State of the Bathroom Address

Northern Roots Bathroom by Kohler. Where to Buy – Kohler Fixtures and Hardware available at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting Gallery in Lakewood NJ; Paint by Benjamin Moore; Plumbing Services: Tinervia Plumbing; Shower Door Services: Autumn’s Glass in Howell NJ. Photo courtesy of Kohler

The latest trends in bathroom renovations

by Erik J. Martin

Kitchens may get a lot of love, but homeowners are lavishing more attention on bathrooms lately. That’s the major takeaway from a new poll that sheds new light on the latest preferences in bathroom redos.

Indeed, the recently published 2018 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study had some fascinating revelations. Consider, for instance, that most homeowners remodel their bathrooms for a simple reason: they just can’t put up with them anymore.

Among other study findings: over half of those redoing a bathroom are at least age 55 and implementing age-in-place amenities; most are choosing to remove the bathtub (34 percent) and change the layout (47 percent); almost half of master bath projects are tied to a master bedroom remodel (46 percent); spending on a renovated master bath averages $8,500 (just behind kitchens, at $12,540) but in fact those numbers can easily double or even triple depending on many factors like square footage, fixtures, etc; demand for dual showers, vessel sinks, built-in vanities, and one-piece toilets has increased over the last three years; gray is the color of choice for walls, flooring and (sometimes) cabinets; and polished chrome and matte nickel place tops when it comes to metal finishes.

Modern Minimalist Bathroom. Where to Buy – Shower Door Services: Autumn’s Glass in Howell NJ

Many homeowners yearn for a more modern design esthetic today in the bath.

Contemporary style continues to be the leading choice among renovating homeowners, despite its drop in favor over the past three years from 26 percent in 2016 to 20 percent in 2018. Farmhouse style, on the other hand has more than doubled in popularity from three to seven percent over the same period.

Even more revealing are inclinations among baby boomers. 

A significant proportion of age 55-plus households are aware of pending aging needs and are proactive about integrating universal design features during renovations. Boomers who address aging-related needs are tackling major changes to the master bathroom, with nearly half changing the layout and one-third removing the tub.

Other upgrades among this demographic include installing accessibility features like seats, low curbs, grab bars and non-slide floors in upgraded showers and bathtubs.

“Good lighting” – including natural light – remains a top design and functional priority in bathroom redo projects, garnering a 47 percent response and ranking second after “stylish and beautiful” (78 percent); rounding out the top 5 priorities were “adds to the resale value” (45 percent), “easy to clean and disinfect” (44 percent), and “reflects who I am” (33 percent).

The popularity of premium features is a positive sign that the current remodeling market is strong for both homeowners and renovators. 

Kohler’s Tailored Vanity Collection, Rollout Appliance Storage. Where to Buy: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Lakewood NJ.  Photo courtesy Kohler

Tackling a bathroom redo is a huge undertaking and big investment, so you want to make sure you do it right. You first need to figure out your needs and what currently is and isn’t working for you. Perhaps you need more storage or counter space or want to create more privacy for the toilet or shower. Take these into consideration and then work on the layout by collaborating with a designer.

When planning a renovation project of this scope, be mindful of your future needs, too. Beyond layout changes that improve the overall function of your space, consider thoughtful design touches that will be appreciated as you age, like integrated lighting to help you see better.

Sound advice for a successful bath reboot:  Maximize your renovation dollars by creating the best bathroom that space allows, and consider the next owner carefully. You should love your updated bathroom space and its design but not scare away people with design choices that may hurt resale value.