Real-Home Makeover: Bathroom Remodel

danny lipford; finished bathroom
Better Homes and Gardens contributing editor Danny Lipford shows you what it takes to transform an outdated bathroom.

An Outdated Bathroom

Many older homes have small, outdated bathrooms in need of a major upgrade. With a job of that size, you'll need to hire the pros. Keep in mind that a project like this can take as long as a month, so if it's your only bathroom, you need to make plans to stay somewhere else. Even if it isn't your only bathroom, the noise and activity level of a major bathroom remodel can be stressful, so keep focused on how great it will look when completed.

Bathroom Design

Whether you're appropriating space to enlarge your bathroom or reconfiguring an existing space, it's a good idea to hire a designer or architect to create a plan that the crew can follow.


Once the plan is in place, demolition begins. This may include removing old bathroom tile, taking out existing fixtures, and even ripping out walls. If you find water or termite damage to the wood framing, now is the time to repair it.

Create More Room

Bathrooms are often enlarged during a renovation by taking space from a closet or unused bedroom. Because this requires removing existing walls, it's important to determine if they are load bearing or not.

Rerouting Plumbing

When the layout of a bathroom changes, new plumbing lines will have to be run. This can be a difficult and expensive step, and yet another good reason to have a well-designed plan in place.

Decisions, Decisions

A bathroom remodel involves lots of design decisions, from the color and type of cabinets to the style of bathroom fixtures. To make those decisions, you may rely on the advice of a designer, or strike out on your own at the local home improvement center or specialty bath shop.

A Work in Progress

During a major bathroom remodel, even the old wallboard and insulation may be replaced with new. This not only makes the bathroom cozier and quieter, but will help reduce the energy bill.

Choosing a Floor

Once the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians have completed most of their work, it's time to focus on the floor. Ceramic tile is one of the most popular choices in bathrooms because of its durability, easy cleanup, and resistance to moisture. Laying tile on a diagonal can increase the feeling of space in a bathroom.

Upscale Bathroom Amenities

Today's upscale master bathrooms are designed for comfort and as a haven from the world with elegant amenities such as large walk-in showers, heated towel racks, and Jacuzzi tubs.

Finished Bathroom

In addition to the satisfaction and enjoyment you will have once the project is complete, remodeling a bathroom is a good investment, returning 93.2 percent of its cost upon resale.

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