5 Bathroom Remodel Ideas To Add Value to Your Home

Whether you’re into DIY or hiring a pro, we’ve got a range of options for homeowners.

A tablet with renovation ideas on the screen lays on top of a floor plan printout. iStock

A bathroom is one of the most essential spaces in your home, so why not make it the best it can be? According to Today’s Homeowner, the average upscale bathroom remodel has a 48.8% return on investment, making it a sound strategy for those looking to make improvements. 

A bathroom remodel doesn’t mean you have to take the space down to the studs. You can update an outdated bathroom to a more modern style with tweaks as minor as a new faucet or paint color—or with changes as grand as adding built-in cabinets and installing a new vanity.

Working with an interior designer can help you navigate a complex project. But if you want to take on this task yourself, check out Pinterest or websites like houzz.com to see products and design options.

Here are five bathroom remodeling ideas that can add value to your home.

How long does it take to remodel a bathroom?

After getting the required permits, which may take anywhere from two weeks to several months, you can expect spend roughly 21 days or longer on your bathroom remodel.

This includes time for demolition, plumbing, electrical, insulation, drywall, painting, tiling, cabinetry, flooring, hook-ups (toilets, sinks, etc.) and fixture installation.

Expect the unexpected, but it is common for a bathroom remodel to take approximately three weeks.

Bathroom remodeling ideas

1. Make a small bathroom feel larger with built-in cabinets.

Two men carry a vanity into a bathroom. iStock

If the primary need is storage, then adding built-in cabinets will make a world of difference. Built-in cabinets can be an expensive upgrade, and we recommend doing your research to find reputable local carpenters and cabinetmakers to help with custom cabinetry.

  • Here’s a tip: Before you call a carpenter, check home improvement stores to see if premade cabinets will fit your floor plan and help you save some money. (AAA Members may find savings at places like Lowes and The Home Depot through the AAA Online Mall).

Getting custom cabinets built ensures that the cabinets will be perfect for your needs. You can specify height, number and sizes of drawers, and much more. A cabinetmaker can also build a drawer just for items that need electricity, like hair dryers or curling irons, by including silicone linings and electric outlets connected to a circuit.

Are you looking for a spot where you can get ready in the morning? A cabinetmaker can create a vanity area with specific compartments for everything you need.

If you don’t have enough room for lower cabinets, try adding a built-in medicine cabinet as a vanity mirror or a installing a hanging cabinet on an empty wall for extra storage space. If you have a small space but tall ceilings, don’t be afraid to place the cabinets higher up on the wall.

If you already have existing cabinetry but want to add to it, make sure to sand and then paint or stain the new and the old cabinets the same color and use the same hardware to create a cohesive look. 

  • Here’s a tip: If you paint or stain the cabinets a light color, you’ll be shocked by how much bigger the space will feel.

2. Focus on your bathroom vanity.

A bathroom vanity with two sinks and two mirrors hung above them. iStock

A dingy or outdated vanity will age a bathroom quickly. If your current vanity is a style you like, consider making DIY changes such as updating the countertop and adding a new coat of paint.

  • Here’s a tip: If you don’t have the budget for high-cost materials like marble, quartz or granite, look into more cost-effective options such as concrete or high-end laminate. Newer laminate styles can give the look of wood or stone at a fraction of the cost.

For more significant changes, such as altering the layout from a single vanity to a double, we recommend hiring a licensed plumber. There are best practices and compliance codes for installing plumbing fixtures such as sinks and faucets, and trained plumbers should be up to the task.

For a less-used bathroom such as a powder room, a vanity with little to no storage may be sufficient. (Think pedestal sink.)

If you’re interested in completely remodeling your bathroom, an interior designer may be helpful. A designer can help you identify and create the bathroom’s style and ambiance. Here are some ideas:

  • For a French country or farmhouse look, consider using a vintage dresser as a vanity and retrofitting it with sinks and plumbing for one-of-a-kind appeal. 
  • For a modern or industrial look, consider a floating vanity with clean lines and LED lighting around the base.

3. Add a walk-in shower or freestanding tub.

A modern bathroom with a gray color palette. iStock

Most high-end bathrooms have showers with multiple showerheads, floor-to-ceiling tile and a freestanding soaking tub. These luxuries make bathing a spa-like experience—and they can increase the value of your home.

Turning your shower into a high-tech hub might not initially be on your radar, but when you learn that you can add a Bluetooth speaker showerhead, voice-activated shower controls and additional showerheads for a full body massage, it might sound like a great idea.

