How to Remodel Your Bathroom into a Spa Oasis

Your bathroom is utilitarian. It’s the teeth-brushing station, the get-ready-for-the-day hub, and the place where you go to have 30 seconds of quiet between playdates and homework help. But your bathroom serves more than just a practical purpose; it should also make you feel good. Here are a few ways to complete your bathroom renovations with a focus on beauty, return on investment and practicality.

Expand Your Space

Enlarging your master or guest bathroom can be done two ways; the first is literally tearing down a wall or two to increase the room’s square footage. Because bathrooms involve a labyrinth of plumbing inside the walls, it’s best to consult a plumber before you go at it with a sledgehammer.

According to Remodeling.com’s annual Cost vs. Value report, bathroom upgrades and kitchen remodels are among the top changes that you can do to make your home more desirable to buyers. A midrange bathroom addition in Phoenix will yield about 51 percent return on investment.

For larger remodels, it's best to start by finding a highly recommended remodeling contractor in the Valley. Ask friends or relatives which remodelers in Phoenix they have used for home renovations in the past, seek out well-known review sites and check with the BBB to see if there have been any complaints filed against the contracting company. Not sure how much hiring a professional will set you back? HomeAdvisor reports the national average costs for bathroom remodels; the low being $2,500 and the high being $23,000.

The other way to enlarge your master bath is to use optical tricks to make the room seem bigger. If you're looking to start with a more manageable DIY remodel, try one of these quick fixes:

  • Focus on the walls and floors first. Paint the room a light color to open up the space, and install easy-to-clean tile.
  • Introduce good lighting, both natural and artificial, to help amplify the space.
  • Incorporate mirrors and glass into your design. Mirrors let light bounce around the room, and glass — like a shower door, for example — eliminates visual barriers.

Install a Modern Sink

Nothing makes a bathroom look more dated than an old vanity and sink. Refresh your bathroom by replacing your sink unit with a modern or colorful statement piece. If you have a small bathroom, opt for a petite vanity with storage space.

Upgrade Your Shower/Bathtub

You’ve always dreamed of a clawfoot tub! Or maybe you want something between the plastic molded shower you have now and that double-headed rain shower you once saw in a model home.

Your imagination might run wild with your bathroom remodel inspiration, but relocating the plumbing is expensive. If you’re looking to save money on this part of your remodel, keep the existing footprint of the bathroom and update all of the trimmings.

Even if you’re making massive changes, consider the space you have and what’s practical for you. If you always take showers, why waste money and space on a huge Jacuzzi tub? The national average cost to install a bath or shower hovers around $3,000.

Lay Down Tile

Whether you opt for basic white subway tile or large slabs of marble, installing a tile floor or shower surround in your bathroom is a fairly inexpensive way to revamp. Tile countertops can handle the wear and tear of hair products and hot curling irons, though many modern buyers prefer the clean look of a solid surface granite counter. Tile on the floor hardy, water resistant and certainly better looking than the tacky linoleum you grew up with.

If you're planning to lay the tile yourself rather than hiring a professional, here are the basic steps you'll take to complete the job.

  • Determine your tile layout: Ceramic or stone tiles can be laid lengthwise, horizontally, on a diagonal or even in a herringbone pattern. If you want to add a decorative border or insert accent tiles, it's especially important to plan your pattern in advance.
  • Cut your tiles: You'll need a tile saw to complete this job, or alternately you can have tiles professionally cut at a home improvement store. After you make the cuts, lay the tiles in the place they will go on your floor.
  • Apply mortar: Once you have your tiles laid out and the spacers planned, use a trowel to coat a small section of the floor with thin-set mortar.
  • Place tiles: Set tiles in the mortar and use spacers between tiles to keep your pattern intact.
  • Apply grout: After the mortar has set, remove your spacers and use a float tool to spread grout into the grout lines. Wipe away excess grout after you are finished. Once the grout is dry (typically 24 hours), apply grout sealer.

If you're looking to do a major bathroom remodel, you may need help making it happen. In addition to hiring a bathroom contractor or designer, think about financing options that can help you turn your bland bathroom into a spa oasis. Whether you choose to remodel yourself, pay cash for a professional or use a home equity line of credit to get you there, you’ll rest easy knowing that your bathroom will soon be a great place to retreat and relax in at the end of the day.

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The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.