10 Bathroom Remodel Tips and Advice

Upgrading your bathroom can be one of the most rewarding home renovation projects. A renovated bathroom not only increases your home’s value, but also improves the functionality and aesthetic of a space you use daily. However, bathroom remodels require careful planning and execution to ensure the final product is high-quality and meets your needs. Follow these 10 expert tips for bathroom remodels to achieve the perfect results.

Set a Realistic Budget

Knowing how much you can spend is crucial when budgeting for a bathroom remodel. Set a realistic budget based on the scope of work needed and materials you want. Here are some tips:

  • Get multiple quotes from contractors – their estimates help determine accurate project costs in your area.
  • Allow for contingency funds, an extra 10-15% of total budget for unforeseen expenses.
  • Understand that labor, not just materials, drives cost. Complex projects require more labor hours.
  • Establish must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Focus funds on must-haves and save nice-to-haves for future upgrades.
  • Consider mixing high-end and mid-range materials to balance quality and cost. For example, splurge on porcelain tile but choose mid-priced faucets.
  • Factor in costs to remove and dispose of old bathroom components if doing a full remodel.

Setting a practical bathroom remodel budget allows you to maximize what’s achievable for the available funds. Perform due diligence to determine accurate project costs.

Define Your Style

Bathroom style defines the aesthetic and functionality of the space. Consider the below when deciding on style:

Personal Taste – Make style choices that appeal to your personal preferences. Visit showrooms and design websites to get ideas. Focus on styles you are repeatedly drawn to.

Home’s Architecture – Let your home’s architecture guide style. For example, traditional styling suits a colonial home, while contemporary design complements a modern house.

Future Resale Value – Styles like contemporary and traditional have broader appeal to future buyers. Trendy designer styles can become quickly outdated.

Bathroom’s Purpose – Determine if the bathroom is for utility only or if you want it to be a sanctuary. This guides the style accordingly.

Cohesiveness – Choose a style that flows with the rest of your home for a cohesive feel. Formal styles work best when home décor is elegant throughout.

Defining the right bathroom style before starting your remodel keeps the project focused. You’ll make fitting choices for tile, cabinets, fixtures, and finishes.

Choose Tile First

Tile is a foundational element influencing the room’s style. Make tile selections early in the planning process since it drives other material choices in the space.

Porcelain vs. Ceramic – Porcelain tile is more durable, water-resistant, and stain-proof making it ideal for bathrooms. Ceramic tile absorbs more water.

Smaller Tiles – Use smaller tiles like 4×4 inch or mosaic tiles on walls and flooring. The multitude of grout lines makes the space visually appear larger.

Neutral Colors – Stick to classic white, gray, or beige tile. Bold or trendy tile colors can clash with other elements as your style evolves.

Grout Color – Contrasting grout color adds definition. For example, use white grout with gray tile or gray grout with white tile.

Shower Wall Tile – Tile shower walls floor to ceiling. Limit tile to wainscoting height on other wet walls.

Pattern Designs – Use geometric, mosaic, or decorative inserts for the shower floor. Simpler tile patterns are better for overall flooring.

Slip Resistance – Choose tile with texture, an anti-slip glaze, or matte finish for wet surfaces, especially in showers.

Thoughtful tile choices make the space stylish and functional. Visit showrooms to view tile types, colors, patterns, and textures.

Design an Efficient Layout

A well-planned layout optimizes usable space in the bathroom. Use the following tips when designing:

  • Arrange fixtures on walls first, then allocate remaining space for flooring. This prevents cramming.
  • Follow proper clearance dimensions around toilets, showers, and vanities as required by code.
  • Include ample lighting fixtures, electrical outlets, and plumbing for fixtures. Locate on walls accessible behind vanities or tile.
  • Order shower floor tile and base after finalizing layout. This ensures proper sizing.
  • Use floating vanities to allow floor tile to run underneath without interruption.
  • Area rugs add softness and define zones like dressing or sitting areas without permanent flooring changes.
  • Keep frequently used items easily accessible. For example, position towels near showers.
  • Check layout plans match the actual room. Adjust framing if needed.

