Top 5 Bathroom Do’s and Don’ts
Bathrooms are the smallest rooms in our homes, but between the plumbing, the lighting, the fixtures, the finishes and the layout, they require more thought and more work per square meter than any other part of the house. Here are 5 do’s and 5 don’ts to consider as you plan and execute your bathroom renovation.
1. Ask Yourself “How Often Do I Take a Bath?”
If you’re like most people, the answer is “almost never.” You take a shower every day, though, right? Instead of accommodating a full size tub, consider a large, luxurious walk-in shower. From rain heads to body sprays to steam generators to his and hers shower heads, the spa-like options are limitless. While some of these fixtures require a more complex installation, the fact that you will use them, literally, every day, may make them worthwhile. Having no tub is not right for every bathroom though. For resale purposes, your home should have at least one tub in it. Also, manufacturers have accommodated the trend towards showers with smaller tubs. If you want the best of both words, but don’t have a large space to work with, consider a smaller tub and a larger shower.
The fact is the bathroom door in many homes is often left open. And, the toilet is the one fixture you and your guests probably don’t want to see when walking by. Locate it away from the door if at all possible. Also, consider designing a room within a room to house the toilet. If that’s not possible, build a knee wall, or half wall to minimize its visibility. Better yet, tuck the toilet behind a storage piece, whether it is built-in or a piece of furniture like an armoire or dresser. If you’re after that spa-like feel, keep the toilet hidden.
Depending upon how long you plan to be in your home, you may want to consider its next owner. They might have children. They might be older and less mobile. If you’re going to sell your home some day, design the bathroom for a wide range of lifestyles. If you plan to live in your house forever, design the bathroom so that it fits your needs for the long term. We don’t like to think about it, but eventually, we might like to have a bathroom that accommodates us as we age. The concept of Universal Design, or the design of products to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, is gaining popularity and an increasing variety of attractive, accommodating bathroom products are available.
We use wood on the exterior of our homes where it is exposed to continual moisture and weather. Why not in the bathroom, then? Wood, when treated and installed correctly, can stand up to the wet, humid conditions of a bathroom and also offer a change of pace from the typical tile that clads nearly every surface of the typical bathroom. Wood simply looks, feels and even smells different than most other materials in the bathroom and can be a welcome contrast to stone or porcelain. As flooring, wood has a much warmer feel, when you step out of the shower, than tile. As cladding on a wall or ceiling, it can be a gorgeous accent.
1. Don’t Move the Plumbing (Unless You Have to)
Unless the current layout of your current bathroom is completely non-functional, consider redesigning the space with the fixtures in the same location. This will prevent you from having to move the plumbing lines, which is an expensive endeavor. If plumbing fixtures need to be moved slightly, that’s OK, but when you start adding plumbing to walls that previously did not have it, that’s when the plumber’s bill starts to skyrocket.
2. Don’t Buy Materials Online Without Seeing (and Touching) Them First
You’re going to see, and use the materials and fixtures in your bathroom frequently. Therefore, it is incredibly important to see them with your own eyes and touch them with your own hands before you spend money on them. Digital images can only tell so much of the story. The color of many popular surface materials such as quartz, marble and granite can vary significantly between samples. Ideally, you’ll select the actual piece of stone that your materials are cut from. Additionally, lighting fixtures that look great online may overpower the room when you install them. Plumbing fixtures may have a more glossy finish than you envisioned. Visiting a showroom or design center before you spend your money will prevent any disappointment.
3. Don’t Overspend on Trendy Fixtures and Finishes
You want quality materials, but popular design trends can become outdated in as little as five years. If your design aesthetic is more towards the modern and the trendy, consider buying your fixtures from the discount store instead of a high-end retailer, as you may need to replace them in a few years. If your aesthetic is more timeless, classic or neutral, feel free to spend up, but consider consulting with a designer before you take the plunge.
4. Don’t Overlook Storage
You’ve perfectly situated the sink, the tub, the shower and the toilet, but what about towels, toiletries, extra soap, your hair drier, make-up, moisturizers, hair spray, nail clippers, shaving cream…? A lack of storage in the bathroom can be a major inconvenience. That pedestal sink may be sleek and slender, but a vanity cabinet offers more storage. A beautiful framed mirror above the sink is attractive, but it doesn’t house small toiletries like a recessed medicine cabinet can. Did you plan wall space for a towel rack, shelving or even a cabinet? Do you have space to for a small closet? What furniture piece would fit in that leftover space in the corner? These are all questions to ask yourself before you start renovating your bathroom.
5. Don’t Do It All Yourself
From plumbing to electrical to tiling to cabinetry, bathroom renovations require a wide range of very specific skill sets. Chances are, you don’t possess all of them, even if you are the most accomplished do-it-yourselfer. For the average weekend warrior, the best return on investment they’re going to get on their time is at the beginning and end of the renovation. Go ahead and demo the old bathroom at the beginning (just don’t forget to turn off the water) and feel free to paint the walls at the end, but unless you are very experienced, leave the more complicated jobs to the trades. Because of the variety of trades involved, the services of a well-qualified general contractor (GC) are well worth the investment. A good GC will not only keep the trades on schedule and help keep the job within budget, but will also help you plan the job from start to finish, ensuring that nothing gets overlooked and that the results meet or exceed your expectations.
Want to read more?