What’s the first thing you see when you think of your bathroom reno? If you picture yourself jack hammering away, allow us to kill that thought bubble for a moment with a start-to-finish plan that will deliver the goods, and help you maintain your sanity.
Whether this is your first bathroom renovation, or you have renovated before, you already know that wet areas require careful planning to make sure the renovation runs smoothly and costly mistakes are avoided. So grab yourself a coffee, pin or print this blog post, and let’s go!
Pick your bathroom theme.
Yes, you are allowed to start with some fun, and Pinterest lovers it is time you created your ‘Bathroom Inspo’ board. Spend some time looking through magazines, or googling away. Very quickly you will establish a pattern of likes and, before you know it, you have discovered your new bathroom theme. What is it that makes a particular bathroom look appealing to you? Is it light and airy? Does it have that 5-star hotel look? Is it masculine and minimalistic? Or is it feminine and tranquil? Create a collage, a Pinterest board, or even use words that describe your design brief because clarity is key!
Should it stay or should it go? Lay it out.
You’ve got the vision, and now it’s time to make it fit into your existing dimensions. Repositioning things like the toilet or shower can be costly, so have a look at your budget and decide whether moving things around is optional or necessary. When it comes to layout, bathroom sketches are totally acceptable, as long as all measurements are correct and all bathroom elements have been factored in.
On that note, what’s your budget?
Be realistic and assess the importance of your project. Yes, well-renovated bathrooms will add significant value to your property, but you shouldn’t over invest on a rental bathroom, nor can you afford to sacrifice functionality or design if it’s the bathroom you’ll enjoy at your home for the next 30 years. Set a budget and allow a buffer for unexpected costs.
Start shopping: tiles and accessories.
Have we mentioned how much we love tile shopping? Tiles can take your bathroom from drab to fab, and the result is often dramatic. Choosing a feature tile? Choose with caution, because what is ‘on trend’ now is likely to date quickly. Found the tiles you love? Consider going from floor-to-ceiling to create the illusion of a bigger bathroom.
When it comes to cost, we believe that ‘the squeaky wheel get’s all the oil’; if you don’t ask, you don’t receive, and we always ask for a discount! We often hunt for minimum supply tiles; these are tiles that are nearly sold out or discontinued and are heavily discounted – sometimes up to 70 percent off, and quite often we can get the quantities we need.
Dollars are important but so are aesthetics. If your bathroom is relatively small, you can afford to spend a few extra dollars on a more impressive tile, and you won’t regret it; these are dollars well spent!
Once you’ve ordered your tiles, it’s time to choose other accessories, and one thing you need to remember is that people are attracted to shiny things! For a tiny splurge you can make a significant design impact by choosing quality accessories and tapware that will match and enhance your bathroom theme. Every accessory must meet your aesthetic brief but, more importantly, it must always serve you functionally, because no one wants a toilet brush holder that looks good but splatters the room whenever you use it.
Choose your counter top.
This is your budget deal breaker as it can vary the end cost of your renovation depending on what material you decide to use. A laminate counter top will be significantly cheaper than a marble one, so how do you decide if it’s worth spending the extra dollars? Simply decide what bathroom element will be your‘show stopper’ and leverage your costs according to that, but remember, balance is key. An exquisite and over the top ornate bath tub will never marry well with a cheap laminate counter top.
What everyone forgets: storage.
Never underestimate how much storage you need. Yes, off-the-shelf vanities are cheaper, but often lose big points when it comes down to functional storage. The solution to this is simple; if you are renovating a bathroom for an investment property aimed for selling as a family home, think of how many products an average family will use. If you are renovating your own bathroom, have a good look at your own items; because let’s be honest, no one likes a counter top that’s cluttered with cosmetics. For better results, opt for concealed storage like mirrored doors that double as shelves.
Your new bathroom will receive high star ratings if you consider the impact your design choices have both on the environment, and your pocket. Water efficient showerheads are the norm these days, and under-floor heating is an energy-efficient luxury that won’t break the bank.
It’s demo time
Back to the jack hammering…but wait, there is one more step before you start tearing the place down. Are your walls made out of Gyprock? If so, pulling tiles will compromise its structural integrity and you’ll need to replace the entire wall. Do you know where your pipes are located? And have you spoken with your electrician about the existing wiring? Whatever you do, don’t go in blindly.
Let the experts help you.
You are more than capable of tackling a number of bathroom renovation tasks, but certain tasks must be done by skilled and certified trades people in order to meet building and construction standards. Waterproofing is one of them! Unlike the rest of the house, the more hands you have on a bathroom renovation, the slower it may go. Family and friends are great for doing things on the cheap, but a bathroom is a tight space, which also requires experienced hands. Hire good labour where your abilities stop. Get referrals, look for Master Builder Association approval and remember that a reputable tradie is often better than a cheap tradie who may end up costing you more in the long run.
Keep your sanity.
If you planned well, your renovation should go smoothly; but unexpected things happen and delays can occur. You realise how important your bathroom is when you have to use a portable toilet, or shower in other people’s bathrooms for weeks! Keep your eye on the prize, remain focused and on the task, and if emotions run high, remember that this is only a temporary situation and that very soon you’ll be celebrating with soap or champagne bubbles in you brand new bath tub!
The final touches.
Well done, you’ve made it, and now is the time to add the finishing touches. A new bathroom with towels you’ve had since 2001 that feel like sandpaper, is a big no-no! Invest in plush towels that complement your colour scheme. Add other finishing touches like a new soap pump, a new plant – an orchid maybe — candles and a reed diffuser that will keep your bathroom smelling nice and new. Then simply walk in and enjoy!
–Power duo Alisa and Lysandra are rocking the world of interiors. As past winners of The Block Sky-High, busy mothers, interior designers, and online entrepreneurs, they are in high demand for their distinct design style and hand selected homewares and furniture. Get your daily dose of their style, design tips and interiors inspiration here.