The essential bathroom renovation guide |

2022-07-30 06:08:56 By : Mr. Carlos Yu

If it's time to give your bathroom an upgrade, there's a lot you'll need to consider as it is one of the most used and valued rooms in the home. Plumbing is expensive, so if it's not planned, designed and installed expertly, it can be costly to rectify – and that's before you choose a suite, flooring and lighting. Follow our essential guide to remodelling your bathroom, from the initial idea to finishing touches, while sticking to a budget...

To determine the most practical layout, fixtures and scheme for the bathroom, begin by assessing who will be using it and when. For example, a family will require lots of storage and most probably both a bath and shower to accommodate all ages, whereas an older couple might want to forgo the bath entirely to make room for double sinks and a walk-in shower design. 

Are you looking to create a spa-like sanctuary to relax in, an efficient changing room for showering after exercise, or a practical and water-tight room for bathing children? This will call the shots on layout, materials and scheme. Take inspiration from any hotel or holiday-let bathrooms you've enjoyed and create a moodboard for scheme ideas.

According to, the average complete bathroom renovation in the UK costs approximately £5,000 ($6,000). Deciding on the budget in advance allows choices to be made regarding bathroom suite selection, tiles, brassware and storage. It's vital to factor in plumbing, electrical wiring and installation, too, as this is often where underestimating timescales and workloads can lead to heavy cost overruns. Simply giving your bathroom a refresh or doing the renovation yourself will cut costs, but it's important to know the basics at least if this is the route you'll be taking. 

If you're starting from scratch or changing the purpose of the room entirely, it's a good idea to enlist the help of a bathroom designer who will have the technology and training to make the most of the space. Visit websites and download apps that will help you visualise the space. Once you've set a budget and taken measurements, a bathroom showroom designer can put together the blueprint for your ideal bathroom, and suggest ideas you may not have thought of yourself. 

The essential question with any bathroom is the choice of suite. It will typically consist of the key elements: toilet, basin, bath or shower enclosure. There are limitless styles, sizes and colours, so the bathroom is your oyster – mixing and matching units or sticking with one design throughout is down to personal taste. A popular look of the moment is to mix colours – for instance, going for a white bath and colourful basin in the same design or combining an upcycled painted vanity with a new bath or vice-versa. 

Banish those not-so-stylish toiletry bottles and children's bath toys behind closed doors from the start with a well-thought-out bathroom storage plan. A bathroom designer can help curate bespoke or fitted options. Many bathroom suites include vanity units with drawers and cupboards and there are baths that include storage within the front panel. Make use of empty wall space by mounting shelves and adding other genius bathroom storage ideas. 

If your layout already works, why change it? Moving pipework will be an expensive part of a new layout, so don't do it for the sake of it. If, however, a better arrangement is evident, a new formation can make better use of available space. Plus, the remodel will increase the resale value in the long term. A statement, standalone bath will establish a luxurious look, while a combination shower-bath will leave plenty of room for a larger vanity unit, even in compact spaces.  

Your bathroom is, by nature, a humid space, so adequate ventilation is a vital component. It will prolong the life of your beautiful new bathroom by keeping mould and mildew under control. In the UK, government building regulations state that all bathrooms must be ventilated by either a window or an extractor fan. New builds are more air-tight, and so require both. 

If you are rearranging the layout of your bathroom, a plumber will need to move and re-route vital pipework under floorboards and within walls. A professional will know which layout ideas are feasible and which might prove challenging. New fixtures and fittings can be attached to existing pipework, perfect for low-budget bathroom renovations and DIY bathroom projects.

Brassware can add the finishing seal of approval to your bathroom scheme. From raw and rustic exposed pipes to ultra contemporary touchless faucets, there are taps, mixers and bath plugs to adorn every bathroom scheme. "Metallic finishes such as brass and copper are a great way of subtly adding colour, and will add warmth and grandeur to the space, which is important when creating a luxurious bathroom," says  Paul Bailey, category specialist with Grohe. "If working to a more industrial or monochromatic colour scheme, explore options of graphite or nickel for something a little more understated," he adds. 

Choosing the colour scheme is always the fun part, although too much choice can be confusing. Start by deciding if your bathroom's main focus will be relaxation, self-care or everyday utility, and then choose a colour scheme that suits your vision. For example, warm tones will make the spa inviting and cosy, perfect for a relaxing candlelit bubble bath at the end of the day. White bathroom schemes are a firm favourite; why not introduce contrasting green elements to energise the final result, or a soft grey to deliver a subtle and sophisticated finish? 

