Upgrading your main bathroom can seem like a daunting task, but with some planning and know-how, you can transform this important room into a relaxing and inviting space. A remodeled main bathroom not only provides a more enjoyable experience for your daily routine, but it can also add value and style to your home. Follow this comprehensive guide to learn everything you need to know about upgrading your main bathroom.
Researching Your Main Bathroom Remodel
Before diving into the renovation, it is important to do your research to ensure your project goes smoothly from start to finish. Here are some things to consider during the planning process:
Determine Your Budget
Bathroom remodels can range dramatically in price. Factors like the size of the space, materials selected, whether you do the labor yourself or hire contractors, and special features like a walk-in shower or jetted tub all impact the overall budget. As a general rule of thumb, expect to invest $10,000-$30,000 or more for a main bathroom remodel. Determine how much you can realistically spend before creating your plan.
Decide on the Scope of Work
The scope of your remodel will be based on your available budget, your needs, and what you hope to achieve. Basic upgrades like new paint, flooring, fixtures, and accessories can provide a face lift for less. More extensive remodels that involve layout changes, installing new plumbing, moving walls, adding windows etc. will increase costs. Outline the elements you hope to update to determine the scope.
Research Design Ideas and Trends
Look at bathroom design ideas online, in magazines, and in showrooms to find styles you are drawn to. Pay attention to current trends like neutral tones, penny tile, floating vanities, vessel sinks, and walk-in showers. However, classic styles like subway tile and white cabinetry also remain timeless options. Gather inspiration before making final design decisions.
Work With Professionals
Hiring professional contractors for plumbing, electrical, and installation work is highly recommended for main bathroom remodels. Mistakes made by inexperienced DIYers can lead to costly repairs down the road. Professionals have the expertise to get the job done right. Be sure to get quotes from 2-3 contractors before selecting who to hire.
Create a Redesign Plan
With a realistic budget in mind, make decisions about what elements you will update like flooring, plumbing fixtures, lighting, ventilation, storage, and decor. Create a plan that makes the most of the existing space and addresses problems to improve functionality. This will help guide you during the remodel.
Main Bathroom Layout and Design
Carefully considering the layout and overall design aesthetic of your new main bathroom is key to achieving the look, functionality, and comfort you desire. Keep these tips in mind when planning:
Evaluate the Existing Layout
Assess what you like and dislike about your current layout. Decide what you would change to enhance functionality and make better use of the space. Common updates include widening doorways, removing or adding walls, and reworking storage. Draw up a new layout to improve flow and accommodate desired features.
Choose a Cohesive Design Scheme
Determine an overall style like contemporary, traditional, transitional etc. and stick to a cohesive color palette and design elements that align with that look. For a spa-like retreat, neutral tones with wood accents and plenty of natural light work well. Or create a bold statement with colorful tile and modern metals.
Include Adequate Storage
Incorporating plenty of bathroom storage keeps essentials tidy and conveniently accessible. Options like hutches over a toilet, hanging cabinets, pull-out drawers, freestanding shelves, and creative niche storage ensure every inch is utilized. Make smart storage a priority in your new design.
Proper ventilation is crucial to prevent mold and mildew buildup. Install a powerful exhaust fan, add a window or skylight, or boost airflow with ventilation shafts. This improves air quality and reduces humidity.
Good lighting makes a bathroom feel open and inviting. Add fixtures like recessed cans, sconces, accent lighting under cabinets, and natural light sources. Install dimmers for flexibility. Properly illuminated mirrors are also essential.
Pick Durable, Easy-Clean Materials
Bathrooms require durable finishes that withstand moisture and frequent cleaning. Choose materials like porcelain tile, natural stone, glass, and metal as well as water-resistant wood flooring and cabinetry. Stay away from high-maintenance fabrics and carpeting.
