From Drab to Fab: The Complete Guide to Remodeling Your Dream Bathroom

From Drab to Fab: The Complete Guide to Remodeling Your Dream Bathroom

Master Your Bathroom Remodel: 10 Essential Tips, Best Ideas, and Step-by-Step Guide to Transforming Your Space with Confidence!

From planning and budgeting to finding reliable professionals and incorporating future-proof features, this comprehensive guide will give you the confidence and knowledge to tackle your bathroom transformation. Embrace the journey, add personal touches, and create your dream bathroom sanctuary. Start your remodelling adventure today!

Image concept by author via Dalle 2


Hey, gang! Let’s talk about something that’s as exciting as it is terrifying: bathroom remodels. Yeah, I said it—exciting. Who doesn’t love the idea of transforming that old, dingy space into a sparkling, spa-like sanctuary? But, let’s face it, it’s also about as nerve-wracking as a squirrel on a double espresso. That’s why I’m here to give you insider tips, step-by-step guides, and the confidence to tackle this job like a pro.

So buckle up, Dorothy, ’cause Kansas is going bye-bye.

From Drab to Fab: The Complete Guide to Remodeling Your Dream Bathroom



1. Plan extensively, mapping out layout, plumbing, electrical, storage, etc.

2. Set a realistic budget and stick to it

3. Hire reliable professionals with proven experience

4. Incorporate universal design and age-in-place features

5. Install proper ventilation, like a quality bath fan

6. Choose durable, easy-to-clean materials such as porcelain tile

7. Maximise storage with built-ins, cabinets and shelves

8. Include task, ambient, and accent lighting

9. Use eco-friendly fixtures to save water and energy

10. Personalise with paint colours, tiles, shower curtains, and accessories


Estimated reading time: 13 minutes, 40 seconds. Contains 2736 words



1. Plan Like a Pro

First off, and I can’t stress this enough, plan your bathroom remodel like it’s a mission to Mars. You wouldn’t want Elon Musk winging it, and neither should you. Use graph paper, a digital design tool, or even spaghetti and marshmallows (hey, whatever works) to map out your new layout. Consider the plumbing and electrical fixtures, and don’t forget the towel bars. Yes, it seems small, but trust me, a towel bar that’s an arm-stretch away from your shower can feel like a marathon after a long, relaxing bath.


2. Budget, Budget, Budget

I know, I know. Budget talks are about as fun as a root canal. But guess what? Without a budget, your remodel could end up costing as much as a small island in the Caribbean. So, decide on a budget that doesn’t involve selling your firstborn or your prized comic book collection.


3. Get the Right People

Unless you’re a secret DIY king or queen, you’ll probably need to hire some pros. And by pros, I mean reliable ones, not your cousin Vinny, who once fixed a leaky faucet. Do your research, get multiple quotes, and check out their previous work. Remember, you’re trusting these folks with your sanctuary.

Think of it like dating: would you really go for someone with a shady background and bad reviews? I didn’t think so.


4. Think About the Future

No, I don’t mean flying cars and robot butlers. I’m talking about how your needs might change in the future. If you plan to age in your home, consider incorporating “universal design” features, like a walk-in shower or grab bars.


5. Don’t Forget Ventilation

Spacious bathroom in gray tones with heated floors freestanding tub walk-in shower double sink vanity and skylights. Northwest USA

Your bathroom is a hotbed for humidity (no pun intended). Without proper ventilation, you’ll be dealing with mold faster than you can say “ewww.” So, invest in a quality fan and make sure it vents outside and not into your attic. Unless, you know, you’re into that sort of thing.

Here’s a little table to help you pick the right fan:

Bathroom Size (Square Feet) Fan CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute)
Less than 50 50 CFM
50 – 100 1 CFM per square foot
More than 100 1 CFM per square foot + 50 CFM for each toilet, shower, or bath


6. Pick Durable, Easy-to-Clean Materials

Your bathroom is going to see more action than a superhero in a blockbuster movie. So, pick materials that can handle the heat, literally and figuratively. Think about porcelain tiles for floors and walls, quartz countertops, and quality cabinets that can withstand the humidity.


