Refresh Renovations has completed hundreds of bathroom renovations around the world, and although bathroom trends change year to year and country to country, we've found that some principles are universal and stand the test of time. We've compiled all of the knowledge we've gained over the years to create this ultimate resource to bathroom renovations. In this guide we will cover every aspect of renovating your bathroom, from maximising space, to choosing your materials to the estimated costs.
Thinking about the reasons why you want to renovate your bathroom will guide the design of your new bathroom. Take into account what you like about your bathroom and what you want to change, and work from there.
Bathroom renovations can take between 3 - 8 weeks to complete the build stage, and it's not uncommon for homeowners to spend a month or two collecting ideas, deciding on a design and picking out materials and fixtures. Your Refresh Renovation Specialist will be able to work to a timeline and budget that suits the individual homeowner.
For a general project breakdown by stage, see the Refresh Renovations Process
If cost is a big concern, follow the steps below to save BIG on your bathroom renovation
1. Changing the layout of your bathroom will usually be the biggest cost as it will involve more complex plumbing work - If you can keep your layout as is, you'll make big savings.
2. Luxury fittings can also eat up a lot of your budget. To save money, stick to the basic range, and choose 1 expensive "statement" fitting to bring an air of class.
3. Make sure to add timers to underfloor heating and towel rails to lower your power bills.
4. Choose a contractor with proven experience. It's a well-known fact that builders will give very low quotes to undercut their competition and win the contract. This approach will usually lead to those builders cutting corners to ensure they can make a profit from the job, meaning the homeowner ends ups with a sub-par renovation. Choosing a transparent company like Refresh Renovations, who creates a plan and custom budget breakdown up front will give you peace of mind that you know what you're paying for and what to expect. Refresh also focuses on professional project management, so wasted time will be kept to an absolute minimum - which results in even more savings.
In most cases, you will not be able to reposition your fixtures such as the toilet, vanity, shower or bath. You will however be able to replace your existing fixtures with new ones and still have the ability to create drastic difference with accessories, paint and tiling.
Nine times out of ten, you’ll want to move fixtures around in your bathroom to create a space that really flows and works for you. This will involve more plumbing and electrical work, but is worth the extra expense. To give you a general idea, for a bathroom renovation that includes a mid-range new bath, shower, vanity and toilet along with lights, extractor fan, heated towel rail, underfloor heating, paint and tile floor plus tiles that run 1.2 metres up all walls – you should probably spend between $26,000 and $28,000. A full bathroom makeover that is tiled to the ceiling with complete fit out and tiled shower would be from $35,000.
If you have a sizeable budget, consider creating a luxurious spa feel with a range of high end fittings of your choice. A claw foot freestanding bath can really create a statement and become the focus of the space. Add a futuristic feel with smart-home technology that will allow you to control various aspects of your bathroom experience, like the temperature, light settings, entertainment system and create custom settings. Underfloor Heating and stone tiles are also a very popular addition for high-end bathroom renovations.
How much money have you set aside for your bathroom renovation? This will largely impact the scope of work and the result that you can expect. To find out how to finance your renovation, check out How to finance a home renovation in New Zealand
In New Zealand, there are basically 2 scenarios that will require you to apply for council approval.
Is the bathroom changing structurally? For example, removing an adjoining wall between an existing separate toilet and adjoining bathroom.
A question you should ask, is the adjoining wall structure possibly supporting part of the roof. Take a look in the roof space if you own a villa, bungalow or your house was built prior to the 70s.
Secondly, changes to plumbing. A consent isn’t required if you are not increasing the number of sanitary fittings. You can reposition a vanity, bath, shower or toilet within an existing bathroom space; move a toilet from a separate compartment to an adjoining bathroom; or remove a bath with a shower over and replace with proprietary shower unit; all without needing consent. However, putting in a tiled wet area shower will require consent.
In most cases, you won’t need council consent to renovate your bathroom
Find more details about council approval for bathrooms in our article “Do you need council consent for a bathroom renovation?"
Do you have the knowledge and experience to do the work yourself? DIY renovations sound appealing because of the potential cost savings, but in reality, there’s no guarantee that you will achieve your desired result, as well as that, we often see projects that cost much more than they should have when homeowners have to call the pros to fix a botched DIY job.
So we can’t recommend this option unless you’re a confident plumber, tiler and interior designer.
