Making upgrades to your bathroom can greatly increase the value and appeal of your home. One of the best ways to maximize your home’s value through bathroom remodeling is by installing new counters and vanities. With the right materials, style, and design, you can create a bathroom that buyers will love.
Why Upgrade Bathroom Counters and Vanities?
Upgrading your bathroom counters and vanities is one of the most effective home improvement projects for boosting your home’s resale value. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Increased Home Value – A bathroom remodel that includes new counters and vanities has an average return on investment of 65%, meaning you can recoup about 65% of the project cost when you sell. This makes it one of the top renovations for return on investment.
- Enhanced Curb Appeal – Outdated counters and vanities can make a home seem old and dingy. New surfaces give your bathroom a fresh, clean look that appeals to buyers.
- Improved Functionality – New vanities provide more storage solutions. Quartz and solid surface counters are more durable and water-resistant.
- Better Use of Space – You can customize the vanity size and layout to make better use of the existing footprint. This creates a more efficient, comfortable bathroom.
- Personalized Style – Counters and vanities allow you to update the style to match your home. Contemporary, traditional, or modern – find the look you love.
- Increased Comfort – New surfaces are easier to clean and maintain. Soft-closing doors and drawers prevent noisy slamming.
When selling your home, a dated, worn bathroom can deter buyers. Investing in this high-ROI upgrade makes your home more competitive on the market.
Choosing the Right Countertops
One of the biggest decisions is choosing your new countertop material. The options you select will impact the cost, look, and functionality of your new bathroom. Here are some top choices:
Quartz (engineered stone) has surged in popularity in recent years. Made from crushed quartz and resin, it’s attractive, low maintenance, and durable.
- Extremely durable – resists scratches, stains, heat, and etching
- Easy maintenance – just soap and water for cleaning
- Hygienic nonporous surface
- Available in wide range of colors and patterns
- Long lifespan of 15-25 years
- Higher cost than laminate
- Seams may be visible
- Doesn’t have the “natural stone” look of granite
With its resilience and many color options, quartz is ideal if you want a stylish, low-maintenance surface. Brands like Caesarstone, Cambria, and Silestone offer many quartz choices. Expect costs of $40-100 per square foot installed.
For a high-end luxurious look, granite is a top choice. Granite slabs are cut from natural stone and feature unique veining.
- Completely natural stone
- Available in many colors and patterns
- Adds value as a premium material
- Extremely durable and heat-resistant
- Won’t scratch, stain, or etch easily
- Expensive, starting around $60 psf installed
- Needs yearly sealing to prevent staining
- Porous so can harbor bacteria if not sealed
- May need special cleaners to keep it looking pristine
With proper maintenance, granite can last a lifetime. It’s ideal for buyers looking for a natural stone surface. Expect to pay $60-150 per square foot installed. Shop around to find more affordable granite options.
Solid Surface Countertops
Solid surface countertops (like Corian) offer a seamless, contemporary look. The material is made from acrylic resin and natural minerals.
- Seamless installation with no visible joints
- Durable and extremely stain resistant
- Available in wide selection of colors
- Easily repairable if damaged
- Resists mold, mildew, and bacteria growth
- Prone to scratches and scorch marks
- Costs more than laminate
- Lacks the prestige and resale value of natural stone
Solid surface counters are ideal for contemporary, minimalist designs. With a seamless look and many color options, it can create a sleek, contemporary space. Expect to pay around $50-100 per square foot installed.
Laminate (plastic laminated) counters offer an affordable option starting around $20-30 per square foot installed. Made by fusing plastic laminate to particle board or MDF, it comes in hundreds of colors and patterns.
- Most affordable countertop option
- Easy to install and remove if remodeling again
- Very durable and scratch-resistant
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Range of colors and styles
- Not as durable or heat/scratch-resistant as stone
- Visible seams with separate pieces
- Won’t boost value like premium materials
If you’re on a tight budget, need a temporary solution, or want to experiment with color, laminate is a solid choice. Just know it won’t impress buyers like higher-end materials.
Overall, quartz and granite offer the best blend of aesthetics, durability, and value for resale. While more expensive upfront, they offer good ROI. Laminate can work on a tight budget. Evaluate costs versus your long-term goals.
Choosing the Right Vanity
The vanity style plays a big role in your bathroom’s look and function. Consider these factors when selecting bathroom vanities:
Measure your existing space and browse standard vanity sizes. Optimal vanity size depends on:
- Bathroom dimensions – don’t overcrowd a small space
- Existing plumbing locations
- Traffic areas – avoid blocking doors and passages
- Accessibility needs like roll-under sinks and ADA compliance
In general, choose the largest vanity possible without congesting the room. This maximizes storage and counter space.
Vanities come in many materials like wood, laminates, and metal.
