Questions to Ask Before You Redo a Bathroom

Dip your toe into the bath-planning pool with this handy questionnaire.

By Jan Soults Walker

Your existing bath isn't making a splash with you, but what exactly are the issues you most want to resolve? Answer these questions as a starting point for planning.

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Lisa Peck

1. Feeling cramped?

  • How is the current square footage and floor plan working for you? Do you need more space for two people to get ready simultaneously? Is this a bath that siblings share? Do you have space for performing common tasks or would you like to shuffle the space around?
  • If you're considering expanding the bathroom, can you bump into an adjoining space, such as a hallway, bedroom, or closet? Or will you need to add space?
  • What's the situation outside if you plan to add on? Will an addition extend into the privacy of your backyard or will it happen streetside? How will local codes and regulations govern the addition?

2. Where does everything go?

  • What's on your bathroom countertops? Toiletries, cosmetics, a curling iron, jewelry, and the hair dryer? What else would you like to tuck away? Are electrical outlets handy?
  • Are the cabinets disorganized? Is it difficult to find supplies? Are items getting lost in the back of the cabinets? Must you store cleaning supplies and towels in another location?
  • Do you frequently buy multiples of supplies that you already have on hand?
Also read Bathroom Storage Galore for expert tips.

3. Should you update or replace cabinets?

  • Are existing cabinets sturdy?
  • If the cabinet construction is sound and you like the design, could you update with paint and new hardware or simply replace the doors?
  • Would you benefit from cabinet inserts such as roll-out shelves or dividers?

4. How would you rate your shower and/or bathtub?

Yuko Matsumoto
  • Are they roomy enough? Would you prefer a separate shower and bathtub? Do you want only a shower? Are these features style bonuses or boondoggles?
  • What features would you like your shower to have? Multiple showerheads? Steam? Sound? A bench? Storage niches? A frameless glass door or no door at all?
  • Do you envision long soaks in still waters or do you want a vigorous massage while you soak? Is your current bathtub roomy enough?
  • Are you longing for additional amenities, such as dual sinks, a towel warmer, or radiant heat floors?
For inspiration and ideas, take a look at:

5. What do you think of the surfaces?

  • Are the countertops in poor condition or outdated? Are they durable? Do you have plenty of surface area?
  • Are the walls easy to clean and stylish? Do they stand up to moisture?
  • Same for the floors: What kind of maintenance is required? Are they water damaged? Slip resistant? Do you like the look of your current flooring?

6. How's the lighting?

  • Do shadows make it difficult to apply makeup or do your hair?
  • Is your bathroom too bright or too dim? Is the bathroom lighting adjustable to set a relaxing mood or make the space bright enough for cleaning?
  • What about accent lighting? Are there surfaces, features, or belongings you'd like to highlight?

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