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Our Complete Guide to Bathroom Renovations

Our Complete Guide to Bathroom Renovations

Our Complete Guide to Bathroom Renovations

You deserve a better bathroom—whether it’s through a quick touchup or a full remodel. Read our expert tips (and find out how our experts can help you) to a breezy bathroom renovation.

We’ll be the first ones to admit that the average cost bathroom renovations and even bathroom updates can be a pretty penny. The minute any walls are taken down or any plumbing is adjusted, your pocketbook takes a hit. This is how people end up with outdated powder rooms, stuck in the candy-pink ‘50s, the milk-glass green ‘70s, or even the carpeted ‘80s (yes, that was a thing—we don’t know why, but it was).

Bringing your bathroom into the current age is worth it though. Figuring out a new bathroom layout, incorporating modern bathroom tile, and making statements with majestic bathtubs is easy—with us and with this handy guide in mind. Here are our tricks to making your bathroom sparkle again.

STARTING POINTS

To start, focus on what matters.

“Consider practicality first and then move onto design,” recommends designer Shannon Tate. Similar to our kitchen renovation advice, before you start tearing out walls or ordering custom fixtures think about you and everyone else in your home will use the bathroom. How large is your space? Is it your space? You and your partner’s space? You and your family’s space? Are you the type that enjoys long soaks in the tub? Its primary needs (and any limitations) will dictate how it’s designed.

WHAT’S THE SCOPE?

Look at your bathroom carefully prior to beginning work. Can you brighten up the space through curated à la carte items and individual fixture replacements or is it truly in need of the full bathroom renovation? If the space just needs a facelift, adding details like vintage rugs, art, new lighting fixtures, or even something as simple as a new paint color can do the trick. But sometimes, that’s just not enough.

Decisions like tearing down walls, rearranging plumbing, and adding new flooring require the right team (ahem, us). Projects that include such changes often start at $15k—and when it comes to plumbing or electrical work, DIY isn’t the way to go. Leave the construction to the professionals.

Luckily, our Build Services team can save the day. We have a network of vetted contractors and architects who will make your design dreams reality, all while managing the less-fun-than-finding-tile-parts like billing and bidding.

LAY IT OUT

If you decide to go with the full renovation route, it’s time to start considering what should go where. As Homepolish designer Angela Belt says, “If you own your apartment or your home, you shouldn’t have to settle for a bad bathroom layout. Let’s face it—you’re in the bathroom every single day, and it has a relatively small square footage compared to the rest of your home. Maximizing space with the proper layout is of the utmost importance.”

In order to find the perfect configuration, think about what you find difficult in the current space. No space to spread your products? Poor lighting? Reflect on bathrooms you’ve adored and try to identify what worked in those particular spaces. In the planning phase, there are no wrong answers, so challenge the traditional ways of placing things and see if you stumble upon something new.

“If you own your apartment or your home, you shouldn’t have to settle for a bad bathroom layout. Let’s face it—you’re in the bathroom every single day.”

FOCUSING ON THE NECESSITIES

Even the wildest bathrooms are grounded in the same components. Here’s what you’ll need to consider for each.

Vanity: You probably think this bathroom is about you. Well, guess what? In this instance, the vanity is really all about you. Vanities (and the sinks that accompany) them come in a variety of specifications and styles, from highly customizable to set pieces that already are integrated with a countertop and under-sink storage. You’ll need to decide what you prize here—tons of storage or a slim footprint that will keep your bathroom feeling open and airy.

Sink and Shower Fixtures: Bathroom fixtures don’t have to be utilitarian—consider them additional design element to add drama to the space. The right finish, whether it be classic silver, glamorous gold, or even bold matte black can pack a punch—and there’s also stylistic choices to be made. Designers know that putting thought into these “details” will make the whole room shine.

Bathtubs: The bathtub is arguably the most luxurious part of the bathroom. And believe us, if you’re in a home with a beautiful tub, particularly a clawfoot beauty, all of us in New York are looking at you in envy from our standard, built-in porcelain piece of sadness. Bathtubs essentially come down to a matter of space and budget, but there are myriad sizes, textures, and colors out there for you to choose from.

“Freestanding tubs have made a major comeback,” our designer Jennifer Wallenstein explains. ”In addition to the clawfoot, there are also some beautiful modern versions as well, such as this Kreeo tub carved out of a single block of marble! If that is outside your budget, look for something in that shape but in porcelain or fiberglass. Waterworks has stunning bathtubs too.”

Shower Enclosures: You can always go with the standard shower curtain if you’d like, but for a more glamorous and luxurious option, go with a glass enclosure—getting a little steamy never hurt anyone. While bathtubs and shower curtains get the job done, it can feel a little reminiscent of college dorm days.

Glass, whether it be in the form of an enclosure or a free-standing shower, has a certain gleaming, glinting element that give a spa-like environment to your bathroom. Also, you can have a little bit of fun with it; if you opt for glass doors or enclosures, you get to decide if you want clear or master carre glass, chrome or nickel door pulls, and even roman bronze or old finishes.

Toilets: You are forgiven if you haven’t put a lot of thought and research into toilet brands—but our designers know how to paw through Porcelanosa, Ferguson, Snyder Diamond, Kohler, and Duravit to find a pleasing seat. People often try to hide the toilet away, but Shannon reminds us, “Everyone expects to find a toilet, so don’t think that it’s an overtly offensive thing to see. Just keep it minimal and understated.”

WHAT’S UNDERFOOT

Let’s start with the no list. Due to the constant presence of moisture and temperature fluctuations in the bathroom, wood will inevitably warp over time (as you might have already learned from our flooring guide).

Instead, opt for durable choices such as tile, made from marble, ceramic, or even terra-cotta, encaustic, or concrete. Designer Jennifer Wallenstein remarks, “You can really find something to suit any style–super modern and geometric, more traditional Spanish or Moroccan, or fun, contemporary penny rounds of hexagons which have been trending as of late.” Some of our designers’ favorite sources include Cle Tile, Marrakech Design, Cement Tile Shop, and Tabarka Studio.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Your bathroom should include a mixture of ambient lighting and task lighting. Shannon likes to install the bathroom lights on dimmers in order to create the perfect soothing atmosphere (imagine just sinking into a bubble bath after a long day at work). While task lighting is there to ensure you don’t look a-fright when you exit the bathroom. “It is meant to be functional and not just decorative,” Jennifer explains. “There is nothing worse that overhead lighting casting a ton of shadows on your face. Light on either side of the mirror works nicely, especially in combination with the ambient lighting.”

If possible, aim to have natural light sources around your vanity, which will allow you to adjust your hair and makeup appropriately. However, if natural light is not in the cards, incandescents or bulbs that mimic daylight are the best bet. You want a soft glow, not a sterile, clinical feel.

You deserve a bathroom that makes you beautiful, and we’re here to help—Homepolish designers and our network of contractors are here to ensure you have a bathroom that looks as good as you do.

Sign up today to start your journey with Homepolish.

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  • Sophia Steenkamp

    Thanks for this great article, really helpful! There is another handy tool though where people can easily find out how much a renovation will cost: https://app.mykukun.com/Bathroom-Renovation-Cost it is free and is really accurate (based on where you live)