Stunning master bathroom boasts dark brown double sink vanity topped with white marble framing his and her sinks paired with mosaic backsplash under dark brown framed mirror. Northwest USA


Bathroom renovations are the best – so much to do, in such a little space! But they can be a torture test when it comes to your project management skills, design prowess, and personal resolve.  The process involves so many specialist trades, all working in a small space and needing to meet some very specific requirements – like waterproofing, electrical regulations, and laying intricate tile patterns.  Everything needs to happen in a very particular order, and if you don’t get that right you’ll lose time, money, and possibly the bathroom of your dreams. Here are the five key things to think about.


We all have bucketloads of inspiration these days, thanks to Instagram and Pinterest, but how can we narrow down those liked and pinned pics into a bathroom to be proud of? The key is not to overdo it. There’s no need to tick off every trend in the book – instead, think about why you’re building or renovating your bathroom. Is it for resale, or for you? If it’s the former, it’s probably best to stay safe for the sake of a sale, but if it’s a labor of love, go nuts! Explore color, materials, texture, pattern, space, and light, but limit yourself to one or two elements that really float your boat and go from there.

Base your design around a few hero elements and stick to an aesthetic. Whether it’s minimalist, coastal, Art Deco, or Hamptons style, commit to that brief. Try not to fill your space with too much ‘wow’, as a small bathroom can feel cramped with a busy palette. If you love the look of feature tiles on the floor or wall, choose subtle tiles for the rest of the room. If you just love a fancy pendant light, pare back on the features that surround that area. Give your heroes the space they need to shine.


To save the need for a sledgehammer down the track, you’ll need to consider every millimeter of your bathroom before a finger is even slightly lifted.

If it’s all too much, you may want to consider the services of an architect or a draftsperson (you might be surprised by how inexpensive they can be).

They’ll know the regulations that must be adhered to and the general ‘must-dos and -don’ts’ of space planning. Detailed plans will also make life easier down the track when the trades are ready to build and install. If you do want to shoot from the hip, make sure you think about traffic through the space and mark your plans out on the floor if you can. As a rough rule, you’ll need around 900mm width for a toilet, at least the same for the width of a shower, and generally 850mm for the height of your vanity.

It’s a good idea to consider your entrance, as a door that swings inward will chew up about one square meter of floor space, which is a huge slice of the average five-square-meter bathroom.

It’s a good idea to have all your tiles, taps, bath, and anything else that’s going into the bathroom delivered and ready to go before the build begins. This will not only save you money but also reduce the time it takes to complete the job, as the trades can see exactly what needs to be installed.


A clutter-free bathroom is what dreams are made of, and with the Marie Kondo approach being all the rage these days; it’s a good idea to ensure your bathroom is free of mess for those unexpected guests.

Under-bench storage and a recessed shaving cabinet will keep most of your stuff at bay and, if extra storage is needed, there are plenty of options out there for stand-alone bathroom storage.

Double towel rails are almost a given these days and towel hooks are great for functionality and keeping the wet towels off the floor.


A crack team will be worth its weight in gold for any bathroom build and more often than not, you get what you pay for.

Steer clear of cheap trades that offer you the world, as a bathroom with a leak is just money down the drain. It’s best to use a reputable builder (check the Master Builders Association website) and rely on them to manage their own trades.

However, if you want to save a penny and manage the build yourself, do your homework on whom you hire. Check all relevant licenses and rely on word of mouth.

One of the most important things to get right is waterproofing, so be sure to get a compliance certificate and monitor the job with hawk-like eyes. If you can, help the trades whenever possible, but try not to get in their way.

A clean job site is an efficient one, so enable your trades to do the best job that they can.