Selecting Bathroom Flooring
Choosing new flooring is one of the most impactful decisions for your main bathroom remodel. Follow these guidelines when evaluating bathroom flooring options:
Seek Water-Resistant Flooring
The number one priority is picking a floor that can handle water exposure. Wood, vinyl, linoleum, concrete, and natural stone all fit the bill. Carpeting and unsealed hardwood are prone to water damage and mold growth.
Look for moderate texture that offers grip when wet without feeling rough on bare feet. Smaller grout lines, pebble finishes, and textured tiles help prevent slippery surfaces.
Evaluate Ease of Cleaning
Bathroom floors need regular scrubbing. Non-porous surfaces like porcelain tile, epoxy resin, and metal withstand cleaning chemicals best. Avoid porous unglazed tiles and natural stone like marble that stain easily.
Floors endure heavy foot traffic and dropped items like shampoo bottles. Durable options include ceramic and porcelain tile, concrete, and solid vinyl planks. Softer materials like sheet vinyl and linoleum scratch and wear faster.
Choose Style to Match Decor
Match your flooring to your desired style. Mosaic glass or penny tiles work well for vintage bathrooms. Bold colored tiles and geometric patterns make modern statements. For traditional, marble, subway tiles, or hardwoods exude classic charm.
Consider Radiant Heating
For luxurious comfort, install radiant heating under tile, stone, or wood floors to create a gently heated surface. This adds appeal while avoiding cold shocks on feet during chilly mornings.
Budget for Professional Installation
Most flooring options like natural stone, ceramic tile, and hardwood require skillful installation to create a flawless finished look. Hire a qualified flooring contractor for long-lasting results.
Selecting Bathroom Wall Finishes
The walls set the backdrop for your main bathroom’s design. Consider these recommendations when choosing finishes:
Bathroom walls endure splashes, steam, and humidity. Select water-resistant finishes that won’t crack, peel, or become damaged when wet. Tile, solid surface panels, glass, and some wallpapers fit the bill.
Evaluate Ease of Cleaning
Frequently scrubbed walls demand easy-clean finishes. Glossy tiles, enameled surfaces, and glass clean up nicely. Textured or porous finishes trap grime in crevices. Stay away from wallpaper with cloth backing.
Choose Style to Match Decor
Tailor your wall finish to your desired look. Vintage bathrooms feature vintage tile, wainscoting, or ornamental wallpaper. Contemporary spaces showcase bold solid surface panels or sleek glass tile. Traditional bathrooms incorporate classic white subway tile.
Hard surfaces like tile amplify sound. To prevent echoing and improve acoustics for privacy, incorporate moisture-resistant sound-dampening wall panels and avoid tiling from floor to ceiling.
Add Visual Interest with Color or Texture
While neutral walls are popular, don’t be afraid to incorporate color, ornate patterns, or unique 3-D textures. Varying wall finishes between shower, sink, and toilet areas also adds appeal.
Budget for Professional Installation
Most wall tiles and specialty finishes require professional installation. The cost is worthwhile to ensure a flawless look that lasts. Some wallpapers and panels offer DIY-friendly options.
Selecting Bathroom Cabinets and Vanities
The vanity and cabinets provide both style and essential storage space. Follow these tips when selecting cabinets in your bathroom redesign:
Choose Moisture-Resistant Materials
Wood vanities add warmth, but the moisture resistance of finish is crucial. Veneers, thermally fused laminate, and polyethylene laminates withstand humidity well. Other good options include tile, metal, glass, and molded stone.
Decide on Cabinet Door Style
Door style impacts the aesthetic. Traditional white shaker cabinets offer a classic look. Slab cabinets provide a streamlined contemporary style. Glass-front doors add openness. Be sure doors fully seal to keep contents dry.
Evaluate Construction Quality
Look for solid wood frames, full-extension drawers, soft-closing hinges, and adjustable leveling legs or casters for instability. These features improve durability and functionality.
Determine Needed Storage Capacity
Consider how much space you require for toiletries, cosmetics, hair appliances, medications, first-aid supplies, cleaning products and other essentials. More family members require greater capacity.
