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October 20, 2020 8 min read

how to approach bathroom makeover

If you’re considering giving your home a bathroom refresh, your head is in the right place! According to Zillow, bathroom remodels yield the biggest return on investment and can boost your home’s resale value by $1.71 for every dollar you spend. On average, the return on investment for a bathroom do-over is high, ranging from 56.2 percent for an upscale remodel to 70.1 percent for a midrange one. On top of that, buyers consistently rank bathroom renovations at the top of their list of new home wants, so it’s one of those projects you know will be worthwhile in terms of value.

But renovating a bathroom isn’t just about increasing your home’s resale value and appealing to potential buyers. It’s also about helping you enhance the livability and enjoyment of your home for its current residents — you and your family. From adding roomier bathroom vanity cabinets and a double sink to swapping out old, water-damaged trim for fresh new tile, putting a little love into the water closet is a great way to ensure that you absolutely love your home. It also makes sharing the space and cleaning it just a bit easier.

But, just like the process of renovating a kitchen, renovating a bathroom can be time-consuming and exhausting. There’s the budgeting, the measuring and the selection process, all of which can send homeowners into a stressful tailspin that can leave them feeling totally overwhelmed. Luckily, the team here at Wholesale Cabinet Supply is here to help you approach your bathroom makeover the right way so you don’t get too stressed along the way. Read on for more information on how to tackle a bathroom refresh in the most sensible way.

pair of bathroom sinks

WHAT MOST PEOPLE WANT IN A BATHROOM UPGRADE

Before you launch into the renovation process, it’s a good idea to think about what you want to get out of the project. This will help you prioritize where to spend your time and money. Ask yourself the following question: Am I renovating this bathroom for myself, for a future buyer or a little bit of both? For most people, the answer is a little bit of both, so it’s a good idea to consider what’s popular and in high demand among today’s house-buyers.

  • More SpaceSpace is a commodity in most houses, and that’s often obvious in the bathroom, especially in older homes, condominiums and apartments. But consumers of today want space to laze in the restroom, with luxuries like oversized soaking tubs, ample countertops and large bathroom cabinets with plenty of storage. Full bathrooms can range in size from 36 square feet on the petite end to 200 square feet on the large end. If your budget and space restrictions allow, consider adding on or opening up the space.
  • New Fixtures and Features—Upgrading the fixtures in the bathroom is a simple way to add some dazzle to the design and enhance the functionality of the space. Popular fixtures include water-saving faucets and shower heads, new light fixtures and rain showers or body spray fixtures. Some of the most desirable upscale finishes include frameless glass enclosure showers, steam showers, oversized freestanding bathtubs, high-tech toilets, custom cabinetry, double vanities and natural stone countertops (such as granite). Matching tiles on the floors and walls — including within the shower — is also quite popular.

what to upgrade graphic

  • Universal Design—These days, universal bathroom designs — that is, bathrooms which are accessible to all people, regardless of age, size or ability — are extremely desirable and can help make your home significantly more appealing to a broader group of buyers. If you intend to stay in your home into your old age or see yourself or a family member having surgery in the future, a universal design may be a smart thing to consider. These bathrooms typically feature wheelchair accessibility, widened doorways, accessible storage, walk-in showers with shower seats and main level access.
  • Style—Make sure to spend plenty of time thinking about aesthetics when designing your bathroom and ensuring that it fits in with the rest of your house. If you have an old home and want to maintain a cozy or traditional feel, go with dark-finished or opal white cabinets in the bathroom along with smaller, more elaborate tiling. If fresh, minimalist and modern is more your vibe, you can’t go wrong with a chic shaker-style bathroom vanity and some crisp white subway tiling. Your choice of countertops and fixture finishes will contribute to the overall aesthetic of the room and create the ideal look for your vision.

BUDGETING YOUR BATHROOM MAKEOVER

Before you begin your renovation, figure out a reasonable budget. The cost of bathroom renovation projects varies widely depending on where you live and the level of finishes you choose. The national average cost of a midrange bathroom remodel is $19,134, while the national average cost of an upscale bathroom design comes in at around $60,000. So, as you can see, you can really go as big or as budget-friendly as you’d like. 

So what costs the most? The experts say that labor is the biggest cost associated with residential bathroom remodels, accounting for about 50 percent of the total project cost. Though it varies greatly based on where you live and your specific project, labor rings up to around $65 per hour for this kind of project, give or take 20 percent. Here’s a quick glance at how most people allot their bathroom renovation budgets:

bathroom renovation budget graphic

  • Labor40 to 60 percent
  • Vanity and cabinets: 10 to 20 percent
  • Shower and tub: 5 to 20 percent
  • Lighting: 5 percent
  • Countertops: 10 percent
  • Flooring: 10 percent
  • Fixtures, including toilet and sink: 10 percent
  • Plumbing and electric: 2 to 5 percent

With labor taking the biggest share of your renovation budget, you may be asking yourself if it’s possible to DIY some or all of your bathroom renovation in order to save money. Depending on how comfortable you are with this kind of work, doing some things yourself can be an excellent way to save some cash. With modern options like ready-to-assemble (RTA) vanities and click-together flooring, DIY options are nicer and more approachable than ever. 

