Bathroom renovations, like kitchens, are the type of improvements that can often fully recoup their costs in terms of adding value to your home should you choose to sell it. Not only that, but we get to enjoy the benefits in the meantime! Upgrading fixtures and and improving appearance is the main reason people renovate their bathrooms, but we also do it to make the space more functional, increase our home value, meet any changing needs of those living in the home, and to improve organization and storage. Each of these things should be considered when deciding on the scope of our renovations. I love looking at high end bathrooms and trying to simulate the general look on a much smaller budget.
With an upscale bathroom renovation costing around $25,000 and up, and mid range around $10,000, its important to decide on what we want to fix most in a small scale renovation.
Some recent bathroom trends to look for:
- black fixtures
- flooring that runs right into the shower with no seam or separation
- more of an earthy look with neutral stone or matte tiles
- floating vanities
- larger showers with glass enclosures
- storage ledges around tubs, vanities and showers
- clean, simple hardware
- home spas with over-spilling water, multiple sprayers, steam
- rain showerheads
- energy-efficient, luxury fixtures
- tankless or wall mounted toilets
- double sinks
High Budget – Installing an entirely new bathroom
A high end bathroom in an upper scale neighborhood can easily cost upward of $25,000. Gutting a bathroom entirely and putting a new luxury bathroom in is out of the budget of many of us, but the general looks and ideas from these luxury bathrooms can often be reproduced on a smaller scale at a much lower budget.
I am a firm believer in pulling a few elements from a higher end room and incorporating them into an otherwise more modest room just to add the “wow” factor. A few items which would work are the following (click for details):
The Toto FLT142#80 Waza Noir Cast Iron Self-Rimming Lavatory, Matte Black is a gorgeous sink that would give that wow factor easily. The Zen-inspired styling would work great in a spa like room, featuring organic contours and a sleek surface inspired by nature. The cast iron lavatory comes complete with mounting hardware and an installation template, and is self-rimming for easy installation. Don’t forget to pair new vessel sinks with proper vessel faucets, which are taller and designed to minimize splash back, such as the KSB- NS8410DKL Water Onyx single handle vessel sink faucet.
Wall hung toilets add a lot of style to a bathroom, as well as saving space. Not only does this KOHLER 6299-7 Veil Wall-Hung Elongated Toilet Bowl have a sleek, seamless look, but the design makes it super easy to clean. Its worth looking for these flat sided toilets in lower budget renovations to avoid trapping the bacteria and dirt that ridged toilets are prone to.
Although many are opting to do high end bathrooms with only a large walk in shower, tubs are still popular, and can have a huge impact on the style of a room. Copper brings another natural element into our home, and the luxury provided by tubs like this Barclay Greco Double Slipper Copper Claw Feet In Nic is in a league of its own. However, there are versions of free standing tubs for most budgets.
Medium Budget – Replacing Fixtures, Tile, Vanity, Lighting & Cosmetic
For a budget in the $10,000 range a lot of changes can be made to a bathroom, including fixture and lighting replacements and new tile. If you can incorporate even one higher budget item into a smaller budget renovation it can really have a lot of impact.
A free standing tub adds a lot of style to a bathroom. If the tub and tile are being replaced anyways, its a good opportunity to install one of the new tubs, as the acrylic tubs have become more affordable over the past year or two. One thing to watch for though is that the faucets for these tubs can cost almost as much as the tubs. You can cut costs by getting a free standing tub where the faucet mounts on the side, or by buying a combination tub/faucet like AKDY Bathroom White Color FreeStand Acrylic Bathtub And Faucet.
If you are replacing floor tiles, it would be a good time to consider a furniture style or wall hung vanity. Many vanities, such as this 48″ Verdana Vessel Sink Bathroom Vanity, come with the faucet and sink included. Furniture style vanities add a lot of style to a room, with very little sacrifice in storage space, since most cabinets do not offer storage behind the toe kick.
Low Budget – Replacing Fixtures, Tile, Lighting & Cosmetic
Doing renovations on a low budget is all about discovering what you like in higher budget bathrooms, and trying to replicate the general look on a lower budget by trying to incorporate a few elements. For instance, existing cabinetry can often be refinished and new hardware added, making a huge improvement in the appearance. Please refer to the Cabinet Paint and Countertop Paint sections in my Small Budget Do It Yourself Kitchen Renovations blog for information on using the amazing Nuvo Cabinet Paint and Giani Granite Paint to transform your existing cabinetry.
A low vessel sink/faucet combo can be another good way to keep your existing cabinetry and countertop, yet still provide an updated look to the room. The sinks with larger bases can simply cover the old plumbing hole left by removing the old sink, and sit on top of your counter. Some, like the ELITE Bathroom Rectangle White Porcelain Ceramic Vessel Sink & Short Brushed Nickel Faucet Combo, are designed to cover the holes from the previous faucets too. Its important to measure and make sure the size of your replacement sink will cover both, or you will need to install faucets that will fit the existing holes if the sink doesn’t cover that area. Remember that vessel sinks need higher faucets to prevent messes from splashing.
Another thing in an old bathroom that can make it look outdated are the old sliding doors on the tub. A new modern style shower door like the DreamLine Aqua Uno 34 in. Frameless Hinged Tub Door is another easy way to update the look of the room as long as you can remove the old door frame without leaving a noticeable mess on your tile, or are replacing tile.
If the tile around your bathtub is in poor condition, white tiles can usually be found on sale and have a timeless style if you are able to do the work yourself. Another option is a wall surround, which are basic, functional, and an easy fix with very little effort or expense, but probably not of a quality a person would want long term.
Lighting can not only outdate a bathroom, but old bathrooms are often poorly illuminated. Replacing the fixture over a vanity can drastically improve the functionality of the room by bringing added light. A modern light fixture such as this Progress Lighting P2978-09 3-Light Wall Bracket will make your room look stylish and much brighter, which is great when putting on your makeup or shaving or doing hair.
If your towel rod and other bathroom accessories have become old and rusty looking, you can get kits with a modern look quite inexpensively, like this DELTA 138284 Greenwich, Bath Hardware Accessory, 3 Piece Kit in Polished Chrome. I like chrome because it has a timeless factor so won’t need to be replaced again when trends change.
When it comes to flooring, sticky tiles are about as inexpensive and easy as it gets. I like the look of these Achim Home Furnishings VFP2.0MO10 3-Foot by 6-Inch Tivoli II Vinyl Floor Planks, Medium Oak, 10-Pack, bringing the look of hardwood into an area where its not always the best choice of flooring. Sticky tiles are a great way to easily redo a floor in a short amount of time for a very small cost. This particular kind comes with a ten year warranty.
If you need to replace a toilet, it would be wise to consider two features, comfort height and elongated bowl. It is now possible to get these features at reasonable prices, as in the American Standard 2886.216.020 H2Option Siphonic Dual Flush Right Height Elongated Two-Piece Toilet. The features are well worth the extra money in my opinion. The extra height makes it easier for older people or those with disabilities to stand, and is comfortable for taller people.
If you’re adding an entirely new bathroom to a house, you need more than a basic knowledge of drainpipes and sewer lines. Involving a professional at some stages of a renovation is often necessary and a wise investment. Upflush toilets like this Saniflo SaniBEST: Macerating Upflush Toilet Kit (with Elongated Bowl) can recoup their added costs by avoiding the necessity of cutting through basement slabs, resulting in lower installation costs. They take about a half hour to tie-in, and some even permit sinks or shower units to drain into them.