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10 Common Bathroom Remodel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Today’s bathroom is no longer just a useful place to get clean. We want more: a place that looks great and functions beautifully, and one that invites you to relax and unwind after a long day. You start and end your day in the bathroom, making it one of the most important spaces in your home. Whether you’re buying a new house or just want to refresh your home, a bathroom remodel is one of the best ways to improve your day-to-day life and your home’s value!

Avoid bathroom remodel mistakes to love your space for years to come

Remodeling your bathroom can seem like a huge undertaking, but when done right, this room can offer plenty of visual interest. Looking to transform your space into a spa-like oasis? Our Geo Square White Carrara Marble Mosaic Tile makes a statement from the moment you step inside. 

Remodeling a bathroom is not a small undertaking, so you’ll want to ensure that it delivers and meets standards for longevity and function. However, too often homeowners are faced with the opposite — design mistakes that bring less satisfaction once the process of turning this room into something “dazzling” is completed.

The ambience doesn’t feel quite right, lighting is too bright and harsh on the eye, the tiles don’t complement the fittings, lack of spacing between fixtures to allow easy movement, the theme doesn’t make your heart sing, and so much more. To avoid these design mistakes, it’s crucial that you carefully and mindfully think through each step, and avoid rushing too quickly towards the project finish line.

Whether you’re making over your ensuite bathroom, a basement powder room, or the kid’s bathroom, before you embark on your project, read on to discover the 10 common bathroom remodeling mistakes that homeowners or inexperienced renovators make and how you can steer clear of them in order to achieve a successful redesign.

How to avoid these 10 Common Bathroom Remodel Mistakes

Remodel Mistake #1 - Failing to commit to a theme

With so many themes to choose from —coastal and modern to dramatic and moody — it’s easy to get carried away and end up with a space that’s either underwhelming or overbearing. Additionally, mixing too many or contrasting styles can create a cluttered feeling.

How to choose a theme for your bathroom remodel

Having a defined style makes the designing process less daunting. The Sand Valley and Thassos Wave Marble Mosaic Tile adds elegance and artistic flair that works perfectly in a range of bathroom aesthetics. 

What’s worse is isolating your bathroom style in a way that disrupts the flow when viewed with the rest of the house. So how will your desired theme invoke the mood you want while complementing the architecture and the style of your entire home?

Solution: Know your style to determine the right theme! An inspirational idea book or moodboard can be used to bring style and detail ideas together. Start with a central element - a color, a textile, a material - that you want to define the feel of your bathroom, and choose elements that complement your primary detail.

This more curated approach allows you to edit your vision before beginning the project or making a purchase. Even better, you’ll have a personalized style reference guide ready to share if you end up working with a professional bathroom designer! 

What should you add to your bathroom moodboard? 

Color swatches, including paint, fixtures, tile, and finishes. Add paint cards, tile samples, textiles for shower curtains and window coverings, rugs, and more! Bringing together these elements ahead of time can help create a visual guide for the design you have in mind, allowing you to tweak and adjust until you have a look you love!

Remodel Mistake #2 - Not creating a cohesive look

Cohesively design your bathroom space so that everything effortlessly flows is key to adding an air of rest and relaxation to your space. This means colors, textures, fittings, lighting, and finishes should complement each other as well as the size of the space. Inexperienced renovators fail to effectively layer texture, color, shape and pattern to create visual interest in a room.

How to create a cohesive look for your bathroom remodel

A perfectly cohesive and well thought-out space means the colors, textures, and finishes complement each other nicely with no disruptions. This Glacier Laguna Blue 4x16 Polished Glass Tile wall adds a pop of color to the cool white and gray tones, while the art piece ties it all together!

Furthermore, if space truly is an issue, find ways to maximize your floor footage as much as possible to make the room uncluttered. Similarly, when space is plentiful but lacks a well thought-out layout, it can feel uninspiring and empty-looking, with all the fixtures around the perimeter of the room and an empty space in the middle. 

Solution: Creating a cohesive look doesn’t mean everything should match. It’s great to add a little intrigue to the scheme of things and let your personality shine in your bathroom makeover! Even if you’re tackling the bathroom and not the whole house at once, it’s important that your design choices add interest and depth to the space.

Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, consider repeating variations of the same style elements that exist throughout your home to make sure everything flows. 

Alternatively, you can make things easier by choosing an eye-catching focal point and then use it to set the tone for the rest of the space. To make your bathroom scheme extra special, determine what you love, and let your design evolve over time by constantly changing items and bringing in new things as opposed to decorating all at once. 

Remodel Mistake #3 - Neglecting storage space

Rookie renovators focus too much on aesthetics and often don’t consider functional storage until they design a new bathroom without it. Likewise, many don’t think of practical options beyond vanity drawers and cabinets. This often means the vanity ends up too clunky and dominating, resulting in a space that feels cramped and difficult to navigate.

A winning bathroom makeover with storage, wood, and marble details

Adequate storage is an integral piece of the puzzle when remodeling your bathroom space. Aside from keeping everyday essentials tucked away, a well organized room can entirely change the look and feel of a space. The wood look bathroom floor tile with our Plaza Wooden Beige marble mosaic tied in with the wood shelves of the double vanity and the woven baskets that help declutter the counters and shelves in this California casual bathroom!

Worse still, a messy and cluttered bathroom due to poor storage detracts from the harmony and aesthetics of the overall room and can make it frustrating to use.

Solution: One mantra to live by when redesigning your bathroom space: there is no such thing as too much storage! Opt for a mirror cabinet recessed into the wall that houses your everyday essentials such as your toothbrush, shaver, and makeup.

A combination of open shelves for attractive toiletries, accessories, and fluffy, fresh towels and closed storage for day-to-day necessities will help keep your bathroom organized. Alternatives such as recessed wall cabinets, vanities with drawers, and a shower niche will help you make the most of every inch of space.

Remodel Mistake #4 - Going crazy with pattern

There are many ways to amp up the style factor in a bathroom, but adding one too many patterns is not one of them. Infusing intriguing pattern play, say a richly patterned tile or striking artwork, can add visual interest and extra dimension, but crowding your bathroom with too many details can have a crowding effect in the space. 

How to add patterned tiles  to your bathroom makeover

This Bloom Micro Mosaic Tile will give any bathroom space a real sense of grandeur. The exotic flower pattern adds a striking yet elegant touch to the scheme of things without detracting from the room's other decor elements. Pairing the white and gray micro pattern with more subtle marble subway tiles allows the patterned accent wall to stand out and the rest of the decor to complement it, rather than compete.

Solution: Reducing pattern play when remodeling your bathroom doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish and playful! Embellish the atmosphere with one standout feature or incorporate up to two different patterns sparingly to give the details more importance. 

Just like selecting furnishings for a space, it’s important to take a close look at how using different patterns will fit in with the rest of the room’s elements before making a final decision.  

Remodel Mistake #5 - Choosing the wrong tiles for your needs

While tiles are one of the most versatile building materials for floors, walls, showers, and more, every type of tile and material will have an approved Area of Use. Before you fall in love with a tile for your guest bathroom floor or for your office bathroom remodel, make sure you check where it can be safely and effectively used. Designing a wet area requires that you make practicality a priority when choosing finishes. When selecting bathroom tiles, it’s wise to take your time to pick out the right material, color, texture, and size. 

Avoid water damage with wood look bathroom tiles

Our Kasai Carta Sakura 10x60" Rectified Porcelain Tile with a wooden texture and an elegant floral pattern will help make your bathroom more efficient, more functional, and more stylish! The right combination of color, texture, and pattern will provide either maximum visual impact, or a more understated, harmonious look. 

There are no cutting corners or smoke and mirrors when choosing tile material. Bathrooms by nature have higher humidity and moisture levels than most rooms, so without taking into consideration the tiles moisture and slip resistance, durability, and whether it can be used with underfloor heating means you’ll have to replace them more quickly or possibly cope with mold and mildew.

Solution:

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are great options to consider for your bathroom remodel — they look good and are capable of withstanding temperature fluctuation, water exposure, and everyday use. Natural stone, marble for example, is a stylish luxury bathroom trend that can be used on your floors or backsplash.

It’s important to use a grout and tile sealant to protect it from humidity and water which could eventually lead to stains, build-up of mold and discoloration. 

