Bathroom remodeling trends to avoid
These trendy ideas may not bring a return on your investment
by Rosemary Avance, Ph.D.
ConsumerAffairs Research Team
So you’re thinking of renovating your bathroom. Whether you’re sprucing up your home to put it on the market or updating your bathroom for your family’s use, you’ll want to get the most out of your investment.
While bathroom updates tend to bring a solid return on investment (ROI), it’s important to keep design trends in mind when making improvements. Outdated bathrooms can deter would-be buyers and make it more difficult to sell your home, whether you do that now or sometime in the future.
“For some buyers, the bathroom is a deal breaker,” the experts at Realtor.com explain. “So if your listing includes these fading bathroom trends, you might have a harder time selling it.”
Trends to avoid
To appeal to the widest range of buyers, Realtor.com suggests steering clear of the following bathroom trends.
Oversized tubs: Big bathtubs are impractical, and buyers know it. They’re expensive too, so you’re unlikely to see a good ROI if you install an oversized tub. You’d be better off investing in a quality water-saving shower.
White-on-white: Light colors might make a space feel larger, but you should avoid going all-white in the bathroom. Not all buyers are up to the task of keeping white tile and flooring clean. Instead of pristine white, go for a varied color palette with beige or gray neutrals as the main emphasis.
Tacky colors: Speaking of colors, dated shades like mustard, salmon or avocado can also be a turn-off to potential buyers, says Realtor.com. Keep your color scheme tame by using a mix of three timeless, muted colors in a 70/20/10 distribution. Use the lightest color for 70 percent of the room; the second lightest for 20 percent; and accent the room with the boldest for 10 percent. A grayed white, pale teal and charcoal gray could work nicely.
Subway tile and nickel finishes: Subway tile and trendy metallic finishes, such as nickel and chrome, are fading in popularity. But modern-looking brushed gold and black finishes are becoming more popular. Large-format tiles and geometric tiles are also a safe bet, particularly in large bathrooms.
Extra bathrooms: It might seem counterintuitive, but adding a bathroom is so expensive that it’s one of the worst home improvement projects in terms of ROI. On average, it earns an ROI of only 56.2 percent. Unless you plan to live in the home for a long time and need that extra bathroom, it’s probably best to spend your money elsewhere.
Resale-friendly bathroom updates
You don’t have to flush money down the drain to improve your bathroom; you can complete some projects on a relatively modest budget.
"For resale, focus on the visuals: nice tile, nice colors, nice fixtures -- and don't spend a lot on the high-end utilities because most people can't tell the difference," Cameron Snyder, president of Roomscapes Luxury Design Center told HGTV.com.
A quick change of hardware, for example, can instantly make your bathroom appear more fresh and modern. For cabinets, opt for simple knobs and handles to ensure your space doesn’t feel too crowded. If you’re upgrading light fixtures, consider adding task lighting around your vanity. Two wall-mounted lights on either side of your vanity can enhance the look of your space and help eliminate unflattering shadows. Consider swapping outdated faucet handles, towel racks, and light fixtures for new ones that are in line with current trends. A hand-held shower head is also an affordable upgrade.
Think about your home’s overall resale value and buyer appeal before you make pricey updates to your bathroom. Remember that some bathroom trends don’t age well, especially if you’re renovating to sell your home.
- 7/13/17 Last Updated
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