There's no doubt that planning a bathroom renovation is a stressful task. As if being without a bathroom for 4+ weeks wasn’t bad enough – but you’ve also got the overwhelming task of making lots of small decisions when planning your bathroom; be it the sort of taps you want, or which bathroom floor tiles to choose.
As such, knowing the key things to bear in mind – and the mistakes to avoid – before you go into a giant reno project can be incredibly helpful. Because while technical issues are obviously the concern of your contractors, there are a few design choices that your tradespeople probably won't warn you about – but that you could come to regret.
So which bathroom renovation mistakes do experts see time and time again? And how – and why – should you avoid doing the same in your new space?
The bathroom renovation mistakes to avoid
1. Not creating enough storage space
Bathrooms often need to be able to store a lot of ‘stuff’ – be it beauty products, cleaning supplies, or medications. In fact, aside from our kitchens, bathrooms usually require the most storage in the entire home.
But, Warren Kinloch, in-house bathroom expert at Bathroom Deal, explained that this is something people often overlook when planning a renovation. 'One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is not considering their storage needs. 'But a cluttered bathroom not only looks unappealing but also makes it difficult to find and organise essential items. I suggest incorporating smart bathroom storage solutions such as built-in cabinets, floating shelves, or vanity units with ample drawers.'
2. Using the wrong type of paint
This is one you’ll kick yourself for missing! Bathrooms are (obviously) full of condensation and moisture, and the paint on your walls needs to be able to withstand this. This means that you can’t just use the same pot you used for your living room, for example, to decorate.
'Bathrooms are prone to high humidity and moist air, which can cause regular paint to peel, blister, or develop mould and mildew,' Warren said. 'You need to use specialised bathroom paints. These paints have a mildew-resistant formula and provide a protective barrier against moisture.'
3. Overcrowding the room
It’s a mistake to try and fit too much into your bathroom during your renovation, experts explain. While you may want to use absolutely every corner of space, trying to add in too many appliances or cabinets will result in a bathroom that is the opposite of functional, in the long run.
Barrie Cutchie, Design Director at BC Designs, said, 'People will often try and fit large items into small spaces, like large freestanding baths. But a freestanding bath, for example, needs at least 100mm round each of the edges to help clean and maintain it, and people often don't consider this.'
'Instead,' Warren said, 'prioritise your absolute must-haves and opt for space-saving fixtures too, such as wall-mounted toilets or compact vanities, to create an open and comfortable atmosphere.'
4. Opting for all of the latest trends
Though it might be tempting to dive into all of your saved inspiration posts on Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok for your bathroom reno, you’ll largely want to avoid hoping onto transient trends that are quickly going to feel dated.
It's best to avoid implementing something in your bathroom that you don’t really love, just because it’s on trend right now – be it subway tiles or overly glam lighting.
Inside, opt for design choices, trends and bathroom colours which are truly timeless, and that you’ll likely love as much in 5-10 years as you do now. Not sure what classic trends might work? Take a look at our expert guide to the bathroom trends that are guaranteed not to date.
5. Not considering ventilation
This is a more of a practical one – but something that you’ll quickly regret if not done properly.
Barrie advises that it's a mistake to not consider ventilation when renovating. 'The bathroom is the most humid room in the house, so is a breeding ground for mould – but this isn't often thought about,' he said.
So what should you make sure you have, to ensure a properly ventilated room? 'Make sure you have good ducting,' Barrie said. 'Sometimes you may even have two bathroom ducts if the space is large; one near the shower and another near the toilet.' And of course, install as many windows as you can, to allow fresh air to flow in.
6. Placing the toilet in direct view of the door
Something you may not have considered is how important the placement of all of your essentials – such as your toilet, bath and sink – is. Barrie urged that there's one spot you really shouldn't place your toilet, if you can avoid it.
'One thing we always advise not to do but it still happens, is place the toilet in direct view of the door leading into the bathroom,' he said.
'This can often be the first thing people can see, and you can make a much better impression with a beautifully designed vanity unit that showcases the design of the room, and makes it much more than a purely functional space.'
Have you fallen foul of any of these mistakes?
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Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist and editor, now working in a freelance capacity specialising in homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, overseeing the homes, books and features sections of the website. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine.
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