If you’re looking for peace of mind, it’s always best to hire a renovation specialist company that can take care of the whole project in a professional manner. This will save you time and money because you won’t have to manage the project yourself, and you will likely get appliances and fittings at a price that is cheaper than retail. The only thing you will have to do is tell the project manager what you want your bathroom to look like, and pick out of the fixtures, tiles, paint, and appliances that they will recommend.
There is an unlimited number of options when it comes to styling your bathroom. We believe that good design starts with proper function, so always consider the practical implications first before making any bathroom design decisions. If you’re looking for design inspiration, you can check out the following resources
Renovate Handbook: Get your free copy here
Our Bathroom Projects: Refresh Bathroom Projects
Pinterest: Refresh Renovations Pinterest
Our other articles: Top 5 Bathroom Styles
Are you looking for ideas to incorporate into your dream ensuite design? Take a look at the projects below for inspiration:
A luxury open-plan ensuite and bedroom
A small but luxurious ensuite
A retro bathroom and ensuite renovation
A stylish bathroom and laundry renovation in Dingley Village
Master bedroom and ensuite renovation
Don’t make the mistake of adding all the fittings under the sun just because they fit into the floor plans. Separate dry and wet areas like in front of the shower, and beside the bath. No one likes brushing their teeth and getting their feet wet. Remember that if you are renovating, it’s likely that you will have some restrictions on the positioning of your fittings due to your plumbing setup. Each home is different, so speak with a professional if you aren’t sure.
In order to avoid a badly designed bathroom, you need to think about what you must have - most bathrooms must have a toilet, a vanity with a sink and a shower. From there you can analyse the available space and add other elements that you want, such as a freestanding bath, more storage, and heated towel rails
If you’ve chosen to work with a specialist renovation company like Refresh Renovations, your Renovation Consultant will guide you through choosing the right fittings (according to your style and budget) from our archive of premium suppliers at reduced rates. You can of course choose your own preferred suppliers if you wish.
Do you want a wall-mounted or floor-mounted toilet? DO you want the cistern to be built into the wall or mounted on to the wall? These aspects will affect how much space the toilet area will take and the cost of your renovation.
You have a few options here. If you only have space for one, of the two, choose the shower or opt for a shower bath. If you have the space, consider adding a luxurious touch with a double shower or a freestanding or spa bath.
Come in many shapes sizes and textures and are largely down to personal preference. Here are a couple of tips for choosing the right types
- Avoid using many colours or styles in one bathroom.
- Avoid floor tiles that will get too slippery
- Choose a colour theme and try to stick with it throughout the home.
- If you don’t want your bathroom tiles to be plain, choose a standout tile and use it to accent features of your bathroom.
- Large tiles generally look better in a large bathroom and vice versa.
- It’s not all about the look, choose tiles that will feel good to touch and on bare feet.
Before we get to experiment with artistic lighting sources, cover off the basics. The sink and vanity area must be well lit. An LED strip or Lightbar directly above the mirror is a good option. For more classical options, try a wall sconce or a pair of small pendants If you’re looking for relaxation, dimmable spotlights can help to establish a calming ambiance.
If you’re opting for chic and minimalist design, there also needs to be a nod to practicality, not least in the area of storage. Nothing ruins the effect than a visible collection of makeup, toiletries and other bathroom essentials, so we’d recommend thinking the size and position of cupboards and drawers. When it comes to creating an indulgent bathroom, the less clutter the better, so don’t overlook the option of wall mounting cabinets and using the available corners of the room for a sink and vanity unit.
Consider adding voice-controlled lighting, a shower head with built-in Bluetooth speaker or a digital shower with LED temperature gauge. Mirror cabinets can also go hi-tech with touchless control panels to operate the LED lighting, dimming function and mirror heating.
See below for list of common blunders in bathroom renovations. Remember that If you have decided to go with a Renovation Specialist from Refresh, you won't need to worry about making these mistakes.
1. Not leaving enough room to get by when the door is open or someone is standing at the sink
2. Bath too big for the space, leaving insufficient floorspace to step out
3. Storage cabinets too low or too high - measure before deciding on a height.
4. Not enough space between fixtures you need space to move around, take off clothes, and dry yourself.
5. Badly positioned wet areas - floor is always wet.
6. Small bathroom lined with large tiles
If you would like to get in contact with a Refresh Bathroom specialist for a free consultation, Contact us today!
All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh Renovations consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.