When to Save and When to Splurge in Your Bathroom Remodel

When to Save and When to Splurge in Your Bathroom Remodel

A bathroom is definitely one of those rooms you can remodel before selling your house and it will make a difference (and you will get the biggest return on your investment). I don’t know if it is because a brand new toilet is so much more appealing than an old stained, water crusted toilet, but just saying!

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Design Dilemma – We need a Bathroom Remodel to Sell Our Home

My clients came to me because they needed to remodel their bathroom in anticipation of selling their multi-million dollar home. It had been a spec house and the owner/builder had done most of the work himself. It was a nice home, but you could really see the areas he took shortcuts on quality. One of those areas was the master bathroom.

Their master bathroom had some issues with moisture because the shower and surrounding floor had mold growing. This is a conclusive indication that there is a big problem hidden under the sub-structure and something that has to be addressed.

Also, the wife hated the travertine tile, the large jetted tub that was so impractical and the low vanity with outdated tiles and brown grout was ugly. And of course the water spotted shower door, water stained fixtures and molding tiles was not appealing. Not to mention a wall to wall mirror that is just maddening.

Design Solution – When to Save and When to Splurge on your Bathroom Remodel

My clients signed up with me and we went through the Remodel Clarity Session and Design Concept (If you want to know more about my design process go to my Facebook page to watch my daily videos on What It’s like to Work with an Interior Designer). During our normal design study and discovery process we helped them identify their wish list: Soaking tub, larger shower, new sinks, taller vanities, solid surface countertops, new fixtures, new mirrors, new lighting. It was a whole gut job. But………… they didn’t want to spend a lot of money (an affliction many homeowners suffer from – in my observations). The amount they wanted to spend just wouldn’t allow them to have everything on their wish list. Did it make sense to put so much money, time and effort into a house they were leaving, anyway?

What should they do? My team and I developed a solution to address the structural deficiencies, update the shower door, replace the stained sinks, old plumbing fixtures and brighten the walls.

Why this Bathroom Remodel Solution Worked

  • The travertine tile, while not a good choice for bathroom tiles and outdated design-wise wasn’t horrible and we could work with it.
  • Replacing the shower door with an updated frame-less shower door would make the shower area feel larger.
  • Replacing the large jetted tub was not possible and it would be fine for resale purposes. The cost of replacing the tub was a simple cost benefit analysis and it was clear they would not reap a return on this investment.
  • The tiled walls and pan of the shower had to be removed to find the leak, but we could source travertine tiles to match and new tiles installed (we reached out to our large network of vendors and found a match within hours).
  • Indeed we found the tub liner had been installed incorrectly and water was leaking into the subfloor (the reason I tell my clients it is important to only hire licensed tradesmen).
  • Updated plumbing fixtures were expensive. We could have gone with an economical brand, but as I pointed out to them, buyers looking for a luxury home expect to have high-end brand name fixtures (a trip to Home Depot’s plumbing department was not going to cut it).

Bathroom Remodel – Before and After Pictures

Here are before and after pictures of the master bathroom remodel. She picked out all the accessories (great job, Katherine!) with a quick trip to Home Goods. As you can see, sometimes it is okay to work with what you have and just update those select elements that will give you the most impact.


If you need to remodel your bathroom (or any room) make sure you call an interior designer first to make sure you end up with the best solution for your situation and pocketbook. Ready to bring us on board for your remodel? Contact us here!

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