Thursday, October 13, 2022

10-Point Bathroom Remodel Checklist for Stress-Free Success

Neutral bathroom with double vanity after a bathroom remodel.

Does your bathroom have a serene and spa-like feel, or is it the one room in your house that’s desperately in need of an update? As one of the most used and shared spaces, the design of your bathroom is highly important not only so the space promotes relaxation, but so it adds to the overall value of your home.

When starting any home remodeling project, you’ll want to begin by creating a bathroom renovation checklist. What are the things you want to improve that are already in your bathroom? What are the brand new elements that you will be adding from scratch? 

Thinking about your goals – including what you want to remove, add, or improve – will help your project scope become more tangible. From there, you can set a budget and make sure the renovation gets underway with as few surprises as possible.

Since renovating a bathroom can be time-consuming, costly, and complicated, we prepared a helpful 10-point checklist to ensure your project stays on track from day one.

Person hanging tile in a bathroom shower remodel.

1. Visualize the concept

Months before any real demolition begins, you’ll want to conceptualize what you want the final product to look like. This can be done by finding inspiration online or on social media, or by hiring an interior designer who can draw up a visual blueprint. There are also apps that allow you to imagine your space in new ways. 

During this stage, you’ll want to collect measurements and choose which colors, materials, and finishes you’ll use.

2. Take measurements

Take accurate measurements of your current bathroom space. This will be necessary for any design work and planning. If you're changing up the layout, take note of where each electrical outlet, fixture, and all the plumbing is located so you'll know if you can work with what you have or if you'll need to move things.

Blueprint with tile samples surrounding it.

3. Set a working budget 

When we say “working” budget, it’s important to leave a little wiggle room in the financing of your project since things will inevitably cost more than you expect. On average, a bathroom remodel in the U.S. costs between $9,600 and $11,000, but they can be up to $50,000 for a truly lavish design. 

You’ll want to factor in costs such as materials, appliances, fixtures, flooring, labor, and inspection fees, among others.

4. Obtain permits

Check with your local authorities to see if you need any permits for the remodel. You may also need inspections during each phase of the remodel. Planning these in advance is key to staying on schedule as you will probably have to wait for inspector availability.

Person hanging tile in a shower remodel with plumbing and electrical unfinished on the wall.

5. Go behind the walls

Install or update plumbing and electrical systems as needed. This is usually only a necessity if you are changing the layout of your bathroom or if components are in need of repair or replacement, such as if your home is older. 

6. Factor in lighting and electrical considerations

Though light fixtures won’t be installed until the very end, your electrician will need to know how many junction boxes to install, as well as how many switches or dimmers you’re expecting to have. 

Think outside the box with your vanity lighting; rather than a set track of lights above the mirror, it is becoming popular to see modern sconces on either side that are at eye-level. Also, electrical features like heated towel racks or even heated flooring add great resale value to homes, but again, these updates are something your electrician will need to be aware of early on.

7. Start with the basics

Before you start bringing in things like a new toilet or lighting fixtures, focus on the walls and floors of the new bathroom first. Perhaps you want your walls to be completely covered in beautiful tiles, or you want to revamp the baseboard heater covers to match the ones in your bedroom. 

Completing foundational elements first will make the rest of the additions go much more smoothly, as you won’t be working in reverse order.

Person installing shower fixture in a tiled shower.

8. Put down plastic sheeting 

Once the floor and walls are refreshed, you should cover the flooring and any other exposed furnishings that you’re keeping (like a bathtub or vanity) with plastic sheeting to protect them from being damaged. 

Plastic sheeting can be purchased online or at any home improvement store. Especially if you’re planning to knock out drywall or tile, plastic sheeting is an absolute necessity to ensure things like flooring, baseboards, and cabinetry aren’t damaged.

9. Install finishes

As you approach the end of your remodel, you'll be surprised by how many finishing touches there are. Apply final coats of paint, install cabinet handles, towel bars, toilet paper holders. Hang mirrors, check that all plumbing and electrical elements work as expected. And finally, clean up. 

Close up of double vanity with modern silver faucets.

10. Tie it all together with décor

After all major foundational updates have been completed, you’ll be free to focus on tying the new space together with classy décor and finer details. If you’re shopping online, it’s wise to purchase these types of items early on, as they might take several weeks to ship. 

Some ideas you can incorporate include updated cabinetry pulls in a cool chrome finish, handy pull-out drawers beneath your vanities for storage efficiency, new bath mats or hand towels, over-the-toilet shelving for extra organization, and new artwork or sculptures.

As your bathroom renovation gets underway, be sure to know the projects and trends that give you the best return on your investment, and those that you should avoid. 

See Trends to Avoid