By Erik J. Martin CTW FEATURES
The kitchen may be considered the heart of any home. But many people apparently are choosing to follow their heads and not their hearts lately by opting for a remodel in the bathroom instead.
Consider that 25 per cent of homeowners aim to renovate their baths over the next 12 months versus 15 per cent who are preparing for a kitchen redo, according to homeowners surveyed for HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Report. Baby boomers plan to spend up to $1,000 more, but millennials are twice as likely as boomers to finish a bathroom remodel — spending an average of $1,896 on the project. Popular inclusions in those bath reboots include upgraded cabinets, flooring, shower doors, tile and creative lighting, per the report.
Why all the jonesing for a new or enhanced john? The reasons are rampant.
“Many people chose to renovate their kitchens over the past 20 years — so it makes sense that the bathroom renovation craze is next,” says Carolyn DiCarlo, architectural designer with New York City-based CD Build, Inc.
Bathroom upgrades also tend to be more manageable and less disruptive than kitchen remodels.
“They’re usually smaller projects in size and scope, and they typically cost less and require less time,” Botond Laszlo, president of Marvelous Home Makeovers, LLC in Plano, Texas, says.
FYI: The national average bathroom remodel cost is currently $9,755 versus $22,292 for a kitchen renovation, HomeAdvisor reports.
“Additionally, it’s easier and more affordable to incorporate your own style into a bathroom remodel than into a kitchen,” says Laszlo.
Furthermore, bathrooms are deemed worthier of investment today because they’re increasingly viewed as private sanctuaries where you can pamper yourself — unlike the utilitarian kitchen.
“Established homeowners who have enjoyed several years of strong home value appreciation are now indulging themselves with spa-like upgrades — luxurious features like body sprays, rain shower heads and specialized lighting. And younger homeowners are more focused today on basic fixes, like replacing worn or broken tile, chipped sinks and upgrading toilets,” notes Brad Hunter, chief economist for HomeAdvisor, headquartered in Golden, Colorado.
Other popular bathroom enhancements currently include bold tile patterns, bright-coloured vanities, gold champagne accents and mould- and moisture-resistant drywall for peace of mind to protect all the pretty stuff, per Anitra Mecadon, TV host and Atlanta-based design build expert.
“Homeowners are also now more interested in floating tubs than sunken tubs, and they’re getting more daring with their bathroom remodel materials and designs,” Mecadon notes.
Among other bathroom trends in vogue are whites, greys and neutral tones with occasional pops of colour, differently shaped tile for variety, mixing and matching various hardware tones in the plumbing and lighting fixtures, and cleaner lines, Laszlo adds.
“Many homeowners are also adding luxury touches like multiple shower heads and built-in audio speakers,” says Hunter.
DiCarlo insists that putting your money into a modernized lavatory is well worth it.
“Any capital improvement to a bathroom, if done well, will probably translate to higher resale value,” she says.
When it’s time to list your home, ponder that a poorly maintained or unsightly bath can quickly sour a potential buyer “or lead to a reduced price offer,” Hunter notes.
According to Remodeling magazine’s 2018 Cost Vs. Value Report, a midrange bathroom remodel recoups 70.1 per cent of its cost, on average, compared to only 59 per cent for a midrange major kitchen remodel.
As with any improvement project, proper planning is key.
“Create a realistic budget, take the time to measure your space, make a floorplan, and create a shopping list to stay on track,” recommends Mecadon.
Shop around carefully for contractors, too, and get several bids.
“The pro you choose should be properly vetted, well-qualified and highly rated. Ask for a written schedule and list of the construction tasks they’re going to perform along with deadlines for completion of each task,” Hunter suggests.