one are the days of the utilitarian bathroom, all function and no form. Today people like to have a place to relax and retreat, and making a bathroom that matches this lifestyle choice can really add value to your life, and if you decide to sell, the cost of your house. But what should you be spending your money on, and what should you avoid?
As with other types of home improvement, taking a loan for a bathroom should make you think about exactly what you want from this space. If you are looking for a luxury palace where you can unwind after a long day at work, then you might want to get a whirlpool bath, gold taps, or the most expensive tile in the world.
However if you, like most people, are looking to increase the quality of the bathroom, and also increase the attractiveness for a potential sale, you may want to look at smaller ticket items that will increase the value and increase your comfort while you are still living in the house.
People want to feel like they are in a hotel instead of the utilitarian space that used to to make up the W/C. Instead of a top-mount sink people now want something that is recessed in to the counter-top, or an ‘under-mount sink.’
The taps are one of the most used items in the bathroom but can easily be upgraded to make the space feel more upscale. Make sure to keep the metal fittings and colour the same as other items in your bathroom, and that they fit in with the rest of the look and feel. For example you don’t want a £800 tap in a £30 basin, unless this is purely an upgrade for you, and you are not looking to sell. There are many different styles of taps – make sure to choose a style that you like, but that also a potential buyer would be comfortable with.
Many home renovators are wary to spend their financing on granite for the kitchen because it is an expensive material, tough to work with, and doesn’t always increase the value of the kitchen. However in the bathroom, it covers a much smaller surface area and is a good introduction to the complexities of working with granite. Another benefit of working with granite in the bathroom is that you know a large chunk of the granite will be covered by the sink – therefore you can look for pieces that have flaws, because it will be cut out when the basin is installed.
Cost: There are different tiers of granite available. If you are looking to improve the bathroom for a sale you would probably go for basic granite which costs between £30-£50 per square foot. High-end granite can really stretch your financing budget and cost £150+ per square foot.
If your bathroom has harsh overhead lighting, strategically relocating the lights could have a massive impact on the ambience in the room. Taking the lighting out of the ceiling, and mounting it on walls is an effective way to make the spare warmer and more inviting. Make sure to mount lighting on either side of the mirror so that there are no shadows on the face of the person using the mirror.
Cost: Lighting can cost anywhere from £3 for a new lightbulb all the way up to £1000s if you are looking to replace the whole system.
There is nothing worse than getting out of the shower on a cold morning and stepping on to a frosted tiled floor. Luckily, with underfloor heating you can make those December morning showers more enjoyable. Like the kitchen counter, installing underfloor heating in the bathroom can add real value to a space that will make a large impact if and when you come to sell.
Cost: Depending on what type of underfloor heating system you install will impact the price. A wet system will cost from £36 to £48 per square metre whereas electric systems cost from £14 to £22 per square metre. On top of this cost per square meter you will need to add the cost of insulation which will make the flooring more efficient and increase performance.
Underfloor heating is laid down in coils under the floor before laying insulation and tiling.
A large focal point of any bathroom is the shower and bath area. Although it can be more expensive than some of the other improvements mentioned in this article, the bath and shower is again one of the most used parts of the bathroom. Installing a new shower head, an updated bath, or glass window can instantly improve the quality, and look of the bathroom.
Cost: The cost for improving the shower/bathroom area can be as little as £5 to replace an old shower curtain, all the way up to the thousands if you replace the bath and shower heads. Make sure you are making the improvements for either yourself, or future tenants.
Upgrading the shower area can be as simple as changing the curtain (which you should always do before a house showing) all the way up to installing different shower heads for a luxury experience
Alongside cosmetic and fixture changes there is a lot to be said about getting the little details right, and making sure that the bathroom is spotless. A real trouble area in a bathroom is the grouting, and it gets dirty very quickly. It is not worth spending thousands of pounds on new lighting, a new shower, and underfloor heating, if the first thing you see when you walk in to the bathroom is the dirty grout in between tiles. This can be an immediate turn-off for yourself, or potential buyers of the property.
Making sure to scrub in between the tiles will help prevent the build up of grime, but it is highly recommended to replace the grout every few years, and definitely before you try and sell a property. Replacing the grout yourself is cheap and easy, but if you have any doubts make sure to talk to a professional.
Cost: Grout costs between £3 and £5 per kg.
As we mentioned above, if you are redecorating just for yourself, and you know that you will be in the property for another 20 years, then by all means go ahead and add that jewel encrusted faucet or that bathtub carved out of marble. But be careful, just because it is your taste, doesn’t mean a potential buyer will appreciate the touch.
Again, this follows under your own potential tastes, and it might sound relaxing to take a long whirlpool bath after a hard day at work, but anyone looking at to buy will not see this as something that warrants increasing the price of the property by the price of the tub. Use it to enjoy, not to increase the value of your house.
Cost: The base cost of installing a bath can be thousands of pounds, and if you run in to trouble the costs could escalate even higher!
Although you might love that walk in shower, heated underfloor and sauna that you have added to your property, if you live on a road that is full of one-bedroom, one (small) bathroom properties than you are not going to attract the right homebuyer to that area anyway. It is better to make improvements that make the property attractive, but not above and beyond.
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