Published: April 2008
By Krista Watterworth
Improve your resale value today!
Experts say that remodeling a kitchen will give you a big return on your investment. But a bathroom also offers significant pay back. Space is a sought-after commodity as are luxurious features and accessories. Here are 13 tips to help you achieve a bigger bang for your bathroom bucks.
1. Spas Appeal. Your bathroom should be an escape from a hectic job, kids’ activities and even your darling spouse or significant other. Why not include exotic wood vanities, dimmable lights, a sound system, steam room or steam shower, Japanese soak tub or a chromatherapy feature?
2. Size Matters. If you have a home built prior to 1980, the bathroom probably is tiny. If it’s smaller than 8’ by 8’, open up the space by knocking down a wall between the bedroom, or a closet, and the bath.
3. Neutrals Nurture. If an avocado green toilet and pink tub are part of your bathroom palette, it’s time for a change. Since plumbing fixtures are costly, pick ones in a neutral finish and add accent color with towels, soaps, and accessories. If you still swoon at the sight of an avocado sink, paint your walls green since they can be easily and changed.
4. Countertops Count. Granite remains a smart choice because of its durability. Marble is beautiful, but softer and more easily damaged. Manmade materials like Zodiaq, Ceaserstone and Cambria are fairly indestructible, but the uniformity in color and veining doesn’t give them as individual an appearance as natural stone.
5. Go Green. Extra cost and still-new research may be deterrents, but going green is great, whether you use organic cotton towels or recycled building products (companies like 3-offer plastic countertops, made from recycled bottles).
6. Avoid Headaches. Moving plumbing, especially for a toilet, usually is a major challenge and cost, depending your home’s construction. Before agreeing to put it elsewhere, learn whether there’s a concrete slab or lead pipes below the subfloor if you want to avoid an even bigger job. Also think long and hard about selecting colored plumbing fixtures: A burgundy toilet is likely to go out of style quickly.
7. Make an Impression. To add value, create a master bath suite that includes amenities like double doors between rooms, a walk-in closet with island, toilet cubicle, his-and-her lavatories, exercise area and space for a chaise and ottoman. Future buyers will definitely take a second look.
8. Facelift. If a slower housing market makes you cautious about undertaking a major redo, do a facelift. Add a body spray, regrout old worn tile, switch dated faucets, paint walls and ceiling, or add new accessories such as polished chrome towel bars and knobs.
9. Ready for a Mid-Range Restoration? Change out a 5’ tub for a stand alone shower with clear glass doors; replace your viny floor with tile and a laminate countertop with stone; recess the medicine cabinets; and install decorative lighting.
10. Splurge! An upscale renovation can exceed $35,000 before you blink, depending on size and degree of fanciness. Some ideas to consider: Expand your 5’ square bathroom to a roomier 9’ or 10’; add new bay windows or a skylight; install a computerized shower system, twin designer sinks or a low-flush toilet to conserve water.
11. Add a bathroom. You can recoup up a big majority of your costs if you add a bath to your home, especially if you have only 1.5 bathrooms. An extra bathroom, especially in a house with children and working parents, will bring you greater pleasure and make your listing more appealing.
12. Remember the “Toys”. With the affordable prices of flat-screen TVs, why not indulge your yen for soap operas or sports while you soak? Also popular are built-in coffee bars and sound systems for the ultimate spa-style relaxation.
13. Don’t Neglect the Powder Room. This tiny space is a place to pack a punch since the small square footage makes even fancy wallpapers and paint treatments affordable. Consider silver- or gold-leafed walls, a Murano glass hanging pendant and one great piece of art.
Krista Watterworth is host of HGTVBathDesign.com’s “10 Ultimate Bathrooms” and HGTV host & designer of “Save My Bath.” For more information, go to www.kristawatterworth.com.
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