Bathroom Remodel Ideas
By: Steve Bonser
So you’re thinking of renovating your bathroom? It’s a wise investment according to those in the know. Real estate experts say kitchen and bathroom upgrades pay the best dividends. In fact, a study by Remodeling Magazine found that updating the bathroom delivers the greatest return on money spent on your home – an average of 86.4%.
Even more modest estimates such as one by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry say that homeowners typically recoup half of expenditures devoted to improving the bathroom.
Where to begin and how much to remodel a bathroom?
Depending on your budget and how much longer you expect to stay put in your home, you may choose to just brighten things up with cosmetic changes such as new paint, wallpaper, and swapping out the cabinet doors. Or, you could go whole hog with a total remodel of everything, from tile to tub.
Naturally, costs add up quickly if you undertake a complete makeover, even if you do much of it yourself. While many homeowners feel capable of tackling minor projects such as painting walls, resurfacing countertops, and replacing medicine cabinets, think it through before taking on more. Most of us are well advised to bring in a licensed contractor for major projects such as replacing sinks, tubs and faucets, installing granite countertops, adding new fixtures, tile flooring and the like.
Professional remodelers suggest that couples discuss their desired outcomes before even setting foot in a home improvement store or calling the contractor. Determine how ambitious you want the scope of the project to be. Then, draw up a budget based on realistic objectives.
If you plan to put your home on the market within a year or two, you may simply want to achieve better eye appeal. If so, start by replacing worn-out items and brightening up the room with improved lighting and new paint or wallpaper. Cabinet doors can be replaced without much effort or cost yet can set a new tone.
If you’re focused on improving your own enjoyment, spend money on things which will elevate your daily routines. Imagine the practical benefits of a better shower head, larger tub or completely retiled shower with new glass doors. Today’s bathrooms emphasis creature comforts and relaxation (heat lamps, high end faucets, more counter space, towel heaters, and soothing color palettes), so research the latest design trends in magazine, online and at larger home supply retailers.
Here are some ideas for ensuring the best results possible for your remodel:
Start with the Sink and Work Out
Updating the vanity delivers multiple dividends. People spend more time in front of the mirror and sink attending to personal care activities than anywhere else in the bathroom. Between shaving, applying making, washing your hands and face, and retrieving items from the counter and cabinet, it’s command central. What to consider upgrading: Countertops, faucet, sink, mirror(s), cabinets. This remodel is also a good opportunity to address any plumbing issues.
Flooring and Walls
In addition to changing the look and tone of the bathroom, upgraded flooring can create a warmth and tactile response. (Most of us are barefoot while in the room, of course). Options to improve the look and comfort factor of the floor range from inexpensive sheet vinyl, plank and laminae, ceramic or porcelain tile to natural stone, and engineered wood. Radiant heating systems and heated tiles can keep feet toasty warm on the chilliest of mornings. The choices of materials to accent bathroom walls have never been greater, offering you options in moisture resistant wallpaper, semi-gloss paint, and a veritable universe of tile materials, textures and colors.
The Tub and Shower
The prevalence of showering rather than soaking has made luxuriously appointed showers the focal point of many remodels. The old standard showerhead has been replaced by multi-setting handheld shower wands, wide diameter rainforest showerheads, horizontal and waterfall showers, and double, triple and quadruple showerhead-equipped stalls. Given enough room, pulling out the tub and creating a walk-in shower may make sense, although REALTORS® caution leaving the home without a tub at all.
Today’s more luxurious tubs are deeper, wider and often provide Jacuzzi-like water circulation and bubble settings. Be aware that hot tub-style whirlpool tubs can involve higher operating costs stemming from a greater use of water, electricity and repair and maintenance.
As with any home improvement project, re-imagining the bathrooms in your home can be fun, exhilarating, and in equal parts, confusing and exhausting. Interior designers and remodeling contractors will tell you that the only thing worse than having too many options is having to finally make up your mind. But, look on the bright side: Taken on as a team effort with your significant other (include the kids if they’re interested!), you’ll successfully transform this busy and very utilitarian part of your home into a spa-like, contemplative oasis for you and the entire family. Namaste!