Tips from Matt Muenster, host of DIY's BATHtastic!
The best place to start with any remodeling project is the budget. Not only will it have a big impact on the type of materials you select for your bathroom renovation, it will also help you set the boundaries of your design. Knowing what you can really afford to spend will make it a lot easier to decide what items you want to replace and where you need to get creative!
Going "green" is not only good for the environment; it’s also good for you. Green products have great design, tend to function better, which lowers utility bills, and they’re also chemical-free, making them better for your health. Having an eco-friendly approach to remodeling isn’t just about buying new products, doing something "green" can be as simple as painting a cabinet instead of tossing it in a landfill.
Want to save some big bucks remodeling your bathroom? Consider refinishing existing items such as your bathtub, shower, sink or tile. With refinishing, you’ll only pay a small fraction (as little as 10 percent) of the cost of replacement. Your bathroom won’t be torn up for weeks, you'll avoid the big renovation mess and you’ve put one less big ol’ tub in the landfill
Don’t want your budget to skyrocket? Don't move your plumbing. On the surface, switching your sink and toilet around may look easy enough, but the problem lies underneath and all the costs involved in moving that plumbing. Besides, if you spend less money on moving fixtures, you’ll have more to spend on that new sleek shower system or vanity you’ve been eyeing.
Be brutally honest about your DIY skill level. Assess which projects to do yourself and which are better left to the pros. You could save yourself a ton of money in the long run if you don’t have to call someone in to fix a project you’ve messed up. The best way to find a good contractor — seek referrals from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had remodeling work done.
Some of the most effective updating in a bathroom can also be the easiest and the cheapest. Changing out all the hardware, such as drawer pulls, faucet handles and showerheads, can make a big impact. Be sure to use the same finish, such as stainless steel, aged bronze or brushed nickel, to keep the room looking cohesive.
Don't underestimate the importance of lighting in a bathroom. Sconce lighting at the vanity is the ideal way to get even lighting on your face, and installing it at eye level will help diminish unflattering shadows. Dim lighting is nice for a relaxing bath; bright lights are great for shaving or applying makeup. Adding more overall lighting can make a small bathroom seem larger.
Ventilation. Ventilation. Ventilation. Moisture is your bathroom’s greatest enemy. Mold and mildew will make quick work of any renovation you’ve done so be sure to install a vent fan of appropriate CFMs for the square footage of your bathroom. The rough guide is one CFM per square foot for bathrooms of one hundred square feet or smaller. New designs are quieter and more stylish than ever and are a must have for any bathroom remodel.