5 Bathroom Design Tips You Need To Know Before You Remodel

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Looking for bathroom design tips for your next home project? Learn all you need to know before you design, source, or buy a thing.

So you’re thinking about changing your bathroom and you have no idea where to start.

Have no fear!

This post will give you a list of things to think about before the demo starts. We recently designed two bathrooms so I have a bit of experience with what you need to know.

Bathrooms can be overwhelming if you have never done one before but knowledge is power. The more you learn and ask questions the more confident you’ll be.

Having an amazing contractor also helps so make sure you have that covered too!

Check out all the deets below and let me know how your project goes!

This post is all about bathroom design tips.

READ MORE>>> Room Inspiration On Inspired Design Talk

black and white bathroom design
Image by Terry Magallanes from Pexels

Best Bathroom Design Tips

For those short on time here is a quick list of bathroom design tips you need to know. See the details below for each one. This list is meant to help you get started and create a design plan to follow.

  1. Create a Floor Plan
  2. Pull Inspiration Images
  3. Set A Budget
  4. Make Your Dream List
  5. Source Materials

This is part one of the series for our Willow House Airbnb bathroom makeover.

Before I get to the bathroom design tips let me give you a little back story.

We did not plan to demo and design the first-floor bathroom BUT we had no choice.

To make a long story short after being in our home for twenty-three, yes twenty-three years, the time came to remodel the first-floor bathroom.

When we remodeled Willow House back in 2005 we skipped the main bathroom.

At the time it was the most updated part of the house.

We also had to stop somewhere because of the budget constraints.

So we decided to leave the main floor bathroom untouched.

Fast forward 16 years, with the Airbnb usage, the time came to makeover the bathroom because the shower tiles were loose and caused a leak.

Uggg yes I know it had to be fixed.

That said part one of the bathroom remodel is the planning stage.

The first thing to do before you get started designing is to measure your existing bathroom.

Bathroom Floor Plan

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Here is the image of the new Airbnb Floor plan. The placement of the plumbing will stay the same to keep the costs down. Any time you change your plumbing the cost will go up so best to work with what you have.

bathroom floor plan

Here are the BEFORE pictures of the Airbnb bathroom. Over the years I updated it as much as possible with paint and decor. The last version had cool matte black paint over textured Venetian plaster walls.

The ugly brown tile floor was painted using gripper primer and deck paint. That held up surprisingly well and lasted about 15 years. The decor was a neutral palette of white, creme, and black with pops of gold.

As you can see from the pictures there were Formica cabinets and a dated ceiling soffit. There was nothing from the original design that we wanted to bring into the new bathroom.

Now let’s get into where to start when designing your new bathroom.

Related Post: 15 Vintage Bathroom Ideas That Are Totally Timeless But Updated

Bathroom Design Checklist

There are many things to do and consider during a bathroom remodel so let me break it down for you.

1. Create a Floor Plan

As mentioned above first measure your existing bathroom. You need to know where all lighting, plumbing, and current fixtures are located.

Next design your new layout.

Pro Tip: Keeping the same bathroom layout will keep costs down.

For our design, we went from a 54″ built-in cabinet to a freestanding 42″ vanity cabinet.

The cabinet is now centered, not right offset.

That shift only changed the pipe placement by a few inches so the plumber said it was ok.

We tried to stay within budget but as usual, that was easier said than done!

2. Pull Inspiration Images

This step is important to a great design plan.

Many people just visit their local home improvement store or design center and duplicate the showroom setup they like.

I do not recommend this method of design.

Remember the showrooms are designed to market all the possibilities of materials and looks.

They are trying to appeal to a wide variety of customers so there is a little bit of everything on display.

Most time there is no star of the show. That one thing that you want to stand out.

That said there is usually a lot going on and the look is often trendy, not timeless, and lacking a focal point.

Less is more and not every area of your design needs to stand out.

Pro Tip: Pull no more than THREE inspiration images from Pinterest, Instagram, magazines or online.

It’s ok to pin and save a lot during the brain dump stage when you are gathering ideas but then get laser-focused.

Narrow it down to your top three bathroom inspiration images so you can hone in on the look and feel you are after.

