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Bathroom Design Ideas: From Demo to Done

Your master bathroom should be an inviting oasis where you can relax and soak your troubles away. Contemporary colors, timeless fixtures, and even a few eclectic bathroom design ideas are all vital aspects of a well-designed lavatory. With a realistic time frame and budget—along with a creative eye for design—you can piece together a spectacular space that will soothe your body and your mind. And when your renovations are complete, you'll bask in your serene, fully customized piece of paradise. Here's how you can get started.

Stone a La Mod

Survey the Space

The first step to designing your new bathroom is to understand the space you'll be working with. If you want to keep the general layout and style of your current bathroom, inspect the walls, studs, and flooring to ensure they are all sturdy and free of mold (though that won't always be the case). Make note of any structural deficiencies you come across, which might include soft flooring or damaged drywall—two serious issues you'll want to have corrected either before or during your renovation. Alternatively, if you're looking to completely renovate your bathroom from soup to nuts, consider adding a concrete backer board above your subfloor and over drywall for optimal performance in your bathroom's humid environment.

While you're surveying the space, take measurements of the room's dimensions and keep a record for yourself. This should include the floor and shower space so that you can receive a ballpark estimate from your tile provider. It's also a good idea to make several copies of these measurements, and keep a copy in your car or by the telephone. This way, you won't have to make repeat trips to the hardware store or call your contractor back with exact measurements.

Once you have a better idea of your space, choose your overall design strategy. Do some research on current trends in bathroom design ideas, and then determine how you want your bathroom to look and feel. For instance, what style of tile do you want on the floor—porcelain, ceramic, or stone? Will the tile on the shower walls be different from the tile you use behind the sink area? You might be surprised by the variety of tile sizes, styles, and colors that are available. The online visualization tool from Daltile can help you choose the tile that will work best in your space.

Set a Realistic Time Frame and Budget

The time frame for turning your bathroom design ideas into reality will depend on the scope of your project. Before putting pencil to paper for your materials list, decide if you want to perform a complete bathroom overhaul, with help from outside contractors and designers, or if you simply want to make minor improvements by yourself. If you're planning to make significant changes to the layout of the bathroom, remember that you will have limited access to the space for a few weeks while new tile, fixtures, cabinetry, flooring, and lights are installed.

As with all home-improvement projects, it's important to decide on a budget for your bathroom remodel, and to stick to it throughout the process—otherwise it could get much more expensive than you anticipated. Keep in mind that a basic bathroom remodel can cost upwards of $15,000. The best budgeting action you can take is to keep track of your receipts and credit card statements throughout the process because quick trips to the home-improvement store can add up unnoticed.

Choose Your New Tile

To make your bathroom a truly relaxing space, you should carefully consider the style (ceramic, porcelain, glass, or stone) and color tile you use. Go with your gut when making this decision; you'll want to choose styles and colors that will make you feel completely comfortable in this room. Try including natural elements into your design, such as tile that looks like wood, to create a harmonious, Zen-like ambiance.

Design experts will probably tell you to tie in the coloring of your walls, towels, artwork, and finishing touches with your tile. If you choose an earth-tone palette for your tiled shower, for example, try adding touches of those green and beige tones to your wall colors to give the room a cohesive feel. Or how about white high-gloss paint on all of your trim work to complement your beach-inspired blue mosaic tile? The options are endless. Just be sure to find complementary colors that enhance your style goals.

Buy Your Essentials First

Once you've fixed any structural issues, settled on a realistic budget, and chose your tile colors, you can move on to the fun part of any design or remodeling project: shopping! Remember the budget you developed and go to the home-improvement store with a plan. Stay organized and focused on what's important by dividing your shopping list into two sections, "essentials" and "extras."

"Essentials" are items that will need to be installed before any extras are added. Bathroom essentials include floor and wall tile, cabinetry, a shower or tub, a sink, and a vanity. Focusing on essential items first will keep your bathroom remodel on track. Depending on the bathroom design ideas you plan on executing, however, you might consider some essentials to be more necessary than others. You'll also need to remember anything you might need to install these essentials, such as mortar or a backer board.

"Extras" are items that add touches of personality and style to your bathroom, but can be added, or changed, over time. Extras can run the gamut from plumbing fixtures for your new three-quarter bath to stylish wallpaper for your luxurious powder room. No matter what falls into this category for your project, it's important to wait on them until your larger, more important purchases are out of the way. And if you're crafty enough during the initial stages of the project, you may be able to leave yourself a nice budget for these amenities. Such items might include plumbing fixtures, mirrors, towel hangers, and light fixtures.

Choose Your Finishing Touches

A critical last step for any bathroom remodel is to choose the hardware for your vanity drawers and cabinet shelves. Your knob, hook, and towel bar choices are immediately noticeable, so this is where you can really add some personality to your bathroom. Choose brass handles to give your drawers a classic look, or opt for brushed-steel knobs for a more contemporary look.

Whether you're choosing between bronze and antique brass, or between porcelain and stone tiles, numerous options are at your fingertips, enabling you to fully customize your project. Keep an open mind, and don't be afraid to experiment with new styles. You'll be relaxing in your dream bathroom in no time.

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