5 Tips For Renovating The Perfect Bathroom


Words + Photos by: Shelley Gunton

I am currently in the late stages of renovating my forever home. A 30-year-old home by the sea with amazing bones that was in need of updating, particularly the bathrooms. Because of the size and condition both spaces were complete rip out and start again. Follows are a few of the tips I would give anyone thinking about a major bathroom renovation.


Do lots of research and spend lots of time planning!

Stand in the space. Measure everything twice. Mark things out in the room, use software or draw pictures. I draw simple to scale drawings to help me visualise what will work best. Price lots of products. If you are going to manage the renovation yourself, understand the order of things and what you should and shouldn’t do. Things like waterproofing are super easy, but doing it yourself can void your insurance should something goes wrong down the track. So be mindful of where and when you can save money. Then, once you have a solid plan of what you want to do…


Find great tradies

 When I first started renovating I always got at least two quotes for each trade. I didn’t go for the cheapest, I went for who I had the most confidence in and felt the most comfortable with. When you manage a renovation, you spend a lot of time with your trades in your home and on the phone. Good tradies also get booked out, so get in early and make sure they have availability for when you’ll need them. Once you have an idea of what everything will cost…


Work out your budget then set a contingency

 I always start with what I would like to spend on a space, then I allow a 10 to 20% contingency. Life is full of surprises and renovating is no different. The more demo you do the more you come across things you need to replace or fix. But now is the time! You can however keep costs down by keeping the plumbing in the same place. Much of the cost involved in moving plumbing is in your floor, particularly if you have a concrete slab. But don’t compromise if the existing layout doesn’t work for you. 


Prioritise functionality over aesthetic

 You don’t need to have the most expensive on trend products in your bathroom, much of it goes out of style quickly anyway. What you need is a room that is functional and will last for years to come. This all needs to be sorted at the start so that allowances can be made within the wall cavities for things like hidden toilet cisterns, niches, cavity sliders doors and reinforcement for wall hung vanities. Cavity slider doors are a great way to enter a bathroom particularly for a small space. Niches are a great way to store toiletries without taking up floor space. Tapware should be accessible so that you can start your shower without having to get wet. Luxuries like underfloor heating and heated towel rails are so much more affordable these days and can add value should you choose to sell your home. Always ensure your floor runs to your drains and put lots of thought into your heights. The tallest person in our house is 193cm or 6’4” so the height of our shower heads was very important.  


Be Thoughtful With your choices

If you are planning on using your bathroom for many years to come, particularly if you are going to be the one who has to clean it, think carefully about the products you choose. The grout is usually the first thing to age or discolour, so for me large form tiles with as little grout as possible in all the wet areas was a must (regardless of your tile choice always seal the grout to protect it for as long as possible). Make sure you have enough practical storage. Most of all stay true to what you love, that way you won’t tire of it quickly, but do think about its appeal for resale. I like simple, yet timeless. That way I can change the look with art, rugs or towels. My bathrooms aren’t perfect, but they are spaces in my home that I love and I hope to enjoy them for many years to come. 


To see more of Shelley`s design style and home inspiration follow her on Instagram.