What to consider before a bathroom renovation

Do you ever find yourself sitting in the bath, attempting to have a relaxing soak but distracted by the unsatisfactory state of your bathroom?

Maybe it’s the mildew you can’t seem to get rid of no matter how hard you scrub. Or the old-fashioned light fixtures you’ve never got round to replacing. Perhaps it’s the impractical layout that you long to fix.

Whether it’s big or small, if your bathroom is driving you to distraction and you’ve decided to overhaul the space, there are certain key factors you need to consider before you start.

We asked interior experts for their best bathroom renovation advice.

1. Layout is crucial

“To start, I’d make a list of all the things that you love about your bathroom and all the things that drive you slightly potty,” says interior designer Steph Briggs, then decide if you can make better use of the space with a different layout. “Most pieces are relatively easy for a plumber to reposition, with the exception of the toilet, which is a little trickier due to the soil pipe.”

Bathroom and interior design expert Brenna Ryan, says: “Be sure to record accurate measurements before purchasing anything – there’s nothing more annoying than fixtures that don’t fit. To give the illusion of more space, go for hanging vanity units and take advantage of wall studs and storage cabinets to save floor space.”

2. Stick to your budget

“It’s really easy to get carried away with a bathroom renovation,” says Ms 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.

Read: Avoid these bathroom reno rip-offs

3. Invest in key fittings

Both of our experts agree that some fittings are more important than others.

“Taps are expensive, but are to bathrooms what jewellery is to an outfit,” Ms Briggs says. “Buy the best you can afford – a good quality, good looking tap will make a less expensive white suite look and feel more luxe.”

Ms Ryan says sturdy flooring is essential: “Well-sealed and hard-wearing floors are key to ensuring the longevity of your bathroom renovation. Opt for water-resistant and durable flooring. Ceramic, marble and stone are a great choice.”

4. Don’t overcomplicate the decor

“With bathroom decor, simplicity is best,” says Ms Ryan, who recommends using sites such as Pinterest to gather inspiration. “Choose a colour palette and accessorise with different tones and patterns from that palette, to create an impactful yet harmonious space.”

5. Use lighting to create atmosphere

Lighting may be one of the last aspects you consider, but it can make a big difference, Ms Ryan says: “Consider recessed light fixtures throughout your ceiling to brighten up the space, and include one or two in your shower. A dimmer switch is also a great investment, so you can adjust the mood in your bathroom.”

Read: Brighten up your bathroom on a budget

6. Choose reliable tradespeople
Thorough research is important when deciding on tradespeople to carry out the renovation.

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

In terms of fixtures and fittings, she recommends: “Set clear boundaries of who is responsible for sourcing what – how much do you want to be involved? Would you rather outsource the whole project or manage it?”

Read: Budget bathroom cleaning tips

And finally, don’t underestimate how long the renovation may take. Ms Ryan adds: “Most homeowners are shocked when I say how long we need to wait for the right trades to be available – three to six months is not uncommon, but it depends on where you live. I would be wary of any tradesperson that can be available immediately!”

Are you gearing up for a bathroom renovation? What would you most like to change? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

– With PA

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Written by Katie Wright

Fashion and beauty editor at the Press Association.