Bathroom Remodel Cost 2015-2016: Low-End, Mid-Range & Upscale

Creating a Functional & Beautiful Bathroom on Any Budget

It’s amazing how such a tiny space can have such a big impact. People don’t spend a lot of time in the bathroom, but they want it to be functional and stylish. No matter how large or small the space or how big your budget, you can turn your old bathroom into a space that has everything you need and adds value to your home and makes it easier to sell it if you are in the process of staging your property.

Low-Cost

Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can make some major changes in your current bathroom to up the “Wow” factor. Because it’s a small space, the need for fewer materials enables you to do more with less money. The key is to put your money in the right places.

mid-sized traditional master bathroom By Enviable Designs

How low can you go and still create a beautiful space? Believe it or not, you can take $500 and turn an outdated bathroom into a modern space. The challenge lies in how much work you’re willing to do to cut down on labor costs. Instead of replacing, the focus is on refinishing and repainting.

One of the focal points in a bathroom is the vanity or sink. If you have an old-fashioned pedestal sink, you don’t have to throw it out and replace it with something new. In fact, it can add character to an older home. Just repaint it with ceramic paint and it will look brand new.

If you have one of the more modern vanities with storage under the sink, you can sand it down and repaint. You can also repaint the sink to make it shine. For any kind of bathroom sink or vanity, focus on updating the faucets, if you have a little extra money. For only $100, you can modernize what you already have. To avoid spending any more money than you have to, prime the current faucet, paint it and lacquer it to create a modern look for even less.

Light Fixtures is the next place you want to put your money. A lot of older homes only have overhead lighting, which won’t do much for you when you’re getting dressed and applying makeup or fixing your hair. New lighting fixtures over the sink will do wonders for the space. Replacing current lighting can be quite inexpensive if you can do the work yourself, with light fixtures going for $100 to $200 for basic designs.

Traditional Bathroom with Vanity Lighting By Gast Architects

If you must install lighting where none had previously been, you will have more work to do and must hire an electrician in most cases. However, the pay-off will be worth it, because good lighting is one of the most requested features in a bath.

master bathroom with custom painted insert cabinets and beautiful light fixtures By JCA Architects

Flooring is another important component of updating a bathroom. In such a small space, you can afford to go upscale on this feature and still not spend a lot of money. On the other hand, you can choose something economical to keep your budget low. Homes with wood floors in the bathroom can easily be re-sanded and stained. Just don’t forget to put a sealant on the floor to protect it from humidity and water damage. Polyurethane paint does a good job of preventing damage to wood floors in a bathroom. Make sure you apply multiple coats for adequate coverage.

Bathroom with wooden floors and angled freestanding bath tub By International Custom Designs

The ideal flooring for bathrooms is tile. Choose clearance tiles for a fraction of what you would normally have to pay for the newest designer tiles. Just select a basic pattern that doesn’t look too trendy and it will hold its value longer.

Pure white caeserstone tub surround and porcelain tiles By ID by Gwen

Storage is an important part of any bathroom, and a lot of older spaces lack this important element. In a small room like the bathroom, you have to look up to add storage. Install a cabinet over the toilet or open shelving to make the space look bigger. Add a medicine cabinet over the sink with an attached mirror. You can even purchase wire baskets to place over the toilet tank or on the floor to create storage where nothing else will fit.

Space maximizing bathroom cabinets By College City Design-Build

A breakdown of your costs for this updated space is as follows:

Refinishing the bathroom sink or vanity: $20 to $50

Replacing bath faucets: $200

Installing new light fixtures: $200

Installing new tiles: $500 to $2,500

Adding storage: from $100 to $1,000

For around $1,000 to $2,500, you can completely recreate your bathroom, which is the price most homeowners will love. Of course, this assumes you can do most of the work yourself and you don’t have any plumbing or electrical issues to deal with.

Mid-Range

If low-cost bathroom remodels are all about working with what you have, mid-range updates are about spending your money wisely. You’ll do more than just refinish and repaint, but you won’t be starting from scratch. The focus here is to know what to work with and what to replace.

First, you need to know how much you can expect to spend. The average cost for a mid-range bathroom remodel is $16,000 to $17,000, according to 150 Points. A good rule of thumb is to keep your remodeling project between 5 and 10 percent of the value of your home to get a good return on your investment.

Expect to spend most of your budget on cabinetry, fixtures and plumbing with labor taking the biggest cut if you can’t do some of the work yourself. Flooring and countertops will be the next priority with lighting, updating doors and windows, and painting the walls and ceiling being the lowest-cost items on your budget.

