We've decided to remodel the upstairs bathroom this weekend. I'm writing this on Tuesday, so we will have a few more days to hem and haw about the paint color, the vanity, the mirror and all the other decisions.
One thing we decided already is we don't want to have to mess with the existing tile or wainscoting. (Yes, it's in the bathroom!) Our primary objective is to get a vanity where you don't have to bend over and touch your toes just to use the sink. If you haven't discovered "adult height" vanities yet, run-don't-walk to your local building supply store and bask in the glory of them. They are almost as cool as "adult height" commodes.
There's a bunch of different projects you can tackle to not only increase your enjoyment of your home while you are there, but also increase the value. The bathroom "makeover" is one of them.
It is important that you are a little bit careful in the bathroom. Any time water and electricity are involved, caution is advised. As much as you may want to start swinging the sledge hammer around, it is best to use a scalpel instead of a sword.
It's also smart to take a quick step back and consider how the removal of one thing may impact the rest of the remodel job. In our case, we took the wainscoting into consideration and are skewing our project so as not to impact that.
"Often times a small project explodes into a full remodel due to the lack of preparation and forethought," notes Badger Realty agent Diane McGregor. "Taking into consideration the walls, floor, trim and baseboards before ripping out any fixed object can save you a ton of extra cost and repair," she continued.
Diane is right. We found that the existing vanity is set "behind" the tile floor in the bathroom and right up against the tile and wainscoting from the shower. Our goal now is to locate a vanity that will fit in that space. We do not want (or have the budget) to replace either of those parts of the room at this time.
Another fantastic project for the bathroom is lighting. There's nothing more frustrating than having to lean your whole body over to the mirror just to check on that new pimple. Older homes can always use new and updated lighting. Consider those lights that have multiple little bulbs in them (like you see in movie star's dressing rooms!) and sit atop the mirror. These can be put on a dimmer so you don't have to be blasted by light first thing in the morning, but can be cranked up to highlight every little blemish. (Oh joy!) Another great addition would be one of those magnification mirrors mounted next to the main mirror. This keeps the counter free from one more "thing" and allows you weirdoes to look into every individual pore on your cute little faces!
While we're on the topic of lighting, I also recommend installing a new ceiling vent-fan. You can certainly grab one that has a light included, but the main objective here is efficiency and noise. The newer (slightly more spendy) fan units are much better at extracting the hot, steamy air from the room and are far less noisy at the same time. These provide much-needed light for the room and, especially in New England, help keep the humidity out of the bathroom.
If you are tackling the vanity, chances are you are replacing the sink and fixtures as well. If you can't replace the vanity, a new sink and faucet is a great way to upgrade the room without breaking the bank (or the tile!). It would be smart to do a little measuring first to confirm the size of the hole the sink will go into. That said, don't be afraid to increase the size of that hole so you can slip in a larger sink. A jigsaw and some patience is all you need to expand that hole and afford you the space for a larger, more useful sink.
The fixtures, at that point, are just frosting on the cake. Of course, if you can't replace the sink, upgrading the fixtures will still have a big impact. I recommend making the commitment to getting matching fixtures for the sink and tub while you're at it. The tub ones can be a little trickier since you don't typically have access "behind the wall" but they can still be replaced. Simply do a little research (YouTube will be your friend!) and maybe even remove the existing ones first. This will give you a good idea about what new ones will fit and will be easier to swap out.
The bathroom is one of those rooms that buyers tend to focus on while doing the walk-through. The reason is we all use that room three to five times a day or more. As the owner of the home, you likely get annoyed every time you use your bathroom and that "one thing" just isn't right. (Are you standing on your head to brush your teeth?!)
Do a little planning and some research at your local building materials store. You'll be impressed at the variety of sinks, vanities and fixtures you have to choose from. Once you're done, you'll find yourself entering the "WC" with a smile on your face!