bathroom remodel

Bathroom Remodel Tips, Ideas, & Makeover Cost

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

Most homeowners have certainly considered remodeling their bathrooms, increasing the space's functionality and efficiency and enhancing its visual appeal. Bathrooms are the top rooms homeowners love to remodel more than kitchens, and since bathrooms are smaller, they make the job faster and easier.

A bathroom remodel can help create a relaxing area for your master bathroom or an impressive guest bathroom for your family and friends to gaze at. Bathroom remodels are also a way to increase your home's resale value which applies to homeowners who plan to sell their home at some point.

Bathroom Remodel Tips

We have listed some tips to get your creative juices flowing if you plan to undertake a bathroom remodeling project.

1. Check the Bathroom Ventilation

All bathrooms, including large and small bathrooms, need some type of ventilation according to the codes, and it can be in the form of a bathroom exhaust fan or a properly sized window.

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If you want to opt for bathroom fans, ensure you check both the exhaust capacity in conjunction with their noise levels. This is especially important when working with a medium or small bathroom space, as even a moderately loud bathroom fan can sound very loud.

2. Add Greenery for Living Color

Plants and greenery should never be an afterthought; nowadays, more and more people are embracing them. They bring the needed color into any bathroom design, including sterile bathrooms.

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When doing a bathroom remodel and you want to add some greenery, you should consider adding a floating shelf intentionally to give your greenery a cozy home in your bathroom or powder room.

3. Choose the Right Flooring

When doing a bathroom remodeling project, you must choose the right flooring for your space. Although solid wood floors give any bathroom design character, they are not the best options in terms of material for bathrooms.

Image Credit: sunrisespecialty.com

Instead, opt for a hardy enough bathroom flooring that can withstand the daily rigors of bathroom use. Some of the best material options for your bathroom floor include vinyl tiles, porcelain tile, luxury vinyl plank, and ceramic tiles.

In addition, sheet vinyl flooring works best in terms of the waterproofing floor plan. Lastly, when flooring for small bathroom remodels, you can choose a single-width sheet vinyl that eliminates all the seams.

4. Pick the Right Bathroom Lighting

As a bathroom is a room where people visualize their faces and hair, normally, lighting can be very dim since it's concentrated in one spot from a ceiling light fixture. So at a minimum, consider adding lighting around your bathroom mirror in sconces form but don't make it blinding.

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Alternatively, you can choose a dimmer switch, a simple device that adds a mood to your room, and it's mostly perfect for late-night relaxing baths.

5. Adjust your Room Size with Color

If you want to make your bathroom look bigger after a bathroom remodels, ensure you use a color palette in the white-or-light color spectrum.

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Avoid dark colors as they make a bathroom feel small and claustrophobic, and instead, go for white or light-colored light fixtures for the bathtub and the toilet.

Lastly, rethink your decision if you plan on painting your bathroom any other color apart from white or off-white because the color might shrink your bathroom size to make it look more like a small bathroom remodel.

6. Add Mirrors in the Bathroom

Nowadays, most people know that mirrors are not only used to check hair and makeup but also as a necessary decor piece. Therefore, when working on any remodeling project, it's important to look at mirrors as design elements that expand any room visually, adding light to the room.

One way to incorporate a mirror in your bathroom is to add a second mirror alongside the primary mirror above the bathroom sink.

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If you are working with small spaces like in your guest bathroom, opt for large format mirrors that can take up the whole wall. However, leave some space behind mirrors to allow airflow and prevent mold build-up.

7. Add Places to Hang Items

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One of the best ways to add surface area to a bathroom and the countertop surface area is to add hooks. They come in handy since they can be used to hang everything from clothes and bathrobes to towels. Hooks and hangers can be placed on the back of the door or unused wall sections.

8. Incorporate Freestanding Pieces

If your bathroom space allows, a remodel can benefit from one freestanding piece, like a decorative cupboard or chair, to act as a design element.

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To make up for that space, you can recess practical elements like clothes hampers or move the hamper to another of your rooms. This decorative piece can store hand towels, soaps, and other small bathroom items.

