Biggest Bang for Your Buck? The Bath

If you only have so much time and money to spend on a remodeling project, you’ll stay more on trend by investing in the bath.

Bathroom Renovation Investment

A recent survey from Better Homes & Gardens found that 31% of homeowners tagged a bathroom as their next remodeling priority. That means a fresh and up-to-date bath—especially master bath—is likely to best support the market value of your house.

Nationally, remodeling an existing bathroom costs about $16,634 and adds about 64% of that cost to the market value of the house, according to Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report. (Visit the Remodeling site for regional breakdowns of costs and value added for baths and other projects.)

Amenities likely to add long-term value include:

Storage. With the emerging generation of homeowners preferring smaller houses, within-reach storage is more important than ever. Linen closets that can accommodate bulk buys of paper goods and easy-access toiletry storage have obvious utility and major appeal.

Lighting. Overhead lighting is cheap but casts harsh shadows. Instead, go for lights on either side of the medicine cabinet in addition to a ceiling light. Your bath will be suffused with bright, indirect light.

Energy-efficient hot water supply. While you’re messing with plumbing, why not revamp your hot water supply to ensure there’s plenty for the new shower and tub?

Soaking-depth tub. Whirlpool, bubbles, whatever: the most important feature of a centerpiece bathtub is its depth. There’s no such thing as sinking into a shallow tub.

With due respect to various remodeling associations, it’s my opinion that the following bath remodeling trends are not likely to stand the test of time:

Open plan. People do expect showers to be enclosed.

Built-in televisions. If connectivity is that important, install an iPad shelf and household wi-fi.

Shiny everything. Designers see sparkle, but potential homeowners know that a smudge-free reflection usually means constant touch-ups.

For more on renovating for resale, consider:

Buy for Your Buyer
Capture High Marks for Below-Grade Improvements
Boost Home Value by Enabling Independent Living