A bathroom renovation can do amazing things for your home, from increasing its potential resale value to making it an even more delightful place to live. Watermark & Company is providing this guide to help you organize your thoughts and avoid the typical pitfalls that can cause you to exceed your budget and drive your renovation past its scheduled completion date. Adhering to these six simple steps will make your bathroom renovation a much easier experience.

Determine your goals & inspiration.

What are you looking to get out of your bathroom remodel? Do you need a complete overhaul, including a floor plan reconfiguration or expansion? Or do you want to update all or various finishes to include cabinetry, countertops, tile, fixtures, and accessories? For bathroom renovations, we recommend keeping the design simple and clean with an emphasis on natural lighting and low maintenance materials.

Engage an architect or designer.

If you plan to add on a bathroom, drastically reconfigure the existing layout, or relocate walls or drain locations for toilet, tub, or shower, we recommend hiring an architect to transfer your thoughts to paper. Do you need help with making tile, fixture, stain, paint, cabinet, or countertop selections? Interior designer fees are typically very reasonable and being able to brainstorm about the potential designs and materials is important when finalizing your selections.

Set your budget.

Depending on the size of the room and desired finishes, the cost to renovate a bathroom can vary greatly. To get a ballpark estimate for your specific renovation, it’s best to contact a local renovation contractor to discuss the details of your project. Watermark & Company has found that the total cost for a typical master bathroom renovation often ranges between $25k–$50k up to $100k for high-end bathroom projects. Guest bathrooms can range in price from $15k to $30k, depending on the overall scope of the project.

Make design & material selections at the beginning of the renovation.

It is imperative that you determine all of the material and design selections prior to beginning a bathroom renovation project. If you opt to approve each design selection and material as you go through the renovation, you will soon be burdened with a disorganized project that will take longer than necessary to complete and will likely cost you more to finish. Additionally, this step-by-step method will likely strain the contractor-client relationship. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you plan to make your design and material decisions early on in the process.

Below are examples of the types of design and material selections you will need to make:

  • Cabinetry: wood species, stain color, cabinet style, door/drawer design, linen & medicine cabinets
  • Countertops: granite, marble, Caesarstone, Silestone, Cambria, concrete, recycled composites
  • Tile & grout colors: natural stone, glass, porcelain, ceramic, recycled composites
  • Tile designs: patterns include diamond, brick, grid, offset, etc.
  • Plumbing fixtures: vanity fixtures, sinks, toilets, shower valve, sprayers, tub valve, tub
  • Light fixtures & fans: recessed can lights, sconces, exhaust fans
  • Bath accessories: mirrors, cabinet pulls, towel bars, towel rings, robe hooks, toilet paper holder
  • Paint & sheen: sheens include flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, & gloss

A list of potential vendors in the Austin area can be found on our website.

Hire a qualified renovation contractor

Hiring a reputable renovator that you feel comfortable working with who has a proven record of outstanding workmanship is the single most important factor in making your bathroom renovation a success. We strongly recommend only enlisting the services of a local contractor that is insured, affiliated with national and/or local remodeling organizations, and has been professionally recognized for their work. Always use caution when considering the lowest bidder and be sure to check the contractor’s references before you hire them.

If you’re looking for advice on how to select a remodeling contractor, Watermark & Company has you covered with our two part series on choosing the right contractor for your project (Part One, Part Two).

Set the stage for success.

As with any project, communication is critical. Discussing the following questions with your contractor is crucial for a successful renovation.

  • Are you planning to live in the house during renovations? If so, be prepared for minor interruptions to your normal routine.
  • Will any water, sewer, gas, or electric utilities be turned off or disrupted. If so, ask the contractor to provide you with notification at least 24 hours ahead of time so you can make other arrangements if necessary.
  • Is a permit needed for your renovation? If so, ask the contractor to handle permit acquisition.
  • Do you want lien releases from the contractor and his subcontractors? If so, be sure to notify the contractor before the project starts to allow him time to notify his subcontractors.
  • What are the start and finish dates for the renovation? Are they specified in the contract?
  • What are the working hours for the project? Are you ok with work occurring on weekends?
  • Was your home built before 1978? If so, all painted surfaces or materials to be removed or disturbed must be tested for lead based paint by a Lead-Safe certified firm per EPA regulations. Additionally, the firm completing the demo or removal work must be EPA Lead-Safe certified.
  • How does the contractor handle dust containment? Ask the contractor to hang plastic sheeting over doorways and openings to help contain as much dust as possible.
  • Is the contractor planning to have a portable toilet delivered to the job? Or, will they be using your bathroom?
  • How will jobsite debris be dealt with? How often is the debris removed from site?

After the project has been completed, and prior to making or authorizing the final payment, create a punch list of items that need attention or touch up and give a copy of this list to the contractor.


Watermark & Company hopes this advice serves a good starting point as you begin to undertake the great adventure that is renovating your home with a kitchen remodel. We are dedicated to making sure that all homeowners, not just our own clients, are well educated and thoroughly prepared for the remodeling process.

If you have any questions regarding the above information, or if you would like to discuss Watermark & Company’s Design | Renovate process, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. In the meantime, good luck on your renovation and we’ll see you on the next project.