Two washbasin with two faucets.

If the master bath is large enough, two sinks can cut a lot of tension while two people get ready for the day. (Getty Images)

You can’t deny the pleasure of staying at a lovely hotel or dining in a fabulous restaurant and being left gobsmacked by the restroom. Let’s face it, we have all been in that bathroom that makes us resent our own.

The decision to renovate seems like an easy one. Depending on your selections, you’re likely to have a good return on your investment for resale, and the impact on your daily life is large. But how does one decide where to begin and how much to spend?

Obviously, you should spend what you can afford, and once you’ve determined your budget, spend as much as you can afford to achieve the best, longest-lasting result.

If you work outside the house, it’s likely that a large part of your waking hours is spent in your bathroom: showering, bathing, prepping, chatting, brushing and more. It’s where you start your day and it’s where you end your day.

According to Dan Contelmo, owner of Daniel Contelmo Architects in Poughkeepsie, New York, homeowners can expect to spend varied amounts, depending on the type of bathroom, for a custom remodel:

  • Powder Rooms: $10,000 to $20,000.
  • Kid’s Bathrooms: $20,000 to $30,000.
  • Master Baths: $40,000 to $80,000.

[Read: 11 Popular Home Updates That Are Worth the Money.]

Let’s take a look and see how this breaks down.

Powder Rooms

This is the “sitting room” of bathrooms. The powder room gets its name from customs dating back to the early 18th century, when people needed a place to go to repowder their wigs. At the time, it was not necessarily a place used to take care of “business.”

The tradition of the powder room continued through Victorian times where women would need a place to powder their noses. Any reference at the time of using facilities was considered inappropriate.

Due to their smaller size, powder rooms offer an opportunity to use more sophisticated furnishings and designer tiles. Since a powder room doesn’t include a shower or tub, there is less concern for heavy water use and steam collection. One can feel free to continue the beautiful wood floor into this space, for example.

Since it's the room your guests will use, it need not be treated as a solely functional space. This is the room that deserves the onyx countertop, the expensive wallpaper and the chandelier that you love so much but seems impractical anywhere else. Derail the snoopers and opt for a decorative mirror instead of a medicine cabinet.

[See: 12 Home Improvement Shortcuts That Are a Bad Idea.]

Kid’s Bathrooms

Children treat the bathroom like a water park, but that doesn’t mean it has to look like one. The key consideration in this room is durability and order.

Resist the urge to create a carnival. Whimsy is encouraged, but you don’t want to end up feeling like the bathroom will need another redo in eight years. Keep things classic and kick in the fun with accessories and artwork, like tumbled tiles for children’s bathrooms – they are softer and less slippery than a polished tile, hide dust better and resist etching. Depending on your budget, tumbled porcelain or tumbled stone products work equally well.

Towels have a tendency to not make it back onto towel bars in these rooms – include fun or amusingly sophisticated hooks in these rooms to make keeping order a less daunting task for little ones. Consider running tile up a portion of the walls to make it easier to clean.

Bathtubs are desirable for most parents of young children, but keep in mind that this is a space you may want to change to a stand-alone shower later. As children get a little older, you may not feel comfortable with them climbing over the tub wall to shower, and you may not love their varying success at keeping the shower curtain appropriately placed. Just keep this in mind when you’re planning your space. Remodeling a shower does not have to impact the whole bathroom.

Master Baths

As previously mentioned, this is the room where you start your day and end your day. Where the kid’s bathroom addresses function, this bathroom introduces luxury.

Everything old eventually becomes new again, so strongly consider a freestanding soaking tub. It takes up less space, is available in an array of styles both modern and historical, and is easier to clean and use than a jetted tub.

Decide if your marriage can be sustained with just one sink, or consider space allowance in the room for a double vanity.

Similar to the powder room, the master bath is often the “sitting room” for the master bedroom. To that end, furniture pieces in the bathroom are a great addition, with sophisticated light fixtures as opposed to “vanity” lighting, real rugs and the best hardware your budget allows.

If your bathroom is on the smaller side, consider cabinets with etched glass or mirrored fronts to give the illusion of extra space. Decorate with artwork consistent with the rest of your home.

[See: 8 Easy Renovation Projects Every Homeowner Can Do Now.]

My favorite inclusion? The water closet. It’s a small room attached to the bathroom that houses the toilet and, if space permits, may also include a sink. The historic reason for the water closet was to separate functions of the bathroom based on sewage concerns and hygienic reasons. Modern sewage management systems make the separation unnecessary, but we still like it for aesthetic and modesty reasons.

The master bath is where you want to invest. If you can, go for the heated floors, the tray ceiling, the marble and the crystal. Consider a heated towel rack or warming drawer. After all, you are worth it.

Tags: real estate, home improvements, housing


Melissa Adams Gruber is the owner of Adams Interior Design, located in Dutchess County, New York. A creative soul since childhood, Melissa enjoys a successful career in home interior development and design. A full service firm, Adams Interior Design creates stylish and comfortable spaces.