1. Assess Your Needs

Take time to consider how you use your bathroom and what you would like to change. Do you need more storage, a larger shower, better lighting, or updated fixtures and finishes? Decide which updates would improve your everyday experience in the space. Prioritize changes that would be useful to your lifestyle.

2. Set a Realistic Budget

Bathroom remodels can range greatly in price. Figure out how much you can realistically spend before designing your new bathroom. Get multiple quotes and determine must-have items versus those you could cut, if needed. Factor in not only materials and labor, but also plumbing, electrical or HVAC work. Leave a 10-15% buffer for unexpected costs.

3. Consider Layout Changes

Can you reconfigure the existing layout to better suit your needs? Opening up walls for a walk-in shower or reworking piping for new fixture locations will increase costs. But layout changes can greatly improve the room’s functionality.

4. Choose Fixtures and Finishes

This is the fun part! Selecting tile, cabinetry, lighting, faucets, bathtubs, accessories, etc. can set the style of your new bathroom. Take time to research quality products in your desired look. Check sizing options too, as a standard tub or shower unit may not fit the existing footprint.

5. Address Ventilation Needs

Proper ventilation is essential to avoid mold and mildew. Assess if your existing fans and windows provide adequate airflow. Upgrade exhaust fans if needed, and install a humidity-sensing unit. Also, consider a heated bath mirror so mirrors don’t fog up.

6. Don’t Forget Plumbing

Consider where your current pipes, drains, and shut-off valves are located. Will you need to re-route plumbing to accommodate new fixtures or shower/tub locations? Plan ahead to avoid unpredicted costs. Check water pressure at faucets too. Upgrading pipes or adding a booster pump can greatly improve flow.

7. Electrical Updates

Look at your existing lighting, outlets, wiring, and switches. Will you need more lighting around the vanity or shower? Do you want fixtures on dimmer switches? Where will electrical outlets and towel warmers be located? Plan wiring and add circuits if needed.

8. Prepare for the Unexpected

Remodels often uncover unforeseen issues like mold, leaky pipes, or faulty wiring. Budget extra to cover such contingencies. Also factor in added costs if appliances or fixtures you want are delayed or backordered.

9. Check Permits and Codes

Most bathroom renovations require permits based on where you live and the extent of the work. Know guidelines for plumbing, electrical, and layouts before designing your bathroom. This avoids having to redo work later on down the road.

10. Schedule Realistically

Remodeling takes time, especially if you’ll be without a functioning bathroom. Factor in demolition, repair work, installation, materials delivery, adhesive drying times, and more. Trying to rush the schedule can lead to headaches. Plan for contingencies too.

Remodeling your bathroom is a major project, but carefully considering these key things before you start can set your remodel up for success. Taking time for proper planning helps ensure your bathroom remodel meets your needs, fits your budget, and proceeds smoothly from start to finish. With some thoughtful decisions on the front end, you’ll enjoy the results for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bathroom Remodels

What is the average cost to remodel a bathroom?

The average bathroom remodel costs $10,000-$15,000, according to HomeAdvisor. But costs can range from $2,000 for a minor update to over $50,000 for a complete custom overhaul with high-end finishes and expansions.

How long does it take to remodel a bathroom?

The typical bathroom remodel takes 2-4 weeks from demolition to completion. Larger remodels with significant layout changes can take 6-8 weeks or longer. Allow additional time if you need special order items.

What is the most cost-effective bathroom remodel?

Stick to necessary upgrades like new fixtures/faucets, lighting, vanity, fresh paint and new flooring. Splurges like custom tile, jetted tubs and bidets boost the budget. Focusing on needs over wants yields the best return.

Should I remodel the bathroom myself?

Bathroom remodels involve complex plumbing and electrical work, making DIY tricky. If tiling or installing fixtures, experience helps ensure proper waterproofing and functionality. Many homeowners utilize a contractor for key elements they don’t feel equipped to handle.

What permits do I need for a bathroom remodel?

Building, electrical, plumbing and mechanical permits are typically required. The permit process involves providing detailed project plans for the bathroom layout and all systems to be updated to meet local codes.

How do I choose a contractor for my bathroom remodel?

Verify licensing, insurance and bonds. Check reviews and references for other bathroom remodels completed. Get 3+ written estimates. Choose a contractor you communicate well with. Check that all details of the job scope are spelled out in the contract.

What should I know about remodeling a small bathroom?

With limited space, careful planning is crucial. Measure carefully and use a 3D design tool before finalizing plans. Opt for space-saving vanities, toilets and showers. Add mirrors to open up the room. Good lighting and ventilation are key.

How do I stay within budget on my bathroom remodel?

Allow 10-15% extra on initial estimates for overages. Prioritize must-haves, and scale back wish list items if needed. Comparison shop for fixtures/materials. Use DIY for small tasks like painting. Track all expenses closely as the project progresses.

How can I finance my bathroom remodel?

If a home equity loan or HELOC rates are favorable, they provide access to large lump sums for remodeling. Personal loans or 0% credit cards are options too. Many contractors offer financing programs as well, allowing you to divide payments.


Remodeling your bathroom is an exciting opportunity to upgrade one of the most essential rooms in your home. By carefully considering your needs, creating a realistic budget, choosing finishes, addressing technical considerations, allowing for contingencies, and planning thoroughly from start to finish, you can ensure your bathroom remodel progresses smoothly and yields beautiful, functional results you’ll enjoy for years to come. Taking time to cover all the key bases prior to beginning work will set your remodel up for success.