Bathroom Renovation: when to splurge or save

Bathroom Renovations
Bathroom Renovations. Source: Pinterest

When it comes to adding value to your home, next to the kitchen the bathroom is the next most important room. As anyone that has been through a bathroom renovation will tell you, they aren’t exactly inexpensive undertakings. But the trick is knowing where to spend your dollars and where to save a buck. Check out the following recommendations for where you should save and where you should splurge in your next bathroom renovation.

Go Cheap on the Flooring

Great tiles don’t have to cost the earth. Sure, silver travertine and Calcutta marble are beautiful, but ceramic tiles have come a long way in recent times. Remember, the bathroom is a space where practicality is important. Natural stone tiles with specific care requirements is something no one wants to deal with long term. Use a ceramic or porcelain tile, and look for natural patterns or prints to mimic the look and feel of stone. A 600mm by 300mm silver travertine tile can set you back upwards of $120 per square meter in some markets, whereas the ceramic equivalent as little as $30.

Splash out on In-Floor Heating

Gone of the days when in-floor heating was only available to the super-rich. For a little as $300 plus installation, a small ensuite bathroom could be feeling toastie underfoot in no time. Heated floors are becoming increasingly popular through television shows such as The Block and Renovation Rumble, and they offer a good ROI particularly if it’s the only heat source in a small bathroom.

Go Cheap on the Toilet

When was the last time you said, “geez, so-and-so’s toilet is really something else”? Leave it to the fancy restaurants in downtown SOHO or 7 Star hotels to have a toilet that sings to you and washes you down you-know-where. It’s easy to spend upward of $1500 on an in-wall cistern, wall hung throne, but it’s quite literally flushing your money down the drain. Unless your bathroom has limited space, opt for a standard close coupled toilet suite in white.

Splash out on the Bathroom Vanity

Whether you buy off the shelf or use a bespoke designer piece, an attractive and practical vanity is a great way to add value to your bathroom, so it’s worth spending a little extra time and money to get something that fits the bill. Storage is king, so look for draws and clever use of space. Wall hung options with streamlined plumbing make your bathroom feel more spacious. Your vanity is a touchpoint for everyone that visits your bathroom, a quality finish and solid construction is imperative.

Go Cheap on the Bathtub

In a family home, it’s important to have at least one family bathroom (with a bathtub) for a solid ROI. And the great news is, they don’t have to be budget breaking. Although jacuzzi style tubs sound great in theory, unless you’re operating a bed and breakfast on the Mornington Peninsula, it will be used once in a blue moon. Free standing tubs are also an expensive option, usually requiring speciality tapware and more tiling. Opt for an acrylic or fibreglass model in a style that suits your design, which can be found on the shelf at any big box hardware or plumbing store.

Splash out on Semi or Frameless Screens

Frameless glass shower screens are a fantastic inclusion in any bathroom design or style. But it will cost you! Frameless glass shower screens don’t detract from the space, won’t mould or rust, don’t leak and won’t break. So despite the higher initial investment, they’re far more likely to give you a better return on your bathroom in the future. The inclusion of fancy doors, be it sliding or hinging, will add to the price. If the space allows, consider fixed panels with no doors to keep the costs down.

Go Cheap on the Lighting

Good lighting is essential in a bathroom for practical reasons as well as mood, but you don’t need to go with deluxe options. Use cheap downlights over the working zones of the vanity. If the size of the space permits, utilise more downlights operated on an independent switch to light the rest of the space. Remember, it is important to avoid casting shadows in a bathroom, you’ll want lighting that both floods people’s faces when looking in the mirror but also lights the whole room. Unless you’re going for a super luxurious bathroom for your own enjoyment, forget feature pendant lights. They offer very little in the way of activity light and attract dust, dirt and moisture.

Splash out on Fixtures

Just like in a kitchen, it’s worth splashing out on high-quality fixtures and hardware. This is one area where the old adage, if you want quality you’ve got to pay for it rings true. Spend the money saved in other areas on high-quality bathroom mixers, shower heads, towell racks and even floor wastes. These elements are everyday touch points and cheap quality will not only feel cheap but wear out faster. The average bathroom mixer gets turned on between 5-10 times a day, over the life of your bathroom, that’s a lot of ‘flicks’.




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