Bathroom renovation 101: tips for a job well done

Your dream bathroom is more than a room: it’s a calm, modern space where you can practise self-care. If you’re getting ready to renovate your bathroom into the peaceful oasis your whole family deserves, read on! We’ve put together a 6-step guide to help you get the job done without all the headaches. From start to finish, these are our best tips for creating a small room that makes a big statement!

1. Decide what problems you want to solve

Most people decide to renovate when they are frustrated with some aspect of the room—damage, poor flow, lack of storage, weak ventilation, inadequate lighting, outdated design, etc. It’s a good idea to identify your problems from the outset and keep them in mind throughout the job.

When renovating a bathroom, you should prioritize functionality, durability, maintenance and comfort.

Decide what problems you want to solveDecide what problems you want to solve

Pro tip: Take stock of all the items that you and the other members of your household definitely want to store in the bathroom. This will help you choose functional storage solutions that will do a lot to make your daily life easier.

2. Set your budget

Transforming a bathroom involves planning many steps and purchasing a lot of materials, and it is often one of the most expensive renovations you can do. Make sure your budget accounts for:

  • Plumbing
  • Electricity (heating and lighting)
  • Ventilation
  • Fixtures and faucets
  • Cupboards and counters
  • Flooring
  • Paint
  • Decorations


Call in the professionals

Under Quebec law, all electrical work must be carried out by a professional electrician licensed by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec. That includes lights, dimmers, electric heating, heated floors, ventilation systems—anything electrical needs to be correctly installed and safe. In other words, this is one time to leave it to the experts, even if you dabble heavily in DIY. 

Watch out! Poor ventilation can lead to a lot of humidity. This can cause paint to break down, metal fixtures to rust and mould to grow, which comes with serious long-term health risks. You may want to replace your ventilation system or add one if you don’t have one already to ensure proper air circulation.

Pro tip: Unless you’re prepared to pay exorbitant plumbing costs, keep your bathtub, shower, toilet and sink in the same places. This way, you won’t have to relocate any pipes.

And for long-term savings, be sure to choose fixtures that reduce your water and electricity consumption, such as low-flow showerheads, automatic shut-off faucets and high-efficiency toilets.

3. Think long-term

Are you planning to grow your family? Do you have children about to enter their teenage years? Will you have an empty nest soon when your youngest leaves home? Or is it time to start adapting your space to life in your golden years? Whatever your situation, give it careful consideration.

Start by thinking about all the members of your household and their individual needs and lifestyles, while keeping in mind the principles of universal design. This will make it easier to choose materials and storage solutions that will work for the whole family for years to come. 

Think long-termThink long-term

Pro tip: Waterproof, non-porous materials are your best friends. You can also extend the life of any ceramic, porcelain or natural stone joints by applying a sealant. 

4. Plan your layout

A well-designed bathroom can serve the whole family, even on busy mornings when everyone needs it at the same time. Planning your bathroom’s layout lets you divide it into specific areas to ensure that the room as a whole is always functional. It’s also a quick way to find out whether you have enough space to install your plumbing fixtures of choice. 

To make it easier, think about all the steps of your daily routine in their most logical order.

Plan your layoutPlan your layout

Pro tip: Leave at least 30 inches of space in front of the bathtub and shower for getting in and out, and 30 to 40 inches in front of the vanity and the toilet. Leave as much room to move around as your space allows. The wider your pathways are, the more open the space will feel. 

5. Outline each step

There’s nothing more frustrating than a project lasting far longer than you expected. You can avoid this by figuring out everything you’ll need up front, including building materials, plumbing fixtures and all the finishing touches. If possible, have all the materials in hand—and inspect them thoroughly—before the work start date.

Here are the main steps to renovating your bathroom:

  • Demolition
  • Plumbing upgrades, if necessary
  • Electrical changes
  • Ventilation changes
  • Drywall installation
  • Flooring installation
  • Painting and finishing
  • Cabinet, counter and storage installation
  • Appliance installation
  • Decoration

Pro tip: BMR offers a few house brands that can help you save money without sacrificing quality. Look for these product ranges online or in stores:

Bathroom heating options

Since bathrooms are generally small, fan heaters are often the most efficient heating solution if you don’t already have a central heating and ventilation system. 

For a more upscale option, electric heated floors are also perfectly suited for bathrooms. They are an invisible and noise-free way to distribute heat evenly and deliver optimal comfort.

Bathroom heating optionsBathroom heating options

6. Add the finishing touches!

For a final product that fits your personal style and the rest of the house, add a few favourite accessories. As a general rule, you can create a relaxing atmosphere with just a few touches, such as a nice mirror, a minimalist picture frame, some greenery and a few fluffy towels.

When it comes to window treatments, keep it simple and prioritize privacy. Water, humidity and dust can be a concern, so consider opaque, easy-to-wash options.

Add the finishing touches!Add the finishing touches!

Pro tip: When it comes to decorating, avoid fads and trends. Instead, choose understated materials and neutral shades that will stand the test of time. 

Need a hand with your bathroom renovation? Visit your local BMR store and talk to one of our specialists. Even the most dedicated DIYers can learn a trick or two that will save them time and money.

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Les renseignements de cet article sont présentés à titre informatif seulement et peuvent ne pas être applicables dans certaines situations ou facteurs particuliers. En cas de doute, adressez-vous à un expert en horticulture du BMR de votre région.