When it’s time to freshen up your personal space, you have many decisions to make – which rooms to renovate, how much of a budget do you have, and what will add value to your home. If deciding to remodel your bathroom, you need to make sure it is both functional and energy efficient, and it takes advantage of modern trends and technology. To master your remodeling and make for a stress free experience, keep these points in mind:

  1. Add buffer to your budget: In your budget, you accounted for new flooring, paint, fixtures, toilet, vanity and more. But the hidden effects of water issues, such as wood rot and mold, could become apparent as soon the renovations begin. To avoid the financial implications of such surprises, add a sufficient buffer to your budget and timeline. Allot between 10-15% of your budget as your buffer, and if you have a century home, add even more.

  2. Provide the right amount of ventilation: Not only does excess moisture create mold and mildew, it can also affect your paint and other bathroom finishes. Make sure you add a fan; guidelines suggest a ducted system of at least 50 cubic feet per minute, and more for a larger space or if you are installing a steam shower. Current technology also has units that can sense the amount of humidity and will turn on or off as needed.

  3. Water world: Your bathroom sees a lot of water usage – shower, bathtub, toilet, and sinks. To make your dream bathroom environmentally friendly, consider incorporating low flow and dual flush toilets, low flow shower heads, and faucet aerators in your design plans. These simple changes can save a family of four more than 11,000 gallons of water yearly, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That’s a lot of water!

  4. Hire a licensed contractor: Renovating a bathroom yourself is a great way to save on costs – if you know what you are doing. But of you are inexperienced, encounter unusual problems, or simply need an extra pair of hands, your work may not go as smoothly or as quickly as you want. A licensed contractor has the knowledge, experience, and skills to make the demolition and installation a quality job from start to finish. They can also offer guidance as to design, obtain the proper permits for any structural or electrical work, find other reputable contractors such as tile setters and cabinetry makers, and in general, complete the work faster than doing it yourself. Always obtain multiple quotes, ask for referrals, check that their license is current, and review the contract before signing.

  5. Work with what you have: You may crave his’n her sinks or a soaker tub, but when designing a bathroom, you need to work with the space you have. Not only can you avoid disappointment, but with the right mindset, you create small space solutions that are both striking and functional. Consult an experienced designer to see examples of what can be done in your particular space.

When you are considering a home remodeling project, you need to make sure you get the quality results you want that is within your budget. Incorporate the tips above into your planning so that your bathroom is the dream that becomes your reality.