A good bathroom can elevate your home’s design, improve daily life and comfort, and even boost your property’s value. In fact, 60% of Australians consider a good bathroom among the top three things they look for when buying a home. And suppose you’re looking for ways to breathe new life into your bathroom. Remodelling is one way to get the bathroom of your dreams and reap these benefits.
But as exciting as a remodelling project may sound, the road to get there isn’t always as smooth. Depending on the scope and extent of the renovation, the process can be daunting, time-consuming, and expensive. And before you start choosing which colours will bring out the pop in your bathroom, there are other things you’ll have to consider first.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist to help you cover all the bases to have a successful bathroom renovation project. Let’s take a look.
Before commencing your remodeling project, preparing a list of your needs, requirements, preferences, and wish lists can contribute to the overall success of this endeavour.
With that, here are the main details you need to plan for:
1. Design and Layout
Your desired bathroom design is a crucial aspect of the renovation since it can shape the aesthetics and functionality of your bathroom. As a first step, it’s essential to have a concept or vision of what you want your new bathroom to look like. Determining what you want for your bathroom can also dictate the necessary adjustments in your home’s plumbing.
One of the factors that can influence your design and layout preference is your goal for the renovation. Some common reasons for undertaking a renovation project are:
- Fixing existing problems
- Improving functionality and space planning in the bathroom
- Optimising space
- Increasing your home’s resale value
- Improving accessibility
- Updating your bathroom design and feel
Considering this is a significant investment for your home, take the time to know what you want to achieve for your bathroom. Undoubtedly, deciding on what you need can be challenging. Look for design and style inspirations from magazines and renovation websites. You could also consult professionals such as architects, interior designers, and builders to know which design would work best.
Here’s some extra considerations below as a guide:
Your bathroom’s size and the available space play a role in determining the suitable layout to opt for, as it places a limit on what you can or can’t do. For example, if you’re working with a small bathroom, combining the shower and bath could be a design solution to explore. This can help make the room spacious.
Your bathroom renovation should also consider the requirements and preferences of those using it. For example, do you require a spacious countertop to give you flexibility when using the sink? Do you prefer baths or showers? Ultimately, you want a functional bathroom that matches your lifestyle and accommodates your needs.
Colour scheme and theme
Having a design style or theme in mind can also make planning your bathroom more efficient. Do you want a rustic bathroom? Or perhaps, you want to go for traditional, modern, or luxurious? Knowing the theme or style can guide the colours you choose and various design elements to incorporate.
Finishes and materials
Apart from form and functionality, the materials and finishes you choose for your bathroom can also help to elevate its look. For instance, if you’re going for a minimalist look, you can opt for plain coloured tiles. A monochromatic or neutral palette can help you achieve a more cohesive look. To add character to your bathroom, you could throw in some metals or wooden accessories like baskets or planters.
2. Renovation Cost and Budget
After your design preferences comes planning the budget for your remodel. As much as possible, remain realistic about how much you can afford. Based on your plan or design brief, look at various cost guides to get an idea of how much you’re expected to spend for the remodelling project without going above what you can afford.
As a point of reference, homeowners are likely to spend around $20,000 – $27,000 for a small bathroom renovation, which includes labour fees and materials. But ultimately, the project cost depends on factors like the size of the bathroom, intricacy of design, the scope of work to be done, and materials.
Here’s a quick breakdown of cost of a bathroom renovation per state in Australia:
- Western Australia: $15,667
- South Australia: $14,375
- New South Wales: $22,392
- Victoria: $22,381
- QLD: $20,382
- Tasmania: $21,667
3. Professionals and Contractors
As you begin your renovation project, one shouldn’t overlook the importance of creating a team of professionals that can help turn your vision into reality. You might feel inclined to consider your bathroom renovation as a Do It Yourself (DIY) project, but this process often involves complex tasks. Some professionals you may need to bring in, depending on your skills, are:
The key to a successful renovation project, relies on the execution. Hiring some professionals to help can be the game changer with the end result.
4. Necessary Permits
Depending on which state you live in and the extent of work in the renovation project, you may or may not need a permit. Sometimes if a bathroom renovation requires modifications to the main building structure, it may require additional clearance.
If you live in an apartment building, you may need to seek permission from the building managers. They may have standards or guidelines you need to comply with. It’s always good to check before you start your renovation.
5. Renovation Timeline
Most bathrooms are small spaces, but renovations can take more time than you anticipate. Depending on the extent of your remodel, the project may take several weeks to complete.
Here’s a list of the essential phases and milestones to be incorporated into your project timeline:
1) Design Phase
This stage refers to the brainstorming aspect of the project. During this time, you decide and finalize the layout and design of the bathroom and material specifications. This is also where your architect or interior designer drafts the floor plans. This can be the perfect time to source materials to be installed in your bathroom.
2) Construction Phase
The construction phase is when the hard work happens. This stage involves all the technical aspects of bringing your dream bathroom to life.
