Do you cringe every time you look at the avocado bath and toilet in your bathroom? Does the black mold growing around the shower worry you? Is your flooring peeling up at the corners?
If the answer to any of these is yes, then it’s time to renovate your bathroom!
1.Where to Start?
If you have a huge space, an unlimited budget, a spare bathroom to use whilst work is ongoing and a reputable bathroom designer, you don’t need to read any further, just go for it!
However, most of us do not fall into that category so some careful planning for design, costs and inconvenience will be needed.
Have a wander around bathroom retailers and annoy staff with questions about everything. Browse through design magazines. Ask to use the bathroom in all of your friends’ homes. Get inspired!
(Do remember that your bathroom is part of your home and any design for it should fit into the design flow of the other rooms. If you have a traditional, country-style home, it might be too much of a shock to have a gleaming white and stainless steel bathroom.)
There are design websites which allow you to generate 3-D images and these are truly amazing if you are software savvy. You can put in your fixtures, plumbing and even floor and wall colors to get an idea of what the finished result will look like. But don’t despair if you can’t, you can still make a scale drawing and work manually.
What to Keep?
Which fixtures are still in good condition and are not eyesores? If you want to keep them, put them into your drawing. If you are replacing items because they do not function properly or are broken, check if you can fix them to keep costs low.
If the water flow to your toilet means poor flushing levels, it is probably quite easy to fix and won’t require replacing. Cracks in baths and sinks can be repaired using bonding materials or filling compounds.
Be aware that moving installed sanitaryware will probably require extensive plumbing changes and disruption so only move if they are truly inconveniently placed.
2.Saving the Planet
Okay, so saving the planet is quite a stretch and implementing energy and water saving devices outside of a bathroom renovation can be ridiculously expensive. However, a renovation is the perfect time to install these devices.
If conscious of water-saving, you can install taps that turn off after a set time (perfect if you have small kids with itchy fingers and a love of waterfalls). Low flush toilets are also a great way to conserve water.
You can have your electrician fit energy saving light fixtures and switch to LED bulbs in any current lights.
Sanitaryware will be your single biggest expense in renovation. Please, please choose white! It is ageless and dateless and you will never have a moment’s regret in choosing it as you would if you elected to have an egg-yolk yellow bathtub! You can add color in moveable and changeable features, not in your sanitaryware.
Shower units take up less space than baths. Corner baths or soaking tubs take up less space than a full bath. Think about your future needs. If you have (or are planning to have) small kids, a bath is essential. But if you have elderly relatives staying, you might want to consider a walk in shower instead.
Toilets and sinks can be wall mounted to save space and you can choose trough or corner sinks to achieve the same goal.
Add all these elements into your drawing, making sure you have enough space around the fixtures so you can use the toilet without bashing your knees on the sink cabinet.
It really is worth investing well in your hardware. Cheap taps and showerheads will corrode, become rusty and build up lime-scale. They get knocked about and scratched from abrasive cleaners. Good quality hardware will be able to take all of this abuse and still look shiny and new.
When choosing your taps and showerhead, consider the style of your bathroom and select to fit. A beautiful antique style claw footed bathtub will just look silly with modern stainless steel taps.
5.Floors, Walls and Ceiling
Sometimes all a bathroom needs is a fresh coat of paint and some new flooring to make it look brighter and more modern so if you’re on a tight budget, you can just do that.
Good quality flooring will be able to take the water splashing, damp atmosphere and general wear and tear without peeling up or cracking. There are numerous options from which to choose such as tile, laminate, vinyl or wood.
Ceilings and Walls
Tiles are a great way of covering your walls but can work out to be very expensive. Use tiles around the bath, shower and sink (as a splash-back) and then use bathroom paint for the rest. Bathroom paint contains an anti-mildew component which will help prevent mold and mildew build-up in the damp air of your bathroom. It is also very easy to clean.
Now look at your drawing again with all the sanitaryware installed and see what space you have for cabinets and cupboards. It would be easy to be tempted into filling every spare centimeter with storage but that will just make your bathroom look small and cramped.
Decide how much space you really need and what you will be storing. Open shelves can be used for smaller bathrooms so you won’t hit your head when opening cupboard doors. Cabinets under the sink are great for cleaning equipment and don’t forget counter-top space for make-up and other bathroom essentials.
But always leave some space to give the impression of a larger room.
7.Use a Professional
Unless you are a really qualified home DIYer, a professional plumber and electrician will be come your new best friend. Ask for recommendations, Google them and read the reviews. Do some research because incompetence will cost you time, money and inconvenience.
Electricity and water do not mix well so you need someone who knows what they’re doing when combining the two. Properly plumbed in sanitaryware will prevent leaks and mold build-up. Your electrician can fit an exhaust fan as well as wire up new lights.
If you are choosing fitted cabinets for storage, the retailer should be able to fit them properly to save you having crooked doors or gaps in the carpentry.
Avoid too much clutter and use light colors to make your bathroom look bigger. Use mirrors where possible to increase the visual space and paint your ceiling white to add the feeling of height.
Use touches of color to add life and vibrancy, towels, curtains and bathmats in matching colors will all blend to give an attractive look. Live plants will add green and some can thrive in the humid conditions of your bathroom.
Use open shelves to add knick knacks and ornaments (not too many!) for additional touches of color.
Hooks and Rails
Keep your bathroom clean and tidy by hanging hooks and rails where appropriate. A heated towel rail is an excellent accessory but even a regular towel rail on the back of the door will help.
Now you have your plan completed. Be prepared for some inconvenience whilst the work is ongoing but it will be well worth it when you can use your lovely new bathroom.