7. Consider Storage

There’s nothing worse than a cluttered bathroom; it’s like a horror movie for cleanliness freaks. So, consider your storage needs. Do you need a place for towels, toiletries, and that ever-growing collection of bath bombs?


8. Don’t Forget Lighting

Good lighting in a bathroom is as important as a good bassist in a rock band. It sets the mood and the functionality of the space. Think about task lighting around the mirror, ambient lighting for general visibility, and perhaps some accent lighting to highlight that gorgeous new tile.


9. Green is the New Black

Consider eco-friendly options, because who doesn’t want to save the planet and reduce utility bills at the same time? Low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads can save water (and cash), while energy-efficient lighting can cut your electricity bills.


10. Add Personal Touches

Lastly, make your bathroom yours. Add personal touches, whether it’s a unique paint colour, a funky mirror, or a shower curtain that makes you smile. After all, this isn’t just a bathroom; it’s your personal oasis.


Alright, folks, there you have it. Ten tips to master your bathroom remodel. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, but with some planning, the right team, and a dash of creativity, you can transform your bathroom from blah to spa.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your dream bathroom. So, take your time, enjoy the process, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Because at the end of the day, it’s just a bathroom, and bathrooms are meant to be enjoyed.


So go ahead. Splash out on that fancy tile. Splurge on that rainfall shower head. Make your bathroom a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle, soak your worries away, and emerge feeling refreshed and renewed. And if all else fails, remember this: even a bad bathroom remodel is a learning experience. It’s a chance to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what you’ll do differently next time. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Embrace them. Learn from them. And then, when you’re ready, dive back in and try again.

After all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—or, in this case, a single tile.

So, what are you waiting for? Your dream bathroom awaits. Go forth and remodel!

Anyway, folks, that’s all the wisdom I’ve got for today. I hope you found these tips helpful, enlightening, and maybe even a little entertaining. Because, let’s face it, bathroom remodels can be a drag, but they don’t have to be.

With the right approach, a little bit of knowledge, and a healthy dose of humour, you can turn even the most daunting remodel into a fun, rewarding project.


And who knows? You might even find yourself looking forward to your next home improvement adventure. After all, once you’ve mastered the bathroom, the rest of the house is a piece of cake. So keep dreaming, keep planning, and keep pushing forward. Because every step you take, every tile you lay, and every faucet you install brings you one step closer to the bathroom of your dreams. And believe me, when you finally step into that new, beautifully remodelled space, all the sweat, all the stress, and all the hard work will be worth it.

Go on, be bold. Be adventurous. Be creative. But most importantly, be you. Because at the end of the day, it’s your bathroom, your space, and your chance to shine. So make the most of it. And remember, no matter what happens, you’ve got this.

Happy remodelling!












Initial Considerations

What is the average size of a bathroom?

The average size of a bathroom in the US is about 50–60 square feet. However, master bathrooms can range from 80 to 120 square feet.


When planning your remodel, think about what features you want and how much space you’ll need. Bigger isn’t always better!


What is a wet room for?

A wet room is a bathroom with an open shower area and no glass doors or curtain.

A wet room is a bathroom with an open shower area and no glass doors or curtain. The whole room is waterproofed, so you can walk around freely. Wet rooms create a sleek, modern look and feel more spacious. Just be prepared for lots of wiping down!


When should you remodel your bathroom?

It’s time to remodel your bathroom if: fixtures or surfaces are worn out, the layout is inefficient, it feels outdated, to fix leaks or damage, or to add value before selling. Don’t put it off; bathroom problems tend to compound over time. Plus, you’ll enjoy the updates for years to come!


How often should bathrooms be renovated?

Experts recommend renovating your bathroom every 20 years or so. Fixtures, surfaces, and layouts start to feel dated after a couple decades. But even small changes like new lighting or tile can give your bathroom a fresh new look!


