother Earth.  Switch out the toilet for a 1.6 gallon while you’re at it as well.

On saving money

Oh, while it’s on my mind, one easy way to save in renovation costs is to opt for a shower liner instead of replacing the entire thing.  Also, if you’re hiring a contractor, you may want to compare their material costs to what you can get at the local DIY store.  It’s usually impossible to beat their pro discounts, but at least in asking you’ll keep them honest.

One last note

Plan. Plan. Plan. Plan.  I don’t mean to be repetitive or pushy… but… plan. You absolutely need a blue prink if you want your renovation to go smoothly.  Lay out your timeline and your budget.  Have an idea of what renovations you want completed and by when.  Don’t leave anything to chance.

Or else you will spend more money than you have to.

Bathroom renovation ideas have a way or running off with your wallet, fuelled by our half-baked dreams.  Do yourself a favor and let that dream of yours bake a bit longer, would ya?

Then take your at least ¾ baked idea put it on paper. See if it still looks like a sound idea, and one you truly want to see come true.  Then, and only then, should you start taking concrete steps to making your renovation project a reality.  That’s how you do it right the first time.

Published in Remodeling Your Bathroom


  1. dhaval dhaval

    This article gives very good information about bathroom, So i can make my bathroom from getting this ideas. Very innovative ideas. There is a great way to create your own bathroom.

  2. Lisa Simmons Lisa Simmons

    I really appreciate the bathroom lighting information and ideas. It’s really going to help on my remodel!

  3. Samantha Samantha

    Great,thanks! I will share this with my husband!

  4. sanoo sanoo

    As mentioned in the article, updating a bathroom is almost always a costly affair. I was totally confused when I did it couple of years ago, especially with so many options available in the market. Now I know where to look for advice. Thanks.

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