10 common bathroom renovation mistakes

There’s nothing like a luxurious bathroom having pride and place within your home, and it seems to be a room on the top of every Kiwi’s renovation list. 

Stuff spoke to Celia Visser from Celia Visser Design and award-winning architect Eva Nash about the mistakes you can make when renovating your bathroom, so we’ve taken this opportunity to add our two cents on what you need to know before starting a bathroom reno project. (Read the whole article here.)

1. Spatial planning

Before anything, ensure you plan according to the space you have, so everyone is working off the same hymn sheet. Bathroom planning needs to be well thought out to ensure you are making great use of the space, not over-delivering or trying to do too much. It’s a room you will use on a daily basis, so while you want it to be a place you love to step foot into, it needs to be functional with all the right fixtures and fittings.

2. Unskilled DIY

You may be pinching pennies when it comes to your renovation, so tackling the bathroom yourself could look quite appealing. On the flipside, if you’re not a reno-pro, it’s worth forking out for professionals to come in and get the job done, on budget and on time. By investing in the right trades to work on your project, you’ll save yourself money in the long run if something doesn't go to plan. Visser says there can be “up to 10 to 12 trades involved in a full renovation process, so it’s key that all your tradies have one clear plan to work from.


3. Bad lighting

The female in your life will agree when we say lighting is important for any bathroom and getting the balance right is crucial for the space. While LED lights may be cost-effective and practical, they can lead to shadow lines and issues when applying makeup. You may want to consider different lighting to maximise opportunity, like incorporating atmospheric lighting near the bathtub.


4. Inadequate ventilation

This one is non-negotiable as it is required by law for adequate ventilation to be in a bathroom if you don’t have a window. Even if you do have a window in the bathroom, we still suggest adding ventilation to avoid any unsightly mould creeping into your new space. Another tip on drying out a typically damp space is adding underfloor heating - this actually helps to dry out the space quicker.


5. Removing baths 

If you’re thinking about future resale value, it’s good to keep at least one bathtub in your home. Aim to have at least one, but you may wish to remove it from bathrooms where you don’t feel it is needed. Architect Eva Nash says “It is popular to have a standalone bath and there are some beautiful ones out there” and we couldn’t agree more.

 6. Mismatched fixtures and fittings 

Fixtures and fittings can be costly, particularly if you want to go with high-end brands for all of them. You can achieve cohesion with different brands by just ensuring they have the same finish. Although you may want to source the products yourself, ask yourself whether they will work with each other and are they practical for the space.

7. Inadequate storage

Storage is often skimped on in a bathroom renovation or completely missed, yet there are many bathroom items we want to store away and hide from being out in the open. Think about custom-designed storage within your shower, like a L-Cove for all your bits and pieces. This needs to be framed into the wall, so should be part of your plan at the very beginning. Invest in quality storage options that will fit the products you intend to put in them, and ensure the bathroom is liveable and free from clutter. 

8. Unbalanced décor

Both Visser and Nash work to the rule of three. They apply this rule to both colour and materials within a bathroom, and only work with three for the space to ensure it remains balanced. Nash says it is important particularly if the bathroom is a smaller room so it doesn’t become overcrowded.

9. No flow

You want to ensure your fixtures flow with the space. No one wants to be opening the door and walking straight into the toilet, so think about your fixtures in relation to the position of the door. You want your eyes to travel to the most beautiful parts of the room upon entering the space. 

10. Cash constraints

Bathroom renovations can prove to be a costly but worthwhile exercise. Visser tells her clients to start with a budget of $40,000 if undergoing a full renovation. If you’re able to re-design within the current space you have, this will keep costs down with consents and plumbing placements in the room. But as it is a wet area, problems can arise which could be costly.

But in our opinion, the biggest mistake you could make before tackling your reno is leaving an interior designer out of the picture. Engaging with an interior designer means they’ll lead the charge to ensure there is optimum flow, and that everything works together and is functional. Plus, they’ll consider things like pipework and the orientation of doors and cupboards.

With over 20 years of experience under our belt, we’re new home build and renovation specialists. If you’re looking for support in your renovation, get in touch, we’d love to hear more about what you have in mind.

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