How much value does a bathroom remodel add?

A sales representative assists a young couple as they look at bathtubs in a showroom.Image: A sales representative assists a young couple as they look at bathtubs in a showroom.

In a Nutshell

A bathroom remodel can improve your living space, but how much value does it add to your home? The answer depends on many factors, including the scope of the project and your design choices.
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Renovating your home can improve your quality of life as well as the value of your home.

But having an idea of how much value a remodel could add to your home may make it easier to justify the expense. For a bathroom renovation, your return on investment may depend on how extensive the remodel is.

We’ll review your potential return, as well as factors to consider before moving forward — and ways to pay for it all.



How much value does a bathroom remodel add?

In general, the metric that experts use to determine how much value a renovation project adds isn’t a flat dollar amount but the percentage of the upfront cost the owner is likely to recoup when they sell the house.

Relatively minor renovations may have a better return on investment compared to extensive ones. In the same vein, adding an entirely new bathroom may make the most sense for your personal situation, but the return on investment may be only moderate when you decide to sell your home.

In most cases, the value added to your home won’t match your investment. But certain remodels tend to do better than others, so keep that in mind as you make your plans.

You’ll also want to consider how certain upgrades may save you money over time, such as energy-efficient lighting as well as low-flow toilets and showerheads.

According to a 2021 cost vs. value report by Remodeling, the return on investment for a bathroom remodel depends on the updates you make. Keep in mind that returns aren’t guaranteed and that they may differ from the national average based on where you live and local market conditions.

The report includes the average cost of five different bathroom remodels:

  • Midrange bathroom remodel — A 60% return on average cost of more than $24,000.
  • Upscale bathroom remodel — A 55% return on average spend of nearly $76,000.
  • Universal design bathroom — This type of bathroom takes into account universal design principles that make the room accessible to people with disabilities. An average cost of nearly $39,000 typically has a return of about 58%.
  • Bathroom addition (midrange) — A 53% return on an average spend of nearly $57,000.
  • Bathroom addition (upscale) — A 53% return on an average cost of nearly $104,000.

Your bathroom remodel may look a lot different than the average project, but these average figures can give you a general idea of what to expect.

How to plan a bathroom project

Before you start renovating your bathroom, it’s important to put a plan in place to make the most of your investment without breaking the bank.

Plan your budget and scope of bathroom renovation work

Whether you’re renovating an existing bathroom or adding a new one, you’ll need an idea of how big the remodeling project will be and how much it’ll cost. Decide what upgrades or additions you want to make and get several estimates from contractors.

You’ll also want to consider whether your remodel will require an overhaul of the electrical system or the plumbing, both of which can add to your costs. You may need to consult an experienced electrician and/or plumber.

Choose your finishes: Tile, lighting, plumbing fixtures and other items

In general, if you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, it’s best to go with colors that are as neutral as possible. But if you’re not planning to move anytime soon and you want to create a space that’s uniquely yours, focus on the style and quality that you want.

Should you do it yourself?

A major project like a bathroom remodel may be best left to those with professional experience, especially if you plan to sell the house at some point and the renovation is part of your selling plans.

While hiring someone else to do the work will cost you more, the quality and peace of mind are probably worth it. Unless you have experience as a contractor or want to make only minor changes, it’s usually best to let pros do the work.

What bathroom renovations add value to a home?

Even if you’re not planning to do a full remodel, there are plenty of renovations you can make to your bathroom to help increase the value of your home.

Changing the size or configuration of the bathroom

One potential alternative to making your bathroom bigger? Changing the configuration of the bathroom by replacing or relocating fixtures can improve the functionality of the space or improve privacy.

Adding accessibility features

According to a 2021 report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, nearly 6 million homeowners ages 55 and older made at least one home renovation between 2015 and 2019 to make them more accessible for people with limited mobility.

If you or a loved one has limited mobility, or you anticipate potential changes to your mobility in the near future, it may be worth it to add some accessibility features to your bathroom. This can include a walk-in shower, adjustable showerhead, shower seating, nonslip surfaces, handles and grips, a comfort-height toilet and two-directional glass shower doors.

Improving cosmetic features

Your current bathroom fixtures may be functional but have a dated look. You may want to consider cosmetic upgrades such as new tile, new sinks or faucets, a different style toilet or new lighting.

What’s next? Paying for home improvements.

Major remodels or additions can cost tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s important to think about how you’re going to pay for the improvements. While it’s best to avoid borrowing money if possible, you also don’t want to drain your savings account, leaving nothing to fall back on in the case of an emergency.

Depending on how much home equity you have, you may have a few options.

When you use these loans to buy, build or improve your home, you may even be able to deduct the interest you pay on your tax return. They also tend to offer lower interest rates than other loan options because they use your home as collateral.

Home improvement personal loans may be another option worth considering. And while it can tempting to use a credit card, the interest can be costly. Plus, depending on the scale of your project, your credit limit may not be high enough to cover the entire cost of the project.

No matter how you decide to fund your project, it’s important to think about the cost of the remodel compared to the potential added value to the home to make an informed decision.

© 2021 Zonda Media, a Delaware Corporation. Complete data from the Remodeling 2021 Cost vs. Value Report can be downloaded free at www.costvsvalue.com.


About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Read more.