The Basic Bathroom Update
Price Range: $3,000 (DIY) to $12,000
What you might get: You probably won’t be able to move any plumbing around, but you could replace fixtures and other materials with stock, off-the-shelf products like you’d find in a big-box store.
Countertops: At this level, low-end granite and cultured marble are most popular.
Tile: Don’t expect to tile an entire bathroom, but you could do a bathtub or shower area with ceramic tiles or standard white subway tiles.
Walls: Apart from a bathtub tile surround or counter backsplash, painting the walls is the most affordable choice here.
Cabinets: If your cabinets are in good condition, you might just want to refinish or paint them. Otherwise, you’re looking at off-the-shelf units.
Lighting, fixtures and finishes: All basic, off-the-shelf products. Keep in mind that because the plumbing fixtures at this level have plastic pieces on the inside, they will likely need to be replaced every five to seven years.
Tip: You can make up for the stock materials by putting more focus on the accessories. Splurge on a nice light fixture or cabinet hardware.
Mid- to Upper-Range Bathroom Remodel
Price Range: $10,000 to $35,000
Why the broad range? Well, location, materials, cost of labor and project scope play into it. For example, according to the Houzz Real Cost Finder, the average bathroom remodel in New York costs just over $32,000. In Mississippi it’s just under $14,000.
What you might get: Better fixtures, like a toilet with better flushing capabilities or faucets with better flow. And new features like flooring, a vanity, a sink, lighting, window treatments, hardware, a comfort-height toilet, a 36-inch countertop, a framed mirror that matches the vanity and a recessed medicine chest — all of which are slightly better quality than from a big-box store.
Plus, you can make a few more adjustments to the layout. Maybe you’ll put in a slightly smaller bathtub to make way for a slightly larger shower. Maybe you’ll slide a sink down and move the plumbing slightly to add a tall linen cabinet.
Countertops: A higher-grade remnant or custom piece of granite, marble or quartz.
Cabinets: Semicustom pieces with higher-end finishes — glazed instead of just stained — and decorative details like cabinet legs and intricate door panels.
Plumbing: You can make moderate adjustments to the plumbing, like moving the faucets or shower, but the toilet will likely stay in the relative same spot. You might also add separate valves for temperature and flow control and showerhead pressure.
Fixtures: You can upgrade the fixtures for ones with higher-quality copper or bronze inside, which will last considerably longer than off-the-shelf units.
Tile: At this level porcelain will be your new best friend. It’s more durable than ceramic and slip resistant, and there are more color, size and design options. You’ll have the option of doing more interesting borders and accent tiles, and you can tile the entire room instead of just a shower or bathtub area.
Walls: You can get a bit more creative with materials and do tile walls or real beadboard for a custom look.
The Deluxe Bathroom Remodel
Price Range: $30,000 to $100,000-plus
This level is also known as a full gut job. Everything will go away, and you’ll put things where you want. You might also punch into an adjacent room for more space or punch out the exterior. The toilet and shower might switch locations, the bathtub might go away and a sauna might come in; all-new high-end fixtures, materials, cabinets, lighting and finishes can be added. The room is likely to be larger. Detailed molding, trimwork and tilework might also be included.
Cabinetry: Solid wood construction with custom finishes and decorative accent pieces.
Tile: Natural marble, limestone or granite, all of which are more labor intensive and difficult to cut. Natural stone requires more maintenance, but every single tile has its own unique character.
Read More: 4 Secrets to a Luxurious Bathroom Look
Plumbing: High-end finishes and parts.
Amenities: Steam showers and radiant floor heating.
Planning for a Bathroom Remodel
Budget breakdown: Once you establish your budget and start hunting for materials, consider the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s cost breakdown as a guide:
- Design fees: 4%
- Installation: 20%
- Fixtures: 15%
- Cabinetry and hardware: 16%
- Countertops: 7%
- Lighting and ventilation: 5%
- Flooring: 9%
- Doors and windows: 4%
- Walls and ceilings: 5%
- Faucets and plumbing: 14%
- Other: 1%
Of course, it’s up to you where to spend and where to splurge, but this breakdown is a good starting point. Plus, remember to reserve an additional 10 to 20 percent for unforeseen costs that might come up during construction.
When to remodel: You can do a bathroom remodel pretty much any time of year. The most common time to start is during the winter or spring.
How long it will take: Expect a month or two of planning and picking out materials and finishes. Designer Leslie Molloy says many of her clients usually spend about four to six months doing their own research and figuring out their budget and project scope before contacting a designer. Expect three to eight weeks for construction, depending on the scope.
First step: Figure out which of the three levels of remodeling your project falls into, then start looking at photos of bathrooms to figure out what style, materials and amenities you want. Molloy advises not to get too carried away with planning before reaching out to a designer for help. Professionals can quickly assess your goals and budget to steer you toward what will work for you.