We are starting on my bathroom renovation soon! I thought I’d show you before pictures, plans for the room, and tips on how to plan for a home renovation. I’ve redone probably 100 rooms in the past few years. So renovating is common place. But to have a special room, you need a good plan. Let me help you lay that important foundation.
how to plan for a home renovation
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.
What problems do I want to solve?
Start by asking yourself what bugs you about the room? What issues are there that renovating can help solve?
In my bathroom there are three issues. First, there is a leak in the room. This is especially bad when snow is melting or when it’s raining. I need to find the source of the leak and fix it so we can keep the room dry and mold free. We’ve already started investigating to help figure out the problem.
Second, there’s a large pipe between the toilet and the vanity. Because our home was constructed before modern plumbing in 1905, the pipes aren’t in the walls. During demo we need to see if the pipe can be moved into the wall or if we need to disguise it in another way.
Last, the vanity is about 6″ too small for the space. This leaves a gap between the wall and the vanity. So it’s wasted space that attracts hair, it’s hard to clean, and an extra 6″ in storage and countertop space would be super helpful!
If you’re looking at these pictures and thinking that the room doesn’t look awful, it doesn’t. We did a “band-aid” renovation where we switched out the vanity, put peel and stick tile down, and painted everything.
But because of structural issues and mold, it needs to be taken down to the studs. We also need to replace old wiring (that could lead to a fire) and old plumbing. So since we have all that crappy work, I’m making the plan to keep me motivated while we make necessary upgrades to keep this house around for another 100 years.
Next, take measurements of the room. Get the height, length and width. If you’re planning a special feature wall, tile in a specific spot, or window coverings, get the measurement of the area to be covered. Note these down in an easy to find area.
What’s my budget?
And now, it’s time to figure out what the budget is for the project. My favorite way to figure this out is to open a spread sheet and start adding up everything you want to use in the room. For me that’s a vanity, tile, paint. I find out the exact cost and link the item I want to use. Then I can total everything up and get a good idea for the total.
When adding items up, my total comes to $3000. I’m going to plan to spend between $3-$4k on the room. As I buy items for the room I also add those into the spreadsheet so I can keep to my budget.
Save ideas on Pinterest and Instagram
During the planning stage, I like to create a board on Pinterest and a folder on Instagram so I can save images that inspire me for the space. It can be the color scheme, vibe, or a unique feature. Having these to reference will be helpful as I shape my ideas into reality.
what can I re-use from the room?
Although we have to tear the drywall and go to the studs to fix some structural and plumbing issues, I still want to be as green as possible when redoing the room. On my budget spreadsheet I’ve noted items I can re-use. This will save money and waste! Here’s a few of the things I’ll be re-using-
- Dog art
- Towel Rods
- Toilet paper holder
How can I use design to make the room better?
Another question I like to ask myself is “how can I use design to make the room better?” This goes a step beyond solving problems in the space, it’s adding items to further elevate the enjoyment of using the space.
One thing I immediately though of was creating an alcove tub with a beam in the ceiling and columns on either side of the tub. Then I’ll be able to hang a drape between the room and the tub. This will add privacy and a softness to the space.
Is it necessary? No. But will it create a look I want while solving an issue? Yes.
Start looking for vintage items and salvage
Immediately after I figure out some design elements for the room, I start vintage shopping for the space. I like to find unique items when I’m redoing a room and the best (and cheapest) way to do that is by using second hand items.
The first thing I found for the room are a pair of swan pulls. The detail is amazing and I am in love! The plan for these is to put them on a cabinet that’ll replace the pink one I have in the room. Here’s a sketch-
Another vintage item I found is a frame from the antique store.
It’ll replace the art I currently have over the toilet. I fell in love with the ornate plaster frame. It is dinged up so I’m not sure if I’ll embrace that or try to fix it. Plus I need to find art for inside. What do you think I should put in it?
