Bathroom remodeling projects range from a simple makeover that gives the utilitarian room a fresh new look to a high-end renovations that can transform the space into a luxury home spa. Although you may think that your budget is the most important factor when it comes to achieving stellar results, you may be surprised to discover just how far a dash of imagination and a splash of creativity can take you. Strategic planning, a healthy dose of elbow grease and a few savvy products can turn your tired old bathroom into a functional and stylish space.

Plan for the Long Term

Whether you've decided upon a cosmetic makeover or on an extensive renovation, you need to consider your long-term goals and needs before getting started. A well-designed and properly executed bathroom will raise your home's market value, allowing you to recoup much of your investment when it comes time to sell your home. According to an annual cost-ratio analysis conducted by Remodeling Magazine, you can expect to recover around 65 percent of your expenses with a mid-level bathroom remodel. Shoddy work and cheap materials, on the other hand, can make your home more difficult to sell.

You may also wish to include fixtures and features that will adapt to your changing needs, such a shower bench or wall-mounted vanity that accommodates seated users. Known as Universal Design, products that allow people to age in place are also high on a homebuyer's wish list. Although a bathroom do-over gives you the chance to imprint your own personality onto the space, avoid fads and trends that can make the space look dated in just a few years.

Money-Saving Bathroom Remodeling Tips

Even if you're not operating under a limited budget, it makes sense to make the most out of every dollar. Sound design strategies can save you money on the nuts-and-bolts aspects of remodeling and allow you to indulge in a luxury amenity like radiant flooring or a free-standing bathtub. Experts agree that the simplest way to cut labor costs is to retain your bathroom's existing footprint. Moving fixtures entails moving the associated plumbing and electrical conduits as well, which drives up expenses.

Material choices significantly affect final costs as well. Generally, synthetic materials are more affordable than natural materials, but that doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice style. If you love the look of natural wood flooring, for example, consider wood look-alikes crafted in vinyl or ceramic tiles. A fiberglass tub surround is substantially less expensive to install than ceramic or stone tile, and if you finish the installation off with a stylish door or shower curtain, the result can be as visually appealing.

Don't Scrimp on Functionality

Even the most stylish makeover won't be worth the investment if the space doesn't meet your functional needs. A smart-looking bathroom without adequate storage will quickly devolve into a cluttered and chaotic space. A poorly designed sink can result in unnecessary spills and splashes. One item that you definitely shouldn't scrimp on is the faucet on your shower, tub or sink. Although people often experience a bit of sticker shock when shopping for faucets, quality fixtures protect you from costly plumbing repairs and replacements later.

Accessorize with Style

In a functional space like a bathroom, accessories offer you an affordable way to infuse the room with unique style. Replacing hardware like cabinet knobs and pulls, towel racks and lighting fixtures with coordinated pieces helps give the space a feeling cohesion and unity. Accessories give you an opportunity to create a distinctive focal point too, whether it's an eye-catching window treatment, a sparkling pendant light or an artfully framed vanity mirror.

Whatever your budget, a bathroom makeover can enhance both the style and the functionality of the hard-working room. With careful planning, smart material choices and a few strategically placed amenities and accessories, you can transform any bathroom in your home into a showcase for your good taste.

If you're thinking of remodeling in the near future click here for a great list of contractors to help get you the bathroom you have always dreamed of.