Bathroom renovation is a long and daunting process that requires a lot of planning and proper advice from the right people. The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your house, especially when it comes to reselling value of a property. It’s because of this that a lot of people renovate their bathrooms even if there was nothing wrong with it. They renovate the bathroom to give it a modern and comfortable look or to make it more practical and luxurious.
Whatever your reasons for renovation are, there are a lot of technical things you need to bear in mind. The bathroom is a small and compact place with a lot of different things that need to be taken care of and this is what makes bathroom renovation a tricky task. However, with the right bathroom renovation advice, you can get all the things right.
Bathrooms are one of the most used rooms in any home, so it’s important to have a fully working bathroom as well as being a pleasant room to be in. Bathroom renovation offers homeowners the opportunity to remodel one of the most used rooms in their homes. The renovation will allow the homeowner to express themselves through the colour, the style of fittings and the material they select. This reflects the taste of the owner therefore, a lot of people are now paying attention to how their bathroom looks. Gone are the days when the bathroom was just an essential commodity of a house. Nowadays, bathrooms are a place of the house which is your escape haven from the tasks of everyday life.
The renovation consists of some tasks that may require professional help, such as plumbing, electric work and tiling etc. As bathrooms are smaller than most kitchens this makes the renovation process even more challenging due to reduced floor and wall space and a lot of different technicalities. However, with proper guidance and professional bathroom renovation advice, you can make this process much easier for yourself.
Table of Contents
In this article we’ll cover:
- Planning Your Bathroom
- Understand Any New Regulations
- Research in New Technology
- Tips for Choosing The Right Flooring
- Freestanding Items
- How to Create Optical Illusion
- Some Low-Cost Bathroom Renovation Tips
Planning Your Bathroom
As with any other renovation tasks you need proper planning before undertaking any work, and bathroom renovations are no exception. It requires a lot of planning which you can break into easy steps so you don’t miss out on any important aspect. These are:
Gauge Your Necessities
The first things you will need is to know and understand your requirements and why you are planning to renovate your bathroom. Is it a family bathroom you want to make or a spa room where you can relax or do you want a small but functional en suite? Once you know the purpose and your key priorities you can then move on to the specifications of the bathroom.
These questions will help you to decide on the layout and design of the bathroom that you want. So, if for example, you want a spa room where you can relax you would want to go for more luxurious fittings. Whereas, for a family bathroom that is being used by all the members of the household, you will want simpler design but more space with all the necessary functions of a household bathroom. If you are renovating to resell a bath instead of a shower will be more attractive.
Have Realistic Expectations
Keep the size of your bathroom in mind when you make plans for renovation and design. A small bathroom with a lot of things will only look busy, rather than the ideal design that you wish for. So, focus on what you can get in the space that you have with practicality. Even if you fit in really expensive decoration but it doesn’t go with the size of your bathroom, it will look anything but perfect.
Have a realistic approach on what you can have rather than what you want it to be and then plan accordingly. There will still be plenty of options available you will like that will suit your bathroom better.
Make a Blueprint
Once you have a clear idea of what you want, make a blueprint of the design and layout that you have in your mind into a visual design that you can show and discuss with others. You could show this design to the family members to have a second opinion and to get more ideas on what they would like in the bathroom.
You may wish to share this diagram with the professional bathroom fitters or designers who will help you to choose the material for your design. They can also give you practical advice to show you if your idea will work and give you other alternatives too.
If possible, do not change the existing layout of your bathroom as it will be more cost-effective to rebuild on the same outline. This is because it will require a lot more labour to move the water pipes from where they are now to where you want them to be. So, if the current layout still works for you, rebuild on the same pattern. You can replace flooring, fittings and other fixtures which will be cost-effective and quicker.
If, however, you do need to change the layout, you need to take measurements of your bathroom. Draw the doors, windows, fixtures and pipes on a piece of paper or take the help of any online designing tool.
Do Your Research
When we say research, there are several things you can do. You can ask your friends and family for recommendations on their tried and trusted professional bathroom designers who can give you valuable bathroom renovation advice and help you to choose a design.
Select a design and colour scheme as soon as possible. This process also requires a lot of research. You can look up online or visit stores or even go through the interior design catalogues. Although it is the last thing to get fitted in, the earlier you get it out of the way the better. This is because once you have selected a design you can make your mind again if there are any doubts before the bathroom fitting starts.
