7 Rules for a Smooth Bathroom Remodel

July 30, 2014 | By | Comments (11)
Serene Blue Bathroom

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn / Southern Living

We’ve partnered with online home-improvement network Porch.com to give you the skinny on how to master your remodel. Here, Porch Editor in Chief Anne Reagan shares her best tips.

Sometimes it’s the smallest remodeling projects that cause the biggest headaches. The bathroom may only account for a small percentage of your home’s square footage, but the amount of labor, as well as the expense, can sometimes make this room painful to renovate. Follow our top tips for a cool, calm bathroom remodel.

Plan the project. Before you begin anything, write a detailed list of everything you want done. This will ensure that from tile grout to baseboard trim you know all the tasks that will need to be completed, and potential contractors will understand the scope of work in giving estimates.

Create a budget. Whether you’ve hired a professional or not, it’s up to you to manage the budget and monitor where the money is being spent. Homeowners often concern themselves with the cost of materials but don’t ask questions about shipping, delivery, installation, or permitting costs. Once you’ve finalized your wish list, write down all associated costs and make sure the expected costs fit within your budget. Additionally, experts recommend setting aside an extra 10 – 15% of your budget to pay for unexpected costs.

Set a schedule. Create a work-back schedule to keep track of delivery dates, subcontractor workdays, and holidays. The schedule will ensure that you don’t make scheduling errors, like having the tile installer show up before the tile arrives. If you plan on doing most of the work yourself, having a general idea of the expected time frame for completion will help keep you motivated and on track.

Don’t do it all yourself. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY pro or not, there are many remodeling tasks that a homeowner shouldn’t do. For example, removing lead paint, load-bearing walls, or asbestos should never be done by an untrained or unlicensed worker. And while a homeowner can usually replace a toilet or upgrade light fixtures, working with complex plumbing and electrical systems should be done by a licensed professional who understands current building codes.

Design for efficiency. Selecting appliances and fixtures that promote energy efficiency and water conservation are good for the planet and your wallet. Replacing older fixtures, like toilets, with newer models will save you gallons of water and money each month. Selecting windows that are Energy Star-rated can reduce your heating and cooling costs.

Keep resale in mind. Neutral colors are always a winner – it’s the best palette for homeowners to envision their own style and makes the room easy to stage. Additionally, visit houses for sale that are similar to yours and see what types of bathroom upgrades have been done, like in-floor heating, walk-in showers or custom cabinetry.

Communicate to reduce confusion. The biggest source of remodeling frustration is usually due to a lack of communication. Clarify everything, ask lots of questions, and make sure that you aren’t the source of miscommunication. Assumptions can lead to trouble, and it’s far easier to have a weekly or daily project check-in (even if it’s with your spouse) than let the project roll forward in a wave of confusion.

Share with us! What’s your best bathroom remodeling tip?


  1. Alice Jones

    I am trying to create a new look for my bathroom so I’ve been looking online for some remodel tips. I like how you advise your readers to hire a licensed professional for the remodel. I want this remodel to look good so I think investing in a contractor to help me will do wonders.

    May 17, 2017 at 4:22 pm
  2. Lillian Schaeffer

    I like how you mentioned hiring professionals is a good idea during a bathroom remodel. My husband and I are going to be renovating our master bathroom, and we love DIY projects, so we were thinking about trying to do most of it ourselves. Perhaps it would be a good idea to hire a professional for the things we don’t have any expertise in so we don’t end up making things worse.

    April 10, 2017 at 9:36 am
  3. eMoov

    Creating a plan and setting the budget for your bathroom remodeling are very important. You should not skip these parts because they can make or break your project.

    March 4, 2017 at 7:13 am
  4. Braden Bills

    My wife and I are planning to remodel our kitchen. It makes sense that we would want to plan the project ahead of time, including the budget! That way we don’t have to worry about accidentally spending too much.

    February 22, 2017 at 8:52 am
  5. Ben Allen

    I appreciate the information on bathroom remodeling tips. I agree that one of the best things you can do when remodeling your bathroom is to set a budget and to stick to that budget as closely as you can. I would imagine that it can be pretty easy to go past that budget if you aren’t paying attention.

    January 11, 2017 at 12:40 pm
  6. Jackie Oliver

    I really like your point about not doing everything yourself. My husband and I have been talking about remodeling our bathroom, but there is a lot to be done. We were considering doing it ourselves, but if we hire help, we will be able to get it done much quicker. Not only that, but I will know it was done correctly.

    November 8, 2016 at 6:32 pm
  7. Vanity decor

    Nice rules for a Smooth Bathroom Remodel. Hope you continue to keep up with this post and will provide us some more information like this.

    September 23, 2016 at 7:38 am
  8. CKB

    Best kitchen design… thank you for sharing with us.

    September 23, 2016 at 7:25 am
  9. Melody Brown

    I like what you said about designing for efficiency. That is a smart way to save money in the long run. Thanks for sharing, I will keep this in mind!

    September 3, 2015 at 10:15 pm
  10. Dampier

    I agree with you , the removal of asbestos , should be done by professional contractors , because in addition to requiring special skills , professional equipment is also needed

    August 25, 2015 at 2:36 am
  11. Molg Vlad

    aquatica really greatest tub ever i see

    March 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm

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