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5 Top Tips for a Bathroom Renovation

sun shining in a farmhouse bathroom

It has been 7 years since we first bought this ol’house! In the first three years we did  SO MUCH WORK on it. Once the bulk of that was done, we have tinkered away at the rest! We still have a few areas left to update, but this year we took on the final bathroom renovation; our upstairs bathroom! Take a look below at the crazy before and after’s of this space! I’ve documented the entire process and made a list of what I used and recommend when taking on a bathroom renovation. Enjoy!

B Vintage Stylewhite shiplap barthroom with french antiques

When we bought the house, sooo much of it needed work that we truly just ran out of time and out of money when we finally got to this bathroom! The bathroom was supposed to be used for our kids and I decided to simply work with what was there rather than ripping it out at that point! The kids were really into the Lorax movie at the time, so I decorated it with that in mind. They loved it and it made sense to leave it until we got other areas of the house done first.  This year though, we finally took it on and I am SO happy with how it turned out! 

The Bathroom Before

before the bathroom renovationbefore the bathroom renovation Lorax bathroombad bathroom renovation vanity

I wanted this room to really feel like it had been there for the full 116 years that the house had been here, but also be useable and functional in today’s world. I stayed as true as I could to elements I felt where classic and then updated feature like the beautiful Carrera marble shower! As the demo went on, we found the original hardwood floors below, I didn’t think we would as the other bathroom we renovated, they had been torn out. This changed a lot of the bathroom renovation plans because we decide to keep the floors and paint them, instead of going with the marble floor we had originally planned for. If you want to see what I did to paint the floors, take a look here.

The floors also changed the plan for the bathroom shower as we were going to have an open European type shower, but now required a closed in shower with a base so that we wouldn’t ruin the hardwood. There are some perks to being an interior designer when you are taking on a bathroom renovation as I knew what steps to take to insure it went smoothly. I have wrote them out for you below so take a look and insure your project goes as smooth as mine did!

sliding antique barn door in a farmhouse bathroom

 Bathroom Layout and Floor Plan 

Taking advantage of every inch of square footage, no matter the size.

Bathroom storage cabinet made out of an old cabinet

A smart and efficient layout in a bathroom is the most important starting point when planning the space. Even in a large bathroom, every inch of the room and positioning of your fixtures should be well thought out. A few questions to ask yourself are:

  • What is the visual point when first enter the room?
  • Where is the window situated? You don’t want to be worrying about neighbours seeing you use the toilet or coming out of the shower!
  • Is the towel hook or cabinet in close proximity to where you exit the shower or bath?
  • Have you added enough storage space?
  • Does the door to the shower swing out into a major traffic area? If it gets left open after a shower, you don’t want to be worrying about it getting hit, banged or just getting in the way.
  • Where will the light switches need to go and what fixtures do you want in the space?
  • Is the placed toilet in the most non noticeable area?!

Shop my Bathroom

Bathroom storage cabinet made out of an old cabinet

The layout of this bathroom was drastically changed. I didn’t want to have the bath over by the window for two reasons. I didn’t want to worry about the water damage on the window trim or that I would have people seeing us. The only way to move the shower to the other side of the room was to add a sliding barn door into the hallway instead of a door that swung inward into the room.  I got my door from my fav shop Uniquties and it is a 200 year old welsh school house door! This allowed us to move the plumbing on to the inside wall and have a great layout for the new shower! Moving the shower also gave us a great view of the sink and window when entering the room. 

Secure your Trades for the Bathroom Renovation

Make sure you lock in your tradesmen early and have them commit to dates!

open concept shower in a bathroom

You may need to hire a carpenter, electrician, plumber, tile installer and glass cutter etc. A couple tips are to make sure you secure them EARLY… sometimes the good ones are booked for months in advance! Make sure you have each of them come over to give a consult BEFORE the renovation begins! This is so important to make sure you floor plan and layout doesn’t have any flaws or problems you aren’t aware of.  They will also be able to give you a better idea of what can and can’t be done in the space ie. Leaving enough space between the shower glass and the ceiling for ventilation or finding a place for the fan that allows it to vent properly.