Also, once you have selected a design you can start placing the orders for the raw material such as tiles, fixtures and decoration. The equipment also takes a couple of weeks or at least a few days to get delivered and you don’t want to be waiting with your half-done project for everything to arrive. If you are taking the help of professional fitters, they will take care of everything for you, but even in this case, you will have to decide on the design yourself.
Make A Budget
Another good way to plan your bathroom renovation is to divide all elements into a budget. You can make a budget on how much you can spend on each specification. For example, if you want a rainfall shower, you don’t want to spend all your budget for the bathroom renovation on one item only. You can have an economical rainfall shower and allocate the rest of the money to other items such as toilet, sink, flooring, storage and other fixtures and fittings.
It is advisable, as well as sensible that budget must be allocated fairly on all areas. You can’t have a beautiful bathroom unless all items are given equal attention. If you have spent all money on one commodity, the other items will look cheap compared to that and so, the overall look of the bathroom will not be what you wanted.
Pick A Service
If your budget allows it, go for a professional bathroom designer and fitter. They can take care of everything from choosing a design to fittings, decoration and installation. It may not be the cheapest option but as the professional fitters are the expert in their work, they can finish the whole project a lot quicker than if you’re going to do it yourself.
The other options are DIY or hiring your builder. These options are more cost-effective but have additional risks or costs involved. If you do decide to do the job yourself, you might still need to hire an electrician and plumber to do the technical bits for you. If you do hire the builder, they may be able to do the installation for you but you might have to arrange for the buying and delivering yourself.
With this in mind, the cheapest option may not be the best option sometimes, especially when you are planning for something long-lasting and important to your home. It is ideal to get three quotes from local fitters allowing you to understand the average cost and letting you get the best deal possible. Also, ask your friends and family for recommendations and research their reputation and reviews.
Plenty of Storage
As you plan to renovate your bathroom, you’ll have an ideal image of it in your mind and you wouldn’t want any ‘extras’. But over the years you might regret not having that extra space for storage, for example, if the family has grown or your needs have changed. Therefore, it is never a bad idea to have some extra space if possible.
You will never regret some storage facility in your home, including the bathroom. It will not affect the look of your bathroom as you can still have several storage options which enhances the look of your bathroom. For example, mirrored cabinets can hide away all those toiletries and bottles that you don’t want to be seen on display and also add to the beauty of the bathroom.
When it comes to lighting you do not want a careless job. You can choose from a variety of lighting styles and options for your bathroom and also where you want them to be placed. For example, if you are renovating your en suite or even a family bathroom close to the bedrooms, you do not want the lights to be placed in the direction where it will reach the bedroom.
The main reason is if anyone takes a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night, they do not want to wake everyone up by bright light. So you can choose a light with dimming option so no one gets disturbed. Also, you can choose the motion sensor style for your bathroom lights, which is cost-effective (if anyone has the habit of forgetting to turn the lights off) as well as being much easier for children as often they can not reach the light switch or pull cord.
It’s often easier and also advisable to follow the trends when it comes to choosing a flooring design or style. For example, tiles are the trend most people go for these days. They are easy to manage and clean and give a neat look. The wall and floor tiles are often matched in design and colour combination.
Choosing the right surface is crucial as it may make or break the overall design of your bathroom. Small tiles and lots of patterns will make a small bathroom look too busy. However, choosing some bright colours and bold patterned tiles may be just ideal for a bigger bathroom and make it look ‘fuller’ without having a congested feel.
It is important to take care of ventilation facilities in your bathroom. Just an open window may not be enough in some cases. For example, if you are making an en suite, you do not want the moisture to seep into your room. Apart from a window, you also need an extractor fan. Make sure the window opens enough to get the steam out once you have taken a bath.
The extractor fan must function such that it runs a few minutes after the light has been turned off so that the hot air gets clear. This is an important thing to bear in mind when planning your bathroom renovation as the steam can seep into the bathroom furniture and if you have wooden fittings, may damage the wood over time.