Achieving excellent bathroom function requires drawing plans to scale. Verify required clearances. Keep chambers uncluttered by allowing room for opened doors and drawers.

Choose Moisture-Resistant Materials

Bathrooms inherently contain lots of moisture. Selecting materials resistant to moisture prevents damage long-term. Consider moisture-resistant options for:

Flooring – Porcelain and ceramic tile, solid surface flooring, and natural stone are water-resistant options. Include anti-fracture membranes during installation.

Drywall – Use mold-resistant drywall or cement board, especially around showers and tubs.

Cabinets – Choose wood composites like plywood instead of particleboard. Opt for moisture-resistant finishes.

Countertops – Granite, quartz, solid surface, and laminate resist moisture. Seal natural stone. Avoid porous options like wood.

Fixtures – Look for finishes like powder-coating on metals that repel moisture. Avoid chrome finishes which can corrode over time.

Exhaust Fan – Mandatory in shower areas. Prevent mold growth by reducing ambient moisture.

Plumbing Fixtures – Select tub and shower valves, faucets, and fittings that feature durable finishes and check for warranties.

Using long-lasting, water-resistant materials protects your investment and prevents deterioration and costly repairs.

Select Statement Lighting

Proper lighting transforms bathrooms from purely functional to beautiful spaces. Follow these guidelines:

  • Include overhead ambient lighting to illuminate overall space. Recessed cans or LED panels work well.
  • Incorporate task lighting above sinks and vanities for grooming. Wall sconces or pendants are ideal options.
  • Use accent lighting to highlight pretty design elements. Try picture lights above artwork or strip lighting under cabinets.
  • Install waterproof shower lighting to make cleaning safe. Niche lights or can lights in the ceiling are best.
  • Light the toilet area for nighttime visits. Wall sconces ensure no dark corners.
  • Add dimmers to adjust lighting levels to activities and ambiance.
  • Layer lighting types and vary fixture finishes for dimension. Mix black, chrome, nickel, and brass.

With the right lighting plan, your bathroom remodel will have a warm, inviting glow. The space will be both glamorous and highly functional.

Splurge on Plumbing Fixtures

It’s worth investing in high-end plumbing fixtures that make the space luxurious. Follow these tips:

Tub/Shower Combo – An upgraded unit with jetted, air-jet, or soaking tub capacity provides a spa-like relaxation zone. Add luxury shower systems too.

Stand-Alone Showers – Choose large shower stalls for multi-function showerheads, body sprays, benches, and some tub bathing capacity.

Faucets – Select stylish faucet fixtures with modern conveniences like touch-free operation and pull-down sprayers.

Toilets – Upgrade to one-piece toilets without a separate tank and bowl for a seamless, stylish look.

Touchless Fixtures – Hands-free faucets and toilets are more hygienic and convenient.

Drinking Water Tap – Install filtered water taps at vanities for easy drinking and tooth brushing.

Radiant Floor Heating – Warm floors are a luxurious treat, especially for chilly mornings.

Luxury plumbing elevates your enjoyment of the bathroom. These special touches make the investment into your remodel worthwhile.

Design Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is imperative in bathroom remodels to prevent mold/mildew growth and rotting of materials over time.

  • Install a bathroom ventilation fan ducted outside, not just recirculating air. Proper CFM rating exhausts odor and moisture.
  • Place waterproof bathroom ceiling fans strategically near moisture sources like showers.
  • Use ENERGY STAR fans for efficiency. Look for quiet operation and built-in humidity sensors and timers.
  • Include operable windows for fresh air cross ventilation.
  • Duct bathroom exhaust fans to terminate outside at least 2 feet from windows or other openings. Fast-drying 4” ducts work best.
  • Slope exhaust ducts downwards from ceiling to exit point so moisture can drain out.
  • Install water-resistant backerboard behind sinks, tubs, and showers for moisture protection.
  • Caulk and seal all material joints properly. Check caulking and grout annually and reapply as needed.
  • Use mold-resistant paint like satin/eggshell rather than flat finish paint which can retain moisture.