Flooring plays a big role in the scheme of your bathroom. The inner workings of the bathroom will dictate your choice of flooring; for example, will it need to be 100% water-tight? Will you need extra slip-resistance? Is it easy-to-clean and long-lasting? And before picking your flooring it's firstly, important to know if the floor will need to be reinforced to accommodate a bathub or shower room. "It's important to consider the entire room when choosing your bathroom flooring," says Louisa Swannell of Walls and Floors. "If you want to make a flooring statement, a patterned tile might be a good choice. But if you're making a statement with your wall design, you may want to consider something more subtle for the floor."

Bathroom tiles add colour, pattern and character to your bathroom scheme, along with protecting the space from steam and water splashes. "It's important to start with the fundamentals and figure out what materials are best suited for the room," advises Amanda Telford of CTD Tiles. "Measure your walls and determine how many tiles you will need, by figuring out the space by square meter. We highly recommend adding a surplus of 10% to allow for tile-cutting and breakages." 

Well-planned lighting will achieve the right ambience day and night. For safety's sake, hire a qualified electrician who is aware of the regulations concerning electrics within wet environments. While ceiling lights are typical and [ractical, wall-lights can make a decorative statement, as can illuminated mirrors. Other bathroom lighting ideas include highlighting alcoves, bathtubs and vanity areas with LED lights. "Low-level lighting under the tub or small spots flush-fitted into the floor can be used to accentuate the bath tub as focal point of the room," advises Gary Parker of TIles & Baths Direct. 

A quality radiator or heated towel rail should be enough to heat a regular-sized bathroom. Stainless steel designs will last longer than cheaper parts, and will stand up to the rigours of a room prone to condensation. Underfloor heating is not only energy efficient and streamlined – what could be more comfortable than a gently-warmed floor after a shower on a cold morning? 

Word-of-mouth has always been a safe bet when it comes to enlisting tradespeople, though trade websites such as run background checks on tradespeople. It's advisable to receive quotes from three bathroom fitters. Always ask for references and be sure to meet in-person before any work is agreed upon. 

At some point during the renovation you will have to forgo using the bathroom for at least one day. This shouldn't be a problem if you have another bathroom and the water can be reconnected at night. However, depending on the scale of work, it's sensible to arrange an alternative occupiable bathroom. That might involve using one at a gym, or calling upon the hospitality of family and friends.  

Water-saving features are increasingly important to customers who are getting their bathrooms renovated. IKEA notes that taps with a cold-start function save up to 30% in energy, while shower heads with flow regulators and toilets with dual flush cisterns also help conserve water. 

Wallpaper can add a pop of colour and pattern. Vinyl is arguably the best material for a bathroom, although companies such as Graham & Brown offer a specific bathroom wallpaper range. "It's both durable and washable, making it perfect for use in an area where the risk of spillages is high," says Graham & Brown's Paula Taylor. 

A cheaper and more versatile option, paint is the best option if you are looking for budget bathroom decorating ideas, and you will be able to afford updating the look with colour and effects more often. Always opt for an appropriate finish that can withstand a damp environment. 

Once you've got your bathroom plan in the bag, it's time to choose and shop for the key elements, from the bathtub to the type of toilet you want to install, plus other bathroom hardware essentials. 

A standalone bathtub can be the focal point of a bathroom. They come in a variety of shapes, including curvaceous, angular and, of course, roll-top. For the ultimate comfortable bathing experience, combine with floor-standing bath taps. 

Shower baths make a great addition to small bathrooms. Often designed in a keyhole or L-shape with a shower screen where the shower is fitted, this option covers all bases and is an ideal, money-saving combination. 

The classic all-rounder, straight baths are available in both single and double-ended versions, and are often combined with a wall-mounted shower mixer. Acrylic, tiled or wooden bath panels can offer character to the plain-yet-practical design. 

A slipper bath is usually freestanding, with one end deep than the other. Taps are traditionally located at the shallow end, allowing plenty of shoulder support for a comfortable bathing experience. The sloped design makes the bathtub resemble a shoe or slipper shape. 

Often designed to sit in the middle of a bathroom wall, a back-to-wall bath will fit neatly against a wall or in an alcove. They make a space-saving yet stylish alternative to a standalone statement bath.

Perfect for traditional and country-style bathrooms, the roll-top bath is a quintessential, romantic luxury. Named due to its rolled-edge top, the design provides a comfortable space for bathing by removing any sharp edges. They are available with claw feet or floor-standing, and come in a variety of colours and materials. 

A cubicle shower is a streamlined design that is built into an alcove or even a converted unused cupboard. It has walls on three sides, which are usually tiled, with a shower screen at the front. 

A quadrant shower enclosure is a sensible choice if you want both a bath and a separate shower in a small bathroom. This design has two straight sides to fit in a corner, and the front screen is curved. The doors can slide or open out. 

