To say that I was stoked with the outcome of the boys’ bathroom is an understatement! That being said, we definitely had to overcome some challenges along the way. We learned many things along the way and if we had to start all over we probably would have done some things differently. In this post, I’m going to share with you some mistakes to avoid while remodeling a bathroom.

  1. Being Unrealistic – I’ll be honest, picking out the tile, fixtures and vanity was not as fun as I had imagined. I pictured it much like being on HGTV where the show host sits you down at a trendy coffee shop and shows you a few render options, you choose your favorite, they do the work, you sit back and wait until the final reveal…

Just kidding, I didn’t really think that’s how it was going to work, I was just wishing the process would be similar. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from our reality. See, when you and your husband have full time jobs and only have nights and weekends to work on your house, it’s exhausting to say the least. You’re mentally and physically drained.

We always have impeccable timing though…we actually ‘moved into’ our house the week before the school year started. After work each day and picking up the kids, we’d meet back at the house and begin working. More often than not we found ourselves finishing around 11 or 12pm. So when I say it wasn’t as fun as I had imagined, you can start to understand why. We got to a point where we just wanted things completed and working under such a time constraint you don’t always have the time to ‘shop around’.

I should also add that you want to be realistic about your budget. Before you begin renovating you should spend some time shopping around and researching how much everything will cost. Make a spreadsheet of materials and cost and get quotes from contractors. This activity will save you so much time in the end and could potentially save you from a major headache later on. Once you have a rough idea of costs, factor in an extra 15-20% in your budge just in case you encounter any ‘surprise’ expenditures.

2.Choosing the Wrong Wall Color – I actually found that picking out wall colors was the most difficult part. Anytime I went to the hardware store to pick out a few color cards, I found myself staring at the sea of colors feeling quite overwhelmed. What looked to be a great color in the store turned out to be completely different once on the wall. The good news is that you can always repaint. In fact, it’s probably one of the easiest changes you can make to transform any room. The bad news is you’ll be out around $40 from the paint and the time you took painting the room.

3. Lacking a Clear Plan – The boys bathroom was one of the first rooms we finished. I can’t say that we really had a vision for the bathroom. We both knew what we liked and didn’t. It is so important to take into account measurements, cost, materials and style. Without a clear vision, you’ll wind up just like us trying to piece it together.

4. Doing it All Yourself – This was an extremely hard concept for Matt. He is very capable of wearing many hats and often times I wonder if there is anything he can’t do. He values good quality work and the craftsmanship that goes into the work, however, there are just some things you should leave up to the professionals. Tiling was one of the few things we contracted out. Make sure to only hire reputable people and never take your first bid or lowest bidder. Again, do your research and ask for referrals.

We chose the blue sea glass tile as the shower niche. It turned out amazing. The color is so pretty and looks great against the gray tile. We decided to keep the tile very neutral with a pop of color. We mimicked the shower tile for the floor. To give it more detail, we added a mini hexagon border…I LOVE how this turned out!!!

Blue Sea Glass Tile in Shower Niche
Mini Hexagon Border

5. Underestimate Project Timeline – We gutted all our bathrooms down to the studs. All the plumbing and electrical had to be redone. Everything you do with a remodel takes time. Work on putting together a list of items that need to be purchased and deadlines for making decisions. Because of our circumtances, Matt and I often felt like we were under the gun trying to make decisions. You definitely want to avoid this so you’re not regretting your decisions later on. As with any remodeling project, the time it takes to redo your bathroom depends on the scope of the project. A very simple remodel might take only one or two weeks, while complex jobs can last upwards of six weeks or more.

6. Be Weary Buying Online – I cannot even begin to tell you how hard and long I searched for a bathroom vanity. We were really limited with options from the get-go since we had very specific requirements. So, when I found this vanity I knew we had to have it. There was just one problem…once we received the vanity the color was NOT what we thought! The photo was really deceiving. We knew it was risky ordering a vanity online without first seeing it but we were desperate and running out of time. The actual color had a lot of green undertones in it.

7. Poor Vanity Lighting – You want sufficient lighting for your bathroom and finding the right lighting can be a bit tricky. Forbes has a great article on tips for choosing bathroom vanity lights.

8. Not Planning for Enough Storage – The last thing you want when your bathroom is finished is to find out you don’t have enough storage space. Trust me, no one wants to see your cleaning products or random personal care items lying around. Take the time in the beginning planning phase to think about where all of your items will go when not in use.

9. Forgetting About a Towel Bar or Hook – Installing a towel bar needs to have adequate space. A hook does not, however, you do need to place it in the right location. We chose to add a simple hook for a couple of reasons. Since this was primarily the boys bathroom we knew they would not take the time to fold and hang their towels up after each use and a hook doesn’t take up much room at all. We hung it up right outside the shower so it’s easy to reach. I don’t know about you but I hate having to step out onto the cold tile to grab my towel. Of course, if you have heated floors then it doesn’t matter.

10. Buying Cheap Plumbing Fixtures – Our good friend is a plumber and he always recommends going to a supply house when purchasing fixtures and not the big box stores. You may think you’re getting the exact same item, however, fixtures sold in these big box stores are often made of cheaper quality. Trust me on this one, you don’t want to be replacing fixtures a year down the road because you didn’t spend a little extra.

11. Low Ventilation – In our last house, we did not have the appropriate size fan in our bathroom. After every shower, the mirror would completely fog over and moisture would collect on the fan making the perfect environment for mold to grow. Don’t overlook this feature.

12. Don’t Go Super Trendy – Unless you have a budget where 5 years from now you can remodel your bathroom again, you’ll want to avoid being too trendy.

I would love to hear about your remodeling faux pas. What do you wish you had known before remodeling your bathroom?

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