I like to use hand soap when washing my hands so I was thrilled to find the Lenox x Anna Griffin (one of my favorite graphic designers) soap dish! It’s beautiful with the slight wavy detail on the edge. I love the vintage botanical look too!
I found these tiny brass flower pulls from eBay. They came from a cabinet shop estate sale. I’ll be using them on my vanity. Lots of time I wait until the last minute to find hardware then end up using stuff I’m just ok with. I want every detail to be good so I’ve been collecting some fun stuff!
Last, I found a set of two tassels from the antique shop. I think these will be really special for tying back the draped in the bathtub alcove!
Will this room have a theme?
Ok, so I know that most people think a theme in a room that isn’t for kids is overkill. But I’m a girl who loves a theme! It gives my creative soul some boundaries.
For this room, I’m thinking a Swan theme. I love swans- they’re so beautiful! And seem perfect for a bathroom? The first thing I thought of when coming up with this theme is the Swan Lake wallpaper from Nina Campbell. It’s long been a favorite and would be the starting point for the design. I ordered a sample and it is so beautiful! There’s metallic in the design that I love!
how can I use salvaged materials?
Awhile ago I found a piece of architectural salvage. It’s from the Hotel Utah which is where Preston and I got engaged and had lunch to celebrate. So I bought it because it’s such a beautiful find with a fun history! Yes, it was removed before we ate there, but I still love it! Here’s some pictures I found of it in place-
Can you see them along the roof line?!
My idea is to put it over the cabinet we will be installing in place of the pink cabinet.
will I showcase a collection?
This is a question that not everyone will ask, but if you’re a maximalist like me it’s really fun to find a spot to display a collection! I’m thinking that above the tub putting a shelf that’ll be fun to look at while I bathe.
I have a house shaped collection I’m planning for here! Vintage Coalport Cottages from England! They are pastille burners. There’s a spot in the bottom to burn a little piece of incense. Then it makes the room smell good and it looks like smoke coming out the chimney! Perfect for a bathroom! Plus they’re pastel and so cute!
How do I want the room to feel?
Deciding how a room should feel is a great starting point in creating a room. It can be a few words like- cool, inviting, interesting, cozy, traditional. These are words you can reference when picking out items.
View this post on Instagram
Another way to decide how a room should feel is playing a song that either represents the space or is a favorite of who will live in the space. Since my theme for this room is swans, I played myself music from the Swan Lake ballet. The vibe I want for the room is an upscale traditional space with whimsey. I want a layered space that is both thoughtful and playful.
The ballet has a combination of romance and magic with a rich texture of sounds. It perfectly exemplifies how I want the bathroom to feel.
After telling my husband about this exercise, he mentioned that I should play my favorite song from Swan Lake when people are in the room. And then I thought that I could find a music box that plays Swan Lake! There’s a bunch available on eBay. Wouldn’t that be a fun detail? (And yes, I do overthink things- lol).
what can I do in this room that will inspire people?
For me, considering how I can inspire people with my design is an important aspect when creating a new room. Why? I’m a blogger and want to teach new methods of DIY and showcase fresh ideas.
One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot is using a mosaic on the floor. I love the look of this ancient craft and would like to have it in the room. Here’s the mosaic I’m thinking. Will it be too much with the wallpaper? I don’t think so, but that is a consideration.
It’ll be much better than the peel and stick tile that is currently there!
I’m taking a stained glass class soon and hope to one day improve enough to be able to create a stained glass to go over the windows in my bathroom. Swans with a rainbow anyone?
I have a few Ikea hacks planned too. The vanity will be a fun one that I’m really excited about and will have a scallop detail!
I’m at the point where I’m considering lots of things, but will narrow it down as the room comes together. Right now is the time for brainstorming where there is no wrong ideas. We’re throwing spaghetti on the wall and we’ll see what lands!
make a wish list and try to find a better deal
After looking at my ideas, I start finding items that’ll fit the feel and look of the room. I start a wish list and keep an eye out for better deals.
