When it comes to putting your home on the market, there’s no doubt about it, bathrooms are one of the key selling points. But before you start bathroom renovations, it’s important to understand the parameters.
If you’re simply upgrading for your own pleasure and know that you’ll be there to stay for decades, by all means, find fittings that you and your family love. But if you’ve decided to upgrade because you’re planning to sell sometime in the future, you need to look at both the value of your property and commit to choosing a style that has mass appeal rather than pandering to your personal tastes. Creating a uber luxurious bathroom when the rest of the house is ordinary will make it stick out like a sore thumb and may, for that reason, devalue your property.
It is also important to note that while we would never suggest that renovating is a waste of money, especially if it brings you joy and improves the aesthetics of your home, some bathroom features are not worth changing from both a monetary and visual perspective unless you are redoing your entire space.
Our expert designers have come up with this guide to help put things in perspective before you embark on a bathroom makeover.
1. Replacing the bathtub
While you may fantasise about spending an evening in a beautiful bathtub complete with jets, rose petals and lots of bubbles, be aware that a high-end installation can cost anywhere between $500 and $12 000, and if you’re going all out and have the budget, there are a few that weigh in at upwards of $50 000.
But consider this: Not every bathtub is the same shape, size or configuration. Some need to be built in while others have feet and are freestanding. Lots are sleek and angular while others are curvaceous and deep.
And as new trends appear and flood the market, so it becomes more difficult to find the exact style and dimensions of the tub you had in the first place, meaning that you would have to redesign everything to make it fit.
In addition, choosing something trendy with faddy features may put your room in danger of becoming outdated at a rapid rate. Jacuzzi-style tubs, for example, had a hot moment several years ago and are now completely passe.
So the bottom line is that unless you’re willing to take your bathroom renovations to the max and rip out your entire space and start from scratch, it’s unlikely that popping in a new unit will be a seamless process, and therefore it is not viable or cost-effective as a singular refurbishment.
2. Adding tiles or marble to the walls or floor
Brand new tiles for your walls and flooring, especially marble ones, are one of the most transformative ways of freshening up a bathroom – and there are so many beautiful options to choose from. But with an average cost of $13,80 per square foot for a middle-of-the-range pick and excluding installation, it’s not going to be a cheap fix.
You might think that taking on just your flooring or a small patch above your basin is the answer, but this is one set of bathroom renovations that you don’t want to skimp on. At the end of the day, in order for your floors to match your walls and for wet areas to complement dry zones, we recommend that you take an all-or-nothing approach rather than just upgrading patches.
With so many shapes, colours and materials to choose from, picking out something that is future-proof is key and, if you’re making the investment, you should ensure that your bathtub, basin, vanity and shower are in keeping with your up-to-date look.
So unless your current tiles are really shoddy and are bringing the aesthetics of your home to its knees, don’t take on bathroom renovations until you’re absolutely ready.
However, if you really want to jazz up your current tiling system, giving them a good clean and some new grout is a wonderful and inexpensive approach. Or, if you don’t have any on your walls at all, adding an attractive mosaic or just highlighting a specific area with some lovely geometric or patterned tiles is a very good idea.
For inspiration, read our article on the hottest new bathroom trends of 2023.
3. Changing the plumbing or electrical wiring
Yes, bathroom renovations can be a simple matter of changing a faucet, putting in new towel rails or jazzing up your accessories, but when it comes to the big stuff like redoing your plumbing or electrical wiring, you need to think twice about when you’re going to do it.
Both of these installations take place beneath the surface of your bathroom and need to be executed to exact specifications that include roughing-in, drainage systems and ensuring that everything is thoroughly waterproofed.
This will require the uprooting of most of your fixtures, so it stands to reason that it’s something you should tackle only in the case of an emergency and while you makeover the entire space. If you’re curious, it will cost you around $5 000 just for the plumbing.
4. Installing a heated floor
We all love hopping out of the shower or bath, especially in winter, and landing on something warm.
But to go the extra mile and install underfloor heating is, we believe, both expensive and wasteful. Your initial outlay will be between $33 and $68 per square metre depending on the route you take, and the bills don’t stop there.
Firstly, you’re going to need carpets or a durable tile like marble that can sustain the heat and then, based on the fact that it takes between 20 and 90 minutes to heat up the room depending on that surface material, your monthly electricity bill is going to go through the roof.
We live in an age where sustainability is becoming a social obligation and we all have a responsibility towards safekeeping the planet. So when considering the impact your bathroom renovations will have, our thought process is that a fluffy, warm, beautifully designed rug will do just fine.
5. Replacing or redoing the shower
When it comes to our bathroom renovations, there’s a definite divide between those who love to bathe and those who prefer a shower. But whichever you’re rooting for, replacing one with the other is a decidedly bad move because, in the world of real estate, a full bathroom means both.
If, however, you decide that your shower area could do with a revamp complete with state-of-the-art fittings, you are going to have to make sure that the modernisation fits in with the rest of your room.
And, if you subscribe to contemporary trends, this might mean creating an entire wet area and incorporating a new tub, too.
Tiles will have to match up, both fittings and fixtures must be cohesive and your style needs to be seamless and well-considered. So rather than spending money in one area only that may lead to a hotchpotch of design concepts, plan your new space with care and get everything done at once.
6. Switching out floor tiles for carpets
Don’t do it! Switching out floor tiles for carpets in a bathroom is about the worst mistake you’ll ever make and is a complete waste of money from a resale point of view. And believe us, we’re experts when it comes to bespoke carpeting.
The bottom line is that a carpeted bathroom is a major turnoff for most new homeowners and denotes both cheapness and a leaning towards the unsanitary. Furthermore, it takes major upkeep and can encourage nasty conditions like dampness and mould.
We recommend that you stick to your tiles – they’ll stand you in far better stead in the long run.
Taking on a bathroom refurbishment is a big deal and not something that you do on a regular basis. In fact, it has to last you for decades.
For this reason, our top FCI London designers advise that you should think long and hard about what you really want and then tackle all the major installations simultaneously. We can design bathrooms from scratch or help you update a tired one.
Let our on-the-ball professionals help you with all your design choices, ensuring that your investment is well spent and renders up the space of your dreams. We’re ready to chat about it seven days a week.