Bathroom chandelier in a Renovation

Another tip is to make sure you are always available for any questions your trades may have. Tell them to not assume anything and if they aren’t 100% sure what you want, to ASK! This will help with a lot of the communication issues that can arise… better yet, write everything down for them! Draw pictures if you have to, just so that you are on the same page! Also remember it is your responsibility to have ALL the items ordered and on site prior to the start of the renovation. This included tile, lighting, flooring, faucets etc. 

If you have the financial means, get an Interior Designer as they will be able to help with this! They may even end up saving you money in the long run!! We offer these services through Vintage Society Co. both online or in the central Alberta area!

Lighting & Electrical Design 

​Light fixtures can really add personality and mood to bathroom!

Make sure to put some serious thought into the lighting when you are planning the space. Although an elegant finish on faucets can definitely make a bathroom look elegant, you’ll never make a bad choice once you consider installing sufficient and luxurious bathroom lighting. Well-designed vanity lighting is also capable of eliminating the shadows on faces.

Bathroom french antique chandelier

A combination of a central fixture, recessed LED lights and wall sconces beside or over the mirror are a great option., because whenever it’s too bright, you can always install and use dimmer switches or have a few lights on separate switches. 

Envision yourself in the space and what area’s you would want to have brighter LED light or if you want to have a spa type feel when bathing you may want the option of Edison bulbs on dimmers as they create both a soft, ambient glow, as well as useful light. 

I love to have a brighter recessed LED light above the shower, but still have the option to have soft lighting everywhere else. The double vanity lights beside the mirrors and central fixture were all put onto one switch with a dimmer and the shower light was left on it’s own switch, I added a dimmer to it as well though! I love being able to adjust the lighting depending on the time of day and the mood I am in. 

Don’t forget a fan for the bath as well! You want to position this as close to the shower/bath as possible and get one with a timer!  

 Mixing Metals 

Mix and matching your fixtures can be a beautiful design element and be cost effective in a bathroom renovation.

When planning for this space, there is no need to always keep things matchy matchy! Sometimes it is a good idea to mix things up and sometimes it can save you money too! 

Bathroom polished chrome shower faucet

I chose to keep my bathroom fixtures a polished chrome and my lighting all an antique brass finish. A lot of the elements I purchased were actual French antiques, so I wanted to stay true to the look and feel of those elements. Disclaimer * The shower faucet I chose was NOT for a shower and I had to get my contractor to do some handy work to make it work!

Shop my Fixtures and Lighting.

Wanting  to add sconce lighting to your bathroom. Check out this wonderful post from our friend Shauna, Satori Design For Living

Simple is Effective in a Bathroom Renovation

Don’t go overboard on what you need in a bathroom!

Bathroom wall mounted sink iin a Renovation-06

Finding the right bathroom vanity can sometimes be tricky! This element, along with the lighting, are the two areas where you can really add some personality to the space. I don’t have commercial made vanities in any of my bathrooms. Finding a piece of furniture that can be made into a vanity is also usually VERY cost effective and an area that can save you a ton of money! A wall mounted sink or custom vanity add character to a room! As long as you have ample storage then these are a great option.

I added a wall mounted, vintage inspired, cast sink to this room!  I love it SO much because of the size of the basin! It is almost like having a kitchen sink in the room. I also found an old vintage cabinet for $100 that I had the carpenters cut out to hide the cast iron stack in the room! Now it looks like it has been there for years and I can store SO much in it which is a win win! 

linen for a bathroom

I am SO in love with how this beautiful bathroom has turned! It is such a functional and beautiful space now and I am happy with how this bathroom renovation went. I hope these tips will help you with any of the fixer uppers or renovations you take on. There is nothing better than creating a space you love! Let me know your thoughts or any tips you may have in the comments below.

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One Comment

  1. Nice post. Explained very nicely. I was also looking for a bathroom renovation. I will consider your advice.