1. Decide what to keep - Which items in the bathroom you currently own really have to go and which can stay? For example, if you can keep the floors and the shower/tub in tact it could end up saving you a lot of money. Can you keep the location of everything just as is or do you need to move it around? This is the difference between what we call replacement in kind or full gut remodel. If you keep all your plumbing fixtures in their original location this could potentially save a lot on overall cost.
2. Create a Mood board of all the items you like and see how they work together. Include anything you are keeping on the board like floor tile, shower head, vanity etc because it will visually allow you to see how each element relates to one another! Snap a picture and you can print them all out and glue them to a board or use photoshop or indesign to create a digital version.
3. Dream big then cut back - This is another strategy I think is helpful to clients when trying to determine cost vs. value of certain items. The best thing to do is start really high level with your dream fixtures and finishes and then cut back to fit your actual budget. This will allow you to compare things with real numbers and context and you can make better decisions once you see the overall number.
4. Create a budget - Put together a really simple spreadsheet that outlines how much you want to spend and work backwards. Some plumbing fixtures have multiple components so you will want to do the necessary research to figure out which ones need rough in valves etc.
5. Review and Edit - I always tell my clients to sit with the mood boards I create for them for a few days or weeks to see if anything stands out that they start to dislike. Hang a copy of it up somewhere you look often and keep referring back to it until you absolutely love everything on it and can't live without the whole package!
Here are some Mood board examples that might inspire you to get started!!!