Five Steps For Preparing For A New Bathroom Design and Remodel

Bathroom Design 101: The Top Considerations When Designing A Bath

Today, many of us dream of having a spa-like master bathroom, or a beautiful shared bath for the kids and guests. If you're ready to undertake a bathroom remodeling, you have to do a little pre-planning and define your project. Even with a professional bathroom design and a contractor to take care of the installation, as the homeowner, you're ultimately calling the functional and aesthetic shots.

You need to consider your lifestyle, how the bathroom will be used, what features are important to you, how it will look, and what you can afford to spend. While bathrooms today are varied and personal, there are some necessary steps you can take before you begin that will ensure a successful project.

Let's take a step-by-step walkthrough of the process to help you navigate the planning and design phases.

Step One: What Are Your Goals For Your Space?

Defining your project beyond “well, I need a new bathroom” is essential! You're beginning a process that will take time, and a good chunk of money to complete, so you want to have a goal going in.

Start with your dream bathroom. If money were no object, what would constitute your ideal bathroom? Who is it for? Is it an en suite master bathroom, a downstairs powder room for guests? A bathroom for the kids? Think about how often it will be used and how it will function.

Examine your family's lifestyle. Do you want something easy to keep clean? Or do you wish to update the look? Many older homeowners are choosing to age in their home. If you're one of them, think about the future. For example, a threshold-free shower will be functional as you get older. Do you have a medical issue like poor eyesight or arthritis? Then you may opt for large comfortable to operate handles on the shower and sink, or a high contrast color scheme to aid in depth perception.

Think about the “extras” you might enjoy like a relaxing steam shower, a high-tech smart toilet, towel warmers, and heated floors, or a TV hanging over the standalone tub for those relaxing after work soaks.

All of these things will help you to define your needs and goals.

Why Are You Remodeling?

For homeowners, there are four main reasons they want to remodel a bathroom. It can be a single reason or any combination of the three:

Updating Style - If you like the layout of your current bathroom but are tired of the dated look you'll want to focus on materials and perhaps new cabinetry and fixtures. Be aware that there could be hidden problems. Putting new tile over a rotten or inadequate subfloor, or not replacing plumbing could cause significant problems later. Make sure you can afford any surprises.

Resale Value - If you're considering the sale of your home and you want to update your bathroom to increase its value, think about the wants and needs of potential buyers. Look at trend studies, explore websites like Houzz, talk to designers, neighbors, friends, and family to learn what sells in your location.

Better Functionality and Additional Storage - Maybe the tub is in the wrong place, or the door hits the vanity when it swings open. Perhaps you'd like more natural light, or a double vanity to make getting ready together in the morning easier. This level of remodeling takes your bathroom down to the studs, rearranging the layout, and rerouting the plumbing. The additional construction required for this type of remodel will cost more for this type of higher-end project.

You're Planning on Aging-in-Place - For many older homeowners, the choice to remain in their home as they age is comforting. As we grow older, safety often becomes an issue. An aging-in-place or universal design remodel can include removing the tub and creating a threshold-free shower, adding grip rails and a handheld shower. Today, many designers will apply Universal Design principles that incorporate features and functionality for users of any age.

Step Two: Research and Creating A Budget

Before you begin the job of researching and developing your plan, think about what you can afford to spend. To learn more about the cost of a bathroom remodel, download our Good, Better, Best - A Guide To The Cost Of A Bathroom Remodel in Alabama. Make sure you have at least a 10 to 20% cushion for any unseen issues that may arise during construction.

Remember, you can keep the costs down significantly if you can update your bathroom without relocating plumbing and wiring.

Step Three: Hiring A Professional

Whether you choose to assemble a team including an architect a designer and a contractor or decide to work with a professional bathroom design-build firm, a professional team can make sure that your project fits within your budget and aesthetic vision.

A professional bathroom designer will be able to expand your vision by thinking of things you may not have considered, like moving a wall to build a space for your washer and dryer, or adding a skylight to increase natural light.

A professional design-build firm can take you through every step of the project. They can work with you to develop the design, help you create a budget, and install your bathroom. If your bathroom needs to be brought up to current code, a professional will do the work promptly and adequately.

Step Four: Refine And Finalize Your Bathroom Design Plan

You've probably been keeping a “creative” file of ideas on Pinterest, or a Houzz Ideabook online. This is the time to begin to examine the finishes, fixtures, and materials that are available in your budget range. Your designer will ask to see any pictures, research, or other information you've collected to better understand your design aesthetic and needs before coming up with your bathroom design.

This is the time to share with your team your creative vision. Your contractor can help, for example, if you're considering adding space by moving a wall or wanting to rearrange the layout of your bathroom. Think about if you'd like more storage, a double vanity, or a separate shower and soaking tub.

Now is also the time to solidify the style of bathroom you want. Take your cues from the rest of your home. For example, an ultra-modern bathroom may be out of place in a Victorian house. Your designer will begin to create sketches or CAD drawings of your bathroom design.

Step Five: Approve The Design

Design approval is the final step before construction begins. During this step, you'll review sketches, floor plans, and elevations that show your bathroom design and its proportions. This is to get the layout finalized, but doesn't always include the finished product in terms of colors and materials.

Once you've nailed down the bathroom design, as construction begins, you'll be working with your designer to pick materials, fixtures, flooring, tile, countertops, lighting, and colors and

The Bottom Line on Bathroom Remodeling

The bathroom design process requires you to set some goals, do some research, and make a series of decisions. Taking the time to educate yourself on the process can help to move your project along. When you engage a design-build contractor, they can help you to better flesh out your plan. They will have an understanding of all of the options available and can convey them to you. They understand not only the technical aspects of your project, like permitting and building codes, they are up to date on the latest technology, materials, trends, and techniques to help you achieve your creative vision and meet your functional needs.

If you're planning a bathroom remodeling project and you live in the greater Tuscaloosa area, give the bathroom design experts at Toulmin Cabinetry & Design a call at (205) 366-0807. They can help you to design your dream bathroom and work hard to bring your project to a successful conclusion on time and on budget.

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