Renovating any part of your home while you’re still living in it is hard. This is doubly so when it’s your bathroom, because it’s the one room in the house everyone has to use, all of the time. This is something you want done quickly. It’s also a job you want done professionally, at rates that don’t break the bank. How to balance these multiple demands, while still getting a renovation that makes you think the time and inconvenience were well worth it? We’ve put together a list for you to consider as you plan your renovation.

1 Know what you want

Going into the renovation, you should have a clear idea of what you want it to look like when it’s finished. It helps to collect inspiration and ideas from magazines and the Internet. You can then take these to your home goods store, your designer or your contractor to get a better sense of what it will take to achieve these looks.

2 Get help

Even though an entire industry has sprung up around do-it-yourself home renovation, bathrooms are tricky. There are structures in there that are required to conform to code. There’s electrical wiring, water and sewage pipes and, if you don’t know anything about this stuff, you can make an expensive mess. Some things are just best left to the professionals. If you hire a contractor, you not only have someone who has the experience to get the job done, you have a much better idea how to plan for the associated costs of your desired renovation.

Select a contractor who can demonstrate his experience and who comes with recommendations.

3 Set a budget

One area a contractor can help with right away if letting you know how much your dream bathroom renovation will cost. If it’s edging up a little to the high side, they can let you know ways you can trim expenses, while achieving a look similar to what you want. They will also give you an idea of how much money you will need to set aside as a contingency.

3 Set a plan and stick to it 

It’s all too easy in the middle of a bathroom renovation to have a design stroke of genius that you want your contractor to include. To avoid the temptation to make these modifications, work out a bathroom floor plan with your contractor…and once it’s done, stick to it. This way the job doesn’t take longer than it needs to and you stay on budget by not adding extra costs when you suddenly decide one night that your shower, sinks and toilets need to switch places.

4 Consider simpler designs

Tempting though it may be to jam as many stylistic elements in a bathroom, the cost of this will eventually add up. Simpler, more streamlined designs will cost less. You also have the added benefit of not having your bathroom appear too “busy”.

5 Consider water and energy efficiency

This is one way you can have a return on investment on the money you spend renovating your bathroom. Installing energy efficient lighting can help you save on your electricity bills The same with heating elements such as towel racks and radiators. Select shower and bath fixtures that do not utilize as much water. The environment and your pockets will thank you. Should you sell your home, the new owners will appreciate your thoughtfulness here as well.

6 Re-use, Recycle

Another way you save time and money on a bathroom renovation is reusing your old fixtures. You cut down on the cost and time of buying and installing the new ones.

7 Spend on your shower and/or bath

Here’s where you might want to spend some of that money you’re saving. Your bathroom may be the difference between a sale or waiting extra weeks for a buyer. Top off the spa your renovated bathroom with new shower enclosures, and add a bit of luxury without totally blowing your budget. Even if you’re not trying to sell, you will certainly enjoy features like high end marbled finishes, heated floors and multiple shower jets. 

8 Remember to make allowances for added space, fixtures

If you’ve added a tub where there was none, or an extra vanity sink, remember that you may need to augment your bathroom’s water pressure to accommodate the new faucets. Similarly, if your bathroom is now larger thanks to an extension, you will have to consider how you will heat the larger area in the winter. When making changes to our home, we sometimes forget to consider how the new additions will affect what’s already there.

9 Don’t forget storage

Whether you’re going for a minimalist, modern look or a rustic, farmhouse finish, remember to plan for including the appropriate storage in your newly renovated bathroom.

10 Lights, lights, lights

Consider as well how your new bathroom space is going to be lit. The old lighting scheme may not be adequate for the renovation.

11 Ventilation

In a bathroom, damp is your worst enemy. It causes mold and damages your finishes. Good ventilation can help here. Add the appropriate ventilation fan for space. You may also want to consider adding a window if there wasn’t one before. This is a good way to get sunlight into the space to combat the damp, as well as a way of adding more natural light.

12 Easy does it

Having invested all this time, energy and money into a renovation, you are going to want to ensure that your new bathroom is easy to maintain. Invest in scratch-resistant and easy to clean surfaces.

13 Consider the Resale Value

Most people invest in a home with the idea they’ll live in for the rest of their lives. If it turns out that this isn’t the case, any renovations must be done with the resale value of home in mind. Upgraded showers are considered to have good resale value (see Tip 7). Even if you want to reflect your personal style, understand that not everyone may want a canary yellow bathroom, and you may have to do another renovation when you’re ready to sell.

Renovations can cost time and money if they go badly. Time and money that you may not have to spend a second time around. These guidelines will set you up for a successful renovation.