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Do’s and don’ts of bathroom renovation

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There’s so much that goes into a bathroom renovation project that unless you’re a professional who does it every day — or a homeowner who’s been through the process numerous times — then all the details, processes, options and decisions are going to sound like they’re in a foreign language.  If you’re tackling a bathroom remodel project, then starting with a few basic do’s and don’ts can be difference between a nightmare project ending in a bathroom that you settle for or a near-pleasant experience resulting in the room of your dreams. You’ll be happy you prepared.

Do your Research and planning 

Plan your bathroom renovation. “Well of course” you say… But we mean really do some thinking and research about how you want your bathroom to work, who is going to use it and what your budget is.  Are there any space issues you could solve with the way the sink tops are used, or would extra built in storage solve functionality issues? Is it a busy zone in the morning with multiple people using it? Perhaps a double sink could work. Moving around your space and coming up with the ideal way to use it will give you your starting point. Make a wish list, then prioritise. Also sse magazines and online images, then lock in the look you want or even create your own pinterest board with examples of what you love. There’s an array of options out there so you need to be crystal clear about your desired look. Otherwise you risk creating a hodge-podge of styles. 

Young family with two small children indoors in bathroom, talking.

Do the numbers.  How much it will cost to renovate your bathroom.

Here’s the good news: You don’t need thousands & thousands of dollars to transform your bathroom into a tranquil, elegant space. There are many ways to renovate and redesign when working within a budget, especially  if you choose to restore rather than replace where you can!

An average bathroom renovation costs around $10,000 while an upscale remodel is going to cost a hefty $25,000+. BUT if you get creative, you can do a bathroom renovation for $3,000 to $6,000, or even less. Depending on how much you want to change. This is where your list of priorities comes in: List what MUST be replaced, and what just needs a coat of paint or new parts.

If your budget is on the low end (i.e. $1,500 or less), it’s best to stick to cosmetic changes, like new fixtures or a new sink, and new paint. The more you have to spend, the more you can focus on large changes, like adding or replacing tiles, increasing the shower size, or even adding more natural light with a window or skylight. Again, it all depends on your budget.

money flowing out of a retro bathroom tap.

Don’t attempt DIY if you aren’t confident. 

Yes, we’re in the information age where nearly every tutorial is online. But, while YouTube is full of helpful tips for tackling bathroom renovation projects, we have to warn you that some jobs are best left to the experts, especially when council sign-off is required. It may seem more expensive to hire a professional but at least you’ll know the workmanship is guaranteed and up to code. And if you don’t get it right yourself it may cost even more to fix any issues down the track. 

Contractor Facing Custom Master Bathroom Drawing and Photo Gradation.


Do imagine every possibility of the project. 

It doesn’t need any special layout or program, but you should create a scope-of-work document to give to each tradesperson. Step by step layout exactly what you require and avoid any he-said she-said debates. Document everything from the bench and shower heights to paint colours (with samples), floor layouts, tile specifications again with samples, tap and sink placement, mirrors, floor descriptions and so on. Making your requirements clear to all involved is crucial to any successful project, especially a bathroom.

Architect designer concept, table close up with interior renovation draft, bathroom interior design blueprint drawings, sample color palette, pastel creative desk background, 3d illustration

Don’t buy products that do not comply with New Zealand industry standards. 

Seems like a no-brainer but sometimes due to trends or budget constraints we forget that it is better to buy from specialist bathroom stores and choose reputable brands to ensure your bathroom complies with any and all legal requirements. The same goes for anything you buy second hand; we love reusing and repurposing, but do make sure you check with your plumber and builder before you purchase.

But in saying that… we can’t go past these one of a kind bathroom vanities. They may not have originally ‘bathroom’ compliant – but we do love the uniqueness!  


Unique Upcycle bathroom ideas

See the full selection here from the DIY Network 


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