The job of installing our wall-mounted fixtures was tougher than it had to be, thanks to poor and contradictory one-size-fits-all instructions, metric fittings and duplicate and missing mounting parts. Prevent hard-to-fix future problems by test-fitting the actual fixtures when roughing in framing, plumbing and blocking to make sure everything will work out. Then finish the walls. When test-fitting, simulate finished floor and wall surfaces to get the clearances right.

With a DIY mind-set, the owners of this small master bathroom created a personal sanctuary on a budget. This Asian butcher table, found at an antiques shop, was repurposed for the vanity. The table maintains its authenticity with a simple above-counter sink. A new mirror adds a modern touch, while a pebble-tile "rug" on the floor adds texture and a spa-like accent.

Planning. Both DIY and contractor remodeling jobs depend on good up-front planning in order to control costs and keep things speedy. Some of the key elements include drawing plans (essential if your remodel will involve layout changes to the bathroom), obtaining building permits, signing contracts with any pros you will use and scheduling their time, and sourcing and ordering materials. A general contractor will do most of this work for you (which is why he costs more), but to save money, you can do all the planning work yourself. 


A DIY bathroom makeover is not complete without new floor tiles. But before you start grinding away with the grouting, use a mason’s chalk line to mark reference lines perpendicular (at a 90-degree angle) to the wall with the longest continuous line. This will allow you to keep your tiles in a straight line, avoiding the dreaded crooked tiling job.
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