Skip to main content

6 Rules of Bathroom Reno

Whether you’re gutting the space or just tweaking the finishes, here’s what you need to know before renovating your bathroom

With the average bathroom renovation costing $11,000, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, budgets have no room for mistakes. So before plastering a wall or purchasing a soap dish, consider these six rules to reno by:

1. If you move the toilet, say goodbye to the budget.

Anytime you touch the plumbing lines, it alters the room’s footprint, which is labor-intensive and expensive. Unless the change would enhance the room immeasurably, all the pipes should stay put.

2. Everyone wants a spa tub but few people need one.

When writing out your wish list, put necessities like a new sink or flooring way ahead of splurges like that $3,000 tub. “Think about what you need for the room to function and use every day,” suggests Angie Gardeck, owner of New Perspectives Design, a Chicago-area interior design firm.

3. You must fall in love with something.

It’s imperative to get all warm and fuzzy about an object, whether it’s gorgeous glass tile or a faucet that looks like sculpture, such as, oh, we don’t know, Delta’s Compel™ Collection.  “Something needs to start the design process that will determine your color palette or your style,” Gardeck says.

4. Your 1983 vanity looks dated. Because it is.

You thought you’d keep it to save a few bucks. But while mixing old and new may work in other rooms, it doesn’t in the bath because there’s so little in there to begin with. A 30-year-old cabinet will look out of place if everything else is new. A better way to save money is to choose moderately priced fixtures and finishes instead of top-of-the-line.

5. Tomorrow’s address should impact how you remodel today’s.

If you’re planning to sell your house within the next five years, keep your decorating choices neutral to appeal to general tastes. If you’re staying put for seven years or more, however, feel free to go wild with those laughing dolphin tiles.

6. Unless you want to live in a construction site, order all materials way ahead of the start date.

Everything should be on-site when construction begins or completion may be delayed waiting for a delivery, Gardeck says. Once ordered, cabinets typically take at least a month to arrive; tile and plumbing supplies usually take two or three weeks. Be sure to open all boxes and inspect the contents the day they reach you. If something is broken or the wrong size, you need enough time to return it without compromising the remodel’s schedule.