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How to Renovate Your Bathroom: The Planning Stage

bathroom renovation

Are you ready to renovate your bathroom? The fixtures are outdated, the floor is a mess, and the walls are in serious need of a new paint job. It’s a bit overwhelming when you think about everything that needs to be done. So take a step back, and before you go wild with purchases at the home improvement store, sit down and plan the renovation from A to Z. By mapping out everything you need to do, you’ll save both time and money on your renovation project. Here’s what you need to think about.

Step 1: Budget


First thing’s first: without a budget, your renovation project will never get off the ground. Therefore, you need to figure out exactly how much money you can devote to this project before you even think about that fancy shower head and the oversized mirror you want to hang over the sink. Is this a $200 project or a $2,000 project? Every dollar counts when it comes to a bathroom renovation, so be specific when you decide what your allowance for the project will be.

Once you have a firm number in mind, it’s time to start allocating those dollars. If this is a smaller project, you can price things like paint or a new sink online, and at the home improvement store. Decide how much you will need to spend on each part of the project, remembering to consider all the materials you’ll need — do you have paintbrushes? — along with any professionals you might need to hire.

For more extensive projects, you’ll need to decide if you want to hire a professional or do it yourself. If you want to limit your budget, DIY is perhaps the way to go. Next up, get quotes from contractors or shop around online for the best prices. If something is out of your budget, ask if there is a way to cut costs in their estimate. For example, maybe the contractor included costs for flooring in their quote. If you learn how to install flooring yourself, you could save a significant amount of money.

Step 2: Project Elements

Project elements

Maybe you’re gutting your bathroom and starting over completely, or maybe you are just making a few upgrades. In either case, it’s important to make a list that details each of the things that you’ll be working on to make sure you’re covered in terms of budget, supplies, and labor. For example, your list could look a little something like this:

  • Add new light fixtures
  • Extra storage
  • Upgrade sink and faucets

That’s a pretty short list in terms of bathroom renovations, but there are a lot of questions that come to mind with just these three to-do items. For lighting, will you need an electrician to handle wiring for a new fixture? What type of storage do you want, and will it require special tools to install? Will you need a plumber to handle installation of a new sink and faucets?

Answer all questions like these for each of the items on your list before you move on. It’s better to identify potential roadblocks before they happen, or you could be stuck in renovation limbo for weeks or months while you get these issues sorted out.

Step 3: Floor Plan

Bathroom floor plan

Renovating your bathroom may give you the chance to move things around a little bit. Don’t automatically assume that the layout has to stay the same. You’re going through the trouble of upgrading the fixtures, so consider whether a new bathroom floor plan might work better for your needs. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you think about layout ideas:

  • Roomy vanities: A pedestal sink may look pretty, but it’s seriously lacking in the countertop space and storage space offered by a vanity.
  • Hidden toilets: If possible, it’s always nice to tuck the toilet away somewhere discreet. Hide it next to the tub, behind a half wall, or even consider a separate water closet inside your bathroom.
  • Lighting: Consider how your layout will affect the lighting in the room. Is there access to a window, or can you add one? Will you need to add extra light fixtures?
  • Ventilation: Ventilation is critical in bathrooms since showers and baths add so much moisture to the air. Make sure any layout changes won’t mess with your current ventilation system. You may also want to consider adding extra ventilation if the bathroom gets humid regularly.
  • Shower space: Older showers are typically more cramped, and sometimes the existing shower head is placed a little low by modern standards. If possible, you may want to consider expanding the shower area and installing the shower head a bit higher.

You’ll probably need to take accurate measurements of your bathroom if you’re considering serious layout changes like the ones mentioned above. Most of these projects will also require the help of professionals, so make sure you hired skilled contractors to complete work that requires advanced knowledge.

Step 4: Plan of Attack

Bathroom reno

Now that you know what’s on your to-do list for your bathroom renovation, it’s time to start planning the nitty-gritty. First, determine how much time you’ll need to set aside for tearing out old fixtures, preparing the floors, and other prep work that needs to be completed upfront.

From there, it’s time to get your materials. Figure out what you’ll need for the project before you get going. You may be able to save by ordering some things online, like bathroom faucets.

Next up is the order of your to-do list. What projects will you work on first? What should be done last? Put everything in order and create a rough timeline of when these things will be completed. If you’re hiring any professionals to do work in your bathroom, get them scheduled so you have a better idea of the project timeline. Having this schedule will help you stay on task so the renovation doesn’t drag on.

That’s everything you need for the planning phase of your big bathroom makeover. Now that you know what to do, you can set out to make your bathroom better than ever.

Questions about the bathroom renovation planning phase? Ask us in the comments section below.

(2) Comments

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Patricia,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Unfortunately we do not have any experience refinishing a tub. I’m not sure whether that is possible, you will most likely need to replace the tub. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help out with!

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