This is a guest post from Elena Meadowcroft.
For many homeowners, a new season means the start of those home improvement projects you've been putting off. But which project should you tackle first? According to US News & World Report, investing in a bathroom remodel yields a 62 percent return when it’s time to sell your home – but they caution you've got to do it right. If you’re not sure where to start, read on for the tips on how to focus your efforts.
The first step is to identify your primary reason for remodeling. If your main purpose is to get your home ready for resale, consider investing in upgrades that matter most to buyers, like double sinks or a custom shower in the master bath, or unique mirrors and lighting in a guest bathroom. When preparing for resale, also remember that size matters (bigger = better) and so do colors (think neutral).
If, on the other hand, the main reason you want to remodel is because you have absolutely had it with your tiny shower or outdated fixtures, you are going to want to address those items first and plan accordingly.
What's Your Budget?
Regardless of why you’re remodeling, knowing how much you can spend before you begin will allow you to plan for a successful (and realistic) upgrade. You may want the latest, greatest walk-in shower with multiple shower heads and a waterproof LCD television, but if you only have $5,000 to spend and need to replace a dated tub and fixtures, that may not be the best use of your money.
The good news is that even if you’re on a tight budget, there are things you can do to refresh your bathroom’s look. Never underestimate the value of a fresh coat of paint, a new faucet or decorative hardware when it comes to breathing new life into a tired bathroom.
How Do You Use Your Bathroom?
This may sound like a silly question, but the truth is different people use their bathrooms in different ways. Some use it exclusively for the shower and toilet, while others spend hours dressing, styling hair, applying makeup or relaxing in a soaking tub. If you are among the latter, you may want a separate sitting area and plenty of storage for your bath and makeup supplies.
For the best planning, you should walk through your bathroom routine and see how you can lay out the space for maximum efficiency. Keep frequently used objects close and at arm level to minimize walking and bending.
What's Your Style?
As with any design project, it helps to know the general style you like or that matches the rest of your home. Do you prefer a more formal or casual look? Do you lean toward traditional, contemporary or transitional style? You can even consider where you live to help drive décor. For instance, if you live near a beach or the mountains or in a historic district you may want to plan your design to complement the area.
Have You Done Your Research?
Once you know exactly what you want to update, what you can afford and how you want it to look, you can move on to the details. Be sure to carefully consider the materials you want to use in your updates and research the pros and cons of each. In addition to cost, be sure to evaluate factors like durability, ease of cleaning and intended use. For instance, marble can be beautiful and easy to clean, but can be dangerously slippery when wet.
Also, take the time to look at the different types of bathroom lighting available. In addition to the look of your fixtures, consider the actual light source. Remember that fluorescent bulbs cast a bluish light while incandescent are typically more yellowish. And, of course, LED lighting is the most environmentally-friendly, lasting longer and using less energy than other forms.
Finally, put some time into researching bathroom remodeling contractors that can help you out with your project. DIY might seem like a cheaper option, but if you don't have the skills or the tools to do it yourself, it makes sense to hire a professional. Read reviews, compare quotes and you will find what you are looking for.