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  • Elisha Rickward

Planning to renovate your bathroom but not sure what to consider? Read on..


You only have had to watch a few episodes of the block to know undertaking a renovation of any kind can be a daunting and stressful process!


But when it comes to the bathroom—a space that needs to be both functional and attractive yet also practical and hard wearing the stakes seem particularly high. There are seemingly hundreds of decisions to be made along the way, from toilets to storage to tiles and possibly everything in between.


Image Credit: Rickward Design Studio


And its certainly been hard of late not to be scared off by stories of finding a tradesperson, never ending delays in the pipe line and every increasing prices. So lets look at ways of hopefully minimising some stress and streamlining the bathroom design process.


1. Educate yourself on the costs so that you understand how much a bathroom remodel actually costs? Unfortunately it may be more than you think.


An extract from an article published July 2022 on hipgages.com.au states that is realistic to spend anywhere from $10,000 to well over $30,000 or more on a bathroom renovation. Actual costs will depend on the size of your bathroom, how much your chosen materials and fittings are and (of course where you source them from) and labour costs.


It goes without saying that a bespoke bathroom with all the bells and whistles may be well north of $50,000.


In Australia in 2022 the Housing Industry Association (HIA) has reported that you can expect $17,000 to be the average value of a bathroom renovation.

As you can experct there are a lot of variables at play. Key factors including:


  • The size of the bathroom

  • The fittings selected

  • The materials used such as tiles and taps etc

  • Labour costs

  • And potentially a permit if required.


As a guideline (and please this is a very approximate guide only) you can expect to spend in the vicinity of:


$5,000 - $15,000 for a budget or cosmetic renovation of a smaller bathroom using budget materials and keeping all your plumbing and electrics in place. You will need to choose standard taps and fittings from somewhere like Bunnings and likely need to choose large format porcelain tiles that are uniform in size (as opposed to handmade) in the $30 per square meter range. When it comes to PC items you will need to stay with a framed shower screen as well as a standard back to wall toilet and an off the shelf vanity that is floor (as opposed to wall) mounted.


$15,000 - $30,000 for an average sized mid-range bathroom renovation using mid-range materials. This budget range is more realistic and what most people spend when renovating a bathroom – this increased price range affords a more expansive range of materials and fittings to choose from. With an increased budget for tiles you have more variety – however remember the smaller tiles that are so fashionable right now are more labour intensive when it comes to laying them. At this price bracket it is likely you could upgrade to a semi-frameless or frameless shower screen and have more flexibility in vanities and baths. You might me able to consider minor changes to plumbing and electrics but not major aterations


$30,000+ to the sky’s the limit is what you need to plan for when contemplating a high end, premium or luxury bathroom renovation.

2. Flattering lighting is not a given - rather it requires a good deal of planning.


In bathrooms don’t think you can install a few lights and call it a day. Bathooms are sometimes small and/or dark (or worst both of these things). Windows are often small and poorly placed. Further the need for mirrors in bathrooms complicates how light bounces around. In summary, lighting requires careful thought and placement.


The simplest way to light a bath is a single diffuse light in the center of the ceiling however in a larger bathroom this is unlikely to be sufficient for the application of make up and/or shaving/tweezing and just generally dealing with pesky facial hair.


In this scenario where a mirror is involved you might need to look at a

pair of wall sconces and/or ceiling-inset downlight directly above the mirror. Place with care: avoid installing directly over light-colored countertops (since those will reflect the lights), and place the lighting close to the wall over a vanity to maximize light when looking in the mirror.



Image Credit: www.phillipjeffries.com


3. For an easy life consider surfaces that are easy to keep clean.


There are a myriad of surfaces in a bathroom that you will want to be able to keep clean. If you want to minimise places that mould can grow consider choosing larger format tiles that minimise grout lines – particularly on the floor where water pools and muddy feet tread.


Tiles comes in many substrates these days but they are not all created equal when it comes to easy maintenance: some such as encaustic tiles (made from cement) and terrazzo and marble (to name a few) need to be regularly sealed and can’t have abrasive cleaners such as bleach applied to them – instead requiring specialist alkaline cleaning products.


The types of tile that are particularly hardy, long-wearing, and timeless in the bathroom are porcelain and ceramic.


Ceramic tiles are commonly made with clay and fired in a kiln and finished with a durable glaze which carries the colour and pattern on the surface of the tile. The glazed surface of the tile makes the tile dense and non-porous which gives the characteristic of stain, fire and slip resistant. Ceramic floor tiles are suitable for bathrooms that have a light to moderate traffic however they can be relatively prone to wear and chipping so this may be a deterrent.


That said ceramic tiles have a generally high water absorption rate making the surface impervious to water penetration and stains. Ceramic tiles are very easy to clean and maintain however not all tiles are created equal and whilst some will be suitable for the floor not all will. It is critically important that the tiles you select for the floor have a slip rating that makes them suitable for use. Talk further to your tile supplier about this.


Porcelain tiles are a very strong and hard wearing surface that makes them an excellent choice for bathroom floors. They are generally resistant to stains and scratches and thus easy to clean and maintain. The full body porcelain tile carries colour and pattern through the entire thickness of the tile making them a much harder and denser tile. Porcelain tiles are suitable for any wall or floor application in commercial to the highest traffic areas of the home. Porcelain floor tiles are great for bathrooms in terms of wear and tear in high traffic areas from families to pets.


Having selected your tiles – consider the grout you will use. Grout has a hugely important role in the bathroom: It seals out dirt and water, compensates for small size differences between individual tiles, and firms up the structural integrity of an installation. However it is quick to become dirty (particularly if a light colour is selected!)



Image Credit: CNC Builders via Instagram


4. Consider power point placement


Good bathrooms take a good deal of planning. Think about who and how you will use the space. You don’t want to get to the end of a renovation and realize you have to walk across the room to plug in your hairdryer – because its possible you wont be able to see yourself in the mirror from there. If you have an overhead shaving cabinet or a custom vanity you might like to have powerpoints included inside the cabinets for items you wish to keep constantly charged like a shaver or electric toothbrush.


5. Don’t make storage an afterthought


So much of what helps to create a great bathroom that looks good and functions well comes down to good storage. Be sure to look for storage opportunities—even small, simple ones—when drawing up your plans, to make them feel integrated into the design and not just an after thought.


Consider storage at eye-height for things you regularly use (rather than fossicking in drawers). Shaving cabinet mirrors are perfect for this usage. You don’t need deep shelf storage; a shallow shelf can store a lot and minimises things getting lost in the back of a closet.


Recesses in the shower are wonderful and help eliminate the need for caddies and help minimise bottles on the floor.



Image Credit: www.justinplace.com.au


6. If all else fails refurbish rather than renovate


Maybe you’ve moved into a new house and can’t stand the feature tile in the bathroom, but don’t have the budget to replace it completely. Never fear there are a range of products on the market designed to help you disguise and transform any tiles or cabinet you don’t like. A great place to start is with a tile Renovation product such as

https://www.dulux.com.au/products/collections/renovation-range• . With this you can change the look and appearance of your bathroom for a relatively small outlay.


If your tiles are okay but your lighting is a bit lack lustre look at swapping out for a new fixture and you may be presently surprised. And of course new handles can have a big impact for a minimum outlay. Bit like the icing on a cake really...


Not confident the best way to tackle your bathroom update? I’d love to chat further. Just drop me a line.


Elisha


This blog post forms part of our website services and is subject to our legal notices accessible at www.rickwardesignstudio.com.au

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