Design professionals share 10 tips for a budget-friendly renovation.
1. “Opt for more economical faucet finishes,” says Allison Trimble, general manager for Ginger’s Bath Centre in Toronto. Chrome will show water spots but otherwise it’s a great choice and lot cheaper than nickel.
2. “Choose a Toto toilet,” says House & Home Editor-in-Chief Suzanne Dimma. “They are quiet, great looking low flow and affordable. And they look great in almost any style of washroom.”
3. Check to see if the items you want are available through special order at big-box stores. They have tiles and faucets that aren’t displayed on the showroom floor. For larger projects or multiple bathrooms, try builddirect.com, a Vancouver distributor that ships affordable reno materials worldwide.
4. “Pick one surface to really focus your energy and dollars on,” advises House & Home Senior Design Editor Erin Feasby. “If you splurge on a stunning material for the floor (natural stone, marble, intricate mosaics, etc.), then you can get away with simple tiles on the walls (white 4 x 4 or subway tiles, or larger stock tiles in less expensive marble and stone from big-box stores). If you choose the walls, even if it's just one wall or a detailed border, then you can stick with something more understated on the floors.”
5. “I like to spend more money on the countertop than the vanity,” says House & Home Design Editor Cameron MacNeil. “If you go with a solid surface or stone countertop and a less expensive cabinet, you can get an undermount sink, which always looks more expensive than an over-mount sink.”
6. Try not to use white grout in the bathtub and shower area, since white always changes colour and never changes at the same time. A light gray or beige grout is perfect and adds a bit of contrast to the tile.
7. Find great towel bars and tissue paper holders at big box stores. They don't have to match your faucets exactly, but they should ideally be the same finish.
8. “Invest in a quality thermostatic valve for your shower, and save money on tiles,” says Michael Phillips, president of Coordinated Kitchen & Bath in Vancouver. When it comes to functionality, water temperature and pressure are what count.
9. “Keep plumbing as close to its original location as possible if you’re reconfiguring the space,” says Barb Purdy, a Toronto-based designer. “If you have to relocate one item, sinks are usually the cheapest.”
10. “Avoid moving your toilet,” suggests Michael Upshall, owner of Probuilt by Michael Upshall. “It’s the most labour-intensive and expensive fixture to move.”