Project Planning

I have two favorite parts of a project: the planning stage and getting started. For me, the planning phase of each project is where I sit down and imagine all the possibilities of what a room can look like, how well it can function and how I get the existing room from A-Z with the least amount of time and money. It is so much fun for me and I think I have an advantage because I can visualize the big picture and see what I need to do to get there. Not everyone has that same visualization ability which can make project planning pretty daunting. I’ll share with you the process that I went through  when planning my master bathroom remodel so you can take some of my crazy and make it your own. I think some of my process does seem long and overly complicated but keep in mind it usually happens gradually over several weeks or even months. Renovating my home is something that I love and am passionate about so I do spend a lot of time thinking about what my house could look like someday, but I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you’re the same way.  


The first step I take is figuring out how the room is going to be used when I’m done. This is a bathroom that is going to stay a bathroom so on the surface it seems pretty self-explanatory. But I like to dive deeper than that. This is the half bath that is connected to our master bedroom, I know that I don’t like to get ready in the main bathroom because that’s where the only shower is and when I’m getting ready Ty is either in the shower or has just showered and the heat and humidity don’t mix well with the mop on my head, so I avoid it at all costs.

Two key points came out of this shower time revelation and will help steer me away from certain design choices. 1. I need a lot of storage to hold my beauty products meaning those cool open vanity things, while pretty, won’t be much use to me in here and 2. I need a lot of counter space when I do my makeup. To make the room feel bigger I was initially thinking I would install a smaller vanity but that would mean on losing counter space which I’m not willing to do.  

Once I have a good idea what the room will be used for I turn to Pinterest. I make a board for the project I’m working on: Master Bathroom. Then Pin away. I pin literally everything that catches my eye but the important thing is to make a note of specifically why you’re pining it, for reference later. Once I feel like I have a good amount of pins that cover most aspects of the room, lighting, color, tile, window coverings, I scroll through the board and pull out patterns. I noticed that I pinned mostly neutral rooms, a lot of grey, with simple tile and fun accent colors and art but nothing too bold or statement making. Here is my Pinterest board for my most recent bathroom renovation. Here! It’s seems pretty random but you can start to pull out patterns if you look closely. 


I then pair down my Pinterest board so I can use it as resource through the project without having to weed through ALL of my previous pins. I simply create an additional board: Master Bathroom Final. I Pin one maybe two examples of each feature in the room. This helps me build the specific look of the room, it’s almost like creating a mood board but a lot less work.


Order of operations is so important to keep in mind, especially at the beginning of a project. This is where I feel like my crazy really comes out because I’m a planner at heart and like to have EVERYTHING squared away before I pick up a hammer. Here is what my planning schedule looked like for this reno:

  1. Demo Everything
  2. Paint walls
  3. Install tile floor
  4. While mortar is drying start rehab of dresser turned vanity
  5. Grout Floor
  6. While grout is setting continue work on dresser/vanity
  7. Install base molding, caulk and paint.
  8. Wire new light fixture
  9. Install and plumb vanity
  10. Install toilet
  11. Add Decor

Notice there are no time estimates or date associated with this, it’s just a list, in-order, of what needs to be done.

Once I have a general idea for the look of the room and a loose game plan, I then start shopping. Since I’m a bargain hunter, shopping can take a while. For this project I scoured resale stores and craigslist to find nearly every element in the room. When I’m shopping I revert back to my schedule in order to focus on the things I need to do first. In this case I knew that finding a vanity to fit my awkward room was going to take a while so I started there. At the same time I was keeping an eye out for a good deal on floor tile that went with the paint color I selected. Once I found the vanity I switched my focus and started to look for lights for the Vanity.


With a project this small I could probably keep an eye out for everything I needed but for really big projects, with a lot of layers like a kitchen remodel, this can become extremely difficult and overwhelming, so I’ll force myself to focus on a 3-4 things at a time. Also, when I’m working on a specific project like this, I like to keep any measurements I might need in my purse along with a tape measure. This way when I’m out and see a great deal on a mirror I will know if it’s going to fit my space.

After I have created a game plan and started to pick finishes I start to put together a timeline for the entire project. I say do this after finishes are picked because that can have a lot to do with your timeline. It doesn’t make sense to set a two week timeline then decided to create a wet room and tile every surface, you’ll never be done in two weeks. One thing that is super common with DIYers, myself included, is to not allocate enough time for each step in the project. Because of the size of the room, I knew each task would be relatively quick But it’s hard to know how long it’s going to take you to tile 25 square feet if you’ve never laid tile before. With research you can usually get to a good average, but then add a big cushion just in case.

Finally, once all of these steps are complete I will actually start a project. I know this process sounds long and daunting but it’s a lot easier than it sounds. From the point when I decided to makeover this bathroom till I started the renovation was about 3 weeks and the whole renovation took just over two weeks to complete. In the grand scheme of things, 5 weeks is nothing to have a brand new bathroom that is much more functional and beautiful than before.

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