- Wood offers a classic, warm look but requires regular sealing to prevent water damage.
- Laminate is affordable and low maintenance but won’t impress most buyers.
- Metal creates an edgy, contemporary look and is water-resistant.
High-end woods like oak or walnut add luxury. Opt for water-resistant, durable materials if possible.
Match the style to your home and tastes:
- Traditional features ornate details and dark woods for a classic look.
- Contemporary has clean lines and minimal adornments for a modern style.
- Transitional blends traditional and contemporary with neutral tones.
Updating to a current, popular style has the widest appeal for buyers.
Drawers vs. Doors
- Drawers maximize storage solutions. Full extension drawers give you full access.
- Doors keep items concealed. For small spaces, a sink base cabinet optimizes room.
Combine drawers and doors to balance storage and style. Soft-closing mechanisms prevent slamming.
Vessel vs. Drop-In Sinks
- A vessel sink sits atop the vanity, fully exposed. This contemporary look is bold but reduces counter space.
- A drop-in sink mounts inside the countertop for a seamless look. More common and functional.
Compare the pros and cons before deciding on your sink type.
New bathroom vanities can entirely transform the aesthetics and storage of your bathroom. Shop smart to balance style, function, and resale value.
Design and Layout Considerations
The design and layout of your bathroom also impact its functionality and visual appeal. Keep these tips in mind:
Take time planning storage to avoid clutter. Consider:
- Drawers for smaller items you use often
- Doors for hiding larger items
- Pull-out cabinets for hard to reach spaces
- Built-in medicine cabinets for mirrors and shelves
- Towel racks, hooks, and niches for frequently used items
Creative storage solutions prevent your space from feeling disorganized.
Proper lighting makes a bathroom feel bright and inviting. Include layers of light:
- Ambient lighting – ceiling flush mounts or recessed lighting
- Task lighting – undercabinet lights and pendant lights
- Accent lighting – track lighting and sconces
Also consider dimmers, motion-activated lights, and natural light.
Moisture control prevents mold and mildew. Have:
- Exterior vented exhaust fans
- Energy-efficient bathroom fans with humidity sensors
- Operable windows – especially in half baths
Ventilation keeps air fresh and surfaces dry.
Double Bathroom Sinks
For resale value, consider two sinks in the master bath if space allows. This convenience appeals to buyers. Opt for two smaller sinks instead of one massive one.
Open vs. Closed Cabinets
- Open shelves provide easy access within arms reach.
- Closed cabinets allow you to conceal items behind doors.
Blend the two for optimal function. For resale, minimize open shelving to avoid clutter.
Water-resistant flooring prevents damage. Top options:
- Porcelain tile
- Ceramic tile
- Natural stone tile
- Solid surface flooring
- Vinyl plank flooring
Match grout color to tile color for a clean, seamless look. Include anti-slip tile floors in showers.
Thoughtful design elevates your bathroom visually and boosts livability. Focus on smart storage, ample lighting, moisture control, and durable surfaces.
Bathroom Trends That Increase Value
Follow current trends to create a bathroom that appeals to buyers now and in coming years. Here are some top trends:
Neutral Color Palettes
All-white bathrooms have grown in popularity along with neutral shades of grey, beige, and brown. This provides a clean, bright backdrop you can build upon. Buyers can easily personalize the space.
Natural Textures and Finishes
Natural materials like stone, wood, rattan, and woven textures add warmth. Contrast them with cool metals like brass, bronze, and matte black. Use raw, organic finishes rather than high gloss.
Smart home tech like voice assistants, smart toilets, digital shower controls, and smart mirrors has entered bathrooms. This modern tech impresses buyers. Ensure it’s user-friendly.
Free-standing tubs, frameless glass showers, heated floors, and towel warmers provide a resort-like experience. Custom shower systems with body sprays create a spa ambiance.
Blending the shower and tub area into the rest of the bathroom makes it feel more expansive. Curbless showers, matched tiles, and consistent design allow a seamless flow.
Quartz, terrazzo, wood-look tile, and decorative wall tiles provide one-of-a-kind style. Mixing modern materials creates an eclectic look.
Classic Details with a Twist
Traditional patterns like herringbone tile and marble are being modernized with bold colors and oversized designs. This marries classic and contemporary styling.
Keeping on trend will ensure your bathroom remodeling has the most widespread appeal for years to come.