3. Make Your Dream List

During this phase, you are going to want to ask yourself several questions so your new bathroom design functions for your needs.

Bathroom Remodel Questions:

  1. What currently works well?
  2. What needs improvement?
  3. Are their priority items?
  4. Can any items be done later?
  5. What items will you splurge on?
  6. Where will you save (items will you NOT splurge on)?
  7. Will any items will be Re-Used?
  8. What New Items are needed?

Here are our answers to the above questions:

1. In our bathroom, the layout worked but we changed the bathtub to a shower.

We have a tub in the second-floor bathroom and a shower will be better for guests.

We changed the vanity size as I mentioned above to have a more custom look.

2. There was a lot of storage in the previous bathroom but the drawers were empty since it’s an Airbnb bathroom.

That said we changed the vanity to have fewer draws but a larger square-shaped sink.

3. The priority for us is the tile since we have that leak to address.

Keeping this design simple and timeless!

4. Something that can be done later is if I decide I want wallpaper.

I would use peel and stick so it can be changed when I get tired of it.

Yes, it would be easier to install before everything is in but not 100% sure I want to add it.

Trying to go clean and simpler with this design.

Going for a more timeless look.

Anything that is “trendy” I want to be inexpensive to change such as the sconces and drawer pulls.

The other thing we may add later is shower doors. Right now we have a shower curtain that is working well.

5. For me, I always tend to splurge on lighting and faucets in the bathroom.

The lighting is the jewelry of any room and really adds an elevated look.

This time around we invested in the lighting, faucet, and bathroom cabinet.

Pro Tip: Invest in the Bathroom Cabinet or you’ll be sorry when it doesn’t last.

In the kid’s bathroom, we did fifteen years ago, the cabinet was cheap and it’s starting to show wear and tear.

6. We plan to save on the tile by using classic white subway and hexagon tiles.

Nothing fancy here because I learned my lesson by going trendy on the tile.

After fifteen years there is so much from the original remodel I’d love to update.

Keep it simple stupid is my new motto!

7. We reused the white toilet bowl in our bathroom makeover because it was only a few months old.

I was obsessed with wall-mount toilets for a minute but I’ve moved on because of the cost and labor involved.

8. Basically, everything except the toilet! Hence the cost comes in over 13 grand! Insane I KNOW!!

4. Set A Budget

People like to say “Oh we don’t have a budget”… If we love it we’ll buy it.

I’m sorry but no you won’t so let’s get focused and not waste time dreaming.

In my head, my budget was $5000 and in the end, it cost $13,263.40.

YES, I KNOW!!! Almost 3x what I thought.

If I sourced it all from Home Depot, Amazon, and Wayfair it would be less BUT I love pretty things!

So the STRUGGLE WAS REAL!

Pro Tip: Be realistic with the amount of money you will spend on your bathroom remodel.

5. Start Sourcing Items

This stage is crucial when you are trying to keep the costs down.

For this post, I’ll give you the areas you are going to be sourcing.

In a later post I’ll give you a more detailed breakdown but for now, just start gathering links and pin products.

This is done so you can stalk the internet for the best price after you have your selections narrowed down.

Pro Tip: Stalk the internet for the best possible price after you source all the bathroom resources.

For the list of sourcing links for our bathroom remodel head to Bathroom Remodel Before And After Cost In 2023.

Here are the items to think about when sourcing for your bathroom remodel:

  • Floor Tile
  • Wall Tile
  • Grout Color
  • Decorative Tile
  • Border Tile
  • Counter Top Material
  • Vanity
  • Toilet
  • Tub/ Shower
  • Shower Only
  • Lighting
  • Towel Warmer
  • Bathroom Towel Bar
  • Towel Ring
  • Tissue Paper Holder
  • Shower Baskets
  • Robe Hooks
  • Magnifying Mirror
  • Shelf
  • Accessories
  • Hardware

This list is meant to help you start the planning stage of the project.

Check out the other bathroom posts for more advice and guidance for your bathroom project.

Hopefully, this post helped know where to start your next bathroom remodel design.

This post is all about bathroom design tips.

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Last Updated on February 17, 2024 by Nicole DelaCruz

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