A longing to make the busiest room in the home function and look better has made bathroom renovations the most popular home remodeling projects that homeowners undertake. Bathroom renovations account for nearly 30 percent of home improvement projects. Prioritizing design goals helps homeowners get the job done right. Some people simply want the bathroom to work more efficiently, with more storage and with fixtures that are more efficient. Others want features that make the room function as a home spa. Most want a bathroom that looks and feels up-to-date. Too often, bathrooms become dated, trapped in a time capsule. While mid-century bathrooms can have a retro charm, it’s a style that doesn’t always gel with the style of the rest of the home or with the homeowner’s personal taste. Setting Priorities Before contacting contractors, before shopping for products or even before sketching out the first layout, homeowners need to set clear design goals. It’s not only important to decide upon a decorative style for the busy room, but to determine the desired mood and atmosphere of the space. Creating an environment that suits the lifestyles of those who inhabit the space is the best guarantee for a successful bathroom renovation. Whether it’s a sleek, modern room with an invigorating energy that helps people get up and get out the door on time in the morning, or whether it’s a warm and serene environment that helps people relax and unwind at the end of a busy day, designing for an atmosphere that enhances personal lifestyles helps ensure that the bathroom renovation will be worthwhile. Planning and Preparation One of the most pleasurable aspects of bathroom renovations is creating a wish list for the project. Collecting pictures of products, materials and decorative styles that are personally appealing into an idea folder is a good way to start. A scaled drawing of the existing bathroom, illustrating both the location of windows and doors as well as utility lines and outlets helps set design parameters. Some homeowners will choose to consult with a designer or architect to create a tentative floor plan. Others may prefer to layout the space themselves, either by drawing plans or by using 3-D software. Choosing a Contractor The most important decision of all when undertaking a bathroom renovation is choosing the contractor. It’s a decision that should never be rushed. Engaging a contractor and planning for the project typically takes longer than the renovation itself. It’s important to get estimates from several contractors. Homeowners should ask for references, both from clients and from suppliers, and should take the time to follow up with them, visiting completed projects whenever possible. Before signing a contract, homeowners will want to ensure that they understand the time-frame and work schedules for the renovation, the payment schedule and they types of payment that are accepted. A quality renovation will not only raise a home’s resale value, but will enhance the quality of life at home.