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10 tips for renovating your bathroom

Renovating your bathroom isn't as straight forward as you might think. These 10 tips will help you get the bathroom of your dreams.

bathroom renovating ideas
July 14, 2022

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Renovations of any kind are a daunting process but when it comes to the bathroom it becomes even more challenging trying to create a hyper-functional, serene, practical and luxe space all in one. There are so many decisions to make and endless options to make you go crazy. A bathroom is the most loved room to renovate and one of the most important as it adds value to your property.

Like a kitchen, it is important to plan a bathroom before you build as you need to closely interact with the design of the room.

Here are our top 10 tips for renovating your bathroom.

Eyeswoon bathroom tips for renovation best bathroom
Bathroom by Athena Calderone

01. Plan

It seems obvious, but more often than not this step is missed.

It is important to understand what you want to achieve through the renovation and then creating a detailed plan with a brief, a proposed budget and a timeline. Asking yourself some simple questions before you start will help you realise your goals.

Here are some questions to get you started.

 

What is your daily routine?

This will impact the layout of the bathroom.

 

What is your budget?

Be honest with yourself here and always allow for a contingency. When they rip out the bathroom you never know what they can uncover, so be prepared for an additional 15-20% to be safe.

How many people will be using the bathroom?

This will impact your decision on how many basins you should include and how much storage you will need.

 

What is not currently working in the bathroom?

This is the whole reason why you are remodelling the bathroom so think why you want to remodel it and what are the parts that bother you the most.

 

Is there any feature in the bathroom that works well?

This is often missed, but think if there is anything about your bathroom that does work or you are happy with?

 

Now that you understand  why it’s important to create a floor plan that answers your functional needs e.g. storage solutions, double vanity, great lighting, another tip is to try and keep your plumbing in the existing location if you can. Go through the plan with your builder and get their professional opinion if there is anything they think won't work. It is also very important to go through the plan with your builder to make sure they understand your plan – never assume anything in construction!  

 

Dries De Malsche Belgium Bathroom Minimal Design
Interiors by Dries De Malsche. Photography by Cafeine.

2. Find Inspiration

The most fun part of the process is creating a mood board with all the designs you like. With so many options out there, we suggest you narrow it down to 3-4 images / styles.

It can also be helpful here to think of other bathrooms you have been to that you have liked, whether it be at friends’ houses, a hotel or a restaurant. Think about what you liked about the bathroom and why you remember your experience there. It is though important to be realistic about your space and what you can achieve.

Flack Studio Melbourne Interior Design marble Bathroom Concrete pink and grey
Bathroom By Flack Studio

3. Statement

We love to see a statement in the bathroom whether it is a special light, an oversized bathtub or a feature tile. It is always nice to create a feature in this room so have a think about what yours will be? Remember that you don’t need more than one feature  to create an impact.

Camilla Freeman Topper House Bellevue Hill Marble and Timber Bathroom
Bathroom by Luigi Roselli

4. Lighting

Bathroom lighting requires careful thought and placement and so often can go wrong. There are two main sources of light to consider.

Natural lighting

Nothing makes a bathroom feel brighter and airier than ample natural lighting. If possible, try to incorporate plenty of windows and maybe even a skylight into your design. When working out where to place your vanity, it is always best facing the window or natural light as this is the most honest representation.

Lori Bolon Interiors Coastal Grey Bathroom Marble
Interiors by Lori Bolon

Artificial lighting

There is an art to lighting up a bathroom properly and we suggest to approach your lighting in layers.

Recessed LEDs on a dimmer switch can provide ambient light, but remember that overhead lights can cast shadows on the face, which isn't ideal. For this reason, be sure to layer in soft lighting at head level by the vanity. We recommend some wall sconces here, which will not only look amazing but practically provide you with a good source of light.

Don't forget to provide adequate lighting in the shower area or spot lighting if you like to read in the tub.

Lori Bolon Interiors Coastal Grey Bathroom Marble
Bathroom by Lori Bolon

5. Accessible Outlets

You don’t want to get to the end of a renovation and realise you’ve forgotten to consider the outlets. Bathrooms may be small, but their power needs aren’t.

Space constraints and the scope of activities in the bathroom all call for care when planning where to install electrical outlets and exactly how many. If you aren’t sure about your electrical code rules and restrictions consult your electrician who will be able to help you with this.

Here are some of our favourite ideas for placement of outlets.

Accessible outlets in bathroom clever storage design
It’s a great idea to put power in the cupboards. Overhead  mirror cupboards are great for an electric toothbrush and  vanities are great to store your hairdryer.
Subway tiles in bathroom with minimal contemporary design round mirror
Try and camouflage the outlets into the wall colour so they are less obvious.

6. Select your materials

Bathrooms endure a lot of wear every day. They need to be able to cope with big temperature swings as well as significant humidity changes and outright water exposure.

Bathrooms also need to be easy to clean, withstand harsh chemicals, and look attractive, so knowing the quality of the material you select is imperative. Here are some of the most common materials you will see in a bathroom and a bit about each to help you make the right decision.

Natural Stone

The most sophisticated and formal of materials, natural stone will give you that luxurious look. It is important to understand that some stones are more porous than others which means they can stain or mark over time. Ensure you seal your natural stone and be aware there is ongoing upkeep with this material if you want it to always look beautiful

Green marble mirror special powder room design best renovation ideas
Photography by Anson Smart

Tiles

With no maintenance and usually more affordable than real stone, porcelain and ceramic tiles are the most popular option in a bathroom. They come in all shapes and sizes, so you can get creative with large tiles, mosaics, subways and colour.