Ventilation allows your remodel to last. Prevent mold, musty odors, and structural issues with exhaust fans, windows, and careful material installation.

Select Heated Flooring

Heated flooring allows you to start your mornings with warm floors or unwind in the evenings with toasty tiles. Here are tips for heated flooring:

  • Hardwired electric radiant systems are best for reliability and energy efficiency.
  • Opt for electric mat systems for existing subfloors or wired coils for new mortar beds or poured floors.
  • Locate thermostat controls away from heat sources like heat vents but accessible inside the bathroom.
  • Use programmable controls to set different temperatures at scheduled times. Lower temperatures at bedtime to save energy.
  • Install an anti-fracture membrane over heated flooring to allow tiles to safely expand and contract.
  • Choose tiles with low thermal resistance if going over electric systems. Porcelain and ceramic tiles conduct heat well from electric coils below.
  • Maintain a temperature range between 70-80°F for comfort and energy savings.

Heated bathroom flooring adds comfort and luxury during chilly times of year. Radiant systems under tile or laminate flooring are durable and effective.

Select High-Quality Cabinets

Cabinets make a significant impact on your bathroom’s functionality and appearance. Use these tips for choosing cabinets:

  • Opt for moisture-resistant materials like wood composites, avoiding particleboard. Thermafoil and polyurethane thermofoil are very water-resistant finishes.
  • Use durable surface materials like quartz or solid surface for vanity tops over vulnerable wood species.
  • Choose soft-closing hinges and full-extension drawers for easy access to contents. Also helpful for accessibility.
  • Include storage like pull-out cabinet towers or slide-out shelves in vanity bases.
  • Look for quality door fronts and frames that align smoothly when installed.
  • Select stylish hardware like bar pulls, knobs, or handles that align with the room’s overall aesthetic.
  • Consider custom cabinets for a built-in look with sizing optimized to the space.
  • Properly seal and finish cabinet exteriors, sides, fronts, and tops to prevent moisture damage, warping, or swelling.

Investing in high-quality, water-resistant cabinets keeps your bathroom functioning flawlessly and looking fabulous for years.

Create Openness with Mirrors

Strategically placed mirrors visually enlarge small bathrooms. Follow these mirror tips:

  • Hang a statement mirror above the vanity that draws the eye up to create height. Oval, arched, and framed mirrors are striking choices.
  • Use two same-sized rectangular mirrors on side walls to make the room appear wider.
  • Include mirrored medicine cabinets for concealed storage and to bounce light. Position properly to avoid reflection into standing users’ eyes.
  • Place mirrors opposite windows so incoming light reflects off the mirror to fill darker corners.
  • Install mirrors behind vessel sinks to create an elegant floating effect.
  • Use backlit mirrors to make grooming and makeup application easier.
  • Incorporate specialty antique or beveled mirrors to showcase unique decorative style.

With smart mirror placement, your bathroom remodel appears more spacious and filled with beautiful light.

Pick Stylish & Functional Vanities

Your bathroom vanity anchors the space both visually and functionally. Follow these vanity tips:

Type – Choose vanity types like floating, wall-mount, or vanity cabinets based on layout, plumbing access, and style needs.

Size – Measure available space and existing plumbing lines. Standard vanity widths are 24”, 30”, 36”, 48”, and 60”.

Countertops – Quartz and solid surface offer endless color options and water resistance. Marble and granite are elegant but require sealing.

Basins – Undermount sinks provide a smooth ledge-free counter. Vessel basins make dramatic style statements. Wall-mount or pedestal sinks conserve floor space.

Faucets – Select single-handle or widespread faucet configurations to match number of basins. Add convenient pull-down spray faucets.

