My spouse and I liked anything about the Magnolia duplex we had just procured, besides for one particular obtrusive exception.  At some place, anyone decided to place a big window in the shower.  

The window faced a nearby neighbor’s house and it was 5 feet from a sidewalk, offering strangers a immediate line of sight to any individual using the bathroom. The window also had a ledge that gathered shower water, and in excess of the many years, water had seeped into the surrounding wall. The full issue was so rotten, you could punch by means of it like you have been a superhero.  

As far as rest room design and style thoughts go, it was one of the most head-scratching conclusions ever created. In our scenario, it guide to rebuilding the wall. The window turned smaller translucent blocks that were flush to the wall so they shed h2o. And a new tile surround safeguarded the walls from further h2o intrusion.

When owners are taking into consideration a remodel, bogs are usually at the major of their checklist, because of to structural issues like mine, outdated design and style or very poor features. 

Bathrooms have a exceptional area in the residence. They are ordinarily a single of the smallest rooms in the residence, yet they are packed with amenities. They are where by you expend big amounts of time accomplishing incredibly individual things, so the space desires to be inviting, heat, useful and uniquely long lasting.

Just due to the fact a lavatory is smaller doesn’t signify the selections are simple or affordable. In reality, the options usually develop into more complicated because of to the place constraints. 

And considering the fact that loos are total of likely amenities, they boast one particular of the increased price-per-square-foot ratios in the residence.

If you are pondering about a toilet transform, listed here are some of the significant things to consider to guideline your conclusions and your finances.


“How a great deal will it value?” is commonly the 1st dilemma. But the solution is not so straightforward. The normal bath rework runs all over $12,000, but how a great deal you’re prepared to devote will figure out how big and wonderful your undertaking will be.  

Simple advancements, these kinds of as new paint and swapping out a several factors, could value as very little as $1,500–$5,000, although a full-scale renovation utilizing superior-conclude components will be additional like $25,000.  I’ve also noticed people expend as substantially as $100,000 on a solitary lavatory.

When planning your bathroom space, consider putting the toilet in its own room, as seen in this Ballard house, so it can be closed off when someone else is using the vanity. (Sara Kennedy / At Home in the Northwest)
When setting up your bathroom house, think about putting the toilet in its personal room, as noticed in this Ballard property, so it can be closed off when somebody else is employing the vainness. (Sara Kennedy / At Property in the Northwest)

Setting up your space 

Room in a rest room is commonly at a premium, so thorough preparing on the front conclude is crucial. When hunting at illustrations of bogs you like, it’s easy to get distracted by finishing details like paint shades or faucet kinds. But to get a effectively-designed lavatory, genuinely shell out interest to the major photo objects — factors like all round dimension, spacing and how you usually use it.  

The decisions you ultimately make need to match the design of your household, and it is essential not to overdo it. If your lavatory is amazing but the rest of the house is slipping apart, it will have been wasted revenue when it will come time to sell.

When sketching out your house, make observe of in which the plumbing is found. Shifting this can change into significant surgical treatment and push up charges, so go away drains and h2o sources in spot if you can. That explained, if the prior owner built a horrible structure conclusion (like placing the rest room in front of the door, for illustration) then it is value the expense to use a pro to modify the format.

For electrical, assume as a result of in which you want your outlets. Wherever will you cost your electric powered toothbrush or plug in your hair dryer? If you share a house with an individual, will you will need to use the stores at the same time?

If you’re more mature or creating your forever household, feel about how the room will function as you age. This might lead you to make it possible for additional room for a wheelchair or to install a no-threshold shower.

Nobody likes to brush their enamel though one more individual is utilizing the bathroom. So, if probable, put the toilet in its possess home with a doorway and enthusiast. It can be a relationship saver.  

When the author was building this shower stall at his home near Leavenworth, he coated the walls with RedGard to waterproof the backer board before tiling. He used small tiles on the shower pan, which are easier to slope toward the drain, and he added an alcove to hold soap and shampoo. (Courtesy of Jeff Layton)
When the creator was making this shower stall at his house around Leavenworth, he coated the partitions with RedGard to water resistant the backer board just before tiling. He used smaller tiles on the shower pan, which are simpler to slope toward the drain, and he extra an alcove to maintain cleaning soap and shampoo. (Courtesy of Jeff Layton)


By their nature, loos are subjected to big amounts of humidity. This is terrible for wooden flooring or trim, which will warp and discolor if exposed to massive amounts of water. Drywall, way too, will soak up water if it is overexposed.  

That is the motive that tile (in the type of porcelain, ceramic or stone) is so popular in loos. Tile is one of the few building factors at the intersection of attractiveness, longevity and charge-effectiveness.

Even though the substance itself can be extremely cost-effective, the tile installation will typically be a big line merchandise. If you want to choose on the tiling work by yourself, you can conserve a bundle. Be warned that it is soiled, uncomfortable and necessitates great focus to depth. Of all the construction projects I do, tiling is just one of my the very least preferred. But it can also be satisfying to see an full floor protected in a solitary day.

