Remodeling your bathroom is one of the best things you can do to update your home (and add value!), but even the smallest powder room can turn into a minefield if you start the project unprepared. Here are the three key things I’ve found over the years that have made my clients’ bathroom remodels go smoothly with beautiful end results. 

 

1. Figure Out Your (Layout) Plan  

Sitting down and really making the effort to map out your bathroom will save you time and money in the long-run; changes later on can be costly (e.g. having to move pipes). This doesn’t mean that you have to draw a professional plan and measure everything to scale; all that you need to do is get a piece of paper and roughly sketch (it can even be word bubbles!) your bathroom.  

Ask yourself some very basic questions like these: What don’t you like about the layout now? What would you change if you could? Where is the shower? Is the toilet where you want it or should it be moved to another wallWould two sinks be better than one or vice-versaIf you can decide the basic layout, the room will be functional and won’t frustrate you as you move around. 

 

2. Get to Know Your Materials

Yes, a bathroom serves very specific purposes in a household, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be utilitarian or cold. Like the rest of your home, it should be a room that you enjoy entering and spending time in! Do you want to feel like you are in a luxury hotel when you step inside? Or how about achieving a feeling of zen as soon as you cross the threshold into your bathroom-spa oasis? You can achieve any number of transformative qualities through the thoughtful choice of materials.  

The following is a list of basic materials that you will need to decide on to get started: 

  • Flooring 
  • Tiles 
  • Countertops 
  • Cabinets 
  • Bath Fixtures 
  • Mirrors 
  • Toilet 
  • Towel bars   

Trying to choose all of these at once can be overwhelming. So I always tell my clients to start by looking at photos of bathrooms that they are drawn to. Make a folder of images that you like; Don’t overthink it! After a while you will start to see that there is a theme (and materials) that you are naturally drawn to without necessarily even knowing it-a certain type of flooring, or perhaps a countertop material. Use this as your jump-off point. The rest of the list will begin to naturally flow from this anchor point. 

 

3. Light It Up

Lighting is often overlooked in remodels-especially in bathrooms. But getting the proper fixtures can make all the difference in the space. It’s important to remember that in this case especially, as you use this room for activities that require proper illumination (e.g. makeup application, shaving, etc), so it’s important to get it right.  

The secret to good lighting is the layering. What this means is that even if the room is small (as bathrooms often are compared to the rest of the spaces in the house), there shouldn’t be just one source of light. Ideally, you want to have ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. All three together create an overall mood and level of completion to the room. 

In the case of a bathroom, the ambient lighting is the overall general lighting for the space. Often this comes from recessed lighting, but another functional and beautiful idea is to hang a pendant light or chandelier in the space that complements the rest of the décor. Task lighting is there to help you with a particular function, so examples of this would be a lighted mirror or sconce next to the vanity. Accent lighting is used to illuminate particular parts of the room, like mirrors or pictures. Remember-dimmers can be used to great effect in bathrooms too! They are great for creating a softer light or when you want to settle into that bubble bath with a glass of wine.  

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