Nine bathroom renovation mistakes to avoid

man making renovation mistakes

A bathroom renovation can be an exciting project. A fresh, stylish and functional bathroom can not only increase your home’s value but also increase the enjoyment of your home. However, there are a few things that can go wrong when renovating a bathroom.

Here are nine bathroom renovation traps you need to avoid to ensure a smooth, budget-friendly and successful makeover.

Not going in with a plan

One of the most common pitfalls in bathroom renovations is diving in without a well thought out plan. Rushing into the project without a clear vision can lead to costly mistakes and delays. Start by outlining your goals and priorities. What’s your budget? What style do you envision? Are there any specific features or fixtures you want? A comprehensive plan will serve as your roadmap throughout the renovation.

Ignoring the budget

Of course, every bathroom renovation budget will be different. It depends on your specific requirements, the property’s overall value, the style of your home and the size of the bathroom.

But bathroom renovation costs can quickly spiral out of control when you neglect your budget. To avoid this trap, establish a realistic budget and stick to it. Factor in all costs, including materials, labour, permits and unexpected expenses. Allocate a contingency fund for unforeseen issues that may arise during the renovation. If you can, prioritise spending on quality materials and fixtures that will stand the test of time.

“It’s really easy to get carried away with a bathroom renovation,” says interior designer Steph Briggs, which is why you must agree on a budget and stick to it. “If you can’t afford to do it all at once, or the budget required is bigger than you currently have, see where you can cut corners for an interim solution.” For example, having a cheaper vinyl floor and purchasing tiling at a later date.

However, while overspending is a mistake, it’s just as important not to underspend. A cheap-looking bathroom could devalue your property in the eyes of potential buyers.

Sacrificing functionality for style

While having a chic and stylish bathroom is appealing, prioritising aesthetics over functionality can lead to practical issues later on. Ensure that your bathroom layout meets your daily needs and provides comfort.

While spa or jacuzzi baths may look great in the brochure, they can be expensive to buy, use and maintain. High-tech gadgets such as smart toilets may require specialised servicing and the lifespan of the product may be limited by its technology.

A beautiful bathroom that doesn’t work well in practice will become a constant source of frustration.

Carrying out a complete renovation when it’s not needed

Not every bathroom needs a full-blown renovation. Sometimes, cosmetic changes can deliver a remarkable transformation without breaking the bank. If your bathroom’s core functionality and layout are satisfactory, you may only need minor updates such as fresh paint, new fixtures or updated flooring.

A significant renovation may mean you need to change the layout of your plumbing, which is expensive and time-consuming. Opting for a design that uses your existing plumbing infrastructure could save you thousands of dollars.

Installing a new bath, shower and vanity, painting the walls a different colour and adding some new towels can make the space feel completely different.

Not choosing reliable tradespeople

When renovating your bathroom, it’s wise to save money where you can, but there’s one aspect you shouldn’t compromise on: the quality of the people doing the work.

Thorough research is important when deciding on tradespeople to carry out the renovation. Select tradies who are licensed, insured and experienced in renovating bathrooms. Plumbing and electrical work should be done by specialised professionals.

“Plumbers – like other trades – will have their own areas of speciality; do they do bathroom refits regularly?” asks bathroom and interior design expert Brenna Ryan. “Can they show a portfolio of work they’ve completed before? Can you speak to the homeowners and get references?”

Check with your state, territory or local government authority that your chosen tradespeople have a current licence.

Neglecting ventilation

Proper ventilation is often an afterthought in bathroom renovations, but it’s crucial for maintaining a healthy and mould-free space. Inadequate ventilation can lead to moisture buildup, which can cause mould and mildew problems. Make sure your bathroom has a properly functioning exhaust fan or a window that can be opened to allow fresh air in and moisture out.

Underestimating the importance of storage

Not having adequate storage can lead to a bathroom full of clutter. Incorporate clever storage solutions such as recessed shelves, vanity drawers or a well-designed medicine cabinet. Think about your daily essentials and how you can keep them accessible and organised.

Not obtaining the proper permits

Depending on your state or territory’s rules and requirements – and the extent of your bathroom renovation – you may need to ensure you’ve applied for permits and received approval before you start.

“If you’re simply changing a few taps and adding a coat of paint then no permit is required, but if you’re moving plumbing and doing a full renovation then permits are definitely required to ensure that things such as waterproofing, plumbing and electrical are all monitored and installed correctly,” says Kylie Mitchell, spokesperson for the Building Designers Association of Australia (BDAA).

“The best place to start is to contact a building designer, bathroom designer or bathroom renovating specialist, an interior designer or architect. These professionals can guide you through what’s required and also provide the drawings and design expertise that will get the council permits required, as well as the quotes for completing the work.”

Ignoring energy-efficient features

Opt for energy-efficient fixtures, such as LED lighting and low-flow toilets and taps. These choices not only reduce your carbon footprint but also save you money on utility bills over time.

Are you embarking on a bathroom renovation soon? Are you doing of the work yourself? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: How to tile a splashback for a cheap and easy bathroom revamp

Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.

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