When I developed my new residence a short while ago outdoors of Leavenworth, I mounted 4 bathrooms and laid down tile flooring and shower surrounds in all of them — mainly mainly because I didn’t want to fear about long run drinking water challenges.

But even with tile, you have to make superior selections to have peace of head.

During my establish, I was surprised to study that some grout is porous, so h2o will inevitably seep by means of. Working with an epoxy-based grout instead of sanded grout will hold out water, though it is tougher to put in and far more costly.

You can also incorporate a water-proof coating like RedGard to your backer board ahead of the tile is mounted. It’s a quick and easy step that will cease moisture if it passes by means of your grout. This is in particular important when tiling a shower pan.

For rest room flooring, make positive your tile is slip-resistant. Textured tile will assistance this, as will making use of more compact tile with a lot more grout strains to increase traction. Compact tile is less complicated to slope than significant tile, which is necessary in shower pans.

While colour is very personal, in my knowledge white grout looks pristine for about a 7 days and is then maddening to clear for the relaxation of your life. So pick a darker grout if achievable.  

And the tile you pick out should really be timeless. Replacing a fashionable faucet or mirror is quick, but replacing tile is a main task. So pick some thing that will age effectively.

The author’s wife, Amanda Gatlin, installs heated flooring, a fairly easy upgrade. (Courtesy of Jeff Layton)
The author’s wife, Amanda Gatlin, installs heated flooring, a relatively effortless up grade. (Courtesy of Jeff Layton)

Heated flooring 

A significant downside to tile flooring is that it can feel cold on the toes. If you’re already preparing a new tile ground, adding warmth is a quite straightforward update. This might seem challenging and pricey, but my spouse and I set a heated ground in our master bathtub as a Diy venture for beneath $300 in elements, and it was 1 of the most effective choices we produced in our complete dwelling.  

Heated floors use connected mats or heated cable beneath a layer of mortar. An electrician will have to have to hook up the flooring to a controller which can be programed to operate when you decide on.

Just make guaranteed you deal with the whole floor. If you skimp, you will have not comfortable cold zones.  

Soaker tubs 

For some, acquiring a jumbo bathtub is the peak of luxurious. These arrive in the sort of freestanding, claw-foot-type tubs or embedded soaker tubs. 

But there are 3 items to think about when opting for a massive tub. Very first, they are incredibly significant and large, so figure out if you can even get one particular into your place.  

Next, know by yourself and no matter whether you’re certainly a tub particular person. Some individuals in no way get baths, earning a substantial tub a squander of money and area.  

An oft-overlooked third thing to consider is the water heater. A jumbo tub might will need a larger h2o heater, or you will run out of incredibly hot water right before it is stuffed.

Alternatives for little spaces 

There are a vary of merchandise that can make a toilet truly feel more substantial. A pedestal sink, as opposed to a cupboard, purchases you extra visible place. A large mirror and glass shower doorways trick you into feeling like the space is larger.  

Invest in excellent lights to make the place truly feel vibrant. Pair that with lighter shades to make the room come to feel larger sized.

If you have the space and budget, adding a small sauna or steam room can make your bath feel like a spa. (Getty Images)
If you have the area and spending plan, introducing a compact sauna or steam space can make your bathtub come to feel like a spa. (Getty Illustrations or photos)

Updates for larger budgets 

If dollars is no object, there are some actually fun upgrades to take into account. Showers can have various heads installed. Double sinks will conclusion a frequent source of annoyance. Low-threshold showers are a amazing, present day touch. Non-public steam or sauna rooms can make your rest room sense like a spa. And you can shell out 1000’s on a fancy Japanese rest room.

Storage, like this Latitude Run Bjorn Recessed Cabinet, can be embedded between the wall studs to save space. (Courtesy of Wayfair)
Storage, like this Latitude Run Bjorn Recessed Cupboard, can be embedded involving the wall studs to conserve space. (Courtesy of Wayfair)


While not one of the sexiest objects on the record, abundant storage will declutter the area and make the area do the job far more competently. Broaden the notion of the recessed medicine cabinet to other elements of the lavatory, with storage embedded in between the wall studs in other places in the room.

If you are presently tiling a shower, add a developed-in alcove to retail outlet your shampoo and other toiletries.


Excellent air flow is a different forgettable product which is extremely critical. Devoid of it, humidity will not go away the space, and that leads to rot and mould.  

Some more mature bogs depend on a window for ventilation — all those rooms will nearly constantly have humidity troubles, so it’s undoubtedly worthy of it to install an electric powered enthusiast.  

Bathroom followers are rated by their electrical power and sound. Never just get the minimal electric power required for your room — this is a place wherever much more is greater. When in doubt, decide for a much more strong design than you need to have. You can also put in additional than 1 lover. 

Writer and common contractor Jeff Layton has been a builder and landlord in Seattle for far more than 15 years. He not long ago installed 4 new bathrooms in his “forever home” near Leavenworth.