How to Plan and Design a Bathroom
Planning and designing your bathroom is an important part of remodeling. Bathroom design is limited by technical considerations like pipe locations, and planning for these can narrow down your search for new fixtures and cabinets. If you tackle the technical part first, then you will be free to concentrate on design and appearance.
Probably the greatest challenge in remodeling a bathroom is figuring out how to achieve the style and build in the features you want within the limits of what is probably the smallest room in the house. A second limiting factor is the location of existing plumbing pipes and electrical wiring. Remodeling a bathroom is relatively easy if you don't have to move them. If you make radical changes in the existing layout, you'll need to investigate whether or not you can build what you want without making structural changes.
Keep in mind that you may need a building permit, depending on the scope of your project. If so, you'll probably have to submit a detailed plan of your proposed project. Before you begin planning your new bathroom, always check with your local building department and find out what codes, specifications and requirements you'll have to meet.
There are a number of general issues you should consider before you begin designing your new bathroom. They include:
If your current layout is livable, leaving the mechanical systems as they are will mean that much more in the budget for upgraded fixtures, and may make the difference between doing the project and waiting to save more money.
Don't neglect lighting when you redesign your bathroom. You'll need strong lighting over the mirror–a strip of eight 60-watt bulbs is not necessarily too much–but you may also want to consider pinpoint task lighting and soft ambient lights. If you plan to install a whirlpool built for two, indirect mood lighting may fit well. With incandescent lighting, you'll need at least 3-1/2 to 4 watts per square foot (e.g., 280 watts minimum in an 80-square-foot bathroom). If you use fluorescent lighting, figure 1-1/2 to 2 watts per square foot.
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