Bathroom Renovation: What are the Basics?

Thinking of bathroom renovation? Are you bombarded with bathroom inspiration, choices, ideas and images all telling you what you need to create your perfect bathroom? When planning for a bathroom renovation, it is important to keep in mind both the aesthetics and the function of the space.

At Bathrooms Renovations Melbourne we strive to create a beautiful bathroom space without losing sight of the basics of bathroom renovation. A bathroom renovation is a significant investment. You want your bathroom to keep looking good and serve its basic function for many years to come.


There are many tools available to help you create your bathroom design. Don’t underestimate the role of an experienced professional who will quickly determine the kind of space you have to work with, what it is you want to fit into this room, and also whether or not it will work effectively. A modern well-designed bathroom creates a feeling of space, openness and relaxation.


Design needs to match function. Who is going to use the bathroom? What are their needs? What do they prefer? Minimalism is a strong design trend in bathrooms right now. Yet, in practical terms, a single basin mounted on a sleek bench top – with no cabinet or drawers underneath – cannot satisfy real-world bathroom storage needs.

Ease of cleaning and maintenance

Using larger tiles, tiling floor to ceiling, choice of toilet suite, inclusion of built-in shower niches, type of benchtop and cabinetry can all help to reduce the time spent cleaning and maintaining your new bathroom.


The tiles you choose for your bathroom are a pivotal part of your overall look and can have a significant impact on your bathroom budget, too. With many people now choosing to tile from floor to ceiling, the cost and impact of tiling is even greater. It is important to employ a tiling expert to achieve the perfect result.


The plumber completes a rough in of plumbing and relocates pipes and fixtures if required.  Plumbing can be relocated, however, it presents additional challenges if you are renovating in a solid brick or concrete slab house. All plumbing work needs to be completed by a licensed plumber, who is required to issue a Certificate of Compliance.


This is a vital aspect of wet area renovation in order to reduce the risk of structural damage occurring as a result of dampness, water leaks, or condensation. All waterproofing needs to comply with Australian Standards (AS 3740 – 2010).

Fittings and Fixtures

The choice for your bathroom fittings and fixtures is huge. You don’t have to choose the most expensive, however, purchasing from a bathroom specialist will assist with product warranty and back up. All plumbing products need to comply with Australian standards.

A well-designed and built bathroom will serve the needs of you and your household for many years to come. Getting the basics in a bathroom right will guarantee that your bathroom experience will be continue to be hassle-free and blissful.

Bathroom Tradespeople

Who is involved?

A total bathroom renovation involves many trades and lots of ‘know-how’ and not the best place to begin your DIY journey. All trades work needs to be completed in the correct sequence, vital to the smooth completion and quality of the renovation. At Bathroom Renovations Melbourne we oversee all aspects of the work from demolition to final fit out.

Carpenter – Builder

A total bathroom renovation starts with a full strip out of all existing fittings and fixtures, this creates a clean slate for the renovation. The bathroom space is brought back to stud and plaster walls. The builder completes any structural work, sheets the floor and later installs all the bathroom cabinetry and fittings.


The plumber completes a ‘rough in’ of plumbing and relocates pipes and fixtures if required. The plumber also completes the fit off after tiling. Plumbing work comes with a Certificate of Compliance.


The electrician relocates electrical wiring and installs new connections as required. Electrical work comes with a Certificate of Compliance.

Cabinet Maker

Our cabinet makers can create a custom-built vanity and storage areas for your bathroom. Cabinetry can also be purchased ready made.


All of our waterproofing work is completed by a specialist waterproofing company. Work is completed in accordance with Australian Standards 3740. A Statement of Waterproofing Compliance is issued.

Shower Screen Installer

Shower screens are custom made for your bathroom. The measure up is completed after the tiling stage. The shower screen is one of the last items installed.


Bathroom Tiling: Tips and Ideas

Tiles have a major impact on the overall look and feel of your bathroom and so it’s important to choose wisely. But walk into any tile showroom and the choice can be overwhelming, so what do you need to know to help you make the right decision?


For larger bathrooms we would normally recommend choosing 600mm x 600mm tiles for the floor. This requires less grout and is easier to keep clean. Choosing 300mm x 600mm tiles for the walls creates a contrast with the size of the floor tile. There is less wastage with smaller tiles.


Contrasting colours might appeal, but keeping the wall and floor tiles matching will create a more seamless look. You can add some punches of colour with tapware or bathroom accessories.

This ultimately makes a tiny space look proportionally larger. Choose lighter colours and watch your space visually expand.

White on White

‘White on white’ is one thing that has never gone out of fashion.  Colour will always date, instead, incorporate colours around your mirrors and cabinetry, or choose some brightly coloured towels.



After you have selected your perfect tile, it is time for grout selection. Choosing a contrasting grout colour to your tile will create emphasis on the grout lines and therefore make the space feel choppy and confined. If the grout and tiles are of similar or the same tone it will enhance the spacious impression you are looking for.


Tiles can be laid in a variety of patterns, however, the simplest and most common is the straight lay pattern.

Types of Tiles

Handmade tiles are usually a lot more expensive, however, they’ll give you texture and make a statement. Natural stone and concrete tiles are harder to maintain whereas porcelain and ceramic bathroom tiles are low maintenance. When choosing tiles, we recommend a timeless, classic approach. Choose a tiling aesthetic that you will be happy with for at least the next 10 years.



BRM Bathrooms choose to partner with Elegance Tiles, 690 Whitehorse Rd, Mitcham. We pass on trade prices for all tiles purchased through Elegance Tiles.

