Face it — your bathroom needs some TLC. But where should you start?

Bathroom upgrades can be as simple as cleaning your grout or as complex as ripping up plumbing. Project costs vary, and return on investment does too.

To help you pull off the best bathroom remodel for your buck, HomeLight interviewed a top real estate agent and two interior designers on their favorite upgrades. Here are 11 bathroom remodel ideas to totally transform your washrooms.

A bathroom remodel featuring a double vanity.
Source: (Zac Gudakov / Unsplash)

1. Upgrade to a double sink vanity

Tubs and showers typically get all the attention, but vanities can also make or break a bathroom. In fact, in HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report for Q4 of 2020, 65% of agents said buyers look for double vanities in a home bathroom.

If you’re handy with tools and know-how to follow a YouTube video, you may get by without having to call a plumber. Otherwise, expect installation to increase your project cost.

Here are a few prefab double sink vanities we love:

Average cost: $1,00 to $3,000, plus $500 to $1,000 for installation

2. Increase storage with furniture and shelving

Homebuyers want storage space in their bathrooms, whether from shelving, vanities, or cabinets. Jessica Love, owner of “Best of Houzz” Urbane Designs Studios in Austin, Texas, shares that her clients are opting for more furniture-like pieces like bookcases or dressers.

“I’m seeing a lot of people being more conscious about storage in their bathrooms and … making sure that they’re building storage space for necessities such as towels, hand towels, extra toilet paper, things of that nature,” Love says.

Considering 29% of real estate agents reported storage as a top upgrade wanted by buyers last year, adding some shelving or extra cabinetry is sure to add some marketability to your space.

If you love DIY, consider transforming an old piece of furniture into a new bathroom cabinet. Otherwise, purchase a new storage unit, like one of these:

Average cost: Shelves cost an average of $0.26 per linear foot, while installation usually runs between $120 and $270

3. Add a floating vanity

Love notes that floating vanities are one of the most popular bathroom fixtures right now. They can add a modern look without sacrificing any functionality. They also offer some under-cabinet storage space, which can be convenient for storing items like step stools and towels.

Enhance your floating vanities with toe-kick and under-cabinet LED lighting. These lights are easy to mount and provide that extra ‘wow’ factor for a small cost.

When choosing a vanity, Love recommends opting for an entirely assembled set rather than selecting a separate vanity, sink, and hardware. These assembled units often cost hundreds to thousands of dollars less than a custom unit.

“Your vanity itself for custom-made is gonna be about $2,800, plus the install and then the countertop … alone could be $1,200 plus,” Love notes.

If you’re not a fan of the hardware that comes with the vanity, don’t worry. It’s usually relatively easy to replace.

Here are three floating vanities we love:

Average cost: $600 to $2,000, plus installation costs

An outdated shower in need of a bathroom remodel.
Source: (Andrew Coop / Unsplash)

4. Change out your plumbing fixtures

One of the easiest ways to make your bathroom look brand new is to switch out the plumbing fixtures, including faucets and showerheads.

You can choose a matching set of fixtures to elevate your bathroom, like a black matte set or farmhouse-chic brass. Love recommends choosing brand-name fixtures that will stand the test of time. But she advises against buying these at a big box store because plumbing suppliers usually carry higher-quality versions of the products. Often, brands make different versions for different carriers.

“It’s kind of like buying a knock-off Louis Vuitton purse,” Love says. “So you’re still paying a lot of money for it, but you’re not getting the quality of what you’re paying for.”

If you only upgrade one fixture, change out the showerhead. In our recent Top Agent Insights Report, 39% of surveyed agents ranked a rain showerhead as the bathroom feature that most resonates with buyers, while 37% said the same about dual showerheads. Replacing your showerhead is an easy and quick fix that can take your shower from lackluster to luxury.

Here are a few fab fixtures to take a peek at:

Average cost: $50 to $500

5. Retile your shower

Tiling is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to change the look of your bathroom. Jade Shmaia of DYM Builders in Los Angeles, California, says she sticks to neutral tiling when working with clients selling their homes. Neutrals have been reliably agreeable to buyers throughout her ten years in the industry.

Love shares that tiling is one of her most common services for bathrooms.

“Tile is still definitely the most cost-effective way to remodel a shower, if you will, that looks nice. Just because doing a solid surface can be cost-prohibitive and doing a cultured marble surround is just outdated,” Love comments.

Tile comes in a variety of styles, materials, and colors. Visit your local tile store to speak with an expert about what tile works best for your bathroom in particular. Tile stores usually have the option of adding installation costs to your purchase, or you could save some money by going the DIY route. But if you’re looking for an uber-clean result, leave it to the experts.

