5 Places to Start Before Your Bathroom Remodel

by Sam Ferris
A Bathroom remodel in Corpus Christi, Texas
Photo courtesy of Emser Tile.
?One of the biggest questions homeowners have about bathroom remodeling is, where do I start? Between deciding on a style, selecting materials and finding a contractor, the process can seem overwhelming before the dust has even settled. The answer also isn't always clear; every bathroom remodel presents a unique set of challenges that homeowners have to solve. That said, there are several logical places to begin. From making a budget to looking for inspiration on social media, this list will pinpoint where you should start and help keep your planning process efficient and organized .
1. ?A wish list
It?s the best way to organize your thoughts and decide what you want to get out of your bathroom remodel. It may be a larger shower and a freestanding tub, or more vanity space and a bigger linen closet for added storage. Either way, write (or type) your must-haves down.

While you?re at it, make a list of your chief complaints, too. Think of what bothers you about your bathroom?s current arrangement. Does it feel cramped? Does it need modern aesthetics? Does the location of your shower or tub need to change in order to make the space more functional?
This wish list will serve as a guide throughout the rest of your remodeling process. It can be especially helpful as you?re selecting materials such as floors, shower tile, countertops, and cabinets. You may be able to eliminate certain materials because they don?t fit with your wish list. ?
2. ?A budget
Budgeting isn?t just coming up with a number (though that?s a start). You also have to itemize your expenses, preferably in an Excel spreadsheet or in a notebook. It helps to visualize the expenses and see a total; it?s hard to grasp the cost of remodeling work when you hear numbers.

HomeAdvisor is an excellent resource for researching estimated costs of remodeling work in your area. Do your homework and then decide what your budget will be for each item.
Emergency funds are helpful if you?re doing a major bathroom renovation. It?s hard to predict what?s behind walls and underneath cabinets, and what your contractor finds may add several thousand dollars to your bill. Better to have your bank account prepared than not.?
3. ?Who you're going to hire
If you don?t want to do the remodeling work yourself, there are several options as to who you can hire, such as a general contractor, a flooring and/or remodeling store, or an interior designer. A quick Google search is a good starting point to locate home remodeling professionals in your area.?
Remodeling is a tall task, so always check customer reviews before you sign a contract. You want to hire a professional that is reputable and that you can hold accountable. Sites like Angie?s List and the Better Business Bureau are among the best resources to learn about a company, contractor or interior designer?s reputation.
4. ?Houzz and Pinterest
They?re the Internet?s version of magazine clippings and scrapbooks. These two image powerhouses are a place for homeowners to create ideabooks for their home remodeling projects with just a few clicks (or if you?re like most homeowners, after several hours of browsing).

While it?s a good idea to start searching for styles and ideas at some point during the planning process, don?t make this your first stop. With thousands of ideas available at your fingertips, you can quickly get overwhelmed. In fact, if you don?t already have an account on either site, wait until after you create your wish list. This will help you focus on what?s best for your bathroom as you browse.
Be sure to save your favorite designs and take them to your appointments with interior designers and general contractors.?
5. ?Perfecting your design
Don?t hand over your credit card as soon as your wish list is complete. When it comes to bathroom remodeling, the more planning, the better.

Here are a few specific things you should plan for:
  • Storage space. You can never have enough, from the top of your linen closet down to your shower niches. Make sure your shower can accommodate your shampoos and bath soaps. Allow enough space in your cabinetry to house your linens. Most of all, these features should be easy to access and use.
  • Your future needs. If you?re planning to age in place, you?ve got a lot of work to do when you?re designing your bathroom. Your floors need to offer high slip resistance, your shower needs to be accessible (no tripping hazards or small entrances), and your cabinetry should include roll out drawers instead of doors. Good lighting is also a must for older homeowners; bad lighting can strain the eyes.
  • Who?s using the bathroom. Children, middle-aged adults, and the elderly use bathroom spaces differently. Children need a bath tub, but that can turn into a slipping hazard for elderly homeowners. Middle-aged adults need proper vanity space to get ready in the mornings, while children need just a few cabinets for storage. Who?s using the bathroom can clue you in as to what to include in your remodel.
  • The details. There?s more to bathroom remodeling than flooring, cabinets, countertops and shower tile. There?s also plumbing, lighting, shower fixtures, tubs, faucets, sinks, drains, and so on. Plan ahead for these items, too.?

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