What makes a mid-range remodel stand out? The details are what will create a luxurious space without breaking your budget. For instance, when focusing on flooring, consider adding heated flooring. While this feature feels high-end, it’s actually an affordable addition. It’s also practical because it helps dry out the room and prevents slips and falls.

Heated Bathroom Floors

Choose stain-resistant grout to go with your tiles. While it does cost a little more than traditional grout, it pays off because your floors and shower stalls continue to look good for longer, with less cleaning required.

Lighting is one of the most important elements in a mid-range remodel. Even if you have a bathroom with no windows, you can install a skylight to let in natural light. Fixtures just above the basic, but not high-end, are also a good investment.

Bathroom with skylights for natural lighting By RW Anderson Homes

With a mid-range remodel, you’re going to want to replace the vanity if it’s old and outdated. Choose a stylish design, but you don’t need custom unless you have an odd-shaped room. It should have a nice sink, and double sinks are a must-have for the master bath.

The next place to focus on is the shower. Tile adds an attractive feature to the space while protecting your walls. It’s possible to have a pro refinish your existing tub or shower, but you may also have to budget in a replacement. To save money, you can buy a shower-tub combination, which will eliminate the need for tiling and cut down on maintenance.

A breakdown of expenses for this project is following:

Radiant heat: $400 to $800

Flooring: $400 to $1,000

New lighting: $200 to $400

New vanity: $500 to $1,000

New tiling: $3,000 to $6,000

How much you spend should depend more on how much of the work you do as well as what kind of deals you get. While you don’t need to buy the most expensive options on flooring, tile and the vanity, you don’t want to go with the most basic design either.


High-End

With a high-end bathroom remodel, the focus is on making everything brand new. While you may not actually demolish the entire space and start over, the end result should feel that way. This is where you create your dream luxury space with custom features just for you. High-end bathrooms provide a spa-like setting whether they are for the master bath or guest bath. Every detail should focus on creating that feeling.

Set your budget between $50,000 and $60,000 for an average high-end remodel. This includes all labor since you’ll want everything done by a professional. Superior grade materials are used throughout the space and nothing is left out. So, where do you put that money to get the most out of what you spend? The answer is everywhere. You’ll want to cover the big focal points such as the shower and tub, the vanity and flooring as well as the details like fixtures and faucets.

Custom features enhance the feeling of high-end, but you don’t have to go off the grid with designs that no one else will like. If you get too far out of the normal design, you’ll greatly reduce your return on investment when you want to sell. Keep the unique look for items that can easily be updated when you are ready to put the house on the market, such as custom faucets.

One of the must-haves for modern luxury bathrooms is technology. Televisions, music systems and even gas or electric fireplaces create an ambiance of relaxation and retreat. Whirlpool tubs enhance the spa-like feeling, so look for one that offers special features.

beautiful bathroom color scheme

Flooring must focus on quality, and heated floors are almost always expected in these settings. Choose porcelain tile or wood to make your floor a focal point.

Tile is also important for your shower walls, and it should be elegant and stylish. While you don’t have to go with the latest trends, you don’t want to settle for basic. Select something to turn your shower into a piece of art.

Storage is also essential for this type of space. Custom cabinets to keep everything out of sight enhance the room. Even your towel bars and mirrors should be first-rate. In fact, it’s in these details where you want to spend top dollar because the final price won’t impact your budget too much.

You want a lot of lighting and various kinds in your high-end bathroom. Lighted showers, sconces over the vanity and other wall lighting sets the mood. Having a variety of light fixtures allows you to brighten the room when you need to see and to lower the light when you want to relax.

So, the breakdown of a high-end bath remodel is hard to predict because it depends on where you put your focus. Here are a few ranges to give you an idea of where you might spend your money.

Technology: $1,000 to $2,000

Flooring: $5,000 to $10,000

High-end luxury Tiles: $6,000 to $10,000

Storage: $2,000 to $10,000

Lighting: $1,000 to $2,000

Of course, you can go over or under these numbers, depending on the exact style and size you are looking for.

Return on Investment

Even when you’re focusing on creating a bathroom you will enjoy using, you must think about how impacts the value of your home and whether it will help your home sell someday or be a deterrent.

When done right, your ROI for a mid-range bathroom remodel will be around 70 percent. With upscale remodels, the return drops to 60 percent. These numbers are according to the annual Remodeling Cost vs. Value 2015 report by Remodeling magazine. Low-end remodels don’t really add value to a bathroom, but they can help your house sell faster and for your asking price.

If you are considering remodeling your bathroom, you can see that regardless of your budget, you can make important improvements. Based on that budget, you can decide where to spend your money to get the most value and most improved function for your new space.


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