What You Should Know Before Remodeling Your Bathroom

Although a more closely-knit space, bathrooms are one of the most important rooms in your home. As the saying goes, “good things come in small packages.” If you are considering a bathroom remodel, an affordable, stylish and functional design can make all the difference in your long-term comfort and use of your space.

Follow these helpful tips to ensure your bathroom renovation stands the test of time:

Determine How You and Your Family Uses the Bathroom

Your bathroom is a personal space, unlike any other room in your home. You should take some time to consider how you use your bathroom first. You may be someone that uses their bathroom to quickly shower, shave, brush their teeth and go. Or, you may be like other people who consider their bathroom like an oasis—a place to relax, unwind, light candles and reinvigorate themselves.

Regardless of how you use your bathroom, be sure to get input from all members of your household that use it. How many people use the tub or shower at one time? Do you need more private space for the toilet? How are you currently using the space and will your needs change as you get older?

Perhaps your bathroom is primarily used for your children. If that is the case, you may consider keeping your bathtub, rather than replacing it with a shower. For improved, functional space, you may want to consider building a bank of cabinets for each child to store their personal items.

Is your bathroom particularly cold in the morning chilling you to the bone? You may want to consider heated flooring, or installing a modern towel warmer.

While it is important to plan for all of the functional necessities of your new bathroom, you will also want to take some time to dream big.  Have you always wanted a spa-like bathroom with rain-style showerheads, a no shower enclosure, or bench seating? Or have you coveted the idea of a separate vanity to do your hair and make-up?  Flush out your list of requirements (no pun intended), separating “nice-to-haves” from “must haves” before establishing a budget. Then, value-engineer back, making choices on what features you need and what you can afford.

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Budget Considerations

Speaking of budget, most people have no idea how much a bathroom remodel costs, and, rightly so. There are many variables that have to be considered when planning for one.  Regardless of your budget, size or style requirements, most bathroom remodels fall under these three categories:

Cosmetic Remodel

In most cases, a cosmetic remodel is going to be the most-cost effective approach.  It involves changing certain elements of the bathroom without affecting the original footprint of the space. Essentially, you are giving the bathroom a “refresh” by updating amenities like the sink, fixtures, cabinet hardware, paint, mirrors and lighting. This type of remodel can usually be done in a short amount of time and with little disruption to your life.

Remove and Replace Remodel

This is your mid-range option that requires more labor and materials. Everything in the bathroom is replaced (toilet, sink, shower, flooring, lighting, cabinets, etc.) but every component goes back exactly where it was originally—the footprint of the bathroom remains unchanged. This usually involves removing drywall down to the studs, particularly if there are signs of mold or leakage. With a Remove and Replace remodel, you will end up with a completely new bathroom with minimal disruption to any other area of your home. 

Custom Remodel

The custom remodel is where your “dream list” comes into play. The sky is the limit. You have an opportunity to build your bathroom from scratch customizing the space to meet your needs exactly, limited only by budget. A custom remodel is perfect for someone with a smaller bathroom that needs a lot more space; or a bathroom with a poor original design that is in need of a more functional or visually pleasing design. This renovation option is more time consuming and usually involves renovation in more than one room in your house to accommodate the added space.

In case you’re having a hard time deciding which remodel is right for you, a qualified design/build remodeler like Riverside Construction can guide you through this process and help you determine which option best fits your lifestyle needs and your budget. Please contact us if you think we can help.

 

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Design Style and Functionality

Aw, now the fun begins…starting the process of thinking about what you want your bathroom to look and feel like. As you consider paint colors, tile choices, vanities and fixtures, you can start with one design item that you want to feature in your bathroom and design around it; or piece several design elements together to create your final bathroom design. There are plenty of online resources, such as Pinterest and Houzz, which make this process easy, giving you a multitude of bathroom design options to explore.  

As you narrow your choices, you will not only want to consider who will use your bathroom and how, but how your newly designed bathroom flows with the rest of your home. Consistency is key. You don’t want to add a rustic, farm-style bathroom to a 1950’s-era brick ranch home, for example. Choose from fixtures that provide a variety of style, material and color choices that match the existing design of your home.

 

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Lighting is Key

Adequate lighting is important to have throughout your home, but in the bathroom it is essential. As the bathroom increasingly becomes a place to recharge and relax, lighting requires an extra thought. When it’s done right, the payoff is great. And, you can never go wrong installing sufficient and luxurious bathroom lightingConsider these three key areas to improve lighting in your bathroom remodel:

Vanity Lighting

Top on the priority list is making sure you have the right lighting above the vanity, used for illuminating your head and face. A common mistake people make is installing recessed ceiling fixtures directly over the mirror, which cast shadows on the face. This makes daily grooming rituals, like shaving and makeup application, more difficult. Instead, vertical fixtures or sconces should be mounted on either side of the mirror to help cast an even light across the face.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible given vanity mirror size and positioning constraints. A Riverside design consultant can help you determine the best lighting placement for you.

Shower/Tub

The shower or tub is often the darkest area of the bathroom, and may require secondary task lighting. If the shower has a clear, glass door, a dedicated fixture may not be necessary. Otherwise there are plenty of moisture resistant recessed lighting options to choose from.

Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting serves as a substitute for natural light. You can consider a surface-mounted ceiling light, a pendant lamp or even a chandelier. Other options include “cove lighting”, which are rope lights hidden behind a molding dropped several inches below ceiling height – adding a soft glow around the room’s perimeter. Another option is adding a dimmer switch to adjust the mood in your bathroom.

 

Ventilation

Do you love taking long, hot, steamy showers? Did you know that you could be causing irreparable damage to your bathroom? Without proper ventilation, all of that humidity and moisture built-up in your bathroom creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can damage the drywall, flooring, wood framing and even your cabinets.

Thankfully, with proper ventilation, you can enjoy your hot, steamy showers and ensure your bathroom remodel lasts for many years to come. An adequate bathroom exhaust ventilation fan does just the trick. It removes excess moisture, odors and even mold spores that can lead to health problems. Before choosing a ventilation fan, make sure it is large enough to accommodate the size of your bathroom. There are also great fan options that include features like humidity sensors, automatic timers and built-in nightlights.

 

Think Long Term (Universal Design)

Once you decide to remodel your bathroom, it is important to maximize your investment by remodeling with your future in mind. Consider the principles of universal design, which is the design and composition of an environment that can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.  

Whether you are planning to live out your retirement in your home, or eventually sell it, you’ll want to consider universal design principles when remodeling your bathroom. Grab bars, wider doorways, shower seating and non-slip flooring will go a long way towards maximizing your investment.

 

Efficient Use of Space

If you’re like most homeowners, you never have enough storage space. When you’re planning a bathroom remodel, it is a perfect time to design plenty of added storage into your new cabinetry, shelving and even custom nooks.

If your bathroom footprint will remain the same, there are many creative ways to squeeze a little extra storage out of your existing space.

For example, while a pedestal sink may speak to your design sensibilities, choosing a vanity instead provides you with plenty of extra storage.  Adding niches and shelves in the shower create space for your toiletries, while keeping items off of the floor; and installing a medicine cabinet is an easy way to keep beauty supplies off of your countertop.  

For questions about remodeling a bathroom in your home, contact Riverside Construction today!

Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

We also schedule complimentary bathroom remodeling seminars regularly each month. Let us know your interest in attending by signing up today.

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