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Image of two bathroom mirrors with the text "5 Simple Bathroom Upgrades that Make A Big Difference"

5 Simple Bathroom Renovations That Make a Big Difference

The bathroom.

It may not be the most glamorous room in the house, but it's certainly one of the most frequented! And, interestingly, renovating this one room can have one of the greatest sale price ROI! That is, upgrading your bathroom can net a higher profit when you go to sell your home. In fact, the National Association of Realtors states that a bathroom remodel can expect a return on investment of 60.22%.

And while you can start tearing down walls and pulling out appliances and renovate from the ground up, you don't have to.

Bathroom renovations can be simple, quick, and relatively affordable to still make a big impact.

So whether you are looking to refresh the bathroom in your current home, or are getting ready to sell and want to bump up your home value, here are five simple bathroom renovations to consider today.

5 Bathroom Renovations That Make a Big Difference

Bathrooms may be a small room in your house, but the options for renovations and upgrades can seem endless!

According to national averages listed on, you can do a complete mid-range bathroom remodel for $27,000 or do an upscale remodel for $82,000. However, a full remodel is typically not at all necessary, and most homeowners can get excellent ROI by choosing just a few things to prioritize.

These five bathroom renovation options are some of the most affordable choices that offer an excellent ROI. Plus, they're fairly easy for anyone to tackle and don't take a ton of time. Win-win-win!

Bathroom Upgrades (2)

1. Paint Walls and Cabinets

Estimated time for project: 2-3 hours to paint; 24 hours to cure (dry and adhere to the wall).

Estimated cost: Between $200-$500, depending on the paint you choose and the size of your bathroom; there are additional labor costs to hire a painter.

Skill level required: This can be done by anyone, though it takes practice and precision to get clean lines. Cabinets require specialized enamel paint and can be tricky, but patience and precision are key here.

Ask any design or real estate agent about what makes the most difference in a house and they'll say the same thing—paint.

A fresh coat of paint is a way to instantly freshen up your bathroom. It's the most popular wall-covering option, and has been for years. It's relatively cheap, easy to apply, and easy to clean.

When painting your bathroom, remember:

  • Details matter: Pay close attention to small details, making sure all your finishes and edges are clean and sharp. A few blobs of paint in the tub or messy drip lines can undermine the improvements you made.
  • Quality matters: Since the bathroom can be a damp environment, make sure you find high-quality, mold-resistant paint. This is particularly important for the ceiling, as it's a hard-to-clean surface and therefore potential breeding ground for mold and mildew.

When it comes to choosing a color, consider how your bathroom ties into the rest of your home. Soft neutrals and light colors are often a good way to go because they can brighten up a small space and even provide a spa-like environment—think calm, soothing beiges or light blues and grays.

When deciding to give a paint refresh, think about how it ties into your overall style. Muted tones like cream and beige fit a modern and minimalist vibe, though many people enjoy some color and opt for warm tones. Popular options are often deep greens, blues and greys. If you're going to do an accent wall, be selective! Choose a section of a wall or complete wall that will make a statement without overpowering the room.

2. Replace Sinks and Countertops

Estimated time for project: 2-3 hours for installation

Estimated cost: $2,300 (average cost for a countertop) + $220-$630 for a new sink (data here)

Skill level required: Some skill and experience required to install it yourself.

One of the best ways to add value to your bathroom is to focus on the countertops and the sink. This is typically a focal point of your bathroom and takes up a significant amount of space. By elevating it with a new, modern look, you can transform the whole bathroom.

Because bathroom countertops tend to be smaller than those in the kitchen, you can spend less money to get something high-quality. One current popular trend is stone countertops like quartz or granite, which look modern and upscale, offering an almost spa-like quality.

When updating your bathroom sink and countertops, also consider:

  • Installing his-and-hers sinks: Upgrade the value by installing two sinks if your vanity is long enough. This is a popular option for new couples looking to buy.
  • Upgrading the faucet: Along with a sleek new sink bowl, upgrade the faucet with an attractive metal like stainless steel or polished nickel. Make sure this matches the hardware (i.e., cabinet pulls or handles) for a streamlined look.

