If you're thinking about remodeling your bathroom, you’re not alone. Bathrooms are the most common remodeling project people will undertake in 2017, according to the National Association of Home Builders. So what's the best way to begin? Here are three expert tips to help you get started:
1. Identify the “pain points” of your current bathroom. Even if you’ve been dreaming about a new bathroom for years, the exercise of writing out goals for your remodel is an important first step in taking the dream to reality. Start with the pain points of your current bathroom, whether it’s the fixtures, the tile, the vanity, the lighting or other functional and style issues, and then move on to your wish list. Determining your “must-haves” in advance is key to prioritizing your action list and budget.
2. Budget like a pro. Accurate budgeting can help take the emotion out of the financial aspects of your project and put it where it belongs — in the excitement of seeing your new room come to life. The average bathroom remodel was approximately $18,000 in 2016 for a mid-range bathroom remodel, according to Remodeling Magazine. When budgeting your own project, be sure to factor in labor costs as well as material costs, and set aside contingency dollars for the unexpected. If you only look at costs on an item-by-item basis, you won’t get an accurate picture. Working with a designer or contractor can also help you to best choose where and how to invest your budget within your space.
3. Explore the new world of affordable, professional design services. The internet has changed everything, and bathroom remodeling is no exception. Professional design experts are now available to the public in an affordable way, thanks to the advent of "virtual" personal design services. For instance, the Online Design Service from Kohler Co. offers homeowners up to three hours of collaboration with a Kohler Professional Bathroom Designer over interactive online meetings (such as Face-Time or Webex), email or phone. After an in-depth consultation with a Kohler Designer, each homeowner receives a personalized design package containing photo-realistic 3-D image of their new design concept, as well as mood boards, a sample box of finishes and color swatches, and a shopping list of product selections. Priced at an affordable $399, Kohler also gives rebates on the company’s products for online design customers purchases. More details can be found on the Kohler Bathroom Design Service website. For those who may desire a more traditional customized in-home design process, working with a National Kitchen & Bath designer is also a great option.
A nation of remodelers, the U.S. boasts a home improvement industry valued at more than $192 billion today, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. With new resources like online design services, it becomes easier for people to move from merely thinking about remodeling a bathroom to doing it.