Map out your plan before making changes

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When planning to remodel a bathroom, it’s crucial to have all your ducks in a row. Here are some pertinent points to consider:

1. Create a plan, and stick to it

Evaluate how you plan to use the space, what kinds of materials and fixtures you want, and how much you’re willing to spend. Don’t begin your project until you have answers to every aspect of your plan.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends spending up to six months evaluating and planning before beginning the actual work. Once work has begun — a process that averages two to three months — don’t change your mind. Work stoppages and alterations add costs.

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2. Keep the same footprint

3. Make lighting a priority

Well-designed bathroom lighting surrounds vanity mirrors and serves to eliminate shadows on faces. The scheme includes two ceiling or soffit-mounted fixtures with 60-75 watts each, and side-fixtures or sconces providing at least 150 watts each distributed vertically across 24 inches to account for people of various heights. Four-bulb lighting fixtures work well for side lighting.

4. Clear the air

A bathroom vent should exhaust air to the outside, not simply to the space between ceiling joists. Better models have whisper-quiet exhaust fans and humidity-controlled switches that activate when a sensor detects excess moisture.

5. Think storage

Free-standing, multitiered shelf units designed to fit over toilet tanks can transform unused wall area into storage. Spaces between wall studs can be used to create niches for holding soaps and toiletries. Install shelves over towel bars to use blank wall space.

Inexpensive woven baskets set on the floor provide a stylish way to hold towels. A floor-stand coat rack can be used to hang towels, bathrobes, or clothes.

Adding a slide-out tray to vanity-cabinet compartments gives you full access to stored items, and prevents lesser-used items from being lost or forgotten.

6. Contribute a little sweat equity

You can shave labor costs by doing some of the work yourself. Some easy DIY projects:

Install window & baseboard trim: save $250

Paint walls and trim, 200 square feet: save $200

Install toilet: save $150

Install towel bars and shelves: save $20 each

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