Dark office with white chair behind desk containing calculator and bathroom renovation budget documents

8 Tips for Planning Your Bathroom Renovation Budget

Remodeling your bathroom can be exciting, fun, and — most importantly — necessary. The last thing you want is for it to be stressful. But between saving money and making design decisions, the process can become overwhelming. The key is planning (and sticking to) a bathroom renovation budget that keeps you and your wallet happy! Then all that’s left are the design decisions (and those are more fun!).

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value Report, the average cost of a mid-range bathroom remodeling project is $21,377. This estimate takes into account the cost of updating all appliances, fixtures, and finishes in a 35-square-foot bathroom. Get into the upscale side of things (all the same changes plus relocating plumbing and installing custom cabinetry in a 100-square-foot bathroom) and that price can shoot to $40,000 and above. 

That may be a large range, but these tips can help you plan your personal bathroom renovation budget — and stick to it!

How to Plan Your Bathroom Renovation Budget 

Whether you’ve decided to refresh your outdated bathroom or are still tossing around the idea, you don’t want to do it without considering the financial aspect. Use these tips to plan a bathroom renovation budget that delivers on your must-haves without financial surprises.

1. Determine the scope of your project

As you’ve seen, the cost of a bathroom remodel can vary based on the size of the room and the extent of the work to be done. Use tools like Home Advisor’s True Cost Guide to help you estimate costs in your area depending on the necessary work. 

Does your remodel require new light fixtures in the bathroom but not new plumbing? Or maybe you really want a double-sink bathroom vanity but are willing to keep the same tub. Answer a few brief questions to get a decent estimate of bathroom renovation costs in your neck of the woods.

2. Decide who will do the work: Bathroom Remodel Specialist vs. DIY

You’ve got a couple of options when it comes to getting the physical labor complete on your bathroom remodel. You can do the work yourself (or sweet-talk a relative) or go through a bathroom remodel specialist (*cough* that’s us *cough*). 

A specialist like us will quote one price and manage the entire project for you. They may also be willing to do partial remodels – or sections of your bathroom – like those mentioned above where you only have work done to one area. 

Another advantage of using a company that specializes in bathroom remodels is the possibility of receiving design assistance (you’ll have to ask what their services include – not all specialists are built like us!). 

If you do decide to go the DIY route, you may even consider asking a specialist company about getting materials to ensure you install quality products!

3. Get multiple quotes

Chat with multiple contractors to find the best value for you and your project. This doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest price. You’ll want to consider other factors like quality, design services, and experience with special circumstances your project may entail. 

Laptop and men's hands reviewing bathroom renovation budget at desk

4. Allocate funds appropriately

As you solidify your project scope, you can start visualizing how much of your bathroom renovation budget will fall into different buckets. Your buckets will depend on the work to be done, but the National Kitchen and Bath Association offers a cost breakdown that serves as a great starting point:

  • Design – 4%
  • Labor – 20%
  • Flooring – 9%
  • Walls & Ceilings – 5%
  • Doors & Windows – 4%
  • Faucets & Plumbing – 14%
  • Countertops – 7%
  • Cabinetry & Hardware – 16%
  • Fixtures – 15%
  • Lighting & ventilation – 5%
  • Other – 1%

5. Plan your design upfront

The more thoroughly you plan your remodel, the better your chances of sticking to your bathroom renovation budget. By thinking through design options (alone or with an expert design team) you’ll minimize the possibility of mid-project hiccups. 

Your dream bathroom may be amazing, but if it doesn’t account for things like plumbing, limited space, or other deciding factors, it won’t work in real life. And if work has already started when an oversight is discovered, it could cost you a very pretty penny. Review your design plans with each of the cost categories mentioned in tip #3 in mind to ensure your perfect bathroom becomes a reality.

6. Choose your materials with cost in mind

Though you love the look of quartz countertops on display, your tune may change when those heart eyes turn to dollar signs. Consider the right materials for your ideal bathroom AND your wallet. As you research or talk to vendors, be sure to price out common bathroom renovation materials including: 

  • Flooring
  • Countertops
  • Vanities
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Hardware
  • Tubs/showers
  • Lighting

7. Prepare for unexpected costs

Once your current bathroom is gutted, you’ll have a better understanding of your bathroom remodel costs. Until then, you won’t know if you need to correct hidden damage or invest in things like new plumbing or wiring. 

Rather than be caught off guard, factor an additional 10-20% in unexpected costs into your budget.

8. Be realistic

At the end of the day, you may have to make some concessions to get your dream bathroom at the price point you can afford. Consider what you absolutely have to have, really really want, and are willing to forgo. Discuss options with your contractor to make educated decisions and keep your expectations in check throughout the entire process.

No matter what you have in mind, you CAN have the bathroom of your dreams. With a little planning ahead, you’ll have no problem sticking to the bathroom renovation budget that fits your vision.

If there’s one thing we love more than budgeting, it’s designing. Talk to one of our expert designers to get your bathroom remodel underway today!