Having the correct knowledge of where the tile goes is equally important when planning out your bathroom design. Falling in love with a particular wall tile doesn’t mean it can be used on your floors, or you may find yourself living with unsightly chips before too long. Similarly, make sure that the floor tile isn’t too heavy for your bathroom walls. If in doubt of what goes where, ask your tile supplier before you make that purchase.

In regards to style and size, larger tiles can make a small bathroom appear bigger and offer a modern, seamless finish. This is not to say smaller tiles aren’t aesthetically pleasing — in fact, small format tiles are fantastic if you’re going for a bold or colorful pattern. But for a compact space, smaller means more grout lines, which can often make your room feel even smaller. 

It’s important to plan in advance and ask your tile supplier for either a swatch sample or order a full tile to view in person. In this manner, you can tell if the color, texture and finish of the tile are really what you’re looking for. 

Remodel Mistake #6 - Poor quality fittings and finishes

Not giving enough thought to the quality of fittings and finishes will affect how the whole space functions. Poor quality fittings may result in constant fixing and adjustments which can really hurt your pockets. Everything from damaged hardware and leaking faucets to porous surfaces can break your bathroom design. 

Peach Glass Bathroom Tiles with Brass Mirror and Fixtures

Selecting excellent quality finishes for your desired look can accentuate and lift your bathroom design in amazing ways. Here, our Pearly Peach Glossy Squares Glass Pool Tile team beautifully with the rest of the room’s fittings and accessories to produce a cohesive visual and functional effect.

So when choosing material, for example shower tiles, it’s crucial that you look for a surface application that’s impervious to moisture otherwise it will swell, rot or discolor with time. 

Porcelain, ceramic, and glass tiles are tough and watertight with a shiny finish that is easy to clean, so that’s a good place to start. Natural stone such as marble is also a great option for bathroom floors and backsplashes but will require periodic sealing to keep it clean and stain free. 

Solution: There's no point blowing the majority of your budget on poor quality fittings and finishes which could cost you even more money to fix. With more demands on bathrooms in most households, it is important that you seek specialist help in order to select the right finishes suitable for your family’s lifestyle.

Check out Tile Club’s Remodel Resource Guide for our recommended places to source bathroom fixtures and finishes!

Always go for fittings with highest finish quality and ones that hold up well to moisture. Ultimately, they are bound to add significant value to your home, too.

Remodel Mistake #7 - Not enough (or too much) lighting

Inexperienced renovators often overlook layering in the right bathroom lighting. Simply resorting to bright overhead lights over the vanity, shower or toilet can result in your bathroom space not living up to its full potential. 

How to choose the right lighting for your bathoom remodel

All three; ambient, accent, and task lighting, plus natural light from windows or skylights are a sure fire way to transform the overall feel of your bathroom. Add a reflective - and flattering - backsplash with this Fabrique Blue Grey Chevron Glass Mosaic accent tile wall and bathtub surround. The stylish colors and soothing flow are enough of a draw, but the easy to clean surface is a bathroom makeover win!

It’s also important to realize that installing too much lighting can often lead to a space being too bright and lacking ambience, which makes it far from a soothing and relaxing space to spend time in.

After all, bathrooms are known to be the central hub for many important parts of our daily self-care routines such as shaving, skincare, applying makeup and hair styling. These activities require good illumination and installing just general ambient light doesn’t cut it. 

Solution: Your aim should be to implement a layered design that includes several lighting sources so that the room does look neither overly bright nor too dull. It should feature ambient lighting (also known as general lighting) that provides a broad wash of light throughout the whole room.

Concealed LED strips make for great ambient lighting as they’re environmentally friendly, consume less energy, mimic natural light beautifully in dark, small areas, and have color temperatures that range from very warm to very bright. 

Then layer in lighting for other purposes. For example, incorporate task lighting to assist with illumination necessary for one to take care of life’s daily functions. Not to mention, functional and visually pleasing wall-mounted sconces placed on either side of the mirror at eye level will illuminate your face from the front, which is the most ideal and flattering direction. 

Accent lighting, such as an elegant chandelier with dimmer switches, can be hung over the tub to add depth and dimension to the environment and offer a warm, illuminating glow. If you have an intricate wall tile design that you’d like to highlight, accent lighting will definitely help you do so. 

