3 "Must Haves" for Planning Your Bathroom Renovation

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Together my husband and I have not only installed interior and exterior doors in our home, we’ve replaced, spackled, sanded, caulked, and painted everything from baseboards to trim to interior walls.   We enjoy working on projects together.  So, for our 1st anniversary as Mr. & Mrs., we decided to opt out of a vacation to renovate our guest bathroom.  Though we were excited about our first bathroom renovation, it also brought us some anxiety.   And although we’re no strangers to DIY home improvement projects, we knew we would need some help.  So we decided to hire a general contractor.


Having managed projects involving the selection and management of vendors before, I knew that I wanted the screening process to run as smooth as possible.   I wanted these appointments to be thorough but require the least amount of time.  Before scheduling the appointments, we decided what our requirements would be for the guest bath.  So, I figured why not have the information ready?  By providing the handout, we had more time to focus on specific questions and concerns as well as an opportunity to gauge their level of customer service.   The handout was issued at the start of each appointment.

Must Have #1: General Contractor Handout

1_Contractor Appointment

General Contractor Handout included:

  • Dimensions of the current floor plan
  • Overview of bathroom renovation ideas and expectations
  • Area to take notes and  enter their own measurements

SmartDraw Tip: The symbol libraries in SmartDraw contain more than 5,000  professionally designed symbols, images and clip art. With that many symbols, you can create this diagram in minutes.  Just watch this video.


What I didn’t expect is that with each appointment came more and more ideas of what to do with our guest bathroom renovation.  Ideas are great to have. But too many ideas can be a bit overwhelming.  From the endless photos of bathroom renovations we found online to the ideas that came from each appointment, we wanted a way to keep it simple.    After we narrowed it down to our top 3 favorites, we thought it would be best to see what the flow and function of the 3 designs would be in the actual space.  So, I jumped onto SmartDraw and created this to scale brainstorm of bathroom renovation ideas.

Must Have #2: Bathroom Design Brainstorm

1_Guest Bath Options

Bathroom Design Brainstorm included:

  • Original floor plan
  • Each floor plan design
  • Duration required for each design

SmartDraw Tip: Use the Ctrl key + D key to duplicate an object.  In other words, if you’re a keyboard shortcut user, this command replaces the need to use Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V  to paste.  To create the Bathroom Design Brainstorm simply duplicate the original floor plan as needed.  Then use the Design Ribbon to align and space the floor plans evening.  Click here to learn how to align, rotate, and group.

It was clear to both of us which design we wanted to go with once we viewed it in SmartDraw.   Fortunately, each general contractor also provided estimates on how long each one of their ideas would take.  The Bathroom Design Brainstorm diagram not only allowed us to choose a design, we also chose our contractor based on their estimated time of delivery and availability.  It was that easy.


One of the reasons we chose to work with our general contractor is that we had the freedom to buy all of the materials opposed to being limited to a set inventory of materials.  To aide in the effort, we were assigned an interior designer. She came with ideas that were based on our design requirements and brought us to their preferred suppliers who were not available to the general public.  She was there through every step of the purchasing process which was a huge relief. Although we had the freedom to take our time in designing our new guest bathroom, we knew that our general contractor wouldn’t break ground until all materials were on-site.  With that said, it was important that we purchased and ordered what we needed as soon as possible.

On the morning of our first shopping day, I was so excited to see what we would find.   I jumped onto SmartDraw to create a quick checklist, just like I would if I we were going grocery shopping.  I was confident that our designer knew what we were going to need to purchase but I didn’t want to leave anything to chance.  My husband and I also wanted to make sure that we stayed within budget and that we would get the items delivered in a reasonable amount of time.  From the design showrooms to the endless lighting and fixtures displays there was so much to take in.

Must Have #3: Items to Add/Remodel Checklist

1_Materials Shopping List

Items to Add/Remodel Checklist included:

  • List of items to add or remodel
  • Floor plan including dimensions
  • Tracking information such as vendor, price, and delivery date

SmartDraw Tip: Use Ctrl+C to copy the design from the Bathroom Design Brainstorm. Then use Ctrl+V to paste it into the Items to Add/Remodel Checklist.  You can add a Table or Form to any template in SmartDraw.  Learn more about Tables or Forms.

During our visit to the stone and tile showroom, the checklist proved to be a necessity .  Once we selected our floor, bath, and accent tiles, the next step was to place the order.  We just looked at the floor plan on our checklist and calculated the amount we needed. It was that simple.

In the end it took 3 days to shop, 2 weeks for the remodel, and 1 additional week for the mirrors to arrive and be installed.  We love our new guest bathroom and can’t wait to have our first house guests.

When you’re ready to get started on your next home or bathroom renovation, you’ve got to try these 3 renovation “must-haves.”  They’ll make your renovation process a whole lot easier.


Before getting started take a look at 12 Remodeling Tips for Your Master Bath Retreat to see what’s entailed when you gut out a bathroom only to re-imagine the entire space.  Not only did we use floor plans, we found elevation diagrams to play an integral role in the design and execution of the project.

In addition, before you head out to the home improvement warehouses or lighting showrooms you may want to read How to Enhance Your Bathroom Lighting. This information is not room specific and can easily be applied to any room in your home.



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