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9 Top Bathroom Renovation Tips

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


Wellington Builders | Renovations | Construction | Design & Architecture Services | Environmentally Conscious | Wellington Roofing & Waterproofing | Wellington Painters


Copper bathtub against a stone wall.

Does the colour of your bathroom walls give you enough of a wake-up call in the morning before you’ve even hopped into the shower? Or perhaps the growing family is putting extra demand on the toilet?

Whatever your reason to renovate, coming up with the bathroom of your dreams that not only fits your needs but also meets the budget can be an exciting opportunity but also a daunting one, at the same time.

Here is a list of our top 9 tips that you can work through as you plan your remodel:

1) Budget

This is always a good place to start. Knowing how much you have to spend (allowing for a 10% contingency, of course) will help when deciding whether or not to buy the high-end brass taps and Italian terrazzo tiles.

When planning your budget, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I looking to sell in a few years? (If so, you may not wish to splurge out on that clawfoot tub)

  • Do I need to change the location of any of the plumbing? (You will save costs if you can keep plumbed items where they are.)

  • What is an absolute “must-have” in the new bathroom? (For example, do you need to keep the bathtub or will a shower do? Do you need more storage? Keeping the bathroom design simple will help minimise budget blowout.)

2) Style

When considering the style and look of the renovated space, in addition to creating a space that is comfortable it needs to fit with the needs of the household. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does the current layout work for the needs of my household?

  • If not, what can I change? (ie an additional sink? More storage? Remove the bathtub?)

  • Is there a design aspect that simply must be included in this renovation? (ie under tile heating)

Once you know what your absolute essentials are and how the space would best function for your household’s needs, you can start creating a “mood board” that includes colours, materials, tiles etc that will create your specific style. Pinterest can be a very helpful tool for keeping all your favourites in one place.

If you like the minimal Scandi look, but the rest of your house has a very 70’s feel about it, you may want to find a way of blending the two styles together so that the bathroom doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. (Unless, of course, you’re planning to also renovate the rest of your house to fit with this style at some stage).

If you’re keeping to the period of the house, it would pay to do your homework to see what colours, styles and patterns were in vogue for that time.

3) Ventilation

By nature, bathrooms are steamy, wet rooms, so good ventilation is essential to prevent mould from growing and to keep your household healthy. If you don’t already have one, you will need to install an extractor fan to assist with this. You may also wish to consider installing a shower dome to help reduce the amount of steam in the room.

4) Lighting

Bathrooms often don’t get a lot of natural light, so installing sufficient lighting will help with this. Lights are important in creating a warm, inviting environment, rather than a cold clinical space. Pendant lighting can be a much cheaper option than individual down or wall lights and can create more character in the space. Dimmable lights are also a great option for creating a relaxing environment.

You’ll want to ensure that the vanity and sink area is well-lit, so be sure to talk to your electrician about what options would work best for you.

5) Heating

There’s nothing worse than hopping out of a warm bath only to be embraced by a cold bathroom! Renovating gives you the opportunity to address this problem. Here are some options:

  • Heating lamps (light bulbs).

  • Under-tile heating. This may sound like quite a luxury but in the scheme of things, adding heating to your tile is not that much more in terms of cost, if you are re-doing the floors anyway. Although there is the additional cost up-front, in the long run, you are likely to save on heating costs.

  • Heated towel rail. If you don’t already have one, this is a great option to consider adding to the budget. Who doesn’t love being wrapped up in a warm towel?

6) Schedule

A bathroom renovation will interrupt the rhythm of your household so it’s best to ensure that all materials have been ordered when starting the project, to minimise delays. Especially with all the current delays we are experiencing! Talk to your contractor so that you can work out a schedule that works best for both parties. You don’t want to be wearing out your neighbour’s hospitality by using their shower and toilet for longer than agreed!

7) Materials

Choosing the right materials that are suitable for bathroom conditions is crucial. Let’s face it - hardwood floors are not your bathroom’s best friend. In terms of flooring, tile, vinyl tile or vinyl planks would be better options. Let’s not forget about wall tiles and paint. Bathroom tiles need to be sealed and paint needs to be moisture-proof (satin or semi-glass are best) in order to prevent mould and mildew from growing. You may also have an environmentally conscious design in mind, which would dictate which materials you use (and not, for that matter!).

8) Storage

Doing a renovation is the perfect time to consider storage options. There are so many clever solutions available, even if you are working with a small space. Tower storage, floating shelves and specially designed niches take advantage of wall space.

Before selecting your storage options, it would pay to go through everything you currently store in the bathroom and decide whether you need more or if what you have now is sufficient.

9) Consents

"Do I need a consent?" This is one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to bathroom renovations (or any, for that matter!).

Basically, there are 2 situations that constitute the need for a consent:

1) When making any structural changes to the bathroom such as removing a wall between the toilet room and bathroom.

2) When there are any changes to plumbing. Shifting the toilet from a separate room into the current bathroom or moving the vanity from one wall to another can be done without permission from the Counsel. However, if you increase plumbing fittings (such as an added sink or a bidet), shift any of the plumbing (within the same space) or if you install a wet tiled shower, then you need to get consent from the Council for this.

It can be very exciting to upgrade to the bathroom of your dreams, but it does require a bit of foreplanning to ensure it includes everything you need and want.

We hope these tips have been helpful but please don’t feel like you have to go it alone. If you are looking for Wellington builders and would like to discuss your project with a professional, please get in touch with us. We would be delighted to help you plan your next steps!

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