Here are some of the activities under the construction phase:
- Demolition: This involves taking out the old fixtures in your bathroom, tearing down interior walls, floors, ceilings, and removing tiles and other elements such as mirrors, cabinets, and lighting fixtures. Depending on the extent of demolition, this process can take up to 1-2 days.
- Repair and Clean Up: Based on your bathroom’s condition, some repairs may be necessary before the real renovation work begins. It could be a burst pipe, a hole in the wall, or drainage issues. Your contractor may require an additional 1-2 days to inspect and perform the necessary repairs on your bathroom’s system before installing new fixtures.
- Rough-In Works (Plumbing and Electrical): Depending on your bathroom’s new layout, some additional work may be done. For example, if you’re planning on constructing partitions or internal walls, your builder may need to install new frames and insulation for drywalls. Or perhaps you’ve relocated your shower, a re-layout of your plumbing needs to be done. Considering the amount of work, this phase may take up to 4-10 days.
- Plastering and Waterproofing: If you had additional walls constructed, plastering must be done before the painting can begin. Once plastering is done, you need to work on waterproofing the wet areas including the shower, vanity and toilet areas. You can allot approximately 4-7 days to complete the wall plastering and waterproofing process.
- Tiling and Painting of Walls: The tiling of your bathroom can complete the space. Depending on the design or pattern, and where you intend to install them, it can take time to finish. Generally, tiling can take up to 1-4 days. After tiling and grouting is complete you can move to painting your walls. This can take an additional 2-3 days depending on the size of your bathroom.
- Installation of Cabinets, Vanity, and Bathroom Fixtures: The installation of vanity countertops, cabinetry, and new bathroom fixtures is another milestone to consider. Some suppliers prefabricate such cabinets and countertops offsite, which means the installation time can be reduced. Depending on your contractor, this process can take up to 1-3 days.
- Furnishing Phase: Furnishing your new bathroom with decorative elements is the last stage. You can start placing floor mats, rugs, toiletries, baskets, greeneries, and other bathroom accessories to complete its new look.
Bathroom Components and Materials Checklist
Now it’s time to dive into the details. Here are some essential bathroom components and materials to consider:
1. Wall and Flooring Material
The walls and floors of your bathroom generally frame and compose the space. This means the material you choose can influence how light, airy, and open your bathroom will feel. There are numerous material options you can choose from, depending on the texture, finish, colour, and style you’re after.
Furthermore, here are some of the pointers you can consider when choosing a material for your bathroom’s wall and flooring:
- Moisture Resistance: Bathrooms are often wet and can become mouldy due to the steam from the shower. Because of this, it’s a good idea to use water-resistant products such as paint, porcelain tiles, and exhaust fans to help minimise mould build up.
- Ease of Maintenance: You don’t only want your bathroom to be stylish, you also want it to be easy to clean. Tiles can be your best friend in this case, while stone and concrete can make the task of cleaning your bathroom an extra chore.
- Durability And Slip-Resistance: Safety, durability, and functionality should be your top priority, especially for flooring materials. As much as possible, choose slip-resistant material that complements your bathroom’s look. A material like a hardwood floor, for instance, may look good but may be unfit for the space as it absorbs moisture and can get slippery. Similarly, glossy tiles usually have little texture and foot grip, becoming a safety hazard.
Safety in your bathroom should be a big concern, with statistics showing Queensland records 3,700 bathroom injuries annually, mostly by falling. Check the material’s slip rating and pendulum classification. For wet areas, a tile with a rating of P4 or P5 has a lower slip risk, which can make it suitable for your bathroom.
Another crucial item on your checklist is the countertops or vanity. Aside from being functional, they’re also an excellent way to breathe new life into your bathroom and change the feel while adding elegance to the space. There are so many options to fit any style, design, and budget.
But as a reference, the significant factors to consider when choosing a suitable countertop to install in your bathroom include:
- The material’s durability
- Ease of cleaning
- Stain resistance
- How it fits with the overall décor.
Considering this supports your sink and bathroom essentials, you want a countertop that’s durable and doesn’t stain, scratch, or crack easily when exposed to water, cosmetic products, hair straighteners, or other heat-styling tools. Alternatively, you wouldn’t want a porous material that can breed bacteria. It’s best to read more about choosing the best countertop materials for you and understand the pros and cons of the common materials available.
As mentioned earlier bathrooms are a perfect recipe for the growth of mould, algae, mildew, and other microorganisms. In fact, research shows that Australian homes have mould, particularly in the bathrooms. Unfortunately, these can pose health risks, but with proper ventilation in the space, you can keep this from happening. Bathroom fans can help remove moisture from the air after a bath or shower. Placing them above the shower is a good location. Alternatively, if you can accommodate significant changes in your bathroom, consider installing windows that promote the free flow of air.
4. Bathroom Storage Solutions
Bathroom essentials such as toiletries, towels, grooming kits, and cosmetic products need a place in your bathroom without looking cluttered and untidy. Essentially, you’ll need adequate storage to fit your items. During the renovation, install shelves, cabinets, racks, and drawers to make your bathroom more organised.
Because some bathrooms have limited space, try to be creative in how you design the storage solutions. Here are some ideas to try:
- Under sink organisers: A great way to organise your bathroom items is by placing shelves, cabinets, or pull drawers under the sink.