Budgeting and Costs

A bathroom remodel can lead to confusion; you should think about costs this way:

What is the needed budget for a bathroom remodel?

Averages favour bathroom remodel costs at about $10,000 per bathroom. If you never think that square footage is 50 to 60, then you are probably not far.


Bathroom Renovation Costs. How much?

Below are a few fundamentals you should know when thinking about what a new bathroom renovation could cost:

Minor remodel: $3,500-$7,000
Standard remodel: $7,000–$15,000
Upscale remodel: $15,000-$30,000+

I think that you need to be aware that costs can rise quickly with high-end finishes like custom tile, double vanities, and added square footage.


How much should you spend on a master bathroom remodel?

For a master bath, plan to invest $12,000–$25,000. Master bathrooms run bigger than standard baths. Plus, you may opt for luxury materials and features like heated floors, jet tubs, steam showers, and the like.


How do you make a bathroom modern on a budget?

Some budget-friendly ideas for a modern bathroom include using mosaic penny tile, industrial finishes like concrete sinks, and sleek floating vanities. Focus on one standout feature instead of doing everything custom.


How do you quote a bathroom renovation?

When quoting a bathroom renovation, get itemised estimates for materials, labour (based on size and layout), permits, and profit margin. Most contractors quote bathrooms based on size, with higher rates for master or custom baths. Expect quotes from a few pros to compare.


How do I budget for a DIY bathroom remodel?

For DIY bath remodels, budget $2,000–$5,000, including fixtures, surfaces, tools and equipment rentals, incidentals, and your sweat equity! Having some DIY skills can save substantially, but it also adds a buffer for surprises along the way.


How much does a plumber charge to fit a bathroom?

Plumbers typically charge $50–$100 per hour. The plumbing costs for adding a bath include installing new water supply lines, drains, venting, and fixtures like sinks, toilets, and tubs. Most full-bath installs take 16–24 hours for a plumber.


What is the cheapest way to install a shower?

Acrylic fibreglass showers

The most budget-friendly showers are fibreglass units or acrylic surround kits. At $500–$1,500 installed, these affordable options skip the high cost of custom tile but still renew your shower space. Focus on splurging on other updates instead!


How much does it cost to retile a bathtub?

Retiling a standard tub surround costs $800–$1,500. Pricing factors in materials like backerboard, tile, and waterproofing membrane as well as labor For a full tub-to-ceiling redo, expect costs closer to $2,000–$3,500 instead.


How much does a wet room cost?

Converting to a wet room costs $3,500–$8,000 on average. The wide range in price accounts for size variations. Since the whole room needs waterproofing, larger wet room projects cost substantially more.


How much profit should a contractor make from a bathroom remodel?

Industry standards indicate contractors aim for a 10–20% profit margin on bathroom remodels. If quotes come in substantially higher, get an itemised breakdown so you know what’s driving up costs.


What drives bathroom renovation costs up so high?

There is a good reason why people have to spend so much money on bathroom renovations. The amount of labour that is needed in a small space is due to the many specialty materials. The waterproofing, the tile, the plumbing, and the electrical will add up fast for you and there is more customisation that is needed in a small space. If you want high-end finishes like custom cabinets, custom tile, or double vanities and more square footage, the costs will be higher, obviously.

Good design and quality bathroom renovation costs are worth it.


What is the most expensive part of a bathroom remodel?

custom luxury showers

The bathtub and shower area is typically the priciest part of a bathroom remodel due to extensive waterproofing and tilework. Fancy options like custom showers and jetted tubs also bump costs quickly.


Is it expensive to change the layout of a bathroom?

Yes, moving plumbing fixtures and walls gets pricey fast! Labour and materials costs jump 25–50% for layout changes. But improving function and flow can be worth spending more upfront. Just be sure to budget accordingly for a full reconfiguration.


How much does a bathroom remodel cost in Portland, Oregon?

