Bathroom Remodel 101


One of the most common home improvement projects is the bathroom remodel. Unless you’re a professional contractor, it can be daunting starting your first bathroom rejuvenation. What is a reasonable budget? How much space does the bathtub need? What vanity will fit perfectly with the overall design? This guide will help first-timers answer these questions and more.



Average Cost of Bathroom Remodel

Low-End Price: $3,000 - $8,000

Average Price: $10,000 - $15,000

High End Price: $35,000 - $100,000


At the start of any project, you will want to balance expectations with the cost. First, know the size of the project. If going for a full renovation, you’ll need to consider replacing toilets, sinks, and showers as well as cabinets, vanities, and other fixtures. You can save a lot on your bathroom remodel budget by opting to go for a refresh instead. This would include refinishing the bathroom tile and changing out hardware such as handles, faucets, and showerheads.


Next, decide if the labor will be done in-house or you will contract a third party. Bathroom renovation will typically require a designer, plumber, tiler, and painter. Some of these can be done yourself while others require a specialist. Be honest with yourself and your skill level. The savings to be had from doing everything yourself will be negated if you have to call in a professional to fix any mistakes.


Once the budget is set, it is time to decide on materials. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has a great general cost breakdown:


  • 20% Labor
  • 16% Cabinetry/Hardware
  • 15% Fixtures
  • 14% Faucets/Plumbing
  • 9% Flooring
  • 7% Countertops
  • 5% Walls/Ceilings
  • 4% Doors/Windows
  • 4% Design Fees
  • 1% Other


This is a great guide to follow but will change depending on your tastes and needs. Avoid overspending on superfluous items and focus on the main elements of the bathroom such as sinks, showers, and toilets.

Bathroom Remodeling Tips

1. Put the Toilet Out of View. All bathroom designers will say that the rookie mistake of a remodel is having the toilet right in front of the door. Toilets aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing and should not be the first thing guests see when entering the bathroom. Also, think about preventing the future embarrassment from any “no-knock” guests and people who forget to lock the bathroom door.


2. Come Up with a Lighting Scheme. Many underestimate the importance of lighting in a bathroom. As the bathroom is where one goes to beautify, it is important to use the best lighting. Sconce lighting at the vanity is a great way to get even lighting on faces and reduce unflattering shadows. Dim lighting over the bath is perfect for relaxation. When applying make-up or shaving, it’s best to have brighter lights. Lastly, you can make a small bathroom seem larger by adding more overall lighting. 


3. Ventilation. What good is splurging on a remodel when your bathroom is covered in mold and mildew after just a few short months? Moisture is the bathroom’s number one enemy, so install a vent fan that is appropriate for the square footage of the bathroom.


4. Picking the Right Vanity. The vanity is often the focal point of a bathroom as so much time is spent standing at it. Be sure to measure the size of the vanity as squeezing a large fixture into a small space will overpower the flow of the bathroom. Balance design and durability when choosing cabinets and tile to avoid maintenance issues down the line. 


5. What is the Right Height for a Sink? Most countertops stand at 32” to 34” off the ground. Take into account how much a sink will add or detract from a countertop’s height. If using a sink that sits on top of the counter, you will need to lower the countertop height to wash hands and brush teeth comfortably.


6. Save Money by Keeping Plumbing in Place. While it may seem simple to swap the sink and the toilet, don’t forget the underlying costs associated with moving the plumbing. Spending less money on rerouting plumbing will free up the budget for higher quality shower tile or nicer looking cabinets.


Final Thoughts

Remodeling a bathroom is exacting, but by creating a budget that reflects expectations and following a few simple tips, you can alleviate many concerns. As always, it is strongly recommended to consult with a designer before beginning any major renovation and the designers at Kitchen & Bath Ideas have a combined 100+ years experience. Contact us for a free consultation today.


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