Bathroom Design Process - Roll Up Your Sleeves

Step 2: Roll Up Your Sleeves

Start Your Plan

Once you’ve explored your imagination and our products portfolio, let’s start creating your space. In this part of the plan, you’ll scope the project to accommodate your needs, your wants, and your level of investment into your home.

How to Plan

When planning your bathroom project there are four main topics you should explore for success. Taking the time to plan properly will not only save you time and stress, but will also help you make the choices that truly fit your lifestyle.

How to Plan

Four Topics to Explore:

  1. Project Scope
  2. Product Selection
  3. Design Options
  4. Professional Services

Project Scope

Generally speaking, a kitchen remodel can be broken down into two main project types:

  • Remove and replace
  • Remodel

In a “remove and replace” project there are no major modifications to the basic bath layout. This type of project simply involves removing old items and installing new ones in their place. For the bath, this typically includes some combination of flooring, tub/shower fixtures, vanity, storage cabinetry, sinks, faucets and lighting. A “remodel” project, on the other hand, includes major reconfiguring of the bath design for improved functional layout, additional storage, updated electrical and plumbing needs and more. In short, major bathroom remodeling is recommended when your objectives cannot be realized within the existing four walls. Establishing the depth of your bath renovation needs will help you narrow choices as you move through the remaining project planning steps.

Product Selection

Once design style, functional requirements, scope and investment have been established, the task of product selection will be much easier. Knowing where to splurge and where to scale back to get the most return on your investment takes a bit of thought. In our experience, it is worth considering reaching out to a bath designer to help you make some choices. This is a unique process and it is something that the every-day person does not do every day and the KraftMaid family has been designing for decades.

The strongest visual statement in your new bath design will be made by your vanity and cabinet selection. It will also have the most impact on your wallet, as the largest portion of an average bath project is usually in the cost of cabinetry. Whether you select stock, ours or another brand, there are some important considerations in choosing your bathroom cabinets:

  • How many options and features are available for your dream space?
  • What is the warranty on the products?
  • Does the manufacturer stand behind their product?
  • What do you get for your investment?

Ultimately, the products you select should be of the best style and quality.

Design Options

Your bath design choices affect the look of your home. Good design is scalable. If the level of investment is a concern, there are a number of ways to personalize while scaling back features and cost.

For example, choosing a less costly cabinet door style can still embody the look you’re striving for with thoughtful placement of details such as glass doors, moldings, hardware, etc. Creative use of color and accent pieces to dress up the space will also make an impact on your final vision. .

If you are struggling with the design and/or planning of your bathroom remodel, consider hiring a design professional. They do these design projects every day and can help with the hard choices.

Professional Services

The final consideration in your planning is who will help you with your project. The service people you employ are the most critical in terms of project investment.

With so many suppliers and service people involved such as your designer, cabinet manufacturer, shipper, fixtures supplier, vanity top fabricator, contractor/installer, carpenter, plumber, electrician, etc., any number of errors can be made during the course of your bath renovation. Such errors can add stress, frustrating delays, or considerable dissatisfaction with the overall project.

Choosing skilled professionals to design, plan and implement your project can make all the difference in delivering a successful vision.

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Project Scope

Establishing specific parameters is an important step in the project plan. Here you’ll consider whether you’ll simply remove and replace existing fixtures and cabinetry or perform a complete bath remodel that may alter the existing bath footprint.

Project Scope

Bath renovation projects generally fall into one of two categories: remove and replace, or complete remodeling. Determining which type of renovation you will be undertaking is the first step in defining scope.

Remove and Replace

A remove and replace project can be defined as the change-out of existing bath cabinetry and fixtures without any major modifications to the basic layout. In other words, it entails the removal of old items and installation of new ones in their place. In a bath remodel, you might choose to replace some or all of the following elements:

  • Bathroom vanity and vanity top
  • Storage cabinetry
  • Sinks/faucets
  • Bath/shower/toilet fixtures
  • Flooring
  • Cosmetics (paint, new windows, etc.)

Some homeowners might want to tackle some of this work themselves, hiring specialty contractors for the more difficult tasks. Many suppliers also provide installation services for an additional fee. If you want more extensive help, bath designers, remodeling contractors and design/build firms can provide design, installation and project management services.

Major reconfiguring of the bath design is possible within the existing four walls of the space, enabling improved functional layout and creation of additional storage space. When making such extensive changes, the creativity and functional problem-solving of a professional bath designer is a worthwhile investment.

Complete Bath Remodel

In a full bath remodel, more drastic changes are implemented when your objectives cannot be realized within the existing four walls. Typically, the process begins with the “;gutting” of the entire existing bath by tearing out the walls, insulation, wiring and piping down to the frame. Why go so far? Older homes often have outdated plumbing, electrical and mechanical infrastructure that can’t run all the modern amenities. Extra insulation can help keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Gutting a room also provides the best opportunity to reconfigure plumbing access points and ventilation features.