The average bathroom remodel costs $9,539 in Portland, a bit under the national average. [1] Costs range from $4,700 for a basic update to $14,300 for a more customised re-do. Labour pricing runs at $70 per hour on average. [2] Overall, Portland remodel costs are on par with the national average. [5]


The Remodeling Process

What comes first in bathroom remodelling?

The first call is getting layout ideas and measurements. Then start lining up contractors for estimates. Order long-lead items like vanities and tiles next before the demo. Careful prepwork makes the rest go smoothly!


Can I fit a new bathroom myself?

With some DIY experience, you can totally handle a bath remodel if you focus on the finishes and trim work, not the plumbing, though! As long as the rough-in work is done properly, fitting the fixtures is very doable.


Is it easy to renovate a bathroom?

Bathroom renovations seem straightforward, but they do require know-how because gaining bathroom remodelling skills takes planning, patience, proper materials and tools, and persistence to work through problems. The more you learn, the easier it gets!


Can you do a bathroom remodel yourself?

Absolutely! Ambitious DIYers can remodel their own bathroom with the right skills and preparation. Start with an achievable design plan and allow more time for unexpected issues.


Don’t be afraid to call a plumber when needed. You got this!


How long does it take to fit a new bathroom?

The installation timeline for a new bath is typically 2-4 weeks. That allows adequate time for inspections between project phases—demolition, rough-in, and finishes. But skilled DIYers could likely wrap it up in only two weekends if organised!


Are one-day bathroom remodels worth it?

Empire Today for home improvement

For a refresh, quick-turnaround services like Empire Today can overhaul a bath in a day, but with plumbing changes, customisation is limited. Make sure the finished photos match your expectations before signing up!


Outcomes of Remodelling

How much does a full bathroom add to home value?

Adding a bath can increase the home value by 15–25%! Buyers love extra bathrooms, especially in larger homes. Even half baths boost value by 5–10% so check comps to set the right listing price after your remodel. [3]


What adds the most value to a bathroom?

To maximise your return on investment, focus bathroom updates on fixtures, lighting, tile, paint, vanity, faucets, &  hardware and avoid over improving with high-end materials that won’t recoup their cost.


Does a bathroom remodel increase home value?

Yes, bathroom remodelling offers an excellent return on investment! According to real estate agents, upscale bathroom remodels recoup about 57% of their costs. Even minor makeovers still regain over 50% of your investment.


Are bathroom remodels worth it?

If your bathroom is outdated or rundown, absolutely! The updates not only improve livability but also home value for resale. Just avoid overspending on materials that won’t recoup their costs. Focus on necessities, not lavish extras (especially if you don’t got the budget).


How do I make my bathroom a luxury on a budget?

Making a luxury bathroom

Some budget-friendly ideas for a glam bathroom include: using large-scale porcelain tile; adding a freestanding tub; installing a wall-mount faucet; lighting on dimmers; and heated floors. Luxe for less!


How do I remodel a bathroom on a budget?

Tips for an affordable yet awesome bathroom remodel: work within the existing footprint, use tile selectively, refinish the existing tub or enclosure, install a DIY vanity, repurpose or upcycle fixtures, and focus lighting. Get the high-end look without the shocking bills!


Why is remodelling a bathroom expensive?

Bathroom remodels cost so much because you’re cramming tonnes of specialty materials like tile and plumbing into a tiny space. Waterproofing is extensive. Customised layouts mean more labour too, but smart planning keeps it budget-friendly!


How much does it cost to add a bathroom to a basement in Portland?

Adding a full bath to a Portland basement averages $25,000, ranging from $15,000 to $35,000+. Key factors include the complexity of adding plumbing and ventilation, permits and inspections, layout, and finishes. Start pricing those must-haves first!


How much does it cost to remodel a house in Oregon?

The average minor whole home remodel runs $19,800 in Oregon, while an upscale overhaul averages $137,000. [1] As far as ROI, Oregon homeowners recoup about 51% of minor remodel costs and about 48% on major remodels when selling. [2]