For example, I really want the Evelyn bow drapes for my bath alcove. But they are $150 for a set of two- not cheap. So I started searching on Facebook marketplace. A listing popped up close to my house! I bought the set for $50 and then paid an extra $15 to add in the drape rode. That saved me over a hundred dollars! I get to use what I want too!
My vanity is from Ikea and one day when working on my budget, I saw that the vanity and sink were on sale for $100 off. I purchased them and picked them up. Sure, demo hadn’t started but saving that much money was worth storing them for a bit.
This is the beauty of planning ahead and knowing what you want- you can be picky and take your time to find items at a better price!
be inspired by the house
Yesterday my husband started on more demo in the bathroom. After he tore down the drywall there was a second layer of drywall and that was painted yellow. I really liked the color so I think I’ll match it for the ceiling!
In our closet, I designed wallpaper I found when we did demo. For me, having ties to the home’s past makes the design feel more intentional. I love where I live and am grateful that there’s been over 100 years of people loving this place too. By using hints from the house, I can create something really special.
sketch out your ideas and make a mood board
When I’m in the process of planning a room, my head is swimming with different ideas. So I take those to my sketch pad and start drawing them out. This is the first step in taking what I’m envisioning and making it reality.
I draw the wallpaper, tile, cabinet, architectural salvage, and plant stand as I see it and then I can use those sketches to communicating what I’m thinking. For me, I like to do this for each main focal point in the room. Even if you’re not a great artist, I believe this practice will be helpful. And it’ll only help you get better at sketching!
Another way to envision a room is creating a mood board. I like to take screen shots of the actual items I’m thinking. Next, I import those into a graphic design software (I use PicMonkey). This really shows all the elements together and should be a process everyone does as a starting point in designing a room.
Want to know how to make a mood board? See this post here.
Create a timeline
The last thing I like to do before starting a room is to create a timeline. I think it’s a good practice to sit down and talk through how long each task will probably take. This gives you a list of major projects. And even if you don’t stay on the projected schedule, it’s good to be able to track where in the project you are.
Here’s my timeline in case this is helpful-
- Demo- 1 week to 2 weeks February 13. We don’t know what we’re dealing with on the floor
- Replace plumbing/pipe- 1 week February 21. With an old house we’ve slowly replaced the plumbing. This is the last spot. We’ll also see what can be done with the big pipe.
- Medicine cabinet/ wall- 2-3 days February 26. We believe the wall behind the vanity is brick. If that is right, to make a medicine cabinet we’ll need to build a false wall behind the vanity.
- Alcove the shower- 5 days March 1
- Tile and grout the floor- 3 days March 6
- Transom? 2-3 days March 11. During demo we’ll see if we can add a transom over the door. If so we’ll do it here.
- Electrical- 3 days. We don’t know how old it is. We need to schedule our electrician because there is an overloaded circuit. March 14
- Drywall (hang and tape)- 2 days. March 19
- Tile and grout the walls- 4 days. March 25
- Put tub and toilet back- 1 day. March 26
- Vanity build and install- 2 days. March 28
- Cabinet build and install- 2 days. April 11
- Insulate the ceiling- 1 day. April 12
- Shiplap the ceiling and crown- 3 days. April 17
- Install the new lights- 1 day. April 18
- Wallpaper the walls- 1 day. April 19
- Decorate the room- 1 day. April 22
- The room is finished. April 23
I just worked on this with my husband. He is very cautious when saying how long something will take. My son had a lot of school off during this period so I totally skipped those days (when that probably won’t be 100% necessary). I really wanted the project done by early April and not late April, so we’ll see how things shake out!
Demo has progressed so I thought I’d show a photo of that. I’ll be documenting the progress of the space so make sure to check back for updates!
Alright, there are my tips on how to plan for a home renovation. I hope these have been helpful to you!
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