Remodel work may also include expansion efforts to increase the square footage of your bath footprint by moving walls into adjacent spaces, removing walls to create one larger space, or by building a new addition to your home.

A project of this size requires skilled labor from several different trades, which means it also requires a project manager. If you’re not up for doing it yourself, a general contractor or design/build firm can do it for you. Some bath designers and architects also provide project management services.

Scope Definition

Once you’ve established the type of bath renovation you’ll be doing, you’ll be able to lay out the required tasks for execution in a preliminary project plan. This, paired with your budget calculations, will contribute to the final definition of project scope. You may find along the way that alterations may be required to accommodate unplanned obstacles and new ideas, but having a defined scope and project plan in place will allow you to quickly evaluate your priorities and make adjustments when the need arises.

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Plan for the Right Investment

Bath remodeling can range from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars, but when done right, it will bring benefits for years. Depending on the amount of remodeling to be done, expenses can generally be broken down to the cost of labor, mechanical updates and new fixtures. Calculate target allocations within your investment plan and use our handy personal planner to see how much we recommend for each area.

Plan for the Right Investment

Investing in Functionality

Installing a new bathroom vanity and storage cabinetry in the bath is not just a purchase, but an investment that will pay dividends every day for you and your family as you use and enjoy the space you’ve created. When making a significant purchase, it all comes down to determining what you need versus what you want. With this in mind, KraftMaid has created semi-custom cabinetry solutions that not only provide you with what you genuinely need for your home, but what you really want as well. Our extensive selection of wood species, door styles, finish techniques, storage solutions and decorative enhancements – all at varying price points – gives you the ability to mix and match the things you want with the things you need and have it all add up to the perfect room for your lifestyle at a price that works for you.

When evaluating home remodeling projects in terms of return on investment, bath renovations are just behind kitchens for investment value. When planning your project, keep in mind that a good portion of the cost of updating your bath can be recovered when the home is sold – it’s an investment in your home’s equity. Even in today’s economy, research* shows that returns of 60-70% of the bath investment are being realized at the point of project completion.

Creating a Budget

Most homeowners have an idea at the outset of how much they want to spend. However, deciding how to allocate those dollars can be confusing, especially with all of the options that are available. A recent national survey conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association offers a guideline for allocating your construction budget. They found that, on average, consumers working with a bath designer spent:

  • 20% on installation
  • 16% on cabinetry and hardware
  • 15% on fixtures
  • 14% on faucets and plumbing
  • 9% on flooring
  • 7% on countertops
  • 5% on lighting and ventilation
  • 4% on design fees
  • 4% on doors and windows
  • 3% on walls and ceilings
  • 1% on other expenses

When creating a budget, keep the following suggestions in mind:

  • Educate yourself on the average cost of a bath remodel. A rule of thumb is to not let your bath remodeling budget exceed 10% of your home’s fair market value.
  • Plan your budget for a 10% overage in case there are unexpected expenses that occur.
  • To avoid incorrect cabinetry measurements, talk with your designer about new fixtures you want to purchase before you finalize the design, since they will impact the overall measurement of the room.
  • Work with your designer to understand the cost differences between the various types of material, door styles and finish techniques. Determine the aspects of your bathroom cabinetry selection and bath design that are non-negotiable.
  • To scale back financially, ask yourself if all chosen features are necessary. However, bear in mind that what you might not miss now could be an essential feature months or years later. Avoid future disappointment by including as much functionality as possible early in the design process. This is especially true of bathroom storage solutions that need to be put in place when the cabinetry is being installed.

The Cost of Expertise

When calculating bath renovation expenses, consider not only the quality of the products you choose, but also the quality of the professionals who will play a part in your project execution. Choosing a skilled professional with a proven track record may cost a bit more up front, but can save you a lot of money in the long term by doing the work properly and within the established timeline and budget. Learn more about choosing the right professionals for your project in the Why Work with Professionals section.

Lessons Learned

At KraftMaid, we rely on our customers’ feedback to improve our products and to help other customers make smart decisions. When looking back at their financial decisions, here are a few of the things that rose to the top of our customers’ “buyer’s remorse” list.

  1. Some customers wish they had hired a professional installer to visit their home and measure the space. This small investment will help you save considerably in the future.
  2. Others wish they had evaluated their list of “wants”. While they selected the cabinets and enhancements that they needed in the room, they realize they should have budgeted for one or two “wants” to give the room that personal touch. This is an investment you may live with for years. You don’t want to look back and say, “I wish I would have…” KraftMaid cabinetry is an investment – not just in time and money, but in the future. You’ll be the one living and working in the space, so make sure that you find the right balance between controlling costs and getting the full functionality you expect from your room.

*Source: Remodeling Magazine, report online.