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The Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Remodeling: From Planning to Execution

Beautiful white double vanity installed by Ranney Blair

Are you thinking about remodeling your bathroom? Are you wondering how to start the process? A bathroom remodel can be a big undertaking, but with careful planning and execution, it can be a success.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about bathroom remodeling, from deciding on the type of remodel you want to budgeting for your project. We’ll also share some tips on common mistakes to avoid during your remodel.

So whether you’re planning a surface-level update or a full gut job, you will feel confident embarking on your bathroom remodeling project after reading this guide.

The Ultimate Guide to Bathroom Remodeling

Bathroom Remodeling

Bathroom remodeling can be an exciting and rewarding project, but it’s also one of the most complex home improvement projects you can embark on. So before starting your bathroom remodel, it’s crucial to plan ahead and consider all the factors involved–starting with the purpose of your bathroom remodel.

Think About The Purpose Of Your Bathroom Remodel

Before you begin any type of remodel, it’s important to think about why you’re doing the remodel in the first place. Are you looking to upgrade outdated fixtures or materials? Do you need more storage space? Is the layout of your current bathroom not working for your lifestyle?

Are you just looking to update the style of your bathroom? Or do you need to add more functionality, like an ADA-compliant shower?

Once you have a clear vision of why you are undertaking a bathroom remodel, it will be easier to make decisions throughout the process. 

Decide On The Type Of Remodel You Want

Bathroom Remodeling

While every bathroom remodeling project is unique, most remodeling jobs will fall into one of the four main types of bathroom remodels: surface-level, replacement, layout changes, and full. 

Surface-Level Remodel

A surface-level remodel is exactly what it sounds like—it’s when you make changes that only go skin deep. With a surface-level remodel, you can expect to see new fixtures, finishes, and surfaces in your bathroom, but the footprint of the room will remain the same. This type of remodel is typically less expensive and disruptive than other types of remodels because it doesn’t involve any structural changes.

Replacement Remodel

A replacement remodel is when you swap out one element in your bathroom for a new one. This could mean replacing your toilet with a new model or swapping out your vanity for a different style. Replacement remodels are usually less expensive than full or layout change remodels because they don’t require as much work. 

Layout Changes Remodel

A layout changes remodel is exactly what it sounds like–it’s when you change the layout of your bathroom. This type of remodel typically involves moving around plumbing fixtures and making changes to electrical wiring.

However, unlike a full remodel, a layout changes remodel does not change the walls or alter the total square footage footprint of the bathroom. That being said, layout changes remodels can still be quite disruptive and expensive, so it’s important to work with a professional contractor who has experience with this type of project. 

Full Remodel

A full remodel is a comprehensive project that will completely transform every aspect of your bathroom. This could include anything from reconfiguring the layout to tearing out walls and adding new ones.

Some full remodels expand the footprint of the bathroom and even add new windows. Full remodels are usually the most expensive and intensive type of bathroom remodels, so it’s important to work with a professional who has experience managing this type of project. 

Determine Your Budget

Bathroom Remodeling

Once you’ve decided on the scope of your project, it’s time to start thinking about budgeting. While the amount you set for your budget will depend on factors such as the size of your bathroom, the scope of work, and the materials you select, the most crucial rule to remember is to stick to your budget.

We also recommend setting aside 5-10% of your budget for any contingencies–especially for the possibility of hidden damages (more on this later).

So before we get into the average cost of a bathroom remodel, let’s take a quick look at some of the most common factors that tend to increase a bathroom remodeling budget.

Plumbing: If your bathroom currently only has one sink and you would like to add another one, this will require plumbing work and additional fixtures, which can significantly increase the cost of your project. Similarly, if you want to reposition any existing plumbing, such as moving a toilet or changing out old pipes for new ones, this will also add to the expense of your project. 

Moving Walls: To accommodate larger fixtures or more open spaces, you may need to move walls or reconfigure the layout of the room altogether. This kind of structural change is not cheap and could significantly increase your budget if it requires electrical or plumbing work as well. 

Vanity: Choosing the right vanity can make all the difference when it comes to the look and feel of your bathroom. If you opt for something custom-made with higher quality materials, this will certainly come with a higher price tag than something pre-made with lower quality materials. So be sure to factor in any additional costs associated with customizing when considering what type of vanity you want for your remodel. 

Hidden Damages: Finally, there is always the possibility that during demolition work, hidden damages may be revealed that were not previously visible from the surface. This could include anything from plumbing issues to water damage in walls that require repair before proceeding further with construction work on them. Be sure to set aside some extra funds (typically 5-10% of your budget) in case these kinds of hidden damages are uncovered during your remodel. 

How Much Will A Bathroom Remodel Cost?

Bathroom Remodeling

The answer depends on several factors, including the size of your bathroom, the scope of work, and the materials you select. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2022 Cost vs. Value report, a midrange bathroom remodel averages about $27,000, while an upscale bathroom remodel averages about $82,000.

Nationally, most homeowners spend between $6,620 and $16,704, per Home Advisor. However, there are a few caveats to keep in mind regarding these average cost numbers.

First, the national average bathroom remodel figures cited above are weighted towards lower-cost projects since those are the types of bathroom renovation projects that are most often done. In other words, if you are looking to do a full premium bathroom remodel with a double vanity and high-end materials such as quartz countertops, you can expect to pay a higher price than the ones cited above.

Second, many low-end contractors will quote you a lower price for a bathroom remodel, but their quote will not include the cost of materials, which will add significantly to your final cost. Others will promise a fast turnaround but inevitably delay the completion date due to “unforeseen issues.” Neither one of those scenarios is addressed in the national average bathroom remodeling cost data cited above.

