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Lessons From a DIY Bathroom Reno

What I Wish I Had Done Differently in My Bathroom Reno

These days, blogger Tanya of Dans Le Lakehouse is a pro home DIYer — but she was just a home-remodeling novice when she embarked on her first bathroom reno.

Several years after the dust settled on the project, Tanya looked back objectively on what worked and what fell flat. What she discovered? It's easy to get bogged down in the thousands of tiny decisions associated with a remodel and wind up making some big mistakes.

Do your research and learn from her experience by reading her full bathroom reno story on her blog and checking out our summary of Tanya's takeaways below.


If she had to do it again, Tanya would . . .

Hire Out the Big Work

Since she had never tackled a bathroom reno before, Tanya wisely hired out the bathtub replacement and tile surround. Having everything installed quickly and correctly was worth the extra money.

Get a Soaking Tub and Removable Shower Head

These little luxuries yielded big rewards in terms of comfort and convenience to Tanya, making them worth any extra expense.

Consider Tiling Options More Carefully

In a time crunch and overwhelmed with options, Tanya didn't bother to swap the boring white tiles that came with her bathroom package for something more stylish, like subway tiles. As a result, she forever hated the tiles in her new bathroom.

Add Some Kind of Storage Nook Into Shower

It wasn't until the shower was installed that Tanya noticed its ledge-less design left nowhere to put soap. She wishes she had been upsold on a cubby or nook in the shower so razors, shampoo, and basic bath products had somewhere to go. To solve the problem, she frustratingly had to stick an ugly suction soap dispenser on the shower wall.

Not Get a Marble Countertop

As beautiful and expensive-looking as the marble countertop on the vanity was, Tanya's love for it quickly dissolved into hate. Everything — even water — stained it, and it required lots of care, cleaning, and special maintenance products.

Install Attractive Vinyl Flooring

While vinyl flooring wasn't the sexiest material or best choice for home resale value, it worked great for Tanya and she still supports her decision to install it. She found an attractive upscale design and says it was easy to install, affordable to purchase, and super easy to clean.

Pay More Attention to Finishes

Tanya's vanity came with brushed hardware, but they unwittingly chose polished chrome for the sink. Not one to mix metals, Tanya says she wishes she had given more attention to coordinating the finishes.

Buy Higher-Quality Cabinetry

The affordable melamine cabinetry that came with the modular vanity set (vanity, hardware, sink, and counter sold as a packaged deal) seemed like a value at the time, but it couldn't stand up to the humidity in the bathroom and started showing wear quickly.

Avoid Vanities on Legs

Loving the repurposed-dresser look, Tanya opted to leave the toe kick off her vanity. She's regretted this decision since the first time she had to get on the bathroom floor to squeeze an arm and rag beneath the vanity.

Only Pick What She Loved

When it came to certain room elements, like the vanity, Tanya played it safe with a classic white, shaker style, picking with future homebuyers' tastes in mind. But she found she disliked the lackluster vanity the whole time she was in the house, preferring something more modern. While she wouldn't throw future buyers' tastes to the wind, she would pick with a focus on her own tastes next time.

Image Source: Dans Le Lakehouse
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