Bathroom Remodeling Costs
The costs of your bathroom remodeling project will depend on factors like the size of the space, finishes selected, and required plumbing work. Here are approximate costs for some top upgrades:
- Countertops – Granite ($60-150 psf installed), Quartz ($40-100 psf), Solid Surface ($50-100 psf), Laminate ($20-30 psf)
- Vanity – Custom wood vanity ( $300-700), Prefabricated vanity ($150-500)
- Sinks – Vessel sink ($100-250), Undermount sink ($75-200), Console sink ($75-250)
- Faucets – Widespread faucet ($200-600), Wall-mount faucet ($100-400), Vessel faucet ($100-300)
- Tile Flooring – Ceramic or Porcelain tile ($7-20 psf)
- Tile Walls – Subway tile or mosaic ($15-30 psf)
- Toilets – Two-piece model ($150-400), One-piece model ($250-600), Smart toilet ($3,000-8,000)
Make upgrades within your budget while still selecting durable materials that increase value. Quartz counters or granite tile flooring often have the best ROI.
Hiring Pro Contractors
Bathroom renovations often require plumbing changes. Unless you’re very handy, hire professional contractors to ensure it’s done right.
- General contractor – Oversees the full project from start to finish
- Plumber – Installs sinks, faucets, showers, tubs, and toilets
- Electrician – Provides lighting, exhaust fans, outlets, and wiring
- Tile installer – Professionally applies water-resistant shower and floor tiles
For complex projects, work with a general contractor who can coordinate all the tradespeople. Verify licenses, insurance, and reviews before hiring.
While pricier upfront, pro installation ensures your upgrades function properly and safely. This gives buyers confidence in the workmanship.
Boosting Luxury With High-End Touches
If your budget allows, you can elevate your bathroom to luxury status with high-end finishes. Some possibilities include:
Radiant floor heating provides a warm surface underfoot, perfect when stepping out of the shower or bath. This luxury detail instantly appeals to buyers.
His and hers vanities give each partner their own dedicated pampering spot with a sink, counter space, cabinets, and mirror. For large master baths, a double vanity avoids congestion.
Natural Stone Surfaces
Honed marble counters, travertine tile walls, and exotic granite floors make a dramatic statement. The veins and natural patina add luxury. Just be mindful of higher maintenance.
A freestanding soaking tub serves as an elegant focal point. Different materials like enameled cast iron, copper, or porcelain up the style factor.
High-Tech Toilet and Bidet
Smart, comfort-height toilets offer features like heated seats, motion-activated lids, and built-in bidets to provide a spa experience. These premium additions impress buyers.
Frameless Glass Shower
A frameless glass-enclosed shower creates an open, luxurious vibe. Seamless glass panels with minimal metal allow panoramic views.
Heated Towel Racks
Warm towel racks provide a little luxury when stepping out of the shower or bath. They keep towels warm and dry.
With strategic high-end selections, you can customize your oasis. Just balance splurges with cost-effective upgrades to stay within your budget. A few little luxuries go a long way.
Maximizing Natural Lighting
One of the easiest ways to make a bathroom feel bright and airy is to maximize natural lighting. Here are some tips:
- Install windows if your bathroom lacks them currently. Operable windows also provide healthy ventilation.
- Select windows high on the wall or transom windows to allow more light without sacrificing privacy.
- Choose windows and skylights strategically placed to avoid direct shower or bath exposure to prevent potential moisture issues.
- Opt for larger windows whenever possible – expansive windows draw the eye outward.
- Pick light, transparent window treatments like light linens and bamboo shades. Avoid heavy draperies that block natural light.
- Replace existing windows with energy efficient models to get more sunlight. Look for low-E coatings that reduce UV rays while allowing light through.
- Incorporate reflective surfaces like granite countertops and tile floors – the light bounces around the room.
- Use soft white, color adjustable, or natural daylight bulbs to ensure fixtures don’t cast a yellowish tint.
With smart natural lighting, your bathroom will shine bright for potential buyers touring your home. It feels clean, airy, and spacious.
FAQs About Maximizing Bathroom Value
Should I go for a partial or full remodel?
The scale depends on your goals and budget. A partial remodel focuses on one or two elements like the vanity or tub. A full remodel includes upgrades like flooring, lighting, and tile. Full remodels allow for a cohesive new design but cost more.
How do I make a small bathroom feel bigger?
Use light colors, ample lighting, roomy walk-in showers, space-saving vanities, and mirrors to create the illusion of size. Closed storage keeps surfaces clear.
Should I remodel the hall bath or master bath?
For resale, focus first on the hall bath since it gets judged more closely by buyers. But upgrading the master bath also boosts home value significantly.
How long does a bathroom remodel take?
Bathroom remodels usually take 2-6 weeks depending on the scope. Showers require extra time for waterproofing and tilework. Expect some dust and demolition mess during renovations.
Should I DIY or hire a contractor?
Experts advise hiring a general contractor for important structural work like moving plumbing. But you can save on labor costs by doing painting, trim, and minor upgrades yourself.
How do I create storage in my small bathroom?
Optimize corners with angled lazy susans or diagonal shelving. Add a recessed medicine cabinet. Use space vertically with floating shelves and wall-mounted cabinets up