before and after shot of a bathroom renovation

This guest post is from our friend Molly of Almost Makes Perfect. Check out more of her design and lifestyle inspiration on her blog.

My husband and I moved into our first home in 2015, and have been fixing it up room by room. When we found out we were expecting a baby this year, we scrambled to renovate one of our two bathrooms before he arrived. We decided to stay within a pretty tight budget and a quick turnaround (we finished just weeks before my due date!), but I still wanted to completely transform the room.

I learned a good amount dealing with a renovation in my third trimester, and wanted to share some of my best advice.

1. Plan as much as possible in advance. This is so crucial. No matter what, there will always be hiccups and delays during any renovation, so if you want to make sure you personally don’t contribute to any holdups — have everything ready to go before your contractor even begins. You don't want to worry about selecting tile patterns while your contractor is waiting, so try to make those decisions in advance.

2. Get quotes from multiple contractors. Especially crucial if you’re on a budget, it’s smart to get a couple of different estimates from different contractors. This way, you can get the general average of what it should cost. You may be able to tell the contractor of your choice you got a lower bid — and hopefully he can match it and save you some money.

3. Think long term. While trends are super appealing and you might be obsessed with that loud patterned cement tile, it’s wise to avoid too many trends and consider what may look dated in a few years – especially when you plan to sell your house. Try to keep the design timeless and streamlined to protect your resale value.

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We initially considered going with Matte Black fixtures, but in the end we chose the Delta Trinsic Tub and  Shower Trim and Compel Single Handle Lavatory Faucets with Touch2O.xt Technology in Stainless instead. It looks so classic and I couldn’t be happier with the look. 

4. Keep your footprint as is to save. You might want to move your toilet to the other side of your sink or reroute the plumbing in your tub, but if your current layout isn’t too horrible, keeping it intact will save huge amounts of money and time! We thought about moving our shower fixtures to the other side, but in the end, we didn’t want the extra expense.

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5. Figure out where you want to save and where you want to splurge. For renovations on a budget, you can find places to be frugal and decide which items might be worth investing in. If you’re in love with an intricate tile, consider saving on your light fixtures. We decided to go with an affordable standard subway tile, but modernized the look by going with a less standard pattern. We also kept our lighting under $10 (seriously) by going with cheap lamp holders and adding modern bulbs. All of these ways to save ultimately allowed us to spend more on other items, like our Delta faucets and a deeper tub.

6. Consider how much storage you want and need. If you are one of those people that buys your shampoo in bulk, don’t forget that when purchasing your sink vanity. For those of you who collect (hoard) hotel bath products, consider vanities with multiple drawers, and don’t forget other options like a built in niche in your shower, wall hooks for towels, and possibly open shelving for a little extra storage space.

7. Accessories go a long way. If you’re worried about going too simple with your general design plans - don’t! You can incorporate patterns, colors or trends with towels, shower curtains and even soaps. There is also very little that is more exciting than accessorizing your bathroom and watching it come to life.

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8. Have everything ready to go. If you have the space in your home, fill your garage or a spare room and start purchasing everything you’ll need. Some items may take weeks to arrive, so it’s the most efficient for you and your contractor to have everything on-hand. This is especially helpful if you’re shopping online for most of your items. Be sure to check them as soon as they arrive and make sure everything looks right.

9. Think about your heights. Something very minor can make a huge difference, so before installation of everything, you should really take the time to determine what heights will be best for everything. For a floating sink vanity, you have a couple inches of flexibility. For shower curtain rods, mirrors, lighting, towel racks, shelving, and even your toilet paper holder — take the extra time to think about where everything should go based on your preferences, lifestyle and household.

10. Expect delays. Like any renovation, there will be hiccups and holdups — so make sure you allot extra time. A very simple bathroom renovation can take between 2-5 weeks, so you'll want to mentally prepare yourself for the latter. If you only have one bathroom in your house, this will be a much larger deal! Our bathroom renovation ended up taking an extra week, but we stayed within budget and we are so happy with the room. The end result is clean, simple and totally us.