Close your eyes. Picture your dream bathroom. What do you see?

Do you know how much it would cost to make your vision a reality? Can you really afford heated flooring and double sinks? What about a claw-foot bathtub? The answer is YES – if you budget properly!

No matter what your perfect bathroom includes, this guide will help you decide where your dollars should go. So, stop daydreaming and start budgeting!

Before you begin, nail down the total dollar amount you’re comfortable spending. Remember, 40-50 percent of a remodeling budget is often spent on labor and installation costs. Here is a good way to break down the other 50 percent of your costs:

Spend 20% on Plumbing Essentials

It’s important that your new bathroom is functional, so choose the best quality for the essentials – toilet, drains and showerhead. Be ready to set aside about 20 percent of your overall budget for these. Tip: Don’t forget about energy efficiency during your remodel! Look into low-flow showerheads and LED lights to save water and electricity (and money on your utility bills)!

Spend 10-15% on Surfaces

Your surfaces truly determine the "look" of your bathroom, so pay attention to the following pieces:

  1. Cabinetry. We recommend spending a decent amount of your budget on solid cabinetry and hardware. Remember, you’ll be opening these babies up almost every day, so you want them to be durable!
  2. Flooring. When you’re floor shopping, make sure it’s slip-resistant in some way (it will be your biggest ally against bathroom accidents)! Any other detail – color, material, etc. – is up to your personal taste. The price of flooring depends on the material, and can range from vinyl (least expensive) to stones like ceramic or slate (most expensive). Tip: For a spa-worthy addition, (or if you live in a region with incredibly cold winters), consider spending a few extra dollars on heated tile.
  3. Tile.  Don’t want to break the bank on retiling your bathroom? Do this: Save the “wow” factor of fancy tile designs for areas of the room that will see the most action. For example, the sidewall of the shower doesn’t need the same type of pricey tile as your vanity backsplash.

Spend 5-10% on Countertops

Ask yourself: how many people in your household will be using the bathroom? If you have multiple people sharing one bath, you may want to opt for a low-maintenance, affordable countertop surfaces. That way, you’ll get more surface area for less cash.

Spend 5% or Less on Decor Details

When it comes down to it, the feel and look of your new bathroom will come down to the details like art and color. The easiest place to start is with wall color. For an idea on what types of paint are worth splurging on, read: How Much Should You Pay for a Can of Pain.

Optional: Set Aside an Additional 20% as a Buffer

Some remodeling projects end up costing more than their original budget. Give yourself some wiggle room! Once you have your total, add an additional 20 percent to your budget. This extra money will cover any unexpected costs.

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