9. Use Wainscotting for Looks and Protection

A wainscot beadboard is beneficial for two purposes. The first is to create an antique look since it is very easy to install. Also, the beadboard functions as a protection of the lower wall section from inevitable water splashes that happen in the bathrooms from the shower or the bathtub.

Image Credit: sunrisespecialty.com

Using a good coat of oil-based paint ensures that the beadboard will not be susceptible to moisture. However, if the beadboard doesn't stylishly fit your bathroom, consider adding a tile wainscot on the bottom of about 40 to 48 inches of the wall.

The tile will have the same function of protecting walls from moisture and come in countless style possibilities.

10. Build In for Additional Space

This is an essential tip, especially if you are working with limited space where you will need to build inwards, not outwards. You can do some build-ins, including a medicine cabinet, toilet paper holder, or recessed soap dishes, to create as much space as possible in your small bathroom.

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You can try building into your walls to get extra storage space and flatten your ceiling light by turning your ceiling light into a recessed light.

Bathroom Remodel Ideas

If you are uncertain where to start but want to remodel your bathroom, these impressive before and after remodels will inspire you.

1. Dark to Light and Airy

This master bedroom had a complete makeover that changed the dark bathroom into an attractive light bathroom.

Before:

The remodel comprised removing the existing bathtub, which allowed space for a large shower stall with extra room for cabinetry and closet space.

After:

Lastly, they changed the floor tile to sleek marble flooring with contrasting gray wood paneling. These colors and mirrors help create an illusion of a larger space, and the light greenery adds some spice.

Image Credit:architecturaldigest.com

2. Dysfunctional to Bright and Spacious

This bathroom remodel was called for since it was outdated, dark, and unsuitable. It didn't have a coherent style, and the homeowner didn't feel like it matched her needs.

Before:

The new bathroom combined traditional and contemporary elements to achieve a sophisticated yet simple look. It features a craftsman-style vanity offering a lot of storage space with bronze fixtures which add a slight contemporary twist.

The bathroom renovation incorporated an oversized shower to replace the shower and tub combination in the previous design utilizing the space to the maximum.

After:

Image Credit: rebath.com

It also comes with a marble bathroom wall which gives a contemporary edge and offers a perfect balance against the natural feel of the bathroom tile floors placed in a herringbone pattern to add depth and interest. Lastly, this airy bathroom highlights the neutral palette, clean lines, and minimal accessories.

3. Boring Style to Stunning

Our third bathroom remodel one that fully lacks personality and only offers basic functionality. The bathroom remodeling project was meant to add a countertop and counter space.

Also, a large shower replaced the tub, incorporating safety elements seamlessly without distracting the design.

Before:

The bathroom remodel also used shower hardware that enhanced the shower surrounding with a frameless shower door. In addition, the old vanity didn't offer adequate storage space and lacked character, so they got a replacement.

After:

Image Credit: rebath.com

The new bathroom remodel allowed adequate natural light inside with tall cabinets at the end of the vanity to add space and break the neutral-colored walls. The modern finishing touches add a great visual appeal without making the space feel overwhelming while providing maximum functionality.

4. Old Art Deco to Vintage Inspired

Although this 1930s art deco-era bathroom would be considered gold in Los Angeles, a bathroom remodeling project was due because of the cracked tile floors and stinky plumbing.

Before:

The bathroom remodeling cuts costs by retaining the original feel while updating the functionality of the entire bathroom.

After:

Image Credit: spruce.com

The outcome of the primary bath was a light-filled bathroom featuring vintage-inspired floor tiles, a frameless shower, marble countertops, and a subway tile, among other fantastic touches.

5. Outdated to Modern Bathroom Vanity

This is not your average bathroom remodel, and this bathroom's luxurious design is not meant for everyone.

Before:

The bathroom remodel recreated the atmosphere like the one found in five-star hotel bathrooms thanks to the lights that evenly scattered to illuminate the bathroom and keep it elegant.

After:

Image Credit: theplumednest.com

6. Basic White Tiles to Luxurious Tiles

The vanity table of this bathroom was outdated. In addition, it didn't maximize storage space and featured an outdated sink, hence why bathroom remodels were necessary.

