Renovating a bathroom can be an incredibly valuable decision for homeowners to make, giving them access to a more functional, more beautiful bathroom space while also increasing the eventual sale price of the home. Unfortunately, many people make bathroom renovation mistakes that delay the process or cost them dearly.
Understanding these potential mistakes can help you avoid them – and ultimately get the bathroom of your dreams faster, less expensively, and with fewer headaches along the way.
Bathroom renovations are complex projects, so it’s understandable why mistakes like these are so common:
1. Thinking a Full Renovation is Strictly Necessary
First, it’s important to conduct an honest assessment of what’s missing in your bathroom and what you want your bathroom to look like in the future. In some cases, a full renovation is realistic and arguably necessary; if you’re completely changing the layout, you’ll need to tear everything down and effectively rebuild the room from scratch.
But this isn’t always necessary, and it’s not always the best move financially. If you’re happy with where things are, you might be able to simply upgrade your fixtures, install new lighting, and make the room feel like new without spending a fortune.
2. Trusting a Personal Vision
Do you have a vision for what you want your bathroom to look like? If you’re an interior designer, or if you have experience with remodeling, you can probably trust that vision. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to talk to professionals, look at other modern bathrooms, and expand your knowledge and perspective.
There are practically infinite possibilities for your bathroom, and not all of them are equally valuable. If you end up stuck with an ugly or obsolete bathroom, you’re going to be unhappy with your investment.
3. Failing to Budget
Speaking of investing, you need to be diligent and cautious with how you budget for this renovation. If you allocate too little money, it could jeopardize the integrity of the project. If you write a blank check, you could end up overspending. It’s important to do your research, understand the value of the changes you want to make, and budget responsibly so you pay a reasonable amount for what you want/need.
4. Neglecting Ventilation
Bathrooms are moist environments that often need some kind of ventilation. Taking a shower, for example, generates a lot of steam and extra moisture that can spur the growth of mold and mildew. Simply installing a fan in the right location can make a huge difference in the long term.
5. Scrimping on the Wrong Items
If you’re working with a tight budget, or if you just want to be as cost-effective as possible, it’s important to make some compromises and save money where you can. But there’s such a thing as scrimping on the wrong items; if you invest in cheap plastic hardware, you’re almost certainly going to be disappointed with the results. Sometimes, it makes sense to pay a little more to get access to better quality.
6. Cramming Too Much Into a Small Space
In most bathroom remodeling projects, you’re stuck with a fixed amount of space. Unless you plan on tearing down walls and making additions to your house, there’s a limited amount of square footage that you’ll have to work with.
You might have ideas for new fixtures and storage areas to include in your bathroom, which is perfectly acceptable, but you must exercise caution to avoid cramming too much into a space that’s too small.
7. Going Small on Storage
Storage is another major consideration when renovating a bathroom. You’ll need a place to store your towels, wash clothes, toiletries, and personal items. As a general rule, you can never have too much storage; it’s much better to have too much than not enough. Err on the side of caution by getting more storage than you think you truly need.
8. Having Too Much (or Too Little) Lighting
Lighting makes a big difference in how you perceive and enjoy your bathroom. If you have too much or too little lighting, it can cause significant issues.
9. Doing the Work Yourself (Without Experience)
If you have experience remodeling bathrooms, or if you’re an avid DIYer who’s tackled hundreds of projects in the past, you may be capable of doing all or most of the work yourself. Otherwise, you’re much better off hiring a professional.
Doing the work yourself without adequate experience or knowledge could lead you to make costly mistakes that ultimately negate the benefits of doing the work yourself.
10. Hiring Unreliable Contractors
That said, you need to exercise good judgment in who you hire. Not all contractors are equally skilled or reliable, so do your due diligence and choose an option that deserves your full confidence. Get referrals from people you know if you can!
The Remodeling Process
Depending on how much you’re doing and who you’ve hired, a bathroom remodel takes an average of 23 days to complete, with some projects lasting 2 months or longer. Keep in mind that during that time, you probably won’t have access to your bathroom.
With proper attention and proactive planning, you can avoid most of the mistakes that would otherwise jeopardize your project. It’s probably not going to be perfect, no matter how much you plan – but you can at least keep your costs low and increase the value of the finished work.