Storage – Opt for full bathroom vanities over pedestal sinks when possible for storage gain. Include large drawers, pull-out towers, and slide trays inside cabinets.

Medicine Cabinets – Choose cabinets with mirrors on the back panel. Some allow recessed installation between wall studs.

ADA Compliance – If needed, ensure vanity meets ADA height/clearance requirements for accessibility.

Keep vanity selections functional and tailored to your lifestyle needs, like ample storage for family members.

Make It Yours with Personal Touches

Infuse personality and your unique stamp into the bathroom remodel. Some fun touches to try:

Artwork – Hang favorite paintings or prints you already own. Waterproof canvas or metal artwork withstands humidity.

Scent – Use scented soaps, candles, or essential oils to make the room smell divine.

Greenery – Add life with floral arrangements, mini potted plants, or wreathes hung on walls.

Textiles – Use shower curtains, towels, rugs, and cabinets lined with fabric displaying favorite patterns.

Vintage Finds – Display your antique mirror, clawfoot tub, or other treasures during the remodel.

Memorabilia – Showcase sentimental items like family photos, kids artwork, or travel trinkets throughout the space.

Bold Colors – Paint walls, add towels/bathmats, or select fixtures in favorite vibrant hues.

High-Tech Features – Treat yourself with tech-savvy additions like smart toilets, digital shower systems, or touchscreen mirrors.

With personalizing touches, your new bathroom reflects your personality and brings you joy each day.

Ask Your Contractor These Questions

Choosing the right general contractor ensures a smooth and successful bathroom remodel. Ask prospective contractors these questions:

  • How many years have you been in business and completed bathroom remodels? Look for 5+ years of experience.
  • Are you licensed and insured for this type of project? Verify active licensing and at least $1 million liability coverage.
  • May I have a list of recent client references to contact? Call references to inquire about work quality and communication.
  • Who will be the project manager and day-to-day point of contact? Ensure the project leader has bathroom remodel experience.
  • How will you protect home interiors and keep dust/debris controlled during work? Look for containment protocols to keep your home clean.
  • What percentage is due upfront to start and what is the payment schedule? A 10-25% down payment is typical with progress payments.
  • What is your change order process if I alter or add scope mid-project? Ensure reasonable charges for documented changes.
  • Is the job site left broom swept daily? Ask about daily and final cleanup responsibilities.

Interviewing prospective contractors thoroughly protects your investment and sets clear expectations.

Create a Bathroom Maintenance Plan

Preserve your bathroom remodel by implementing a maintenance plan. Follow these tips:

Clean Routinely – Wipe surfaces, disinfect high-touch areas, and vacuum flooring regularly to prevent buildup of dirt and grime.

Inspect Caulking & Grout – Examine all joints and seals around tubs, sinks, tile, and fixtures yearly. Reapply fresh caulk when needed.

Check for Leaks – Look for moisture damage, mineral buildup, or mold signs monthly. Repair any leaks immediately to minimize damage.

Monitor Ventilation – Clean exhaust fan covers and ducts to keep air circulating well. Replace fans every 5-7 years.

Limit Moisture – Use bathroom exhaust fans, open windows to ventilate, and hang shower curtains fully to minimize ambient moisture.

Clean Drains – Prevent clogs by flushing drains weekly with hot water and baking soda. Use drain snakes periodically.

Test GFCI Outlets – Ensure ground fault circuit interrupters function properly to prevent electrocution risks.

Deep Clean – Professionally deep clean grout, recaulk, and restore surfaces like natural stone and tile every 1-2 years to refresh the space.

With proper routine care, your dream bathroom maintains its beauty and functions flawlessly for many years.


Renovating your bathroom successfully requires careful planning. Define style objectives, set realistic budgets, design efficient layouts, and select the best materials early when starting your bathroom remodel project. Then choose plumbing fixtures and elegant vanities wisely. Include mirrors and lighting to add beauty and