freestanding bath tub in bathroom

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Bathroom renovations can make a huge difference in the function of the home. And if you’re selling your home, it can also increase the value. So, I want to give you some tips on how to maximise your ROI when renovating a bathroom.

Many buyers want to move straight in without having to spend money on expensive items like kitchens and bathrooms. So, if you’re planning to sell your home, you will appeal to more buyers if you have already renovated the bathroom.

If you plan to stay in the home after renovating, you may make different design decisions than if you are renovating to sell.

If you are renovating your bathroom to increase the value when you sell your home, certain things will determine how much to spend. Your suburb or location, and price bracket will play a part in what the buyers expect.

If you’re in an entry-level suburb, where it’s mainly first home buyers, they are not expecting to see a $60,000 bathroom with all the luxury fixtures. They aren’t going to expect an oversized shower with double shower heads and high-tech automation that connects to your voice-activated devices. However, if your property is in a million-dollar suburb, you may need to look at these items. Using quality products and luxury touches will be required to attract the right buyers.
The key is not to overcapitalise. This will be different from suburb to suburb, AND for the type of house you own.

Here are my top tips on how to make sure you get your return on your investment:

Minimise layout changes

One thing that will always increase the cost of a bathroom renovation is changing the floorplan of the room. If you are planning to move the toilet, shower or basin to a different place within the room then you are going to need a plumber to change the waste pipes and water supplies. This will be costly!

By keeping the layout as it is, you will save thousands of dollars. Just replacing the items with newer versions and updating the tiles will still give you that new bathroom feeling, without taking such a hit on the budget. floorplan

If you have a 3 way bathroom, knocking walls down to make the bathroom a single room can also be costly, as you will need to engage a builder. Think about whether it’s really necessary. When you only have one bathroom in the house, a 3-way bathroom makes a lot of sense. You can have someone showering, while someone else uses the toilet or basin. For practicality this is a must! Remember you should always think about how it functions first, then think about how it looks aesthetically.

If you’re selling, don’t get emotionally attached to the property and be really honest about whether the changes are going to give you a higher return. If in doubt, get a few of the local agents in the area to give you their opinion of what buyers in the area are looking for. Trust me, they will be more than happy to share their valuable knowledge. And you might save a whole of time and money!

Do the demolition yourself

Where possible do the demolition work yourself. Items such as the shower, toilet and basin aren’t that hard to remove. You can hire a skip bin to dispose of everything at a much lower cost than a contractor will charge you. This will help to keep costs down and reduce the need for extra tradesman to complete the work.

Photo by Umanoide on Unsplash

people in paint splatter clothes renovating

If you are doing the demolition yourself, be sure to check old bathrooms for asbestos first. You don’t want to be pulling tiles off the walls, and then find you have disturbed the asbestos. Call an expert first and if they give you the all clear, you can carry on with the demolition. It’s actually pretty satisfying to get the sledgehammer to the wall and demolish a room. I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it!

Research your purchases

Another hot tip is to buy tiles, fixtures and fittings online or from an auction or discount site as you can get them at a fraction of the cost. I recommend the following

Before buying the first thing you see in store, do some research online and look at prices at other stores. Finding your items online can save you a lot of money and reduce the overall costs of the renovations. Online stores such as eBay and Grays Online are great places to pick up the tiles and other items for your bathroom renovation.  Often at a fraction of the cost of purchasing them in-store. They are usually end-of-line products or a job lot that a client returned so the supplier wants to get rid of them quickly.

And when renovating to sell, you may want to keep the colour scheme muted and neutral. Maybe you can buy your floor tiles and the main wall tiles online, but put a feature tile behind the vanity. If you save money on the majority of the tiles, you can then afford to splurge on the feature tile. You’ll achieve the same result, and save some money in the process.

Following trends

When renovating your bathroom, to help increase the sale price of your home it is best not go too trendy with the new design. Keep it clean, simple and classic. This will appeal to a broader buyer market and won’t polarise buyers. If you choose a design that is on-trend now, it’s likely that within a few years it will become outdated. Sticking to classic whites and simple designs is always a winner and create a timeless look.

Communicate with your tiler

Communication with your tiler is so important during a bathroom renovation. There are a number of costs that can blow-out if there is no plan in place.

Firstly, if you’re trying to save costs, which most of us are. Choose a larger tile, such as 300 x 600 or 600 x 600. This will make the install quicker and easier for the tiler. It also means they will not be charging for large amounts of time to tile the bathroom.

Secondly, be very specific with the tiler how you want the tiles laid. You may think it’s obvious, but they can’t read your mind. You may want the tiles laid horizontally in a brick pattern.tile layoutsBut you only tell him to do them horizontally. When you come home he may have stacked them on top of each other. Show them pictures of what you want so there is no confusion. This will open up a dialogue about the design.  And if they can’t lay it the way you want for some reason, you can discuss the options and come up with a solution together.

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

laying tiles

Tell him you don’t want him making decisions without you. If he’s not sure, ask him to call you to confirm. It’s the only way to avoid a very costly mistake of having to rip out the tiles and start again.

Another tip is when discussing costs with your tiler, try to agree on a per m2 cost. Rather than a per hour cost. If your tiler insists on a per hour charge, there is the chance that they will take longer to complete the job in order to get more money out of you.

When it comes to the tiles, grout and other bits and pieces needed to complete the job, see if they can get a better price than you. Discuss the prices for the items you have sourced and see whether they can get it cheaper. Tradesmen can often buy at wholesale rates. So they may be able to get a better price than if you purchase them yourself.

Make sure you are getting the best price for the best quality products.

Splurge on a feature

Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

bathroom vanity and tap with plantTo help increase the value of the bathroom, we recommend choosing one feature item that will be the hero of the room. It may be a feature tile that will be used on one wall. Spend a little bit extra on the feature tile to give the room something that will stand out and be remembered. Or you may want the vanity to be the showpiece in the room. Something that everyone will talk about when they are in the bathroom.

Shop around for your hero piece too, you don’t have to pay through the nose, just because it’s the feature of the room. There are some great bargains online!



A few last minute tips:

  • If you’re planning to stay in the property, you might want to review the layout and floor plan. Can you make better use of the space by moving things around?
  • Old bathrooms quite often don’t have great layouts, so you can easily make the space flow better with a few tweaks.
  • Keep in mind, that if you’re on a slab, this might end up costing you a lot of money. But if you’re on peers, then it will be a little easier and cheaper.
  • Working with a small space?  Sometimes the cost to change the layout is worth it to get a layout that works.
  • We have vaulted ceilings in our home, but not in our small ensuite. So we carried the higher ceiling into the bathroom and now it looks a lot bigger.

Bathroom renovations are exciting and can make a big difference to a property. Do your research! Get the best prices and make sure that you are communicating with your tradesman in order to get exactly what you are asking for – for the price you have been quoted.

Happy renovating!

If you’re thinking of doing a bathroom renovation and want some help, give me a call. I’d love to have a chat over a coffee to see if I can help with your project.


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