Are you looking for a contractor?

Submit our quick form and get quotes now!

Table of Contents


9 min read

10 Mistakes To Avoid When Renovating a Bathroom


9 min read

10 Mistakes To Avoid When Renovating a Bathroom

Bathroom10 Mistakes To Avoid When Renovating a Bathroom

The bathroom may be the smallest room in the home, but it is far from insignificant. Being that we spend a great deal of time getting ready for our day, our evenings and our bedtime, it is crucial that the bathroom be a functional while, at the same time, comfortable.

Renovating a bathroom should be simple, but there are common mistakes that homeowners make, often leading to a decrease in their home's resale value as well as creating future problems.

Here are 10 mistakes that you should try to avoid when renovating a bathroom

1- Forgetting to establish a budget for your bathroom renovation project

Source : Canva

Even though the bathroom is a small space, it can turn out to be one of the costliest rooms to renovate. There are typical renovation costs when dealing with the bathroom that are often not accounted for, and further costs could arise as you begin renovating. Skip spending large amounts on fancy tiling, and make sure the groundwork and the "unseens" are allocated a significant budget.

If you are considering hiring a professional to do the renovation job, make sure to hire a tradesperson who works in bathrooms specifically. A contractor who knows bathrooms will understand the challenges and surprises that could arise, solving issues quickly and with efficiency. It is important that all bathroom components have been installed properly to bypass long-term problems. 

To learn more about how much money you should plan to spend on a bathroom renovation project, check out this article on our blog: 

  • How much does a bathroom renovation project cost

2- Poor bathroom ventilation

There is no way around it: when your bathroom has poor ventilation, mould will build up. Having a window in your bathroom offers excellent ventilation as well as a source of natural light. If possible, the window should be accompanied by an exhaust or ceiling fan to keep air flowing. 

One or the other is necessary, but having both can help you to avoid humidity building up on surfaces. If humidity builds up, the paint will deteriorate, metal fixtures will rust and mildew will form, leading to long-term issues as well as health risks.

Alongside proper ventilation, you should paint bathroom walls with an oil-based or mould resistant bathroom paint. Paint specifically designed for bathrooms tackles common issues such as longevity of paint colours, as well as improving the resale value of the home. Furthermore, if your bathroom has a fan, it is necessary to keep it clean. Vacuuming the fan on a regular basis will help to keep the air and bathroom hygienic and fresh. 

Consider the installation of a fan with a timer. That way, you could determine how much time your fan is gonna be on, which made that option more energy efficient. 

3- A lack of storage 

Source : Canva

Ample counter and storage space is necessary, as the bathroom is a multifunctional room which requires lots of varying appliances, products and materials to operate correctly, and for you to operate comfortably.  Make sure storage is well thought out and carefully located: add cabinets, put in extra shelving, install plenty of hardware for hanging towels and bathrobes. 

Do not leave open space between the counter and the wall or toilet, and try not to crowd the room with overly large storage units. Since the bathroom is generally the smallest space in a house, it is important that its storage and design are efficient.

Try to be creative with your storage. Incorporate some wooden crates under the sink or in some unexploited corners of the bathroom. Not only will you save some space, but you will also give a touch of style to your bathroom. 

4- Poor Lighting in the Bathroom

If you're a woman who's waking up every morning and putting on her face, or you're a man who needs a good clean shave before heading to work, then you know a thing or two about the necessity of good lighting. 

As these daily duties are generally performed in the bathroom, we know the space requires excellent task lighting that is both well designed and well placed.

Lighting is often overlooked in the grand scheme of bathroom renovations, and this could lead to the frustrating realization that you may need to re-renovate. Install a significant amount of light around the sink and mirror, making sure they aren't too soft or harsh. 

Not only is great lighting essential for putting your best face forward every day, but poor lighting conditions in a bathroom can be dangerous. Putting up bathroom rated lights can help to avoid all problems, including falls around the bath or shower.

But what style of light should you choose? Before answering that question, let's start by saying that you will need two types of lighting in your bathroom: a general and a task lighting. For the first one, it is recommended to opt for a ceiling light or for a reflector. Note that the last one is really practical in a bathroom because it allows light to be directed towards a specific location such as the shower, the mirror or the bath. 

For task lighting, the use of spots is a great option. Whether you choose recess spots or rail-mounted spots, they will both give you an appropriate light for tasks necessitating a more intense one. 

For those who prefer lights with a more architectural style because of their capacity to create a link with the room decoration, it is possible to choose some wall brackets. Because these are salient, it's clear that they are not always ideal options for small spaces. For that reason, it is essential to take that aspect into consideration when it's time to make a choice. 

5- Employing porous materials

Source : Canva

As we are all aware, the bathroom is a wet and messy space. It is impossible to predict when a splash of water will end up on your floors or walls. Therefore, it is necessary that all bathroom materials are impervious to moisture. When choosing tiles, paint, and finishing, making certain to pick materials that are specifically designed to be used in a bathroom.

If you've found your dream paint but it's not oil-based, it would be better to forget it and choose something practical. Using a paint that isn't oil-based will lead to peeling as well as mould and mildew buildup. 

If you have ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile installed, the grout lines must be sealed, therefore, do not cut corners on sealants. Choosing bathroom-specific materials will aid in the longevity of the renovation, and help to avoid having to do it all over again in two years' time. 

