How to Plan a Bathroom Renovation

Although a bathroom is a relatively small space, a bathroom renovation might actually be more significant and costly than you think. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a bathroom renovation and what to consider before you start.

Start with a bathroom renovation goal 

The first step to starting a bathroom renovation project is to understand what you are seeking to achieve. Your goal might be to maximise space, upgrade the look or increase the value of your home. Whatever your goal, a relatively small change to your bathroom might be a bigger project than you think. A bathroom consists of numerous components and a renovation project will often require a range of skilled and qualified tradespeople to achieve your goal.

Identify existing bathroom problems

Start with identifying the problems with your current bathroom layout and functionality. Here are a few common questions a homeowner may ask himself or herself:

  • Is the space too cramped?
  • Is the hot water tank in the right place or is a new hot water tank required?  
  • Is there enough storage space?
  • Are there issues with ventilation?
  • Does it cater to the needs of all the home occupants?
  • Can our bathroom be more water-efficient?



Before renovation: This bathroom was cramped with a hot water tank in a storage cupboard taking up much needed space.

What are your 'must have' bathroom features? 

Next, think about the bathroom features that you ‘must have’ or need. Here are a few features homeowners might be seeking in a bathroom renovation:

  • Improved lighting
  • A new basin or a twin basin
  • Walk-in shower or a bath
  • Wall mounted showerhead or tapware
  • Increased water pressure
  • Water efficient showerheads, taps and toilets
  • Concealed cistern
  • New floor
  • Grab rails

Create a bathroom features 'Wish list' 

There are bathroom renovation features, which you may want to add to a ‘wish-list’ category. These are items which can be adjusted or removed depending on what your budget allows, such as:

  • Floor to ceiling tiling
  • Heated towel rails
  • Recessed storage and feature lighting


After renovation: The hot water tank has been moved to the attic, allowing space to reposition and install a shower bath, concealed cistern and heated towel rail.

Get a quote from a Qualified Professional 

Once you have collected your ideas, plans and a draft of requirements, it’s now time to get advice from a trade professional on the scope of your bathroom renovation and a cost estimate.

TIP: Before choosing a trade professional, check a tradesperson’s rating. Only people who have hired a tradesperson via Onlinetradesmen can submit a rating.

Choosing a builder for your bathroom renovation

If there is a need to alter the layout of the current room, such as removing structural walls, adding a skylight, increasing the size of windows or relocating electrics, plumbing and/or drainage then you should post a job via bathroom installation choosing 'Bathroom Installers' - 'Builders - Bathroom Refit'.


Include as much detail as possible in the job post, as this will help the trade professional responding to your post to understand the requirements of the job. Many Onlinetradesmen builders will often manage the entire bathroom renovation project and work closely with sub-contractors such as plumbers, electricians, painters and tilers, as well as order materials and fittings, provide estimates and completion certificates.

Choosing an interior designer or architect for your bathroom renovation

If designing your bathroom is proving more challenging than you originally thought, hiring an interior designer can help to bring your design ideas to life and even help to manage the project from start to finish. An interior designer can provide guidance on the design style you are seeking to achieve, whether it is contemporary, minimalist or traditional, work according to your budget, have the skills to sketch or draft CAD drawings and help with maximising space, including the layout of:  

  • Baths, basin and showers
  • Lighting
  • Mirrors
  • Cabinets and shelving

Doing it yourself - DIY Bathroom Renovations

If you decide to manage the bathroom renovation project yourself, chances are you will still need to hire qualified trade professionals like tilers, carpentersplumbers and electricians to get the job completed according to your bathroom goal as well as ensuring the finished bathroom complies with the latest building regulations and safety standards.

When managing the project yourself, be sure to have a clear plan and schedule in place, as some trades will need to be completed before other trades can arrive on-site. For example, you may decide to demolish the old bathroom yourself – however, you’ll need to hire a carpenter if there is a requirement for a new subfloor or if additional framing is required to hide plumbing or install integrated wall or shelving units.

You’ll require a plumber for the first fix plumbing plus installation of bath (if included) and you’ll hire an electrician for first fix electrical including requirements for ventilation such as exhaust fans. A carpenter can drywall and install moisture resistant boards around the bath and surrounding areas and you may need a plasterer for ceilings and walls.

Once dry, a tiler will be required to tile, grout and seal walls and floors. Once the tiles are down, you can organise the installation of the second electrical and plumbing fixes as well as vanity, basins, lighting and finish priming and painting walls and doors.

When managing your project, be sure to keep in close communications with each trade and order your materials, sanitaryware, basins, shower units fitting and fixtures in advance. Pay close attention to waterproofing and ventilation. These are the two areas where a bathroom will quickly lose its value if you experience leaks and mildew.

Allow for cost and time contingency as you may encounter unexpected problems like damage to sanitary ware, plumbing issues or out-of-stock materials. Even the weather could cause unexpected problems.

Note: Check with your local authority that proposed modifications, particularly those that involve structural work or relocating services, don’t require planning permission.


About the Author


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