Subway tiles are a go-to classic and checkout our post about them for some serious inspo.

Natural Stone in Bathroo orange London Interior Design
Designer Bella Freud. Photography by Michael Sinclair

Wallpaper

Yes you can use wallpaper in a bathroom! The key is to make sure the wallpaper is placed out of the splashing range i.e. not near water and you have proper ventilation in the room to prevent moisture build up.  We absolutely love wall paper in a bathroom as it creates a softer look than tiles.

Tamsin Johnson Interior Design Wallpaper in bathroom with concrete vanity and wall lights
Interiors by Tamsin Johnson. Photography by Anson Smart

Remember to keep it simple. Once the tiles have been installed it is a big job to rip them out, so we suggest going for something timeless and classic. Also consider how to lay the tiles; brick pattern, straight bond, herringbone, chevron. The way you lay the tiles can also make a huge difference to your space.

7. Selecting your grout

Grout is often an afterthought in selections, however it is hugely important and can make or break your bathroom.

Grout not only seals out dirt and water but it also firms up the structural integrity of the tiles. When choosing the grout for your tile you have the option to either have the grout stand out or blend into the tile. You can also choose to have a narrow grout line or if you want to achieve something more rustic you might opt for a thicker grout line. Usually if your tile is detailed we would recommend opting for a grout to blend in and if you have a plain tile than this could be your opportunity to have the grout stand out.

Another tip is light grout tends to show dirt in high traffic areas such as the floor so if possible opt for something slightly darker.

White bathroom with special grout modern bathroom
The contrasted grout colour in this bathroom accentuates the tiles and makes a feature of the wall. Interior design by Melissa Vukadin, Photography by Dylan James

8. Storage

We often see bathrooms come to the end and then people asking where am I going to store everything? This is why we suggest keeping storage in mind from the beginning. There are three main areas to think of for storage:

Vanity

Whether you are choosing a custom vanity or buying something off the shelf always consider storage here. You will  need a place to store your soaps and cosmetics so the vanity would be the perfect place.

Storage solutions for bathroom
Interior design by Zoe Chan Eayrs and Merlin Eayrs. Photography by Toby Lewis Thomas

On the walls

Whether it’s mirror cabinets above the vanity, floating shelves, wall hooks or built in closets don’t forget to include storage on your walls.

It will all come down to how much storage you need in your bathroom and bringing you back to one of the first questions we asked – who will be using the bathroom? If it’s a bathroom that kids will be using you might need larger storage to store their toys?

Juniper Tehman Storage solution for bathroom walnut timber joinery
Bathroom by Juniper Teham

In the shower or near the bath

If possible it’s nice to have a built in niche or ledge where you can store your soaps and shampoos. It doesn’t need to be big, just enough to store your necessary products.

Romi Weinberg Bathroom coastal interiors with storage solution for bathroom
Bathroom by Romi Weinberg and CM Studio

9. Add a little luxury

Given the amount of time we all spend in the bathroom it’s nice to include a little luxury into this room. As your bathroom is one of the key rooms to selling a house, it’s also a good idea for resale to think of luxury features that could win over a buyer.

Heated floors

Stepping out of the shower or bath onto warm floors is a small touch that makes a huge difference to your enjoyment. Not only are heated floors luxurious but they also make economic sense. Whilst there is an upfront cost to install them they are less expensive to run than other forms of heating and make economic sense in the long run.

Luxury bathroom ideas with chic and modern design heated flooring
Design by Jenna Lyons

Heated Towel Rails

There are very few thing things that are better than wrapping yourself with a warm towel when you get out of the shower or bath.  It also means your towels dry quicker which leads to no damp odours anywhere.

Heated towel rails are a luxurious feature in a bathroom and are less expensive to run than people often think.

Luxury bathroom ideas with heated towel rail marble bathroom gold tapware
Interiors by Banda Property

Smart showers

To make sure you are with the times, a smart shower is just the trick. With voice and wi-fi controls you can adjust the water temperature while changing the music play list.

Luxury bathroom ideas with smart showers and black tapware
Interiors byDries De Malsche. Photography by Cafeine.

10. Ventilation

Last. but certainly not least, is ventilation.

Unfortunately, a lot of home owners tend to neglect this aspect of a bathroom, unaware of the importance of ventilation.

Bathrooms are naturally prone to dampness and require adequate ventilation to keep occupants in good health and prevent mould from growing. Mould spells big problems for bathrooms and, if left untreated, can stain and cause expensive damage, especially in hidden areas. There are two main forms of ventilation in a bathroom

Windows and window vents

Windows are a great source of ventilation. Letting in natural air not only helps with ventilation but removes odours from the bathroom.

Exhaust fans

Whilst windows are great to have they aren’t always possible which is where exhaust fans come in. Whether or not you have windows in your bathroom you should still have at least one exhaust fan as well (depending on the size of the bathroom).  Exhaust fans will extract the hot air from the bathroom and reduce the fog from your mirrors, which we all hate.

Ventilation for bathroom Vincent Van Duysen Timber flooring in bathroom
Interiors by Vincent Van Duysen.

We hope these 10 tips have been helpful and would love to hear your feedback and other tips in the comments section below.

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