  • Here’s a tip: If you don't want a shower with tons of bells and whistles, consider less-expensive upgrades, such as installing a rainfall showerhead. 


When choosing new tile for your shower, consider a timeless option like modern subway tiles. Subway tiles can be installed in an array of different patterns. For example, try a bright white subway tile with contrasting dark grout in a herringbone pattern for a bold look. Or install white tile with white grout in a brick pattern for a more classic look. You can also add color and visual interest by using mosaic tile as a border.

Wet room

As the name implies, a wet room is a space built with materials meant to get wet. Instead of a specific enclosed shower area, a wet room bathroom has an open concept: The shower drain is placed in the center of the bathroom floor, and everything in the room is made of materials that can withstand moisture and water.

The wet room concept comes from Japanese design, in which a bathroom consists of only the shower and a tub. (The sinks and vanity are in another area.) Some designers use this approach to address smaller bathrooms, while others create luxurious wet rooms resembling spas, with tubs placed right next to showers, resulting in beautiful, cohesive rooms.

Wet rooms are typically 20% to 30% more expensive because the waterproofing requires more work. However, up to 70% of the cost could be recouped in resale because wet rooms often include higher-end materials. Wet rooms are also becoming more popular with homeowners who want to age in place or who have disabilities.

4. Update your floor tile or flooring.

A person installing octagonal tiles in a bathroom. iStock

When you’re redoing a bathroom space, flooring is one of the most dramatic things you can change. There is a range of options, including tile, wood, laminate and vinyl.

Ceramic tile is popular for bathrooms because it’s durable, waterproof and stain resistant. Tile is available in classic single-color styles, bright patterns and even designs that look like hardwood floors.

  • Here's a tip: Real hardwood flooring should only be used in a bathroom that doesn’t have a shower or bathtub (such as a powder room or half bath) so the wood won’t be compromised by humidity.

Vinyl flooring is another budget-friendly DIY option. Vinyl is stainproof, waterproof and easy to clean. It can also be installed over existing flooring, making it an appealing option for homeowners who don’t want to demolish their floors.

Update existing flooring

If you’re looking to update the flooring you already have, painting existing tile is an inexpensive option. But before you break out the paint, any broken tiles need to be repaired and sanded. Clean the existing tile and grout and prime the surface for the paint.

  • Here’s a tip: Epoxy paint is a type that sticks well to tile.

If you want to update and refresh the grout between your tiles, try grout paint. You can pick up grout paint at your local home improvement store, and within an afternoon, your tilework can look as good as the day it was installed.

Pull Quote stating "You can pick up grout paint at your local home improvement store, and within an afternoon, your tilework can look as good as the day it was installed."

5. Upgrade your light fixtures.

A marble bathroom with a window view of a mountain at sunset. iStock

If you’ve ever looked at yourself in the mirror in a bathroom with bad lighting, you know the effect it can have. Bathroom light fixtures serve both form and function, so updating your light fixtures can significantly impact your space.

While having natural light in a bathroom is ideal, it’s not always possible, such as when a bathroom is located on an interior wall. A skylight can be an excellent option for bringing in natural light if you’ve got a one-story home or top-floor bathroom.

Eco-friendly options

For spaces without an option for natural light, there are technological advances that can make it seem like the sun is shining. These options are often ecofriendly and cost-effective, so updating your lighting could save you money over time.

Quality LED lighting can give your bathroom a beautiful lighting scheme for any time of day. LED lighting has a variety of controls, including dimming and light color, so you can have bright lighting in your bathroom on the darkest of mornings or enjoy tranquil low lighting during a relaxing end-of-day bath.

LED lighting is versatile. Select from downlights, uplights, strip lights, wall lights, pendants and chandeliers. We recommend layering LED lights with more traditional bathroom light fixtures such as sconces and pendants to give your space a luxe ambiance.

And don’t forget about task lighting to help with things like putting on makeup or shaving. Install task lighting near your sink or over your vanity.

  • Here’s a tip: When installing lights, consider the angle of illumination. For example, downlighting can cast unflattering shadows on your face.

Thinking of selling your home? Chat with your AAA insurance agent.

It’s likely that your bath remodel has boosted the value of your home. So, whether you updated for function or aesthetics, or to increase your home’s sale price, it’s also wise to make sure you’ve got enough homeowners insurance coverage. Review your policy annually and contact your agent if you’ve made significant changes to your home. 

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