Revaluate For Extra Room- Think Vertical
Step back and look at your existing bathroom, and identify places where you could have utilised the space better. There will always be places/ areas which could have been used better in every bathroom. This could be from where you have the towel rail to wall hanging cupboards. Most people don’t think vertical but rather concentrate on worktop space. When we say ‘think vertical’ we mean above the door or under the sink. A towel shelf above the door is a great way to use the space which otherwise would have remained unused.
For smaller bathrooms an all in one unit is ideal. The unit incorporates the sink and toilet in one space leaving you ample amount of space. The unit breaks away from conventional designs but would create the extra space you need.
Another way to create extra room in a tight and small bathroom is by using built-in units for decorative items. A great example of this is a built-in soap dispenser or medicine cabinet.
Understand Any New Regulations
Bathrooms are not renovated every year, and this could mean new regulations have been implemented since your existing bathroom was fitted. Your renovation plans must meet the current UK building regulations.
Some of the things that need to meet the legal regulations, and must be considered while doing a renovation are:
The bathroom is one of the rooms in your home which would have higher moisture exposure. For this reason, you must factor in good ventilation to prevent damp and mould which can be harmful to you and your home.
Building regulations state bathroom must be ventilated via a window or an extractor fan. Though it is not a necessity to have both, new bathrooms are guided by stricter rules. Stating the bathroom must have an extractor that extracts at a rate of at least 15 litres per minute and continues to run for 15 minutes after the light has been switched off.
A window which opens less than 15 degrees is not deemed suitable for bathrooms due to the lack of ventilation.
As we all know, water and electricity can be a lethal combination. For this reason, all electrical work in bathrooms is to be conducted by a qualified registered electrician, if this it nor adhered to, the work completed would be illegal.
Light switches in bathrooms should be operated by a pull cord if within the bathroom or fitted outside the bathroom if it’s a conventional switch.
Research In New Technology
With homeowners spending thousands of pounds on the latest technology, bathrooms are usually the room that’s missed. No longer, however, as bathrooms are becoming smarter!
Have you thought about having a TV in the bathroom? This once crazy idea is now the norm in many households, new waterproof HD/4K touchscreen TV’s are now readily available on the market allowing you to enjoy your favourite shows whilst soaking in a warm bath.
How else would you enjoy watching your TV in the bathroom? In a whirlpool bath of course. The whirlpool bath offers the highest degree of luxury and creates the most relaxing environment with the gentle bubbles giving you a message. To take the experience a step further, mood lighting creates that spa-like atmosphere, although this would increase your cost.
WC Wash “n” Dry Bidet systems is a system which will change your toilet experience. The system will flush automatically, wash and dry you also. The system would benefit every person but especially those with mobility constraints. If you do not wish to part with large sums of money to have an all in one toilet system, additional add ons are also available on the market.
Have you ever gotten out the shower and looked into the mirror to see a clouded reflection? To avoid this, demisting pads can be bought for mirrors. By adding the pads to the back of your mirror you can heat the mirror to approx. 30c preventing condensation.
Tips For Choosing the Right Flooring
One of the most important elements to creating the perfect bathroom is selecting the perfect floor. The best renovation advice is to select flooring which can cope with humidity, water spills, and temperature changes and is easy to maintain.
Tiled floors are the most popular and most suited floor. The tiles do not just allow you a large variety of choice in finding the right colour/ design but are the most hygienic option. Where carpet is the worst option, tiles are easy to clean and cleaning products can be applied on most tiles with no worry.
Tiles are not affected when exposed to moisture and temperature changes faced within bathrooms. Floor tiles should not be gloss finish as these can become dangerous when wet, some form of texture is the best option for safety reasons.
When choosing tiles for larger floor space, its best to choose larger tiles, this will make the tiles more visually pleasing and save you money. Another useful renovation tip regarding tiling is to start in the middle of the room and working your way to the sides. This allows for all the smaller cuttings to be on the sides rather than in the middle of your bathroom.
To reduce your costs and for easier fitting, laminate would be an alternative. It is important that you choose a laminate which is durable and waterproof and a must avoid would be a laminate with an expansion-prone chipboard core.
A unique way of adding more decorative to your bathroom is to have one smart freestanding item. The first thing that comes to mind is a bathtub, which is also a good idea if you have enough space for that as it adds to the beauty of the bathroom. However, you can also have other freestanding items such as a cabinet or a stylish chair.
