How to plan a bathroom makeover
Plan of action
Tackling a bathroom renovation can be a daunting task and one that should be given plenty of thought before diving into. Depending on the size of the room and how much structural work needs doing, the project can take anything between three or four days to several weeks, so be prepared for some upheaval during the process and plan ahead on how you and your family will be able to use the space during this time.
Before you begin, decide on a total budget for the project so you have an idea of what is achievable with the amount you wish to spend. Get quotes for the work from several different tradesmen if possible so you are able to compare their offers and make a well-informed decision, and remember to set aside around 10 per cent of the total budget as extra to cover unexpected costs that could (and most likely will) arise.
Deciding on the look and feel of your new bathroom is where your individual tastes will come into play. You may wish to create a minimalist, clean space using whites or greys, or go for something a little different with patterned tiles or a statement freestanding bath for added luxury.
Sourcing inspiration in brochures and online is a great way to gather ideas and help you narrow down the look you want to achieve—consider making a physical or digital mood board to collate your favourite images all in one place. But take care; whilst browsing Pinterest and glossy interiors magazines, it can be all too easy to get carried away! Show your ideas to your builder or designer at the start of the project and they will be able to give you a good idea of what is realistically achievable given your space and budget.
Bear in mind the size and layout of the room you’re working with, too: narrow bathrooms means the positioning of the suite can be limited and, in bigger bathrooms, moving components such as the sink, toilet, bath or shower may require replumbing which will add an extra expense that could be avoided by working around your existing layout.
Take care to think practically about the design of the overall space; avoid having the toilet as the first thing you see when entering the room and position a heated towel rail near to the shower or bath so it’s within easy reach. Factor in how much storage you will need and look for furniture accordingly such as vanity units with in-built drawers or cupboards.
Hit the shops
Once you have your design in place, it’s time to bring the project to life and get shopping. Start with the bigger elements of the room to make budgeting simpler—the bathroom suite, tiles, flooring, window dressings and heating—and then work down to the details such as lighting, paint and accessories.
Your builder should be able to give you all the specifications and dimensions you need so you can shop around, or they may be able to recommend products themselves or inform you of any retailers at which they are entitled to a discount. Remember to always check online to compare prices before buying, as there are often deals to be had on different websites for identical products.
It’s also worth checking your existing suite to see whether any of it is salvageable and could be re-used in the new design; freestanding baths are expensive to buy new, for example, so if you are lucky enough to already have one, considering revamping it with specialised resurfacing kit and bath enamel paint to give it a new lease of life.