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Bathroom design

7 steps to plan your dream bathroom

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For all but seasoned professionals, the idea of renovating a bathroom can trigger nightmares. With thoughts of spiraling budgets and out-of-stock faucets, I chatted with Rona‘s handy how-to guy, Chuck LeCouter, to develop seven, stress-free tips to plan the bathroom of your dreams.

Fetch-a-sketch
To start, you need to draw your proposed bathroom on paper. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an architect—it doesn’t even need to be to scale. Still, basic bathroom blueprint will help you make decisions upfront. Changing your mind during construction can dramatically boost final costs.

Set a budget
And stick to it. It’s very easy to get caught up in the magic of modernization and forget that everything comes with a price tag. Unless you’re handy enough to tackle the work yourself, anticipate a starting price of about $8,000 to hire a contractor and purchase all the fixtures, fittings and finishes needed to get the job done. (If this is a bit rich for you, consider cheaper decor boosts such as new paint or towels.)

Go the mile for style
Play it smart and get your inspiration for the whole room from your most expensive purchase. Is it tiles, a tub or lighting fixtures? Choosing your splurge first means you won’t have headaches trying to match tiles to a paint swatch (when it should be the other way around!).

Understand your long-term needs
Plan for the future—is your family growing, or are you planning on selling your home in a few years? Typically you can expect to get close to a 70 per cent return on investment from a bathroom reno at resale.

Measure up

To misquote an old adage: Measure twice, then order once. No one wants the pain of trying to return a soaker tub that was ordered and arrived surprisingly too large. Get the specs from the manufacturer, then try taping out the measurements on the floor before you take the plunge.

Don’t jump the gun
Have all the major fixtures in your possession before scheduling a contractor. Some things may need to be special ordered with long lead times. So, check your calendar and make sure you’ll have everything on hand before your contractor is scheduled to start.

Take a vacation, of sorts
If this is your only bathroom, you won’t have access to the loo during the renovation. Check with the contractor to find out how long you’ll be without proper plumbing and make arrangements to stay with friends or family.