How to Create an Optical Illusion
With the size of the average bathroom in the UK being smaller than other countries around the world, a top bathroom renovation tip is to create the sense the bathroom is larger than its actual size. These simple steps can give the illusion the size of your bathroom has increased.
Having patterned paint or a deigned wallpaper on the walls of the bathroom gives a crowded feel and take away from the size. Giving your bathroom a simple paint colour on all walls with making the bathroom immediately feel more spacious.
Neutral and light shades are perfect for increased perception of the size of the bathroom, making it seem bigger. Popular colours which work well for this are pastel colours or neutral shades such as off-white and beige. Once you have chosen the right colour an easy and smart method often used is to furnish the bathroom using the furniture’s colour to finish the look of the room.
If this is too plain for your liking, an addition of a feature wall is the perfect way to bring character and style to your bathroom. A top tip for any feature wall is to select and use a blank wall, ideally without a window or door. By painting, tiling or creating a mosaic design, this will bring life to any bathroom and importantly will not sacrifice visual space.
Have an Exposed Wall
Another creative idea for visual effects and creating more design is to have an exposed wall. With that, we mean that a brick style wall which gives the illusion of an exposed wall that has not been painted. There are many smart options available to choose for the design of the bricks that you would like in your bathroom.
Another advantage of this design, apart from adding beauty to the room is that it saves paint or tiling on the wall. It is also easy to maintain as it doesn’t go off colour or gather limescale very quickly.
A smart way of using an optical illusion to make your small bathroom look bigger is by choosing one whole side of the room to be a mirrored wall. A mirrored wall will increase the size of your bathroom to double. Plus, it has other advantages such as saves paint, saves tiling etc. However, it has to be cleaned and maintained regularly.
Floor tiles like most things do not increase or decrease the size of your bathroom. By choosing the correct tiles, you can give the illusion your bathroom is larger.
Often people think using smaller tiles will give the illusion the bathroom is larger, but the smaller the size of the tiles and the more grouting lines make the floor space look too busy and give a congested feel. By having larger tiles in lighter colours and less grouting lines, the floor would look less busy and give the visual impression of a larger floor.
Wall tiles work similarly, having smaller dark coloured or patterned tiles make the walls look busy and ultimately the bathroom will look smaller. A top tip is to use larger and light-coloured tiles. By adding mirrors instantly makes the room look larger.
A common mistake a lot of people make is when they are installing lighting in the bathroom. One of the most popular rooms to groom, dress or inspect yourself is the bathroom but dim and focused lighting makes this difficult. A simple solution would be to add lighting around the mirror which would enhance lighting where it is most needed.
Doors are also another element of the bathroom that is not given the attention it deserves. The reason for not paying attention to the doors is, once you enter the bathroom, you will only notice the interior and not where you came in from. However, this is not always true.
The way your bathroom door looks may make or break the look of the room. In a small bathroom especially, a door can change the whole look of the room. A big and bulky door would probably look too much in a small space. However, to create more space in a smaller room, sliding doors are a good alternative. This option can also be used if you have a shower screen or walk-in shower.
Some Low-Cost Bathroom Renovation Tips
If you are not looking for a whole makeover for your bathroom that will cost you a fortune, you can make small changes such as updating the decoration or making small renovation improvements to your bathroom. Sometimes, even small changes make a big difference and will give your bathroom a new and fresh look. Some of the simple ideas you can do to improve your bathroom are:
Have a colour coordinated bathroom. If your bathroom has over the years gone from one or two main colours into a mixture of many different colours, its time you can remove all the different coloured bits. You can pick one colour of your choice or a combination of two complementing colours at the most and replace everything with those two colours. Some examples of things you can coordinate are shower curtains, linens, soap and toothbrush dispenser, shampoo rack etc.
Go for a bold wallpaper for one of the walls in your bathroom, that will stand out above all other things. That way, you can hide away the outdated items such as the taps and shower without really having to them.
Replacing your vanity with a new one, can change the style of the bathroom immediately without a lot of effort or money. You can buy a matching set of countertop and mirror to have a perfectly coordinated vanity upgrade. Alternatively, you can repaint the vanity area in any colours of your choice, making it more cost-friendly.