Remodeling ideas

Bathroom Renovation Ideas – Bob Vila

Kohler Tresham collection. Photo: Kohler

Bathrooms continue to top homeowners’ lists of popular rooms to renovate, and for good reason. As more and more Americans are investing prudently in their homes rather than selling, they are realizing that the value of a bathroom remodel goes beyond enjoying new decor. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2010-2011 cost-to-value ratio, mid-range bathroom renovations get a return on investment of 70%, or even more in some regions or neighborhoods. This means that if you spend the national average of $16,634 on remodeling, you’ll not only enjoy a new bath, but you’ll also recoup $11,643 or more when you sell. (And having an updated bath just might give you a selling edge in a slow market.)

As with any home improvement project, it’s smart to spend wisely. Start the process by deciding how much you’d be comfortable investing in a bath, then do some research and familiarize yourself with the basics. This guide will provide helpful information on design considerations, storage solutions, and tips for choosing materials and accessories.

Most baths are modest in size (50 to 70 square feet), but that doesn’t stop homeowners from dreaming big. To get a realistic perspective of what’s possible, scour design books, magazines, and websites for ideas. Visit home shows and designer showrooms where you can open drawers, smell spray jets and really “smash the tires”.

“I always ask what he doesn’t like about a client’s existing bathtub,” says Nanae Nakahara, CKD, CKB, owner of Elegance Redesigned in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Are the cabinets too small or don’t they like the colors?” Some people think that if they add everything new, they will be happy. But you need to carefully consider space and budget to get the most out of it.

Here are some key points to get you started:

How will the bath be used? It may seem obvious, but first write down who will use the bathroom and how, says Nakahara. Are you redoing a family bathroom that is going through a lot of wear and tear? Or do you opt for a spa-like master bath to wash away your worries? Determining the needs of the inhabitants will give you key direction on materials, storage, and space requirements.

Set a budget. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), a non-profit trade association, bathrooms can be one of the most expensive rooms to remodel based on cost per square foot, in part due to the fact that there are many water, electrical and plumbing problems. Still, there are options to suit nearly every budget. “To share a few examples: A master suite with all amenities and luxurious materials in a major metro area could fetch $100,000,” says the NKBA bathroom planning guide (available for free download at . “However, a charming but modest small-town makeover could be done for less than $10,000.” For planning purposes, the NKBA recommends allocating 20% ​​of your budget to installation, 16% to cabinets and hardware, and 15% to light fixtures. For a ballpark figure for the cost of a bathroom remodel in your area, check out this estimate tool on Improvenet.

Make a plan. “One of the first things we tell clients is to look at the whole space rather than how it’s being used right now,” says Anissa Swanzy, co-owner of SKD Studios in Lusby, Maryland. “Often people can’t imagine it any other way or they can’t see the full potential for themselves. If you’re doing a cosmetic update, it’s expensive to move the toilet, but if you’re doing a major renovation , moving the toilet is a small price to pay for having an efficient floor plan at the end. Check adjacent closets or hallways to see if you can annex additional square footage. Or rethink how you use light fixtures. “In master bathrooms, a lot of people are foregoing a tub in favor of a bigger shower and more space,” says Swanzy. “They realize that it takes a lot of water to fill a tub, and they don’t have time to soak in it anyway.”

Whatever choices you ultimately make, leave room to breathe. The NKBA suggests at least 30 inches of clearance in front of any fixture. Play with sketches on paper or try Kohler’s Virtual Bathroom Planner.

Find storage solutions. “When considering cabinetry, try to get as much storage as possible,” advises Swanzy. “We make large tall cabinets between two sinks and floor-to-ceiling pantry-style cabinets.” The right storage depth is also important. “Most people provide too deep storage, but then things pile up on top of each other,” says Julie Williams, CKD, CKB, owner of Julie Williams Design in Novato, California. “I tend to go 15 inches deep but 30 inches wide. That way you can see everything at a glance. Williams also tries to create a separate washroom where possible, adding floor-to-ceiling storage space on one wall in this room for things that aren’t used every day leaves vanity storage less cluttered.

Review the security questions. In the interests of health and safety, baths need adequate ventilation, good lighting and a non-slip floor to prevent falls.

For more on bathroom remodeling, consider:
Bathroom essentials: tubs, showers and sinks
How to: Create a Spa Bath at Home
Bathroom flooring: a multitude of options