Your bathroom isn’t just a pit stop room, it’s a sanctuary for relaxation, an oasis of self, and a retreat from reality. The bathroom is not only one of the most used rooms in your house (second to the kitchen) it is also one of the rooms you stand to benefit considerably from putting a few pennies into. Bathrooms have anywhere from a 60%-100% return on investment, assuming you make the right choices. 😉
This list will help guide you in the right direction with smart design ideas that will give you the most bang for your buck, whether you’re selling or staying put.
Remember to keep in mind what is reasonable when redesigning your bathroom. It wouldn’t make sense to do a $40,000 bathroom renovation on a $100,000 house. You want to stay within the range of your neighborhood and home. Sometimes the slightest improvements will make the most significant differences.
This year is the year of texture, neutrals, minimalism, technology, and sustainability. What is trendy today is a timeless look. Styles that will look good forever, are durable enough to outlast trends, and simply put – simple. Our lives are the decor in this day and age.
Neutral tones serve as the back drop for pops of color that are incorporated seamlessly through interchangeable pieces. When designing, be aware the best designs are those that assert function and longevity over trend.
When it comes to making dramatic changes in a room as small as the bathroom, the best place to start is at your feet. Floors set the tone for the entire room, so it’s essential that you begin with a color that will work well in your space. Play with lighter hues to open up a smaller space. White is trendy right now, but also happens to be timeless, an important factor when it comes time to sell.
- Ceramic/Porcelain Hard Wood Tiles: Love the hardwood look but can’t justify materials prone to warping and swelling in a humid space such as the bathroom? The solution: woodgrain tile. It’s more durable than hardwood and needs less maintenance, a major selling point in this fast paced day and age.
It also happens to be on trend these days, with the same cost and installation prices as hardwoods, ranging from $10-$20 per sq ft., it only makes sense that wood grain tiles would have the same ROI as hardwood flooring. Did I mention you get the appearance of hardwood floors without cutting down a single tree?
- Large Tiles: Tiles are tending toward larger sizes these days. Mosaics are out and 24” is the new standard size for tiles. Keep this trend classic by opting for a polished marble or natural stone. Large tiles can cost anywhere from $7-$20 per sq ft. including installation.
- Unique Tiles: This year has seen a surge in patterned tiles. If you cant resist a good pattern, opt for classic colors like black and white, or a neutral grey. Like the look but can’t quite take the plunge? Try it out with a border or small backsplash area. Or skip the flashy tile and try a herringbone pattern with plain subway tiles for a unique yet non color committal look. Patterned tiles generally cost $11- $17 per sq ft with installation.
The downside to opting for tile is keeping grout clean and cold feet, but in a small space like the bathroom you can easily remedy these issues. Opt for a darker colored grout such as black.
You’ll still need to clean regularly as you would with any surface, but at least stains won’t be an issue. As for keeping your toes warm, add heating components under tiles or the old fashioned way with a nice cozy rug. Heated floors attract buyers like bees to honey.
2. Textured Walls:
- Textured Wall Tiles: Textured walls are all the rage, adding depth and intrigue to a once bland surface. Textured wallpaper in the bathroom may sound like a good, cost-effective idea, but the humidity will certainly undermine the adhesive and end up costing you more in the long run. If you’re looking for longevity, opt for dramatic 3D ceramic or porcelain wall tile.
Textured tile was on the rise last year and will likely continue growing in popularity this year, and with a good reason. Geometric, waves, high-low patterns and more all add a greater range of depth and intrigue. Find your favorite and give it a go for $15 – $30 per sq ft.
- Textured Wall Panels: 3D wall panels range in cost from $30 – $200 per sq meter depending on the material and method. Bamboo, gypsum, glass, pulp, aluminum, plastic and so on, all vary in price.
Panels can be highly custom and employ a number of professionals, from artists to designers and developers. The completed look is seamless and bold. An alternative to textured panels are smaller scale wall panels. With a wide range in repetitive textures starting from $8 per sq ft and up, they can be a good option for smaller areas.
