You feel it every time you take a shower. Your fixtures are old and outdated. Your wallpaper is curling. It’s time for a redo on your home’s bathroom.

But it all seems so overwhelming—and it can be. Without a clear, articulated plan, remodeling your bathroom is like staring into the void. However, with some careful research and planning, you can turn that amorphous project into simple, actionable steps. Here are a few tips to get you started.

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Decide How Big You Want to Go, and Decide Early

There’s a big difference between replacing an existing toilet and moving a shower clear across the room. If you’re going to be moving or adding toilets, showers, or sinks, you’ll probably need to invest in an plumber and possibly an electrician—and you’ll most likely need to prepare to pull permits for the renovation. You should decide these things early on in the process so you can budget your time and finances accordingly.

Investigate Your Space Options

If you think you are ready to do a major overhaul on your bathroom, don’t let the existing layout hold you back. There are ways to gain extra space that you may not have thought of yet. Check out your cabinets and closets—are there any that you don’t really use which can be hijacked for more square footage in the main area? Could you do with a smaller counter space or tub? When it comes to bathrooms, a few inches of extra room can make a real difference in the overall comfort level.

Document Your Products

It may seem like an obvious one, but with so many products and orders, it can be easy to slack on documentation. But your home repair store associate may not know what paint you ordered a few months ago based on your description alone. Keeping track of the products you order and where you order them from, along with the product numbers and dates, will keep you on the ball should you need to revisit.

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Splurge on Function, Not Fanciness

In the long run, you’ll be a lot happier if your shower head gives you the water pressure you like and your toilet doesn’t break down than if you install that handmade custom tile mosaic. That’s not saying you should sacrifice your room’s design! There are just a lot of affordable options when it comes to wall covering and flooring, whereas money really talks in plumbing fixtures.

Don’t Skip Out on Waterproofing

It’s a bathroom. It’s going to get wet. But if you haven’t properly waterproofed, you could be looking at a lot of eventual damage. If you’re going to be redoing your floors, for instance, you’ll need to make sure you put in the proper underlayment. And if you’re redoing any plumbing, don’t skimp on caulking and watertight joining.

Plan—Then Plan on Changing the Plan

Even the best-laid plans can go awry. That’s why it’s a good idea not to be totally inflexible about your renovation plan—you want to be able to adapt when that perfect sink isn’t available or a box of tiles is accidentally crushed. That also means being sure to set aside some extra funds to cover you should there be a hitch.

Don’t Get Too Overwhelmed

You’re going to need to do a lot of research before you start. But don’t let it get you frustrated. Small setbacks are natural with a project this size. Just take a deep breath, and take it one step at a time.

Guest Blog Post, Courtesy of Modernize.com

Author Bio: Erin Vaughan is a writer for Modernize.comand aspiring homeowner based in Austin, Texas.

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