A walk-in shower is a luxurious statement. The large area incorporates a shower door, although these tend to be minimalist, frameless panels. Single entry means there is space at just one end to enter and exit, while a walk-through can be accessed at either end. Often a walk-in shower is positioned at one end of the bathroom to create an extra large and deluxe double shower. 

Wet rooms are ideal for those who need easy bathroom access. The space is completely open-plan, although a shower screen is often installed. The floor is levelled to allow water to drain away without the need for a shower tray. "With step-free access, wet rooms are often a great alternative to baths and shower enclosures and work particularly well in family bathrooms, ensuring everyone can use the shower independently," explains Paul Bailey.

This type of shower needs high water pressure along with a constant or good supply of hot water. It mixes hot and cold water supplies together, so you can manually set the desired temperature. 

The mixer controls in this shower incorporate a thermostatic valve, allowing users to pre-set the water temperature and ensuring that the water won't be hotter or colder than your desired setting. This is a good choice for families with young children. 

Electric showers are convenient, with self-containing heating units, so there is no need for them to be connected to a central heating system for constant hot water. They're a good low-cost option, although they definitely need to be installed by a registered professional electrician. 

A close-coupled toilet is probably the most traditional choice. With the cistern located directly behind the toilet bowl, they are generally taller than wall-hung or back-to-wall toilets. Modern versions have pipework concealed within the toilet castings. 

Wall-mounted toilets are raised off the floor to create a contemporary look. This space-saving option exposes a greater cleanable surface, and there is no pedestal, cistern or exposed pipework.

Even toilets are going smart these days. A shower toilet is a serious upgrade to the humble loo. They combine functions of a loo, bidet and air-dryer in one, and are controlled via wall panel, remote or even smartphone app. They also have motion sensors so no touch is required, and automatic LED lights for night-time visits. Martin Carroll, MD at Duravit UK, explains: "Hygiene has become more important, and the latest shower toilets offer a ‘personal control’ option. Through the remote control, you can alter the water flow, temperature, heated seat and drying functions. The shower toilet is also better for the environment as it uses less paper."

A back-to-wall toilet fits on the floor, firmly against a wall or piece of furniture. The cistern and pipework are concealed within a unit or boxed in behind moveable plasterboard or MDF that can be tiled, painted or wallpapered. A flush is also integrated into the wall. 

A freestanding vanity is an ideal choice for master bathrooms. Probably the largest of bathroom sink options, the pedestal can house two sinks if desired. The square or rectangular shape offers plenty of closed or open storage beneath the sink or sinks, depending on the design. 

A wall-hung vanity is mounted to the wall and appears to float. Great for contemporary schemes, they give the bathroom a streamlined and open look, with floor space underneath. They look stylish with drawers and can be a simple way of introducing a pop of colour to a bathroom scheme. 

Washstand-design vanities are ordinarily traditional in design. However, the trend for minimalist furniture has seen them given a contemporary facelift, with some stunning results. With just a frame under the sink that doubles as storage for towels, boxes and baskets, they create a clean and spacious look. 

The classic pedestal sink is the most commonly found and easiest to install. Often used when space or budgets are tight. Simple yet elegant when teamed with a matching bathroom suite, a pedestal will blend seamlessly into the background. 

A vessel sink is a bowl design that sits on top of the vanity worktop. They look stylish and come in all manner of shapes, colours and materials, including ceramic, glass, marble and granite. Vessel sinks can work well with upcycled vanity units – simply cut a hole in the top of any old cabinet or table for a DIY bathroom idea.

A fully recessed basin mounts flush with the solid countertop or vanity unit. The streamlined finish works particularly well with wall-hung vanity units. 

A waterfall tap resembles water flowing from height. Not only will it serve as a contemporary and soothing addition to your bathroom, but the spout mechanism has a low-flow regulator, which means it uses less water. 

Wall-mounted taps, like these from Sanctuary Bathrooms, make an understated and elegant addition to bathroom vanities. They create a professional and luxurious finish, offering more worktop and sink space, but do come in at a higher price to install.

Traditional separate bathroom taps are probably the most well-known of all taps. The straightforward choice would be two taps; one for hot water and one for cold. That doesn't mean they have to be boring, however; fashioned from aged brass or painted matt black, angular or curved, or with ceramic handles, there are so many attractive options to explore.

Mixer taps are ideal for small bathroom sinks. They allow you to adjust the level of hot and cold to achieve the desired water temperature from a single spout. The design can vary, from two handles on either side to a single lever that moves from side to side. 

A bathroom mirror is a vital addition, helping residents to shave, wash, apply make-up and brush their teeth. An illuminated version with a motion sensor allows you to effortlessly activate the LED strip lights with a swipe of the hand. The touch-free action means less mirror cleaning, too. 

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