Include Plumbing Provisions for Vessel Sinks
If installing a vessel sink, select a vanity that can accommodate the drain plumbing either below or inside the cabinet. This prevents exposed pipes.
Incorporate interior lighting to brightly illuminate the contents. This ensures you can fully see inside. Door switches, motion sensors, and battery-operated lights work well.
Choose Style Matching Overall Decor
Select vanity style and hardware that aligns with your bathroom’s overall look. The choices are endless from vintage to contemporary to rustic to industrial.
Selecting Bathroom Countertops
Choosing the right countertop materials requires balancing attractive appearance, water-resistance, durability, and maintenance requirements. Follow these tips:
Prioritize Moisture Resistance
Countertops endure splashing and spills daily. Leading water-resistant options include solid surface, quartz, enamel, and treated wood. Marble and granite require sealants to repel liquids.
Evaluate Stain Resistance
Porous natural stones like marble stain easily from makeup and hair dyes. Non-porous quartz and solid surfaces resist stains well. Glass and metal can also be cleaned easily.
Assess Scratch Resistance
Look for ultra-durable surfaces like quartz that maintain appearance despite scratches and etching over time. Softer stones scratch more easily from dropped objects.
Calculate Thickness Needs
Standard thickness is 3/4″. Granite, quartz or solid surface at this thickness provides adequate strength. For spanning cabinets without underlying support, 1 1/4″ thickness or an undermount sink support is recommended.
Choose Style Matching Decor
Granite, marble, or limestone offer an elegant traditional look. Concrete, glass, or metal counters exude contemporary style. Richly colored quartz or solid surface enhances any style.
Consider Heat Tolerance
Heat-sensitive surfaces like solid surface and laminate can scorch or swell from curling irons or candles. Look for materials tolerant of moderate heat exposure if needed.
Budget for Professional Fabrication and Installation
Most countertop materials require precise sizing and custom fabrication as well as expert installation. The cost investment is worthwhile for optimal durability and seamless appearance.
Choosing Bathroom Plumbing Fixtures
Updating sinks, faucets, showers, tubs, and toilets dramatically enhances functionality and aesthetics. Follow these guidelines when selecting fixtures:
Evaluate Faucet Styles
Widespread faucets allow flexible placement on the vanity. Centerset configurations with shared baseplates offer compact installation. Single-handle models are conveniently operated. Add special features like pull-down sprayers or touch technology if desired.
Select Durable Faucet Finishes
Polished chrome and stainless steel finishes withstand moisture with minimal signs of wear. Special coatings like PVD improve durability of brushed metals to prevent fading.
Choose Sinks to Match Faucets and Decor
Coordinate your sink and faucet finishes for a cohesive look. Undermount sinks maximize counter space. Vessel sinks make bold statements. Farmhouse apron-front sinks offer vintage styling.
Consider Deep Soaking Tubs
For ultimate relaxation, consider replacing an old tub with a spacious model offering depths of 14” or more for soaking. Complete the spa experience with jets and bubble massage features.
Evaluate Specialty Shower Features
Today’s showers impress with built-in lighting, high-end shower systems, body sprays, benches, and even steam. Decide if these indulgent additions make sense for your space and budget.
Update Toilets for Optimal Performance
Replace outdated toilets with new water-efficient high-performance models combining powerful flushing action with minimal water usage. Look for quiet-close lids and concealed trapways for easy cleaning.
Choose Styles to Match Decor
Traditional bathrooms feature pedestal sinks, carved woodornamentation,and free-standingclawfoot tubs. Contemporary spaces showcase wall-hung floating vanities, framelessshowers, and sleek angular fixtures.
Improving Bathroom Lighting
Proper lighting is essential in any bathroom. Follow these tips to illuminate your space effectively:
Include Plenty of Task Lighting at Vanity
Install lighting on both sides of the mirror to prevent shadows on your face. Wall sconces or recessed cans work well. Purchase lights with color temperature matching natural daylight.
Add Ambient Lighting to the Ceiling
In addition to the vanity, place recessed can lights, an attractive ceiling flush mount fixture, or a pendant to provide soft general lighting for the entire room.
