Really nice looking bathrooms can be a major selling point in any home, and are one of the main features that buyers will look for. But if you’re getting ready to sell and one or more of your bathrooms is only so-so, an extensive bathroom renovation probably isn’t worth the rate of returns you’d get on the time, effort, and expense that would go into the project. While some trends are holding steady, it’s impossible to reliably predict what any one buyer is looking for, and a lot of construction will only delay your ability to sell your house. That said, it’s important to do what you can to improve the presentation of the space you have, and many small but significant projects are ones you can do yourself, usually for a few hundred dollars or less.
Shop Towel Bars:
The basic hardware in your bathroom, like towel bars and toilet paper holders, is one place where your bathroom will really show its age, especially if they’ve been in place for a while or were inexpensive to start. The good news is, all you need to replace these pieces is a screwdriver. Simply remove the screws holding the bars in place (which you’d be doing anyway if you decide to paint), and install a new one using the existing holes. Changing out all the bars, rods, rings, and hooks in the bathroom can take less than an hour and will cost about $100, depending on the style and material. It’s important to purchase all these items from the same company and collection (and from the same collection as your new faucets, if you buy them) to make sure all the finishes and styles are coordinated, but simply upgrading to a slightly more intricate design or a more eye-catching finish can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of the bathroom.
If you have a bathroom vanity or custom bathroom cabinet with outdated door pulls, this is another incredibly simple project that will instantly improve the impression the space makes on potential buyers. Admittedly this is one piece of advice that I rolled my eyes at for a long time, because it seems like such a small thing. But making a deliberate choice of new cabinet hardware – especially if you coordinate it with other new fixtures – can really help unify the space and give it a fresh new look. If your cabinets have existing pulls, you’ll have to make sure the new ones fit the old holes exactly, but again this is a project you can pull off with ten minutes and a screwdriver, for between $10 and $50 depending on the style, size, material, and number of knobs and pulls you need.
Shop Bathroom Faucets:
If you’re one step braver – say, a moderately skilled DIYer or someone with a friend’s cousin who happens to be a plumber – it’s very much worth replacing your bathroom faucet. Especially if you have hard water, old taps will probably show water spots that no amount of elbow grease will totally remove. Opting for brand new fixtures will give your bathroom a sparkling clean quality. Plus, if you have a standard bargain bin bathroom faucet, replacing it with a more stylish or modern one can really make the space feel more luxurious. Good quality bathroom faucets will probably cost you somewhere in the $100 range, but are typically pretty straightforward to install, and are much more affordable than replacing the whole vanity area as you would in a more extensive renovation.
While you’re at it, consider replacing your tub spout and shower head. A nice, matching tub spout will probably cost between $50 and $100 and are simple to install yourself – just twist off the old one and screw the new one into place. The tub handle is a little more complicated, but still very doable. Replacing your shower head with a really nice multi-jet massage sprayer shower head or even an elegant, European style hand shower will count as a major plus to buyers (and a shiny new, water spot-free finish won’t hurt for making your space look clean and new). Hand showers are a little more difficult to install and will cost slightly more, but are a nice elegant, sophisticated touch. Either way, look to spend at least $50-$100, but if you have a good wrench and some teflon tape, you can probably do the installation yourself.
Shop Bathroom Vanities:
Smaller cosmetic changes are important, too, and can cost you even less. Try to see your bathroom with fresh eyes; it might not be enough to simply clear off your counters and give the space a deep clean (though that should always be the first step!). If you have just a regular plastic bottle of hand soap and an old, toothpaste-stained toothbrush holder, tuck them away and replace them. Soap pumps, soap dishes, toothbrush holders, tumblers, trash cans, shower curtain rings, tissue box covers, and other bathroom accessories should all be replaced with new pieces in coordinating styles or put out of sight entirely where possible. You can get a full, good looking set of accessories for about $20, or hunt down some nice soaps and antique jars or a live plant or two for a more classic look.
Similarly, if your towels have been in circulation for more than a few wash cycles, unless you’re a miracle worker they probably don’t still have their original vivid color or swanky hotel plush. Buying a set of towels for show can make the whole bathroom feel much more inviting, and can help create a coordinated color scheme. Best part? If you splurge for some really nice towels, you can take them with you when you move. While you’re at it, if there’s a shower curtain in your bathroom, replace it, and remember: cloth looks nicer than plastic. A fresh style will better match your new vision of the bathroom and more importantly there won’t be any questions about how clean it is.
Last but certainly not least, put up a new coat of paint. This old adage may seem tired, but it really is tried and true: if you have bare walls in the bathroom, give them a good scrub and paint over them. You won’t spend much on paint, especially for a smaller bathroom, but combined with some of the other techniques – or even all on its own – a quick coat of paint (that, yes, you can do yourself) will completely freshen and revitalize the space and really set the stage for a buyer to see your bathroom as a fresh, finished space rather than a big project in the making.
And there you have it: a nearly-new, ready to sell bathroom for in the neighborhood of $600 if you do everything on this list. What are some of your favorite ways to freshen up a room before putting your house on the market? Let me know in the comments!