Bathroom Windows

Bathroom windows provide natural light and a feeling of openness. They link the outside elements to your inside bathroom décor. Bathroom windows allow you to take advantage of the available light and surroundings. Fortunately, you don’t need to forego your privacy to take advantage of windows in your bathroom. You can enjoy the light and views without oversharing with your neighbours.


Large windows can be used to create a modern look. Placing the bath near the window provides more than just a view for the person bathing. The bath can provide a complementary or contrasting outline to the window behind. It creates a beautiful focal point in your bathroom.

  • Glass bricks have been around for a while, however, they can still work well in a bathroom, bringing in diffused natural light and adding texture.
  • A dark-framed window can provide contrast in an otherwise light bathroom.
  • Corner bathtubs are ideal for windows on two sides.



If you will need to close up your bathroom window, blinds are the best option They look good, are easy to open and allow you to still enjoy the view.

A high window is a great way to achieve natural light in your bathroom and yet maintain your privacy.

Window in Shower Area

You can have a window in a shower area as long as it is higher than the shower enclosure. The window needs to be made of safety glass and ideally have aluminium framing. It should be correctly waterproofed and tiled if it falls within the shower line.



Skylights in bathrooms are an excellent window alternative. Bathrooms are one of the best rooms in the house to use a skylight. Improved by additional natural light, bathrooms become more comfortable during daylight hours. Even when the sun has gone down, the provision of a skylight in a bathroom has a positive effect.

Larger bathrooms, that already have big windows, can still have a noticeable improvement by the addition of skylights.

Vanity: The Bathroom Kind

A bathroom vanity is the combination of the bathroom basin and the storage that surrounds it. It holds the sink and usually conceals the associated plumbing. The vanity provides much needed storage space.

The vanity can be the focal point of the bathroom. Alternately the vanity can subtly complement your chosen fittings and fixtures.

The size of the vanity will generally depend on the size of the bathroom itself as it is important that the vanity is in proportion.  Double vanities are a common choice if there is available space. With double vanities, two people can use the bathroom at the same time.


– Above Counter

Above counter basins sit on top of a vanity or bench and can be a striking focal point in your bathroom.

– Wall Mounted

A wall-mounted basin is great for small spaces.

– Semi inset

Semi inset basins are partially inset into the top of a vanity. They are very practical because they make maximum use of space above and below the counter.

– Inset or Vanity

Inset or vanity basins are deep or shallow basins that are set either flush with your vanity or have an inset edge. They are a practical, discreet and open design.


The benchtop is an element that your eye gravitates towards first. Draw attention to your vanity with your choice of top. Caesarstone has become a popular choice for bathroom benchtops. It is ideal for wet areas, resistant to stains and common household chemicals. Caesarstone maintains its lustre. Other popular choices are Laminex and solid timber.

Doors and Drawers

The vanity design needs to suit your needs. A combination of shelves and drawers is usually required. Most people need plenty of storage for toiletries, cosmetics, hairdryers, hair straighteners, cleaning products, medications, and anything else that you want to have easy access to.  You may also want to keep one set of fresh towels in your vanity, for easy access, and for aesthetic purposes.

Today, having cabinets and drawers without handles is becoming a popular option. Instead of a handle the cabinetmaker creates a fingerbox. This is a space behind the door or drawer, allowing you to open it with your fingers.

Toilets: All You Need to Know

Toilets like most bathroom fittings and fixtures have come a long way over the years. The toilet suite adds to the aesthetic of your bathroom as well as serving an important function. The following information will have you speaking the language of toilets in no time.

Dual Flush Toilets

The dual flush toilet was a game changer for Australia. It was designed by South Australian company Caroma, who were encouraged by a Commonwealth Government industry grant to come up with a way to save water. Launched in 1981, it proved to be a success and laws were soon introduced to make dual flush toilets compulsory in new buildings.

Plumbing Toilets

If you’re building a bathroom from scratch or completing a total bathroom renovation then you can pretty much choose any style of toilet you want and tailor your plumbing to suit.

Pan Types

Australia has three common pan types. The trap is the bend in the toilet pipe that expels the waste.

  • S-trap has a pipe connected to the floor
  • P-trap pipe connects to the wall
  • Skew trap has a pipe that extends either side of the toilet bowl.

Set Out

Before you choose a toilet, it’s important to first establish the ‘set-out’ you need. This is the distance from the wall to the centre of the waste outlet for an S-trap, and the floor to the outlet for a P-trap.

Water Efficiency

The Australian Government introduced a WELS scheme to help reduce the water consumption in homes. Based on a star rating system, it measures the amount of water per flush. A 3 STAR rating uses 6L for a full flush and 3L for a half flush. While a 4 STAR rating uses 4.5L for a full flush and 3L for a half flush.

Positioning of the Toilet

Even though toilets are more attractive these days, the toilet should not be the first thing that is seen when you enter the bathroom. Position the toilet at the side of the room, not smack bang in the centre of the space where one’s eye line is immediately drawn.


Close couple toilets are ideal for mid-range bathroom renovations. The cistern sits directly on top of the toilet pan, making it fully integrated and easier to clean. They come in a variety of styles but don’t really offer flexibility with the set-out.

The connector suite or ‘link suite’ is where the cistern and pan are linked only by the flush pipe, concealed by a plastic plate. You get more flexibility because the pan can be moved forwards or backwards to suit any set-out.

The wall-hung pan is a discreet and stylish design. It’s mounted to a bracket in the wall and takes up less space than traditional units. The in-wall cistern offers a clean, uncluttered look that saves space and is easier to clean.

Wall faced toilets sit flush against your bathroom wall to conceal all the pipe work. They are modern, tasteful and easy to clean.