All right—let’s talk about the cost of a bathroom remodel in 2021, and its influence on your home’s resale value.
After all, the pandemic has forced many of us to become perhaps more intimately familiar with the flaws and areas for improvement in our homes… as we’ve spent more and more time inside them.
And, as you likely know, improving your home’s bathroom is typically one of the investments where you will see the best return when the time comes to sell your house.
So here, in order, we will:
- Point you in the right direction to gauge how much it might cost
- Showcase a few hot renovations you might want to consider now, heading from spring into the summer of 2021
- Examine how much value you add to your house, and how to think about the ROI, from a bathroom renovation
This is meant for pretty much anyone in the United States who is considering doing a DIY renovation to their own home bathroom—whether DIY, or by hiring a licensed contractor.
How to assess the cost of a DIY or professional bathroom remodel in the US (2021)
There are a few ways to evaluate how much it would cost to remodel your bathroom.
Bathroom Renovation Cost Approach 1: By Scope and Timeline
First up, Lowe’s Home Improvement’s Planning and Budgeting for Your Bathroom Remodel suggests you start with just a few key questions about your understanding of the particular project, your skills, your available time, and your awareness of regulations.
They do acknowledge that the floor area of your bathroom will likely be the most significant cost determinant (and give a figure per square foot).
Then they proceed to break down bathroom renovation into three levels of effort (and cost):
- The bathroom refresh ($200-$5,000)
- The minor remodel ($5,000-$15,000)
- The major remodel ($15,000+)
But Lowe’s is cool in that they go on to give a loose timeline leading up to your remodel. They spell out what planning portions you should have completed when you’re six months away from starting, four months away from starting, etc., all the way down to one week away from starting.
Bathroom Renovation Cost Approach 2: By Size and Features
By contrast, Home Depot’s Bathroom Remodel Cost Guide takes perhaps a more bundled approach.
Like Lowe’s, they encourage you to start by considering a few points:
- Why do you want to remodel your bathroom—they point out that it might be about the look/aesthetics, or it might be about function/usability
- What your timeline is—that is, are you going to make your life all about this and overhaul the room, or are you going to make small improvements more slowly over time
- Of course, your budget
From there, they break down the average cost by size of the restroom, citing three typical profiles or styles:
- The “powder room” (small)
- The guest bathroom (medium)
- The master bathroom (take a guess)
Finally, Home Depot’s guide breaks down a set of common features, bells and whistles, and lays out 4 further factors that you should think about, including your home’s physical surrounding areas, and how you’re going to get rid of the materials.
Bathroom Renovation Cost Approach 3: All About the Features
For another great resource, HomeLight’s article How Much Does it Cost to Remodel a Bathroom, On Average? blends both the big and small picture. This journalistic article even involved an interview with a professional, Douglas Huebner, introduced as “CEO of the home design and renovation company The Habitatilist and a top New Jersey real estate agent serving the Maplewood, Montclair, and South Orange areas.”
The HomeLight post, too, groups bathroom remodels by overall tier—they call them “partial,” “small,” “midrange,” and “upscale.”
However, they go on to really examine different features:
- They have a whole section on the most expensive part of remodeling a bathroom and break down costs for both labor and materials.
- But they go on to share a great deal of research (with example links!) on the respective costs of other components, materials, and designs.
- They cover tiles (wall vs. floor), tub and shower, even different styles of faucet.
- And they share a series of key things to watch out for (very similar to the Lowe’s guide).
Other Informative Sources for Price of a Home Restroom Upgrade
You should also make use of some of the data-rich calculators and guides that are out there.
- You’ll find HomeAdvisor’s bathroom remodeling cost calculator here, which they say draws upon surveys of actual homeowners who use their site to find professionals
- There’s Fixr’s bathroom remodeling cost guide here, which appears to be more of a crunching of diverse secondary sources
- KBR Kitchen & Bath’s blog post here includes a bunch of sample photos to illustrate the various major cost decisions they lay out—and a video!
- The Spruce’s article here makes some wise and interesting suggestions (see “Learn to Love Subway Tile”) about how to reduce costs
Finding the top bathroom renovations leading into spring/summer 2021
Thinking about where we are right now, here is a look at just a few particular investments that are particularly timely (and could be valuable; read on!) if you’re thinking about improving your home bathroom in the next six months.
- Décor Aid posted recently about The 10 Best Bathroom Remodeling Trends, including current trends about varying materials within the bathroom (OR NOT!), tubs, and shower stalls.
- Family Handyman has this interesting list of 16 Cheap Bathroom Updates with Wow Factor that includes some fantastic high-quality pictures, going through some worthwhile updates that are not expensive
- For those really focused on the master bathroom, Driven by Decor digs into the fancy modern options for bathroom renovation with including lighting, the heating of surfaces, and even electrical outlets (and rather soothing photos)
On what ROI you should expect from a home bathroom upgrade
And then, yes, to the main subject of this website, a critical thing that we assume you are thinking about is what the return on your investment will be. How much value do you add to your house by renovating a bathroom?
The conventional wisdom today seems to be that when you sink money into improving a home’s bathroom, the amount of value it adds seems to be about two-thirds of what you spent on it.
In terms of what a homeowner can do to their own house that they’re actually living in, that’s not a bad return.
Here are a few pieces of research on this that can help you assess what to expect for your particular home style, location, and scope of the renovation.
- Moving.com breaks down the cost-to-resale comparison for a few different renovation scopes and points you to a few valuable improvements to consider first. (In their case, they cite data from the National Association of Realtors’ [NAR] 2019 Remodeling Impact Report and from Remodeling magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value report)
- Zillow’s ROI for a Bathroom Remodel portion within their Home Sellers Guide includes, at the end, a quantitative examination of ROI by region of the US. Also, they, too, offer a list of fairly general tips for maximizing ROI—including a list of less expensive investments. (!)
- HomeLight in their article Bathroom Remodels Increase Home Value—Fact or Myth? investigated this question not too long ago, again with great reporting.
- They found the ROI at about 50% at that time.
- This article also discusses some good factors to consider including the intangible “joy factor” and methods to evaluate contractors.