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Bathroom renovation tips

23 August 2018

This article has been written by hipages, a platform that provides a better, smarter way to connect you with trusted, local tradies to get your home improvement job done well. 

So, you’ve decided it’s high time to upgrade your bathroom. A fresh, contemporary new bathroom is an exciting prospect to contemplate, but first there are many decisions to be made and much planning needed to ensure your diy bathroom renovation proceeds smoothly and the results make a splash!

Before you start remodeling

Here’s a few things you need to consider before you begin:

  • Check with your local Council whether you need planning permission for the work you wish to undertake.
  • Determine your budget, taking into account the value of your house and the length of time you are planning to stay there (you don’t want to over-capitalise). Make sure you leave additional leeway for any problems that may be uncovered when your current bathroom fittings and fixtures are removed.
  • Decide whether you will be engaging an architect, interior designer or bathroom renovation specialist to design and oversee your bathroom reno, or whether you’ll be tackling the whole process yourself.
  • Make a detailed list of your wants and needs.
  • Consider the overall style of your home and the size of your bathroom to determine the general look and feel that would be most appropriate as the starting point for your bathroom design.
  • Consider whether you will be able to stay in your home while the renovation is underway or whether you’ll need to find alternative accommodation.
  • Check your calendar for the most convenient time of the year to undertake the renovation work.

Planning your bathroom design


When planning the layout of your new bathroom, it’s important to keep in mind that any changes to existing plumbing positions can add a significant additional expense to your reno. If you’re on a budget, then sticking to your existing layout can help. A qualified plumber can give you some insights on the specifics of your job, so it’s always worth getting a consultation, but the general advice is to plan your new bathroom around the existing plumbing.

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Who’s using the bathroom?

Next, consider who’s going to be using the new bathroom and what kind of things they’ll be doing..

Do you need double basins, for example, so one person can be putting on makeup in the morning while another person is shaving? Do you need extra storage for towels, or kids bath toys? It’s important to provide adequate storage for everyone’s needs.

Renovator need-to-knows

Once you have decided on all the items to be included in your bathroom, you need to ensure there is a comfortable amount of space around each item for ease of movement.

General guidelines

  • A minimum of 700mm of clear space in front of the toilet and 200mm either side.
  • Double sinks need an area spanning at least 1500mm, however 1800mm is preferable.
  • Towel rails should be mounted at a minimum 900mm off the floor.
  • Glass shower screens should be a minimum height of 1900mm.
  • If you have, for example, a vanity on one wall and a toilet or bath directly opposite it, allow a minimum of 800mm from the front of each fixture to the front of the opposite fixture for ease of movement between them.

Standard Fixture Measurements

For standard fixtures, allow for the following on your plan:

  • A toilet generally measures 650mm in depth x 380mm in width x 816mm in height.
  • A standard vanity will usually measure about 395mm deep x 460mm wide x  900mm high.
  • A shower recess is typically 900mm x 900mm.
  • A bath normally measures 1740mm deep x 800mm wide x 612mm high.

Bathroom Design Quick Tips

Quick tips to the rest of your bathroom:

  • Bath: The bathtub is commonly best placed on the longest wall, unless the space is very long, in which case the far end of the room may be the best spot for the bath. In a very large space, the bathtub can be the starring feature and take pride of place in the centre of the room.
  • Toilet: The toilet shouldn’t be the first thing visible when entering the room. In a large space, it can be concealed behind a panel.
  • Waterproofing Surfaces: All surfaces need to be water impermeable and able to resist mildew and other damp-associated problems.
  • A professional waterproofer can ensure your reno is up to a professional standard. Be aware that wet weather can increase drying times for waterproofing, tiling and painting and can also cause delays.
  • Walls: Painting a bathroom isn’t as smiple as many people think. All paintwork should have a mildew-resistant undercoat and be oil-based, and you’ll need to make sure that ventilation is adequate.
  • Heating: In colder climates, you might like to consider installing a heat lamp, heated towel rails and even underfloor heating for maximum comfort.
  • Lighting: Lighting in a bathroom should include both task lighting and mood lighting. Remember that all lighting should be rated for use in wet areas. For lighting mirrors, a light on either side is much more flattering than a single light above the mirror.

Tips to choose your bathroom tiles

Tiling is the obvious choice for the floor and wall surfaces, so here are some tips for choosing tiles:

  • If maintenance and cleaning are an issue, choose tiles in a mid-range colour. Black tiles show soap scum, and white or beige show up mess. If it suits your taste, try warm mid to dark greys or chocolate colours that are easy to maintain. Use a warm grey, not a blue grey, unless you are contrasting with a warm timber or another warm finish. Your could match the colour of the grout to the tile for simplicity and cleaning purposes.
  • Use larger tiles as they have less grout to clean and are less likely to pop off the wall as small mosaic tiles sometimes do.
  • Tile from floor to ceiling as this will give a more dramatic effect and saves on the cost of border tiles for ease of cleaning.
  • Use the same floor tile on the walls as well or on one feature wall. Make sure the tiler aligns the floor tiles with the wall tiles to give a clean line. To get this effect, you’ll need to use the same size floor and wall tile.

A bathroom renovation calls for a high number of tradies for what can be a relatively small space.

Tradies you’ll need for your bathroom renovation

  • builder
  • plumber
  • tiler
  • and electrician.

Be sure to engage only registered tradespeople. Coordinating deliveries and the order you’ll need to book your services needs to be organised to run like clockwork or confusion and delays will ensue and possibly cost you extra.

If all goes smoothly and to plan, however, you should be using your smart and sparkly new bathroom in about four weeks from the start of building work. Long may you enjoy!

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