Before:

The new bathroom remodel refreshed the whole look by replacing the basic white tiles with more luxurious tiles. The sink and cabinets were also changed to match the bathing area, and it has an oval mirror that replaced the wall-sized mirror.

After:

The bathroom remodel finishes by adding decorating plants to the bathroom to achieve a fancy look.

Image Credit: theplumednest.com

Since the original design does not change much, the bathroom renovation is a perfect option for people who want a simple bathroom design.

7. No Personality to Classic & Beautiful

Unsurprisingly, this was a necessary bathroom remodel project since the room was super bland and didn't have any personality. The entire bathroom lacked everything from style and decor to color, and small additions made the difference.

Before:

The bathroom remodel incorporated some color accents to existing features to revamp this boring bathroom fully, and the simple updates turned the bland bathroom into an attractive yet calming space.

After:

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In addition, the angular shape of the current pedestal sink inspired the new flooring and accessories throughout the bathroom. Even the bold blue print on the shower curtain gives a trendy look; luckily, it can be switched up easily to change your bathroom's style.

8. Plain White to Bathroom Color Upgrade

This plain white bathroom can pass, but it lacks color and style in the least. In the 1980s and 1990s, white decor on white with hints of gold was fashionable to use, but now its time has passed.

Before:

The bathroom remodel added color with the blue hexagon floor tiles, bathroom rug, and living art, making the whole bathroom look fancy. The primary bath had a double vanity with brass handles and a clear shower door.

After:

Image Credit: theeffortlesschic.com

9. Seventies Style to Bright and White

Although this project was great in the 70s, it has been outdated for several decades. Therefore, this room needed significant changes, including the style.

Before:

The remodeling project started from the floor plan to the ceiling, and a frameless glass shower and white subway tiles were installed.

After:

Image Credit: TrendMark Inc.com

The antique stained glass window inset adds a surprising but welcome splash of color. The appearance is finished with a bright color scheme.

10. Unattractive Tile Job to Vintage Charm

In the bathroom remodel, the salvaged green tiles were mixed with brand-new white tiles, and they came in a modern stripe pattern around the combo of the tub and shower.

Before:

The bathroom created a soothing and classic color palette with green and white accents all over the room.

After:

Image Credit: bhg.com

In addition, the custom window treatment featured a new pattern suitable for the bathroom while offering privacy and some softly filtering light.

Bathroom Remodel Makeover Cost

Remodeling a bathroom is an investment since it adds value to your house in case you want to resell it in the future. So, how much will a bathroom remodel cost?

One of the hardest parts is assessing bathroom remodeling costs since people view remodeling differently. Some view it as a new shower curtain, shower head, coat of paint, or a new sink and vanity. On the other hand, others view bathroom remodeling as replacing the toilet paper holder, bathtub, or vanity, pulling up the flooring and tiling, and starting from scratch with all the finishing touches.

This makes the remodeling costs range, and since various materials are available at different pricing, it is difficult to figure out what a reasonable budget looks like. However, there are various factors you can consider when you need to calculate the costs and know what you can afford.

Factors that Affect the Bathroom Remodel Cost

1. Countertops

Most first remodelers are shocked to learn that a countertop isn't necessarily linked to the desired vanity. This gives up a wide range of customization options, allowing customers to install the countertop that best meets their needs and preferences rather than being restricted to a preselected combination.

Expect to pay between $200 and $1,000 for a bathroom counter, depending on the size and material of the countertop, as well as the cost of the sink cutout or unique edges.

2. Cabinetry

Storage is a must in almost all bathrooms for different shampoo, soap, towels, and cleaning supplies. While some bathrooms are completely devoid of cabinets, most are better off with a vanity or storage cabinet. To cut your expenses and save money, you can choose to refurbish existing cabinetry.

Alternatively, new cabinets can be selected from various big-box and specialty retailers. Depending on the size of the area and the style chosen, you should budget between $300 to $3,800 for cabinetry. The ready-to-assemble cabinets usually cost between $50-$200 per unit, while a high-end double vanity can cost $2,000 or more.