Nix the single source lighting and bring on the beams. Smaller spaces require brighter light to open up the space.
The bathroom has tons of opportunity to create an atmosphere of both relaxation and function. Install dramatic fixtures with LED bulbs for a greater ROI.
LEDs save on energy and can last about 50 times longer than regular bulbs.
- Vanity lighting: When designing lighting for the vanity/sink area, it is key to eliminate shadows and dark corners. Light should be coming in from all angles, enabling a practical application of the space. Brighten up the vanity with pendant lights, sconces, and vertical lighting mounted on either side of the mirror will spread even light where it needs to. Accomplish flawless lighting for around $150 – $300.
- Overhead: Illuminate the entire room with a striking yet purposeful centerpiece. Minimalist chandeliers are a perfect way to do just that. Clean lines with clear glass or non existent shades/bulbs or a bare bulb cluster lend an industrial and sophisticated touch. Sometimes less says so much more. Ranging in price from $250 – $1,000 including installation.
- Shower: Normally not a focal point for lighting in the bathroom, showers are stepping into the spot light. Instead of relying on overhead lighting from beyond the bathtub, make a point to incorporate a practical fixture such as recessed canned lighting to avoid electrical mishaps. There are also more decorative options specifically designed for a wet area, ranging from $320 to $440 available from Creative Systems Lighting.
Depending on the space you are working with, you have a wide variety of options, all as equally beautiful as the next. The vanity is a style focal point for the bathroom, so be sure it flows with the color scheme, texture, and overall feel of the room.
Floating Trough Sinks work well with limited space. Great for half baths or narrow spaces, floating trough sinks are, contrary to the name, quite elegant and appealing.
If you have a little more spatial wiggle room, a granite or marble countertop paired with an under-mount sink is as trendy and timeless as subway tile. As for what to mount that stone on top of is the real fun.
Sleek minimalist style bathrooms benefit best from open shelving angular vanities, streamlined floating vanities, or smooth surfaced modern vanities. These styles work best with a muted neutral color pallet.
If you’re putting your home on the market soon, you’ll see the best return on investments like multiple sinks, good lighting as described above, and floating vanities.
5. Free Standing Tubs:
Not so long ago, we saw a spike in whirlpool bathtubs. Whirlpool tubs are a space, maintenance, and energy nightmare, often resulting in a slew of additional purchases and maintenance costs. These types of tubs will send a potential buyer running for the door. Freestanding tubs, however, are still relevant and very much in demand.
New tasteful shapes are being introduced into homes and are an impressive addition to the home with enough space to accommodate one. Often viewed as a work of art, a statement piece, freestanding tubs are more practical than a canvas on the wall.
If you or a potential buyer will be welcoming children into the home in the future, a tub is a must have. Styles range from contemporary elegance to classic luxury, regardless a freestanding tub will surely add to the allure of your home.
6. No-Threshold Showers:
The no-threshold shower is a trend that is quickly gaining steam. With large seamless glass doors, this type of shower makes the room feel considerably more spacious. Maintaining is less intensive than your traditional shower bath combo, and of course, it’s beautiful.
Much of what is being talked about in this day and age is grow-in home features and a no-threshold shower is just that.
As you age, there will be less and less concern about the safety of stepping in and out of a high ledge tub. This is a major selling point for most buyers and with a good reason, people are interested in buying homes that will work for their lifestyle as they grow older.
7. Grow-In Features:
Grow-in features aren’t limited to the shower. Anything from grab bars, waist high shower sprayers & shower seats are catching buyers eyes. It’s not just because of future considerations either. Grab bars are catching on as a safety feature for all ages.
Shower seats are a convenient solution for relaxation in the shower. Waist high shower sprayers are practical for pet owners who would rather not take the dog to the groomer every other week. All of these features serve dual purposes and therefore maximize your dollar.