- Custom wall shelves and cabinets: Built-in cabinets and wall shelves are both timeless and classic décor and a way to organise your bathroom. And since they’re custom, they can be tailored according to your preference and the available space in your bathroom.
- Floating shelves: These can be an excellent choice to spruce up your bare walls. However, considering they’re open shelves, make sure your bathroom essentials are organized neatly. This way, it doesn’t look cluttered or too busy.
- Vertical/narrow storage: When working with a small bathroom, every little space counts. Vertical storage can be a smart way to optimise the space using narrow pull-out shelves.
- Over-the-toilet storage: Using the space above your toilet clears space in other storage areas for other things. You can add open shelves, so it doesn’t look cramped. You can then place commonly used bathroom essentials and toiletries.
- Wall racks: You can install wall racks to hold your toilet paper and towels.
These are just some of the great storage solutions you can try for your bathroom.
Fixtures, Fittings, and Accessories Checklist
Another itemized list you can prepare is for the fixtures, fitting, and accessories you want to have in your bathroom.
Here’s a list to help you get started:
1. Plumbing fixtures
Your bathroom remodel won’t be complete without a thorough assessment of your plumbing system. Check if you’ll need new fixtures or if you can keep the old plumbing. Preferably, create a separate checklist for the different elements such as sinks, bathtubs, bidets, toilet, taps, and showers to see which areas need to stay, need repair, or just need cleaning.
Unless it’s necessary, as much as possible, avoid changing the layout in a way that requires a plumbing overhaul. Instead, consider upgrading fixtures in their original spot, as this can save you a lot of money. This is a good thing, especially if you’re renovating on a budget.
The main areas to consider with plumbing are:
- Toilets: Deciding the type of toilet will depend on your bathroom style and budget. Your options include a wall-hung, close coupled, and back to wall toilet.
- Taps: Depending on your preference and bathroom style, you’ll need to choose counter versus wall mounted taps, and between widespread or single handle taps. Widespread handle taps may be more expensive than single handles because they consist of three pieces; a tap and two handles.
- Sinks: There are various types of bathroom sinks you can consider. For instance, if you want a more open and lighter feel, you can consider a pedestal or console sink since these types generally take less floor space. On the other hand, if you’re going for a modern look, you can go for a vessel or undermount sink. The vessel style sits on the counter surface while the undermount sinks are installed within the vanity and underneath the counter. You can use vessel style sinks for both function and décor although undermount sinks are discreet and neat.
- Showers: There’s also different shower fixtures available to elevate your shower experience. For example, you can mount your shower head from the wall or ceiling. You could also consider updating your shower enclosure or adding one. A glass door, for example, can create a separation between the wet and dry areas.
- Lighting Fixtures
Unfortunately, not all bathrooms get the luxury of windows to allow natural lighting, and this is where installing light fixtures come in. And even in the case of big enough windows, you’d still need to have lights to light up the room at night.
Consider all the possibilities and your preference before settling on the lighting placement. For example, in terms of the room’s general lighting, ceiling lights may be recommended. On the other hand, if you want to add warmth to the room, having some ambiance wall light may work best.
Here are some common bathroom lighting ideas and fixtures to consider:
- Ceiling lights: This refers to your main source of light when using the bathroom. It’s usually positioned in the centre of the room and provides adequate lighting.
- Vanity lighting: This fixture is commonly mounted above your vanity and sink areas. They help illuminate your vanity workspace to make grooming tasks easier.
- Recessed lights: These lights offer illumination in your bathroom while staying out of the way. Because they’re designed to be incorporated within the ceiling, they can be a great option for small bathrooms and shower areas.
- Wall sconces: These are placed near medicine cabinets or mirrors, just like vanity lights, to provide direct illumination to a particular space.
- Chandelier: Chandeliers can be a statement piece to liven up your bathroom. But considering how imposing this fixture can be, it can easily cramp the space. And so, for best results, it’s recommended that your ceiling be at least 10 feet and that you place your desired chandelier in larger bathrooms.
- Pendant lights: Pendants can be another stylish way to illuminate your bathroom space. However, much like chandeliers, some pendant lights can drop too low for low ceiling bathroom.
When choosing a light for the bathroom, make sure it has the appropriate waterproof rating.
A bathroom renovation isn’t complete without accessories. You need something to hold your robe, soap, and towels as you bathe or shower. These are functional items that can also spruce up the style and aesthetics of your bathroom.
Here’s a list of what you can add to your newly renovated bathroom:
- Toilet paper holder
- Toothbrush holder
- Robe and towel hooks
- Towel rails
- Trash can
- Shower mat
- Bath shelf
These are just some of the accessories you can add to furnish your bathroom. You can always add other items depending on your style and budget to make your bathroom more appealing and comfortable.
As you can see, a bathroom renovation involves a lot, and you can easily miss an item without a comprehensive and organized list to guide you. With a checklist, you’re more likely to stay on track as you can monitor your progress. Are you renovating a bathroom?