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 How to Start Designing Your Bathroom Renovation

How to Start Designing Your Bathroom Renovation

To renovate your bathroom is no small feat! However, it can make all the difference in your daily life. If you find yourself wondering:

  • How do I design a bathroom renovation?
  • How do you design a bathroom layout?
  • Can I design my bathroom online?
  • What do you install first in a bathroom remodel?

We’ve put together the ultimate bathroom renovation checklist to get you started designing your dream bathroom.

Your Bathroom Renovation Checklist

Renovating a bathroom can be stressful if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, this simple Bathroom Reno Checklist is all you need to get going.

1. Look for Bathroom Renovation Inspiration

The first step to bathroom renovation is as easy as typing “renovate bathroom” on Pinterest, gathering DIY bathroom renovation ideas from over the internet. Consider this a brainstorming session and create a board to inspire your entire project.

For budget bathroom renovations or budget small bathroom ideas, gather as much inspiration as possible before dreaming up your design.

You can also check out our favourite bathroom decor ideas to inspire your project.

2. Design Your Dream Bathroom

No dream is too big for your preliminary bathroom reno design. Whether you’re old school and prefer to use pen and paper or an online bathroom design tool, dream big to design your ideal bathroom.

When it comes to small bathroom renovations, remember that small spaces benefit from designs that trick the eye. A walk-in shower featuring a nook for storing toiletries avoids shelves and creates a spacious effect.

3. Make It Practical

After you’ve dreamt up your ideal bathroom, go into your existing one with some measuring tape and a notepad. Practically, you’ll need to know exactly what you have available already. 

Planning is Key

The devil is in the detail, so make sure to iron out all the details before the actual renovation process begins.

Examine your current bathroom and decide what you like about it and what you would like to change. Many bathrooms may not even need a complete makeover — even just changing tiles or fixtures may give the room a complete facelift

If the layout of your bathroom is the issue, you will need to plan every move, keeping the plumbing lines for the toilet, sink, shower and bath in mind. 

Enlist the services of an architect to help you draw up your plans so that it meets all the necessary requirements. You will need these plans before you even talk to a builder, tiler, or plumber. 

You must also be aware of building regulations and codes that would affect your planning, such as minimum distances between sinks and electrical outlets.

The Sink

The height of your bathroom sink may seem insignificant enough until it’s too high or too low, causing discomfort to your whole family. Measure your ideal sink height, write it down and double-check it before installing a new sink, as this could make or break the comfort level of your new bathroom.


Good lighting can make all the difference in a bathroom. When you get ready in the morning for work, you should feel your best! Harsh fluorescent light can wreak havoc in a bathroom mirror. Rather choose soft lighting, ensuring that your vanity mirror is well-lit. Leave home looking and feeling your best.

Fresh Air

Mildew and mould collect easily in a damp bathroom. Strategically placing a couple of windows or extraction fans could help freshen the air during a shower, which can decrease the chance of fungal growth, keeping your bathroom crisp daily.

Toilet Placement

Is toilet renovation high on your list? Consider placing your toilet out of sight from the door to ensure optimal privacy and aesthetics. 


A bathtub can take up a lot of space, so choose yours wisely. Also, consider its placement and positioning in your current bathroom and how you could potentially improve your design.

Towel Rails and Toilet Paper Holders

Where will you put your towel rails and toilet paper holder? Ideally, within easy reach. The towels should be close to the edge of the shower, and the toilet roll should be somewhere you can reach when sitting down.

Cost to Renovate Bathroom: Stick to a Budget

Planning also entails budgeting. Your budget should include:

  • Demolition
  • Waste disposal
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Lighting
  • Waterproofing
  • Tiling, plastering and painting
  • Fixtures, like tapware, basins, showers, mirrors, vanities
  • Certificates of compliance and approvals
  • Contingency plan, or 15% of your budget, for any unknown expenses that may come up along the way.

4. Adjust Your Design

From your original dream design, a lot may have changed, and that’s okay! Make sure to update your official architectural plans before moving ahead with the renovation. This will save resources and minimise misunderstandings.

5. Calculate the Final Cost

It’s no secret that the cost to renovate a bathroom can be up to $30,000, so you have to make sure that every cent matters. Calculate the cost of your plans and weigh it all up. Are you willing to spend the amount necessary to build your dream bathroom? 

6. Get the Team Together

There’s no getting around the fact that you need to play team on a bathroom reno project to win. Proper planning and a reliable team will turn a bathroom renovation project into a positive and rewarding experience.

Your team may include:

  • Plumber
  • Builder
  • Electrician
  • Tiler
  • Waterproofer
  • Painter

When requesting quotes, make sure you already have clear documentation of your plans. 

7. Get Ready to Renovate

It’s time to strip your bathroom of its previous décor, and remove your existing flooring, wallpaper and decorations to prepare for tile installation and the overall renovation. Try not to nick your sink, toilet, bathtub or any other fixtures you plan on keeping. 

The final stage of the process is the fit off, when the plumbing and electrical fixtures are connected to the services installed in the rough-in stage. Fit off includes the installation of toilets, shower screen, taps and mixers, mirrors, towel rails and more.

8. Add the Finishing Touches

After the fit off, organise a deep clean. This will remove any of the dust and dirt from the rough-in, tiling or grouting parts of the job. You are now free to add the finishing touches to your new bathroom to make it your own!  

Top Decorating Tip

When using colour in your bathroom, the 60-30-10 rule is a good guide. 

  • 60% of the room should be your primary colour, like white tiles on your wall and glazing on your bath or sink
  • 30% is your mid-range colour and is suitable for areas like the floor or vanity cabinet
  • 10% is your accent colour, a bold colour that you can add to your linen

Browse the Best Products on the Market

From unique bathroom vanities to trusty towel rails, VBathroom has the best products on the market. Contact us today to make your bathroom renovation dreams come true!

For a full renovation, our team can help you realise your dream space in less than 3 weeks thanks to over 20 years of experience – so get in contact with us today.