8. Wet Room:
If you have adequate square footage to work with, why not craft a wet room area. Enclose the freestanding tub and no-threshold shower in glass doors for an ultimate spa experience. Relaxation, comfort, and luxury for little more than if you were replacing the tub and shower in the first place. The addition of a wet room can dramatically up the value of your home.
9. Storage Space:
Storage is always a huge selling point. People love their things, but they also love a refreshing space that eliminates clutter and maximizes utility. Incorporate storage into the bathroom by going vertical with it. Floor to ceiling storage has the capacity for a large amount of storage without taking up more floor space than necessary.
Open Shelving is a great space to get creative. Another example of highly functioning yet perfectly aesthetic design, open shelving allows for self expression and simultaneously practical storage.
Freestanding Furniture in the bathroom is another way to get creative with the right amount of space. In a good sized bathroom a bar cart can be a convenient form of mobile storage. While a much larger piece like an armoire can be a classically dashing addition to the space.
10. Go Green:
Sustainable energy and water efficient appliances were all the rage in 2016 and will remain this way. Being environmentally conscious is a trend that will never go out of style, not to mention buyers and home owners alike stand to benefit. Low flow toilets that use less water.
Motion sense faucets that can save thousands of gallons a year. Water Sense shower heads not only reduce water waste significantly, but also cut energy costs. These fixtures are slightly more expensive up front, but the amount of energy and money they save long term vastly outweighs the upfront costs.
Small appliance switches such as these can not only add style and form to your bathroom, but they can also save the world and sell your home faster.
11. Get Technical:
This continues to be the year of the future. Technology is everywhere, infused and ingrained into our daily lives and routines. Your bathroom is no exception.
Features like light dimming switches are a small yet highly impactful addition. Acting as both a mood enhancer and energy saver, which as we very well know is essential.
Motion sensor lights or remote lights offer luxury to buyers. A walk-in shower with floor to ceiling steamers offers up a lovely spa experience and reportedly an 85% return.
12. Mixed Materials:
Metals and metallics – another hot trend from 2016 – paired with wood will likely continue increasing in popularity. Industrial style is softened by natural elements, overtly modern designs are toned down with organic or antiquated features. Whether it be lighting, sink faucets, or a bamboo shower panel. Mix in a bit of natural to warm up and naturalize an otherwise harsh design.
13. Fire Place:
Add a heating element to your bathroom design for an outstanding feature. A fireplace in the bathroom is a surefire investment with a significant return. Not nearly as expensive as heated floors, a fireplace is a great feature to heat an otherwise cold room.
Fireplaces add a touch of romance and will seduce any potential buyer. Choose from flickering wall mounted, two way, or ambient electric fireplaces for the simplest designs and installation. Ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, a bathroom fireplace can fit almost any budget.
14. Smart Spaces:
Hidden phone charging nooks, towel warming drawers, and smart glass windows are all very much on trend this year. Convenience and comfort at your fingertips, nooks for charging your phone are a great way to utilize awkward space.
A towel warming drawer is perhaps the most genius feature to add, who doesn’t love fresh warm towels? And lastly smart glass windows turn your glass windows into an opaque shade for natural light control and ultimate privacy at your fingertips.
Investments like these are great for any home, and are just the kinds of features that will stand out when you go to sell.
15. Color Pallet:
We saved the best for last, the color trends for bathrooms are: white, black, and grey! Beige and brown tones are on their way out. Crisp clean white on white is continually popular and timeless. For a more dramatic look, black and white will enable you to turn up the drama without compromising the rooms longevity.
For a touch of playful color, pinks are on the rise! Coral, peach, ballet slipper and everything in-between. Designers are also seeing a rise in jewel tones paired with neutrals to emphasize focal points, emerald green, dark teal, and ruby red.
In terms of reselling, keep things neutral and light. If you’re renovating for yourself, try out a fresh color. If there’s one renovation you can make with the greatest impact, it’s a fresh coat of paint. Many designers agree that fresh paint goes further for less!