Finally, we should also note that the quality of work is not addressed in the average bathroom remodel cost. To put it another way, you get what you pay for when it comes to labor costs and the quality of work. If you hire an inexperienced contractor at a low cost, you will most likely get a low-quality bathroom remodel and a frustrating remodeling experience.

Here at Ranney Blair, we are committed to delivering the highest-quality design, craftsmanship, and customer experience. We are a full-service design-build company, which means we can guide you through the entire process of remodeling–from creating a unique design tailored to your wants and needs to bringing that vision to life on a guaranteed build schedule. You can read more about our process and pricing tiers for bathroom remodeling here.

Plan Your Design

Bathroom Remodeling

Once you’ve determined how much money you have available for your project and what type of renovation you want to do, it’s time to start planning your design. Here are some things to keep in mind as you’re planning your new space: 

Layout Considerations

Consider layout changes if needed, as well as surface-level updates such as flooring, countertops, lighting fixtures, and accessories. Think about how the space will be used. Do you need to shift the bathroom components around to accommodate other users? Keep in mind that any layout changes you make will add to the final cost of your bathroom remodel.

Balance Of Materials, Colors, And Patterns

When selecting materials, colors, and patterns for your space, it’s important to create a balanced look. Too much of one color or material can make a space feel overwhelming, while too little can make it feel bland.

Try to use a variety of colors, textures, and patterns throughout the space. For example, if you’re using tile on the floor, consider using paint or wallpaper on the walls. And if you’re using stone on the countertops, try using wood on the cabinets. By using different materials throughout the space, you’ll create a visual interest that will make the space feel more inviting. 


Another important consideration as you’re planning your design is storage. Most people underestimate how much stuff they have in their bathrooms–towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.–so it’s important to have enough storage options in your new space. If possible, try to incorporate extra space for storage into your design.

For example, if you’re doing a surface-level update, consider adding shelves above the toilet or medicine cabinet. If you’re doing more extensive work, consider adding additional cabinets or even closets. By incorporating additional storage into your design, you’ll help keep clutter at bay–which will make both guests and family members happy!  

Typical Bathroom Remodeling Process

Bathroom Remodeling

Now that we’ve gone over some common design considerations for planning your new space let’s talk about how typical projects progress from start to finish. Keep in mind that not every bathroom remodel will include every step or proceed in this exact sequence. However, the order of steps outlined below is fairly typical.


Depending on the scope of work being done during renovation–e.g., adding or removing structural elements–building permits may be required before starting demolition. These permits ensure that all safety regulations are followed throughout the construction process.


Once you have all the necessary permits, it’s time to start demolition. This is when you will remove any existing fixtures, flooring, drywall, etc., so that you have a blank canvas to work with. 


Once demolition is complete, framing begins. This involves constructing walls and partitioning off areas of the room (such as around the tub). 

Plumbing And Electrical Systems

During the framing stage, plumbing and electrical systems will also be installed behind the walls.  


If you are getting a bathtub or shower installed, drywall should be installed first. (Unless you are getting a freestanding tub–then you don’t need to drywall first.)

Bathtub Or Shower Installation/Tiling

Now it’s time to install bathtubs or showers and tile them if desired.


After the drywall is hung, it’s time to prime and paint.

Flooring And Baseboards

After the painting is complete, flooring and baseboards can be installed next. Baseboards serve both a decorative purpose as well as protection against water damage by helping keep moisture away from walls at their edges where they meet floors. 


Next comes the installation of the toilet.

Vanity, Countertops, And Sink

These items must be carefully planned ahead of time in terms of size (to make sure they fit into allotted spaces) as well as style (to match existing decor). 

Lighting, Fan, Mirrors, And Accessories

The final touches include installing lighting fixtures, fans, mirrors, and accessories such as a towel rack, toilet paper holder, or soap dish.

Bathroom Remodeling Mistakes To Avoid

Bathroom Remodeling

When it comes to bathroom remodeling, there are a few common mistakes you should try and avoid:

Underestimating your storage needs: One of the most common bathroom remodeling fails is underestimating your bathroom’s storage needs. Without proper bathroom cabinetry, items such as extra rolls of toilet paper, cleaning products, and towels can quickly get out of hand, leading to a cluttered bathroom space.

Hiring the cheapest contractor: While low-cost contractors might offer lower rates upfront, the result is often poor bathroom design, subpar craftsmanship, inferior materials, and property damage accidents. Even worse is hiring an unlicensed contractor, which exposes the homeowner to legal liability should something go wrong during the job.

Another issue with low-cost contractors is unfulfilled promises when it comes to scheduling. In other words, it’s not about when a contractor starts; it’s about when they can finish! Here at Ranney Blair, we take special pride in the fact that we guarantee our finish date, so the client knows exactly when their bathroom will be ready.

Changing your remodel plans during the remodel: When bathroom remodeling, it can be tempting to make design changes or upgrades on-the-fly as the project progresses. However, this is one of the most common mistakes that homeowners make and can have costly implications. For instance, making changes during bathroom remodeling could lead to delays or added costs due to unforeseen problems with acquiring new materials or incorporating new design changes.

Skimping on materials: Trying to save money by using cheaper materials might seem to save money upfront, but in the long run, it could end up costing you even more. Cheaper materials often have a shorter lifespan and may need to be replaced or repaired sooner than you think!

Create Your Dream Bathroom With Ranney Blair

Bathroom Remodeling

Congratulations! You have taken the plunge and completed a deep dive into the world of bathroom remodel planning. After reading through this ultimate guide, you should now feel more than prepared to begin your journey from the planning stage to the execution.

Now that you are familiar with the various types of bathroom remodels, budget considerations, design necessities, and typical steps involved during construction, it is time to move forward. Let Ranney Blair help foster your new-found knowledge and use our expertise so that you can achieve your dream bathroom. Just fill out our contact form today, and let us help you take on your next big project!