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How to Budget for Your Bathroom Remodel

We asked the pros to break it down. Plus: Three trending products and finishes for a killer bathroom makeover.

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We asked three design pros for their budget breakdowns for a bath remodel, assuming the space is about 100 square feet, and the homeowners aren’t planning to reconfigure the location of the plumbing. Here, we provide the averages of their answers to give you a ballpark understanding of where to spend your remodel dollars.

Savvy Spending

Six strategies to balance cost and cravings in your bathroom remodel.

Save: Choose a prefab, integrated vanity (try a piece from Kohler) that comes with a built-in cabinet, sink, faucet, and countertop rather than creating a custom, à-la-carte setup.
Splurge: The accessories above the vanity—say, two high-end light fixtures or a dazzling mirror—can bring instant luxury to a small space. “You can have a simple backdrop if you have the right ‘jewelry,’ which adds personality that can make the whole wall sing,” DesJardin says.

Save: If you can live with your bathroom’s existing layout instead of reconfiguring the location of your tub, toilet, and sink, your infrastructure and plumbing labor costs will decrease dramatically, Bride says.
Splurge: High-end and custom fixtures and finishes—dramatic faucets, dueling showerheads, a unique chandelier—can go a long way toward creating a polished look, even if your anchor items are big-box.

Save: Go with a built-in alcove tub versus a pricey freestanding soaker. “You have to know who you’re remodeling for,” Armijo says. “Are free-floating tubs trendy and gorgeous? Yes,” but they’re not always practical if you’re planning to bathe kids in the tub, or if you’ll have to add a separate shower.
Splurge: Put the money toward high-quality tiles—excellent sources include Decorative Materials, Materials Marketing, Clé Tile, Mission Stone & Tile, and Waterworks—to achieve the sleekness you sacrificed with the tub.

Material Worlds

Three products and finishes for a killer bathroom makeover.

1. Porcelain

Denser and harder than porous, high-maintenance marble, porcelain has a luxe, marble-like look, but is far less susceptible to stains and water damage. “I’m a huge fan of porcelain because of all the gorgeous textures and patterns—not necessarily just because it’s faux-marble,” says designer Beth Armijo, owner of Armijo Design Group. Tip: Look for large-format porcelain slabs—popular in Europe and now popping up at local distributors—that can serve as sleek shower walls without the grout and maintenance of traditional tile or the weight and expense of marble.

2. Brushed Gold and Bronze

Many homeowners are bypassing the expected brushed-nickel or chrome fixtures for gold—but not the brassy 1980s version you might be imagining. Think splashes of brushed or matte gold and bronze that create what AscentContracting principal Justin Bride calls the luxe “steampunk” look.

3. Geometric Tile

Tired of standard subway tile? Change up the pattern. “I’m seeing moons, hexagons, all kinds of tile shapes that have become more mainstream,” says Jennifer DesJardin, principal of design-build firm Motif Design Solutions. So go ahead: Play with shapes.

Design Pros
Beth Armijo, Armijo Design Group
Justin Bride, Ascent Contracting
Jennifer DesJardin, Motif Design Solutions

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