Given the complexity of bathrooms—multiple components in a compact space, not to mention all that water—doing the project right is a challenge. (See Remodeling Dos and Don'ts.) On a cost-per-square-foot basis, bathrooms are one of the most expensive spaces to remodel. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. That’s where Consumer Reports’ Bathroom Remodeling Guide comes in. Our product testers have spent months rating the latest toilets, sinks, countertops, and other bathroom essentials to separate the winners from the also-rans. We’ve also interviewed designers, contractors, and real estate pros nationwide to find out what to include—and what to skip—on your bathroom-remodel wish list.
Here’s a word of warning, though. It’s going to take more time than you think. Why? Your bathroom may be the smallest room in the house, but you’re going to have to paint slowly and gently around the window, the tub or shower, the sink, the mirror, the toilet, the switchplates, the wall corners, and the floor. This takes time and patience (and a good supply of painter’s tape), so make sure you keep this in mind when planning your renovation.
If your would-be sanctuary is a major sore spot, you’re not alone. Bathrooms are second only to the kitchen on people’s wish lists of rooms to remodel, especially since the current economy-induced deferred maintenance has pushed so many past their 20-year lifespan. “At that age, bathrooms really start to get tired,” says Art Donnelly, president of Legacy Design Build in Mount Sinai, New York. “Leaky toilets, grimy grout, loose tiles—you name it, it’s probably an issue.”
Pedestal sinks can saver or waste space depending on the arrangement and storage options of your bathroom. If you want to open up floor space, they’re an excellent choice. However, they don’t offer the storage that vanity cabinets provide. If your bathroom lacks storage but you have your heart set on a pedestal sink, include open shelves or a tile-lined niche behind or adjacent to it. Alternatively, consider using cabinetry 16 or 18 inches deep, instead of the usual 21 inches, to maximize your floor plan.
Your creativity will show with adding or replacing floor tile and wall tile with a bathroom remodel. The choices of polished or textured, subtle or bold, patterned or solid and single- or multi-colored are just the beginning of your options. Modify the traditional brick pattern to install subway tile vertically, or consider a herringbone layout to add visual interest to simple tile designs.
A luxury walk-in shower creates a nice roomy feeling for your bathroom remodeling project. The lack of obstructions provides a seamless transition from the rest of the bathroom into the shower area. Not only is a walk in shower safer, especially for the elderly and children, it also works perfectly for those who desire a relaxing minimalist bathroom style.
Financial limitations can make remodeling bathrooms on a budget a challenge, but it’s not as bad as you might think. If your bathroom has outdated fixtures, or you’re simply tired of looking at decor you’ve had for decades, it’s a good time to take charge and renovate. Even if you have limited resources, a full or partial bathroom remodel is within reach. Here are some practical and economical ideas to consider for the budget-conscious.
When you use a bold accessory like an animal skin, you need to make sure that it isn't lost in a bunch of other decor elements. This bathroom uses its neutral, modern design to really give space to the zebra skin rug here. And the great thing about this kind of design is that you can change this one decor element as often as you wish, without having to spend thousands remodeling every time.
The average bathroom remodel costs $10,436 Most homeowners spend between $5,968 and $14,905. You can spend as little as $3,500 to $7,000 updating the essentials in a small or medium-sized bathroom. On a large or master bath, you could spend $25,000 or more. Labor averages 50 percent of the total project price at about $65 per hour. Expect pricing to vary regionally up to 20 percent due mainly to labor. Material prices stay roughly the same across the country.