That being said, you may want to ask your electrician to wire lights so that different sources can be turned on independently. This will allow you the freedom to adjust the lighting levels to match any moment or mood.

Remodel Mistake #8 - Neglecting proper ventilation

One of the most common issues in a bathroom remodel is finding tiny black specks of mould marching up your newly painted walls and ceilings, or grout lines immediately turning dark and grimy. Because the bathroom is the steamiest room of the house, this horror generally indicates improper ventilation. 

Contemporay Bathroom Makeover with Modern Gray Glass Tiles

With proper ventilation, you are sure to prevent trapped moisture and keep your tile looking clean and new like our dazzling Cool Gray Herringbone Glass Tile

Even if you have good fitted windows, there are a few technical considerations to keep in mind like installing a ventilation system to extract all the steam which is usually left behind after a hot shower. 

Solution: Make sure you work with a professional contractor to figure out if current ventilation points will work with your new bathroom layout and provide proper circulation of air. Remember, while changing ventilation points can give you the layout you really want, it can also blow out the budget so it’s best to do it right the first time.

Consider all the different types of ventilation systems that could be right for your bathroom. There are many options on the market today including quiet exhaust fans that easily draw out moisture, opening windows during a shower, and wiping down your shower walls and floors after use to speed up drying and remove standing water. 

Remodel Mistake #9 - Rushing the design process

If you've been aiming to revamp your bathroom for months, it's easy to be carried away on a wave of excitement and not completely consider the eventual practicalities of all your plans. No matter how much you have planned or have prepared the budget, speeding up the design process (which usually takes at least four to six weeks) can turn a dream bathroom into a design nightmare.

10 Common Bathroom Remodel Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

As you plan your bathroom renovation, you’ll need to be prepared for the variety of unique factors that come into play when undertaking a design project. Carefully taking each step into consideration will increase the odds that you'll be happy when the work is complete. Once you choose your materials, like this Triangular Hexagon in Bianco Dolomiti Leyte Blue and Thassos Marble Mosaic Tile backsplash and wood vanity, factor in delivery timeframes and installer availability to make sure you have a workable remodel schedule.

Solution: There’s a good reason interior designing has different stages — to ensure perfectly measured and assembled renovations. Think strategically when designing a bathroom and give yourself ample time to follow the right steps in order to save yourself from countless headaches, repairs, and replacements down the line.

Plan ahead when it comes to the shopping and installing phases - make sure you have accurate measurements, square footage counts (including overage) for tile to help confirm how much you need - and how it fits into your budget. Check on availability for the materials and quantities you’ll need

Remodel Mistake #10 - DIY-ing a professional job

Unless you’re a seasoned bathroom renovator, undertaking a job that’s best left to a professional can be a major remodel regret. As we mentioned above, remodeling a bathroom is not a basic task and consulting a professional can actually be more cost-effective in the long run! While you may think you’ll save a few bucks by DIYing your bathroom makeover, having a professional contractor or tile setter’s knowledge - and trade discount - can ensure the job is done on budget, on time, and doesn’t have to be redone later on down the line.

When to have a professional handle your bathroom renovation

Painting tile and wainscoting, like this Nova Herringbone Beige Marble Tile accent wall,lends sophisticated flair while adding just the right punch to make a bold design statement. Relying on a professional to install multiple types of materials - all with the right underlayment and adhesives - can ensure the longest life for your beautiful new bathroom remodel.

And while you may have a clear idea of exactly what you want, it's so easy to make design mistakes when attempting a DIY bathroom remodel. Everything from selecting fittings and finishes without wisely thinking about the pros and cons to opting for a layout that doesn’t quite suit your family’s lifestyle can easily lead to the downfall of your bathroom renovation. 

Solution: A professional interior designer’s eye for detail and knowledge about spatial planning and material selection is sometimes all you need to create a practical, functional space that’s also aesthetically pleasing. Today, there are so many contractors who mostly undertake bathroom related work and can do a brilliant work in turning your design vision into a reality. 

Take on your bathroom makeover with confidence after reading these tips to avoid remodel mistakes that can save you money, repairs, and time!

Susan W.
Susan W. 07/09/2021

Great suggestions! I wish I read your article before starting my bathroom renovation project.

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