3. Fixtures

A bathroom's appearance can be much improved by updating the toilet, sink, tub, or tub/shower enclosure, especially if the existing fixtures are worn out. If you're not planning to change the flooring, it's crucial to choose a new fixture with the same or a slightly larger footprint than the previous one.

Fixtures can be bought in home stores, specialist stores, or online. Additionally, you should be mindful of the plumbing connections' location and height because changing their location would significantly strain your budget. The price of fixtures can range from $200 to $1,800 for specialized solutions.

4. Faucets and Plumbing

These remodeling costs will depend mostly on how recently your home was built, the material and style you choose, or your area's permit and labor costs.

The plumbing costs may be low if the shut-off valves are all in good working order and the in-wall plumbing isn't too old, especially if you're only replacing a sink and toilet and can do it yourself. Of course, the price will vary depending on the faucets' material, finish, and style, but lovely faucets are available at various pricing points.

The plumbing in older homes can be intricate, and problems like leaky or damaged pipes can frequently turn a remodel into a renovation and significantly increase expenditures. This price may increase by up to $1,000 if you want expert assistance. Between $250 and $1,450 is the typical price range for the best bathroom faucets and pipes.

5. Flooring

Bathroom remodels can be as easy as adding peel-and-stick tiles on top of existing floors or as complicated as putting down mesh mosaic tile and grout. Although bathrooms are small spaces, so they could easily be a DIY job, they also have spaces with odd cuts and angles.

Flooring materials will take up between 10 and 15 percent of the budget, depending on the size of your bathroom, the number of cuts required, and the amount of waste generated. For example, porcelain tile flooring often costs between $860 and $2,600, and stone tile flooring typically costs between $900 and $2,800.

6. Walls, Ceilings, and Doors

Depending on the door's cost, replacing a bathroom door is a very simple process. On the other hand, walls and ceilings might be challenging to define. This is because exposing the walls and ceilings in a bathroom and a moist area might result in unforeseen surprises. Thus, this portion of the budget needs to account for contingencies.

Your choice of finish will affect how much it will cost to paint, wallpaper, or tile the walls. The typical cost of painting a room can range from $200 to $5,000, depending on the type of paint used and the space size. In addition, you should consider using bathroom-specific paint for this damp region to prevent drips and restrict mold formation and mildew. Depending on your choices, the price of tiles and wallpaper will increase.

7. Ventilation and Lighting

Any bathroom may look brighter by replacing a rusty, corroded bathroom fan and updating light fixtures. Home and online retailers sell light fixtures, but lighting stores frequently offer lower costs than big-box retailers and online retailers.

The cost of replacement light fixtures ranges from $100 to $400. The cost will increase if you choose a new fixture that calls for shifting the wiring because you'll need to repair the bathroom wall and move the electrical supply.

It's not difficult to replace a ventilation fan—unless the new one is much bigger or smaller than the old one, demolition or patching may be required—but it's worthwhile because ventilation fans significantly slow mold growth and mildew. Ventilation fans range in price from $50 to $300 depending on their size and the presence or absence of light or timer.

8. Labor and Installation

The bathroom remodel cost ranges from $50 to $75 per hour, or between 40% and 65% of the total bathroom remodel cost. Depending on the scope of your remodel, you may decide to hire a contractor for your plumbing work or not. For example, a handy homeowner can forego the labor costs for a quick paint job and a new sink and toilet, but a contractor, plumber, and electrician may be required for more complicated jobs.

Considering the difficulty of getting to all the corners of a small bathroom, you might just decide to hire a painter to save yourself the hassle. For larger projects, a general contractor will charge between $300 and $400 per day, while plumbing costs may reach $2,000 per day, depending on the scope of the work. Finally, adding $50 to $100 per hour are electricians.

Conclusion on Bathroom Remodeling

Not everything needs replacing to achieve the perfect bathroom remodel, although there are some elements you will need to replace or buy new ones. You can also reuse the old stuff or improve it if you want a new bathroom but with a budget.

We hope all the information we have provided above will help you navigate your bathroom remodeling project from start to finish.

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Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.