A cost-effective DIY trend is to take an older dresser and either mount a sink on the top as a pedestal or recess it on the countertop. This creates an elegant solution while using an affordable dresser instead of new cabinets.

3. Tile the Floors

Estimated time for project: May take up to one day, based on the type of tile and the complexity of the pattern.

Estimated cost: $2,100 (average cost); prices vary based on type of tile. Additional labor costs to hire a professional.

Skill level required: Can be technical if there is a complex pattern; may require the help of a professional.

If your bathroom flooring is old vinyl linoleum, it's time for an upgrade! Installing tiled floors (and shower walls) is a great option for creating an elegant and updated look in a bathroom. It looks sharp and clean, but can also be a way to play with colors, designs, and patterns.

As one of the more pricey bathroom upgrade options, it's wise to be strategic about how to use tile in your bathroom. Here are some considerations:

  • Consider a more cost effective product, such as luxury vinyl tile plank versus ceramic tile.
  • Use more expensive tile as an accent against cheaper tile.
  • Reconsider installing heated flooring. It can be a nice touch, but the ROI is not always significant considering how expensive and time-consuming it is to tear up and install new floors. Think of this more as an upgrade you put in for you to enjoy, not for the benefit of resale ROI.

Note that if you already have tile, you may just need a professional grout steaming company to come in and clean things up instead of replacing the entire thing.

4. Choose New Lighting

Estimated time for project: 1-2 hours.

Estimated cost: Bathroom fixtures average $185 per unit, and the price will increase with more lights you install.

Skill level required: Typically easy for anybody to install.

Lighting can make a huge difference in a bathroom. At the bare minimum, no one wants to be in a dark space, especially in a small area like a bathroom where they're trying to get ready for the day.

You can instantly elevate your space by investing in new lighting. It's not labor-intensive or expensive and can have a huge impact. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Add lighting around your vanity mirrors to bring a luxurious feel to everyday grooming.
  • Include adjustable lighting that can dim down to create a relaxing environment while soaking in the tub.
  • Add heat lamps that further the "spa experience" by creating a mini-sauna for the bathroom.

As a rule, choose bright and modern lighting to eliminate any dark spaces in the bathroom. And for the love of all things holy, make sure all of your light bulbs match and are working. Mismatched temperatures and brightness throughout the home do not present well in your photos or to any buyer touring your home.

5. Upgrade Fixtures & Hardware

Estimated time for project: 2-3 hours.

Estimated cost: Varies based on items replaced; cabinet handles can be as cheap as a few dollars per piece, whereas a faucet can be between $150-$400.

Skill level required: Ranges from simple (i.e., new cupboard handles) to more complex (i.e., sink faucet).

One of the most underrated upgrades to a home is updating the fixtures and hardware. It's an affordable and effective option that takes no real skill or knowledge to do. Fixtures are things that are attached to the home and, in your bathroom, may include:

  • Cabinet pulls, knobs, or handles.
  • Towel racks.
  • Light fixtures.
  • Shower rod.
  • Faucets.
  • Cabinet hinges.
Bathroom Upgrades

These are all small details in the bathroom but can come under scrutiny of those who view your home with an eye to buying it. The most important thing is to choose high-quality pieces that do not rust and degrade from constant use and moist atmosphere.

From there, you can choose a style that looks modern and elevated. Metallic finishes are popular and can give your home warmth and sophistication. Consider removing outdated shiny brass fixtures and replacing it with warmer metals like brushed nickel or even black. If you choose a brushed gold or champagne color, be sure that the finish matches across your hardware and fixtures.

Updating your bathroom doesn't have to take a lot of time or money to still have an impact. These five simple bathroom renovations offer excellent ROI and bring your space to the next level.

If you want to dive deeper and learn more about renovating your bathroom or other parts of your home to increase ROI, grab a copy of my free eBook: Home Improvements that Improve Value.

And if you're interested in going deeper on the aesthetic and design side of renovations, make sure to check out Style to Design Renovations—interior e-design services to help bring your vision to life.

To upgrades and renovations,

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