Smart Bathroom Remodel Tips for Homeowners

white bathroom interior
Photo by Jean van der Meulen on

If you’re wanting to renovate your house and bring it more in line with your style, the bathroom is a great place to begin. The master bathroom is something real estate professionals call a “money room.” It – along with the kitchen, living room, and outdoor living space – are the rooms that typically have the most influence on value when potential buyers put in offers. Whether you’re planning to sell in the near future or not, this bodes well for the money you do spend.

Reasons to Remodel Your Bathroom

There are a variety of reasons to remodel a bathroom, including both personal and monetary reasons. 

On the personal side of things, your bathroom is your retreat. It’s the place where you start your day and end your day. By investing some energy into optimizing this space, you can truly make it your own.

On the financial side of things, you can get a lot of value out of a well done bathroom remodel. The exact ROI will obviously depend on factors like the materials used, money spent, location, aesthetics, etc. You’ll get the best ROI on a “standard” or “midrange” remodel, which typically allows you to recoup 64 percent to 70 percent of your investment at resale. An upscale bathroom remodel (average cost of $61,662) will bring a smaller 56 percent return.

Bathroom Remodeling Tips and Tricks

As you begin planning your bathroom remodeling project, here are several tips and rules of thumb that will increase the likelihood of success.

  1. Spend Wisely

The biggest challenge with bathroom remodels is figuring out where to best spend your money. There are certain improvements that are inexpensive and make a big visual impact. And then there are other improvements that cost way more than they’re worth. Be strategic and avoid the latter.

One of the most expensive things you can do is relocate plumbing. Avoid this if at all possible. (In some cases, it’s necessary to move a tub or shower to reconfigure the bathroom; it’s going to have a significant impact on the visual and layout. Moving just for the sake of moving will quickly eat away at your budget, though.)

Cost-effective projects that have a big impact include new flooring, tile backsplash, updated countertops, and new hardware. You can also make a huge visual statement by investing in a frameless shower door.

  1. Trick the Eye (If Necessary)

If you’re working with a small bathroom, you should look for ways to trick the eye into making it feel bigger and more spacious. There are several ways to do this, including:

  • Expand windows to allow for more natural light and/or add a skylight.
  • Use lighter paint colors, like white or soft pastels.
  • Install a wall-hung/floating vanity that allows the floor to run underneath.
  • Try drawing the eyes up rather than keeping them at eye level. This instantly makes a space feel bigger (particularly if you have 9- or 10-foot ceilings). You can do this by using vertical wall tile or art. 

Little design tricks like this can make even the smallest bathroom feel bigger and more luxurious.

  1. Prioritize Good Lighting

Lighting isn’t something homeowners always spend a lot of time thinking about with a bathroom remodel, but it has the potential to make or break your entire design aesthetic. Prioritize good lighting and your entire renovation will look better.

Ideally, you want to layer your lighting to include task lighting (like a shower light or vanity light) and some accent lighting. Install a dimmer switch so that you can change the brightness based on how you’re feeling. As for light bulbs, a warmer bulb creates a much more luxurious vibe than harsh fluorescent/white light.

  1. Give Your Budget a Cushion

When it comes to your budget, always create some cushion to account for emergencies and changes that could pop up during the process. Generally, contractors recommend including a 10 to 15 percent cushion. That means if you think your remodel will cost $9,000, you should set aside enough to cover $9,900 – $10,350.

Putting it All Together

Every bathroom remodel is going to look a little different. However, if you keep these principles and suggestions in mind, you’ll be happier with the end result. And not only that – you’ll also recoup more value on the investment when it comes time to sell your house. Good luck!

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