Bathrooms are one of the most popular places to renovate in a home. Bathrooms are a relatively small space, so you can upgrade a bathroom with a comparatively small budget. (But don’t be fooled. Bathroom remodels probably cost more than you think. We’ll get to that later.) Many homes have en suite bathrooms attached to master bedrooms. These bathrooms are a private retreat, and upgrading them can add a touch of everyday luxury to your life. But before you dive into that remodel, there are a few things you should know.

Upgrade Your Home With a Bathroom Remodel [infographic]

Make Sure Your Contractor Knows What You Want

It may seem like an obvious point. Make sure that your contractor is fully aware of what you want. But it’s not as simple as you might expect. You know precisely what you want, but your contractor only knows what you tell them. And they may even get that wrong. This doesn’t mean that your contractor isn’t good at what they do. But it does mean that you should communicate with your contractor regularly, and repeat and recheck everything you tell them before work proceeds.

We have heard horror stories of contractors who start a bathroom demolition only to realize it was the wrong bathroom. That’s an extreme case, but it does illuminate the need to stay in continuous communication. Make no assumptions. Spell everything out clearly and keep an eye on the work as it proceeds.

Be Prepared to Spend More Than You Expected

Many homeowners incorrectly assume that because a bathroom is a relatively small space, it will be inexpensive to remodel. Unfortunately, that can be a gross miscalculation. As of 2016, the National Kitchen and Bath Association estimated the average remodel cost at over $11,000, So calculate your budget with the number in mind.

Also, don’t plan out a bathroom that maxes out your budget. You need to leave some room for unexpected costs. You never know what you might find when you start to take apart your bathroom, or what issues you might encounter as you put it back together.

If you max out your budget with your planned renovations, unexpected costs can be devastating. You may have to compromise on portions of your planned improvements to pay for unglamorous cost overruns like plumbing or wiring changes. But if you leave some room in your budget for unexpected costs, you won’t be caught empty-handed when you’re surprised with new expenses.

Spend Less on Your Bath and More on Your Shower

Many homeowners get starry-eyed when they see luxurious bathtubs. Whether you’re considering a giant tub with jets and a whirlpool, or a super-stylish freestanding tub, take a moment to think about how you will actually use your bathroom.

While a specialty bathtub may sound like a good idea, most homeowners don’t end up using them very often. On the other hand, a shower is something you will use several times a week, if not daily. If you have space, expand your shower to 4x6 feet. And if you have even more space, you can expand up to 5x7 feet. A roomy shower is an everyday luxury you will use.

One popular shower addition is a rain showerhead. These showerheads spread out the water over a larger area. They feel great, and they can also save water.

If you’re expanding to at least 4x6 feet, consider his-and-her showerheads. For added luxury, why not add some body sprays or even a steam generator? Instead of waiting for a time when you have 30 minutes or more to take a relaxing soak, make your 10-minute morning ritual a daily retreat.

Lighting Makes a Huge Difference

Many homeowners who are remodeling their bathroom get caught up in the excitement of selecting fixtures, counters, and tile. But a well thought out lighting plan will really make your bathroom sparkle.

Don’t expect a single fixture in the center of the ceiling to do the trick. A single fixture will result in a dim bathroom and inconvenient shadows when you’re trying to shave or apply makeup. Instead, plan to layer your lighting. Start with one or more overhead lights. Next, add light to your vanity. To avoid shadows at your vanity, place sconces or vertical fixtures on either side of your vanity or mirror. Finally, don’t forget to put task lighting over the toilet and shower.

Don’t Make Your Toilet an Afterthought

Let’s face it. Toilets are not glamorous. They aren’t fun in the way that fixtures, counters, and other decorative pieces may be. But your toilet is an essential part of your bathroom, and one you don’t want to forget about. You may be surprised by the variety of toilets available. Gone are the days of the simple gravity-flush tank-and-bowl ceramic toilet. Today, homeowners have many options that incorporate style as well as environmental concerns like water-efficiency.

One popular trend is hiding your toilet. If your bathroom is your luxurious retreat, you don’t necessarily want a toilet in your relaxation space. Instead, many modern bathroom remodels place the toilet behind a half wall or a large piece of furniture. If there is enough room, some designers even suggest putting your toilet in its own room, complete with a door and dedicated lighting and ventilation.

If you are planning an en suite bathroom that will be used by more than one person at a time, hiding the toilet is a practical concern. It may be acceptable to share a vanity. But it’s far less luxurious to shave or put on makeup while someone is attending to their needs just a few feet away. You may feel close to your significant other, but putting the toilet behind some kind of partition is still a nice touch.

Does Your Bathroom Really Need Two Sinks?

This is in the same category as the bathtub dilemma. Having two sinks sounds like a great idea if you will be sharing a bathroom. But you don’t spend a lot of time at your sink, and it may not be a big deal to take turns. The advantage of installing just one sink is that you gain a lot more counter space. That means more room for all of your bathroom products, as well as more cabinet space beneath since there is only one set of plumbing.

Carefully Consider Your Storage

It’s always amazing how much stuff ends up in your bathroom. When you add up all the hair products, hygiene products, q-tips, wipes, cleaning supplies, makeup, extra towels—let’s just say it can be a lot. One suggestion is to keep less in your bathroom. But it’s still important to consider your storage from the very beginning of your design process.

There are plenty of storage options besides the traditional medicine cabinet. It doesn’t take a very deep cabinet or storage space to tuck away plenty of bathroom products. Consider cutouts or recessed storage spaces installed between wall studs. Also, make sure there is storage, shelves, or cutouts in the shower to keep all your personal products.

Where to Go for the Perfect Bathroom Remodel

The most significant choice you will make when you remodel your bathroom is who to hire for the job. Having the right contractor can be the difference between a wonderful experience and an utter disaster.

TrustDALE is here to save you from the scammers and bad actors. But at, we also recommend the best of the best, contractors who have passed Dale’s 7-point investigative review and made it into the TrustDALE Circle of Excellence. So if you are ready to start your bathroom remodel, or even if you are still in the dream stage, it’s not too early to contact your local TrustDALE certified bathroom remodeling expert.

Dale's New Book:
Don't Get Scammed: Get Smart!