HOW TO START YOUR BATHROOM REMODEL

light bathroom suite dark cabinets

Now that you have an idea of where to focus your energy, it’s time to strategize! The fact is that, even if we’ve undergone a large renovation before, most of us feel completely overwhelmed at the idea of remodeling such an important room in the home. But as long as you approach it in the right way, you’ll be able to achieve your dream space without too much stress or hassle. 

1. Set a Budget

As we’ve already determined, bathroom remodels vary widely in terms of cost. It’s crucial that you determine realistically how much you can contribute to the projectbefore you pick out any finishes or commit to a design style. When it comes to any renovation, budget and space are the two biggest constraints, so you want to make sure you’re working within them from the very beginning to ensure a successful outcome. Remember to set aside about 10 percent for emergencies and unforeseen extras.

2. Measure and Mock Up

The next thing you need to do when getting started on your bathroom makeover is measure (and measure again). It helps to create a rough sketch of your bathroom, with measurements, so you can get a good visualization of what will work and how it will look. Some key measurements to know in the bathroom include:

measure your bathroom graphic

  • Ceiling height
  • Windows, molding, light fixtures and other architectural features
  • Wall length
  • Door clearance
  • Door and window height and width
  • Toilet height, depth and width
  • Shower height, depth and width
  • Bathtub height, depth and width
  • Vanity and sink height, depth and width
  • Medicine cabinet height, depth and width

3. Choose Your Finishes

Now that you have a good idea of your budgetary and space constraints, it’s time for the fun part — picking out your finishes! Since your labor costs will be relatively fixed, your finish choices are where you can really save (or spend) money. Luckily, each category of finishes comes in a broad array of options and levels, so you should be able to get close to the options you want while staying within your budget.

  • Cabinets—Just like kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanity cabinets come in a range of choices from budget-friendly to high-end. The quickest and cheapest option is stock cabinets, which are made in a factory and shipped to you premade. You may also opt for ready-to-assemble (RTA) vanity cabinets, which are typically made with higher-end materials but are made to be put together by you on-site. RTA vanities are an excellent option because they’re high-quality but affordable, since they save on the high cost of labor. The most expensive, time-consuming option is custom cabinetry, which is built from scratch by a local professional for your space.

walking on bathroom floor

  • Floors—The biggest thing to consider when selecting bathroom flooring is moisture. Because this is the one room in the home that’s meant to get soaking-wet, you don’t want to choose any flooring material that’s susceptible to water damage, including hardwood or carpet. Porcelain and ceramic tile are generally considered the gold standards of bathroom flooring because they’re waterproof, attractive and cost-effective. However, vinyl planks and tiles are becoming more and more popular in bathrooms because they look like real tile or wood and are water-resistant yet don’t cost as much as the “real” thing. Engineered hardwood is also another popular choice.
  • Shower or Bath—Shower, bathtub or both? Today, it’s all about the walk-in shower and separate, freestanding tub. However, this simply isn’t possible for a large majority of residential bathrooms where space is limited. If opening up the room and enhancing the use of space is a key consideration, replacing a bathtub with a shower-only unit can be a great way to add more floor space. If you want your bathroom to cater to elderly or disabled people, make sure to choose a walk-in shower that’s flush with the floor. This is one of the elements of bathroom design that may be best left to your contractor or designer, as he or she will have some good ideas on how to maximize the space and give you everything you want.
  • Countertop—Your bathroom countertops are generally fairly small, so they won’t eat up a huge chunk of your budget. Still, the material you choose can add or reduce costs by thousands. Costs vary widely, with natural materials such as granite, marble, quartzite and travertine costing more than manmade or composite materials, such as laminate, concrete or quartz. With that said, if aesthetic is your main consideration, composite materials generally come in natural stone-look options, though they generally won’t be as strong or durable.
  • Get Quotes—And now for the final step of your bathroom remodeling prep — get quotes! It’s a good idea to get between three and four quotes from contractors for your project, taking into consideration each professional’s opinion on what or how things can be done as well as their availability and timeline. Be sure to get all quotes in writing before making a final decision.

bright neutral bathroom with white cabinets

ENJOYING YOUR NEW BATHROOM

While a bathroom makeover seems like a whole lot of work — and, indeed, it is! — it will be worth it in the end. A brand-new bathroom brings additional functionality, style and quality to your home, which not only helps boost its retail value, but also enhances quality of life for you and your family. Wholesale Cabinet Supply is here to help you simplify the process with the best bathroom vanities. Ready to get started? Contact us for a free design and quote!

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