Although we were plenty to despise melamine in the past, it's still worth mentioning that this material has come a long way since the time it was considered as a low-end product. Given that this material is water-resistant, this option absolutely needs to be considered. 

6- The bathroom's layout

Do not put beauty before function! Although it's easy to only consider the way a bathroom will look, the spacing of this room is paramount to functionality as well as making those using the restroom feel comfortable. 

A bathroom may seem to only have a few components: cabinet, toilet, tub, show. But in fact, the bathroom has so many small components that need to be correctly integrated into a tiny space. If the bathroom is designed correctly, it should function better, cost less to build and perform efficiently.

Avoid putting the toilet beside the door, as this feels very awkward. Try to plan for the toilet to be furthest away. Also, consider safety, accessibility and comfort, as the bathroom is a space we visit at least a few times, daily.

7- Wanting to follow trends

Source : Canva

In a space that can be both difficult and costly to renovate, one should practise caution with experimentation in the way of bathroom decor. Extravagant trends or trendy hardware can be costly in both the short and long run. 

Where are those trends going to be in 5 years time? Instead of eyeing that expensive must-have piece, consider settling for classic colours and elegant hardware. Put your time, effort and budget into quality workmanship instead of the glitz and glam of a fleeting trend.

Think neutral colours, like vintage white, chilly grey or mellow blue. Also, make sure to match all finishes, rather than having miss-matched colours and shades. 

If the toilet is white, consider having the bathtub and sink in the same shade. Also, measure different materials against each other before buying, as you could bring them home and find they aren't quite what you had envisioned. 

8- Neglecting to Consider Electricity

Although this comes down to poor planning, neglecting to consider electricity in your bathroom can lead to immediate problems as well as others down the line. Bathrooms are considered a unique location for electrical installations, so contacting an electrical contractor before moving forward with the installation yourself is recommended, especially in provinces where the law obliges you to do so.

There are specific bathroom electrical code requirements, which will likely depend on the city or province you live in, so make sure to look into those before installing any fixtures!

9- Choosing accessories that wastewater

Source : Canva

As our society becomes more environmentally conscious, we must begin to consider the ways in which we can save water in the bathroom. If your budget allows for it, there are options such as low-flow showerheads, auto-shutoff faucets and high-efficiency toilets that save water and money in the long run.

Also worth considering would be a gray water system. These reclamation stations reuse water from other areas of the home in places like the toilet where the water doesn't have to be as clean.

This system is environmentally conscious, and you will not only be doing your part to contribute to preserving the environment but having an environmentally conscious bathroom will greatly add to the resale value of your home.

10- Trying to complete the bathroom renovation project by yourself

As we've stated in several of our previous points, the bathroom is a significant space that has plenty of parts working behind the scenes, especially things we don't consider on an everyday basis. Most homeowners forge ahead without considering all angles of bathroom renovation.

Unless you feel completely comfortable performing these renovations on your own, it is essential to contact a professional who knows exactly what to look for in both the installation and upkeep of this specific space. Going forward without 100% confidence in what you are doing could lead to long-term problems, and who wants to renovate the same space twice in a few months? Not us!

To see examples of bathroom renovation projects completed by contractors, check out "10 examples of beautiful bathroom renovation projects". 

We also suggest that you check out our checklist for bathroom renovation projects, as this article contains a ton of information and comes with a document you can use to organize your project. 

Author: Amanda Harvey

Get 3 renovation quotes for your bathroom renovation project will put you in contact with 3 reliable contractors for your bathroom renovation project. Fill in the form on our homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from trusted professionals.

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Last modified 2017-06-12

List of sources

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Looking for something else?

Table of contents

Get 3 free quotes for your project!

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes!

Are you a contractor?

Join our network and receive real leads!

Download the price guide for renovations

We’ll be emailing you the latest market price guide for renovations.

Related articles

The latest industry news, interviews, technologies, and resources.

3 min read • 07 Nov 2023

The Cost of a Brand New Fence

How much does a new fence cost? From ornamental fences to wooden fences, has prepared a practical guide which covers the average prices and characteristics of different types of fences.

4 min read • 07 Nov 2023

5 Most Common Door Problems

The doors of your home play a significant role in keeping things looking and feeling comfortable. Your front door is a portal into the interior, whilst the doors of each individual room allow for privacy and maintain proper temperatures.

9 min read • 07 Nov 2023

The things to inspect in an old house

For many aspiring homeowners, buying a home doesn’t necessarily mean opting for something new. In fact, some may have their eye on a home that was built several, even many years ago.

5 min read • 07 Nov 2023

What's the Difference Between Formwork and Foundation?

Building a house involves a series of steps, the first one being earthwork, which consists of cleaning and preparing the land on which the structure will be built. Next up, pouring the foundation, which is a crucial step that ensures the solidity of the structure and the house’s structural strength through the years. 

6 min read • 26 Apr 2024

What's a Sonotube?

In Quebec, concrete is used for a variety of purposes, like foundations, flooring, and even kitchen countertops. However, it’s not as commonly mentioned when it comes to piles. Maybe it's due to its utilitarian side rather than its aesthetic one? One thing’s for sure, one can spot concrete-made columns, whether in the city or the countryside. They’re used for both residential and commercial projects. 

Looking for a contractor?

Submit a project and get 3 free quotes now!