Average cost: $25 per square foot, plus an average of $15.84 per square foot for installation

A bathroom remodel featuring a new toilet.
Source: (Chastity Cortijo / Unsplash)

6. Replace the toilet — or at least the toilet seat!

If your toilet is old, replacing it can enhance your bathroom’s style and efficiency. Toilets made between 1980 and 1992 typically use 3.5 gallons of water per flush, compared to the government-mandated 1.6 gallons of today’s toilets.

If you’re not ready to splurge on a new toilet, Chris Parker, a top agent in Huntington, Indiana, offers an even easier fix: buy a new toilet seat.

“Sometimes I encourage people to just get a new toilet seat that’s $40 or $50 and make sure that looks good,” Parker says. “Because they end up with that wear around them that looks kind of gross.”

You can choose to spring for a toilet with eco-friendly features or extras like a bidet. But if that’s not typical where you live, a simple and clean toilet is probably your safest bet.

Average cost: $100 to $400, plus $370 for installation

7. Opt for vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring isn’t just a fad; it’s a great alternative to tile that’s more affordable and easier to install. Shmaia recommends vinyl flooring if the pre-existing floor is easy to cover.

There are several different kinds of vinyl flooring to choose from. Plank vinyl flooring can offer a look like hardwood floors. Or you can choose from patterned vinyl that looks more like your typical tile. Shmaia recommends choosing earthy and wood textures to bring some more natural elements into the bathroom.

Lastly, when choosing a style, make sure the vinyl you choose is waterproof and can withstand heavy use.

Average cost: $2 to $7 per square foot, depending on the style

8. Hang a new mirror

Mirrors come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s vital to pick the right design for your bathroom.

Here are some popular mirror styles to try:

  • For an on-trend look, choose a round mirror. The Google Search for “round mirror” more than quadrupled in interest between 2009 and 2020!
  • A mirror cabinet is ideal to bolster your storage space. Medicine cabinets can evoke retro vibes — and not always in the best way — so choose a style carefully.
  • Add a full-length mirror to your bathroom to enhance the size of your bathroom. Opt for a leaning style for a contemporary look if space permits.
  • You can’t go wrong with double mirrors for double vanities. Whether they’re arched, square, or rectangular, they’ll make your vanity look perfectly put together.

Average cost: $50 to $200

9. Bring in a professional cleaner to scrub your bathroom shiny

While it might seem unnecessary to pay someone to clean what you’ve cleaned for years, Parker recommends bringing in outside help to hit the spots of your bathroom you may have missed.

“They’ll just get into the nooks and crannies that you kinda gloss over, and they’ll see things that you don’t see cause they’re not used to cleaning your bathroom,” he says.

Parker suggests asking your cleaner if there are any deficiencies in the bathroom or hard-to-clean places to consider fixing before you list your home.

“Because if they saw a deficiency, you can bet that the buyers are gonna see the deficiency,” he adds.

“We just overlook things when we’re living in our own home, and the outside perspective is where a Realtor® really helps out because they know what buyers are looking for.”

Average cost: $55 to $75 for the bathroom only

Various light fixtures that can be used in a bathroom remodel.
Source: (Etienne Girardet / Unsplash)

10. Make it glow with some new lighting fixtures

As gross as it is, it’s easy to ignore the bugs stuck in your lighting fixtures. Take a good look at the fixtures in your bathroom and determine if you should clean or replace them.

“So many times we have that lens over the bathroom fan that yellows out,” Parker shares. “It’s important to get that clean so that when people look up, they don’t see hair and cobwebs in the fan.”

Replacing the light above your vanity can cost less than $100 but instantly updates your bathroom.

Consider these options:

  • Install a sconce above your vanity. From modern and industrial to art deco styles, you’ll surely find something that suits your bathroom design.
  • Flank the sides of your mirror with two vertical lights to add dimension to your bathroom.
  • Choose a chandelier or pendant lamp to make a statement. Why let dining rooms have all the fun? A hanging light looks glamorous above a bathtub.

Average cost: $50 to $200

11. Apply a fresh coat of paint

Fresh paint is one of the easiest ways to add value to any room. And according to 57.38% of agents interviewed in HomeLight’s Q1 2019 survey, homeowners should tackle interior painting before selling their house.

“People never notice the amount of filth in the bathroom until the Realtor® comes in and points it out to them,” he says. “But there’s hairspray on the wall. There’s that dinge that happens when all the shower spray collects around the ceiling.”

Opt for a neutral color that most buyers will like, such as Agreeable Gray from Sherwin-Williams or Penthouse by Clare.

Average cost: $0.86 per square foot, or $30 to $45 per gallon, plus labor costs

Header Image Source: (Zac Gudakov / Unsplash)