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Renovating A Bathroom: What To Do First

by Adam on February 21, 2023

If you’re not completely satisfied with your bathroom, you can always have it remodeled or renovated. A bathroom remodeling is a great way to increase your home value, energy use, and safety while giving yourself a more livable space.

But a remodel is an expensive hassle, so you should ensure you’re prepared to handle that before undergoing one. It’s easy to miss a few steps and make mistakes from improper preparation.

Here’s an overview of the beginnings of renovating a bathroom and what to do first:

  1. Layout Planning
  2. Design Planning
  3. Budget And Timeline

Layout Planning

You first need to understand that large-scale layout changes are often too complicated to be viable. Layout planning is still a big part of renovating a bathroom and what to do first, but don’t try to make any significant layout changes. Particularly plumbing changes are tricky, and you usually don’t need to do them.

You can go for tinier changes, like vanity location or electrical upgrades. Remember that these all add time and money, though.

When planning your layout, take measurements and think about how high everything will be relative to your height. It’s common to have shower heads be too low, for example. When measuring your flooring, add 10% to the final measurement for waste.

Determine the best locations of all of your fixtures, as you can’t change this easily. Think about how they go with your daily routine. Is there anything about your current layout that’s always bothered you?

Make your bathroom accessible. Everyone ages, and you might need things like bars to move around the bathroom smoothly eventually.

Finally, don’t forget to add proper ventilation and drainage.

That’s how to look at layout when renovating a bathroom and what to do first.

Design Planning

For design, remember that functionality is the most important thing. Always keep this in mind when learning about renovating a bathroom and what to do first.

First, go through your bathroom and note anything in the design that bothers you. Write these down and factor them into the final plan. Sketch out how you want your bathroom to look or make a 3D render, and browse the internet for bathroom design ideas. Writing down plans is a big part of renovating a bathroom and what to do first.

Think about what color scheme you’re going to use. For permanent fixtures like tiles, go for a color that’s neutral and ambiguous. Put the stylism in easily-changed aspects of your bathroom, like your towels. Remember to apply your color scheme to the grout as well. Don’t put light grout around your shower, as it’s prone to grout scaling.

Make sure your lighting is up to snuff. Lighting is both decorative and functional, so ensure your room gets lit fully while keeping it stylish.

Consider how you use storage spaces and how that factors into the design, and never overload your bathroom. You might even want a double vanity so multiple people can get ready at once.

When choosing materials, consider how much upkeep you’re willing to do. Some are pretty but need maintenance. Others are terrible for home value.

When deciding on any fixture, look at it in person to ensure it’s right for you. Go for timelessness so that your house doesn’t look dated if you ever sell it.

Budget And Timeline

Now it’s time to set your budget and timeline. Pricing and budget are both crucial in renovating a bathroom and what to do first. They rely on many factors and can be complex.

The average cost for renovation is around $10,000. Small bathrooms and half baths cost around a third of what full bathrooms cost, which is around half the cost of the larger master bathrooms. Prices are affected by the size, fixture quality and number, layout changes, and finishes, so minimalist renovations tend to be cheaper.

About a fifth of the cost is labor cost. Set aside another fifth for unexpected expenses. Prepare 15% of your budget each for fixtures, plumbing, and doors and windows. After that, prioritize tiling and countertops while spending little on other aspects.

There can be unexpected costs – you might need to pay for various permits and testing and disposal fees. And consider the age of your home when thinking about whether or not there may be hidden damage.

The actual work takes about a week, but this doesn’t include things like planning and waiting for supplies. Small renovations can take a month, while extensive renovations can take 6-12 weeks. Always account for delays. Try to schedule during a time when you won’t be busy.

Ensure you have a good backup generator while construction is ongoing, as the power will likely be off. You need a backup bathroom, so don’t renovate all your bathrooms at once! Think about how this will impact rooms around your bathroom and if you might need a second bedroom too.

Finally, snap some “before” photos to see the difference! Now you’re done with the preliminary stages of renovating a bathroom and what to do first.


What should be on a bathroom renovation checklist?

A good checklist for bathroom renovation includes design elements, budget, and timeline.

First, go through your bathroom and list problem areas. Second, think of solutions to these problems. Third, set a budget, with an extra 20% for unexpected expenses. Fourth, plan out a timeline spanning the ordering of supplies and actual work, which can take around a month or longer.

Finally, make some personal considerations. Do you have another bathroom you can use? Will it be hard to use the surrounding rooms? Can you set the renovation for a time when you’re not busy?

What are things I wish I knew before remodeling a bathroom?

When renovating a bathroom, what to do first is figure out potential problems. Many people set their budgets too low or their timelines too short. Sometimes people measure incorrectly and misunderstand their bathroom dimensions. Others don’t put enough storage in their bathrooms.

How do you prepare for a bathroom remodel?

To prepare, you need to think about budget and time. Assume it’ll take longer and cost more than you expect. After that, ensure you have an extra bathroom to use, and you’ll be out of the way during renovation.


While hiring a bathroom remodeling service is a complex process, you can get through it smoothly with the right planning. Now that you know the first steps of renovating a bathroom and what to do first, you can start planning and get on track in no time. Call us for bathroom remodeling services.

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Call us: (408) 343-8386