Chruchil Estates Remodel
Donerail Master Bathroom

Working with a designer or architect may seem like a pricey move right out of the gate for someone wanting to remodel their bathroom in San Antonio on a budget, but it is money well spent. Having a plan you’ve worked out with a professional will assure you that your design, budget and timeline are realistic, and it will give you a goal with a path to get there. 

Seven Tips for Bathroom Remodeling in San Antonio:

  1. Create a Detailed Plan Before You Start

Whatever you do, don’t think you can get away with “figuring it out as you go.” You need to have a comprehensive and thought out plan from the very beginning.

Never underestimate the process or just how many details come along with it. Otherwise, you might get stuck halfway through. Things like an electrical swap may seem simple, but in almost all cases they aren’t.  Just know any deviation from the plan cost money because they weren’t accounted for in the original scope of work.

With enough careful planning ahead of time, you won’t be left having to start over or with mismatched items that look beautiful on their own but hideous together.

We always do a detailed CAD drawing of the new bathroom remodel so that our clients, subcontractors, supplier know exactly where everything goes and we can get an accurate estimate/budget on all materials.

2.  It’s Incredibly Easy to Go Over Your Budget

Before beginning to remodel your bathroom, do yourself a favor and have plan to spend at least $5,000 over your budget.  Depending on how large of renovation you are doing, just know there will be unexpected things that come up that couldn’t be accounted for in the original scope of work (termite, water damage, electrical re-wiring, etc)  For most of our clients that live in Alamo Heights and Terrell Hills area, the bathroom has not been updated in quite some time, if ever.  Old plumbing pipes need to be replaced, old knob and tube electrical wire needs to be replaced with romex, the old lath and plaster needs to go and be updated with hardi backer board (and red guard moisture sealer).

Undoubtedly, the bathroom design you choose will have a huge impact on the cost of the job. If you need to relocate a bathtub or sink within the bathroom, extensive plumbing is usually required – which increases the cost of the work significantly. Budget generously.

  1. You Might Want to Stay Elsewhere During the Remodeling

It’s no secret that a bathroom remodeling project can be really messy and noisy, especially if you have a baby or small children.

Although you may want to monitor the progress of the work, you should probably stay clear during the demolition phase. Whatever was in that bathroom that you’re planning on getting rid of and replacing has to come out. This brings dust, dirt, debris, and a whole lot of mess traipsing from the bathroom to the front door of your home (even if the workers are relatively clean and careful.)

If you have small children or toddlers, it’s also a good idea to spend as much time outside of the house since workers may leave dangerous tools around and building materials might be more exposed.  There will be times when the water and power needs to be shut off and that means no hot water, no internet and no electricity for some periods of time. 

Lastly, the layout of your house will help determine whether you should stay or crash elsewhere. If you only have one bathroom, this is a no-brainer, especially for those who don’t want to use

  1. Work With Your Existing Bathroom Footprint

If you want to save money in your bathroom remodel, try to get a handle on the footprint of your bathroom. Look at your plumbing fixtures, lighting, cabinets, and the overall look. Sometimes, the remodeling process can be complicated because of tight spaces. Try to consider everything, even specifics like making the cuts needed to accommodate nooks and laying the tiles in awkward spaces.  Moving plumbing is a big cost of the total budget.  If you live in house that is pier and beam, it is easier to move the plumbing than having to chip a slab on grade foundation.  It can be done, but costs more money.

You might be thinking that you’d really like to switch the tub with the shower. Although this might be good idea in theory, you should never ignore the existing footprint. If you want to increase space, decide whether you need to move a wall. Sometimes, working within the existing space may not be ideal, but it will definitely help you save money. Even if you do choose to change your bathroom’s layout, make sure to take great measurements and to base your design off of them.  We always recommend keeping at least one tub in the house for resale value.  Kids like to take baths and if you take them all out, it could deter someone from buying your home down the road when it’s time to sell.

  1. Functionality Should Come Before Beauty

Every homeowner wants to create a bathroom that boasts their style and creativity. However, functionality must come before aesthetics when remodeling your bathroom. Remember to think about efficiency and how you can use the available space. Despite being the smallest room in the house, a bathroom is where you jump start your day and you want everything to work smoothly and easily – especially before your morning coffee.

While a shower gives you more square feet to play with than a tub, you should consider who will be using it. If you have older folks living in your home, a simple shower-to-tub-conversion can be practical.

Another way of improving functionality would be to add more storage spaces. Keep your towels, toiletries, and other daily essentials tucked away. Consider how you use your bathroom space every day and then remodel accordingly. If you struggle to bend down, consider placing your storage on shelves or in reachable cabinets. Also, adding a few shower caddies and elegant towel hooks is a simple and effective way to make your bathroom both functional and beautiful.

If design and functionality don’t work together, you’ll end up with a bathroom that is inconvenient to get in and out of. Think of the areas that aren’t working for you now, and determine how you can remedy the problem in your remodel.

  1. Lighting Matters

Lighting requires careful thought. You can’t just install a few light fixtures in a small bathroom and call it a day. Even the most gorgeous remodel will look incomplete when you don’t have the proper lighting in place. The simplest way to brighten your bathroom is by diffusing the light from the center of the ceiling.

Another lighting idea involves the use of layers. Layered lighting can enhance the beauty of the space and will distribute the light evenly for you. You should aim for a combination of light in the form of pendants, chandeliers, and flush mounts. Your second layer should highlight the architectural features and the third should be designed for grooming activities. If you want to control the room’s mood and ambiance, think about installing a dimmer. Each lighting element will create the mood you want.  We always prefer a little too much light that can be controlled by a dimmer switch.

Skylights can also be another alternative to introduce natural light into the bathroom if windows are not option.

  1. Splurge on a Few High-End Materials

If you want to increase the value of your home, use the right materials. Splurging on a few materials and finishes can really make your space incredibly luxurious.  Countertops and light fixtures are great example.

Before you start the project, think of two or three items that you would absolutely fall in love with if you had in your bathroom. It might be a special tub or shower or a particular kind of tile for the floor. If you’re on a very tight budget, think of one or two.

When it comes to fixtures, this almost always comes down to personal taste. Instead of plastic, you can go for for stainless steel materials. Believe it or not, installing a high-end shower head might at first seem expensive, you’ll be surprised by just how little they really do cost in comparison to the return on investment you’ll get (both in terms of enjoying a better shower and when it comes time to sell your house).

If you’re going to splurge on your bathroom floor, make sure to go for a non-slip porcelain tile. While you’re likely to fall in love with most natural stones, porcelain is probably a better option. It comes in different colors, textures, and is almost indestructible. It’s also very hard (if not impossible) to stain. Also, keep in mind that most porcelain mimics natural stone varieties like limestone and granite.


Alamo Heights bathroom remodel
Sir Lancelot Bathroom Before
renovate my bathroom in alamo heights
Sir Lancelot Bathroom After