Accent With Decorative Fixtures
Sconces, pendants and chandeliers infuse style while providing supplemental lighting. Position over a soaking tub, in a shower niche or above cabinets to create a focal point.
Under Cabinet Lights Boost Functionality
LED strip lighting installed under cabinets illuminates stored items when doors open. This also adds a soft glow against the wall and down on the counters.
Illuminate the Shower
Install recessed cans in the shower ceiling to brightly light this space for easy shampooing and shaving. Waterproof fixtures are mandatory.
Include Vent Fan Lighting
Choose an exhaust fan unit with an integrated light to tackle humidity and provide additional brightness. Newer LED models are energy-efficient.
Install Dimmer Switches
Use dimmers throughout the bathroom to adjust light levels. This creates ambiance for bathing and allows for middle-of-the-night visits without being blinded.
Incorporating Bathroom Ventilation
Proper ventilation keeps bathrooms comfortable and prevents mold, mildew and rot. Here are key considerations:
Install Effective Exhaust Fan Units
Exhaust fans quickly pull steam, odors and moisture from the room. Look for ENERGY STAR-rated fans offering a minimum air flow of 50-80 cubic feet per minute (CFM) or more for optimal performance.
Strategically Position Vent Locations
Install over the toilet and in the shower area aligned closely with sources of steam and humidity. Multiple vents boost overall air circulation.
Choose Quiet Models
Purchase fans at the top end of your budget with features like multiple speeds, insulated housing, and rubber dampers to absorb operating noise for quiet, peaceful ambiance.
Include Humidity-Sensing Automation
Models with built-in humidity sensors automatically turn the fan on as needed when moisture levels rise. This removes humidity efficiently without needing to remember to turn on the fan manually each time.
Vent Air Directly Outdoors
Where possible, place new vents that route air directly outside through ductwork rather than simply filtering back into the home. This fully removes moisture.
Supplement With Other Ventilation
Operable windows and skylights boost natural airflow. Dedicated ventilation shafts can also be installed to improve constant air circulation.
Clean Vents Regularly
Ensure exhaust system functions properly by cleaning fan covers and ductwork annually. Clogged vents limit airflow and efficiency.
Incorporating Bathroom Windows and Skylights
Natural light and air circulation from windows or skylights make bathrooms feel open and inviting. Follow these tips:
Strategically Position for Privacy
Avoid aligning windows directly with neighbor’s windows or frequently used outdoor spaces. Utilize textured glass if additional privacy is needed. Adjust window height to match your bathroom layout.
The window or skylight should equal a minimum of 10-15% of the total floor area to provide adequate daylight. Allow for proper venting as well with operable windows.
Choose Moisture-Resistant Frames
Look for window frames constructed from vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum instead of wood. These materials resist swelling and deterioration from humidity.
Install insect screens to allow fresh air circulation through open windows without inviting pests inside. Look for tight mesh screens that integrate seamlessly into the window frame.
Add Supplementary Shading
Provide window treatments like blinds, shades or drapes to control privacy and filter bright light as needed. Make sure selected fabrics withstand moisture well.
Include Heat and Tinting
Add energy-efficient Low-E coatings to glass to prevent heat loss in winter. Tint windows to reduce excessive heat and glare in warmer climates.
Inspect seals and frames regularly for deterioration and leaks. Ensure operable windows open and close smoothly. Repair issues immediately to prevent damage.
Designing Bathroom Storage
Intelligently designed storage ensures your main bathroom stays organized. Follow these tips:
Use Wall Space Wisely
Install shelves, cabinets, and organizers on available wall areas around the vanity, toilet, shower, and tub. Floor space is too limited.
Optimize vanity drawers with integrated organizers for small items. Consider tip-out trays and inserts to separate contents neatly.
Hide Trash and Recycling Receptacles
Keep unsightly trash cans concealed behind cabinet doors fitted with soft-closing hinges for convenient, discreet waste disposal.