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Bathroom Remodeling

Bathroom remodels encompass a wide range of installations and projects, cosmetic touches, and of course, money. Prices can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to well into the mid-thousand-dollar range. But that scope is also what makes it so fun. Your bathroom can be one bathtub replacement away from becoming your dream spa.

A recent report from the National Association of Realtors revealed that 70 percent of consumers have a “greater desire to be home” following bathroom renovations.

Bathroom remodels also come with added function and value. There’s a reason why reports show homeowners recoup more than half of their costs in resale value after completing a bathroom renovation project. But where do you start? What do you need to know? What comes next? Modernize is here to help.

Remodeling a Bathroom: The Basics

Generally, planning a bathroom remodel centers around your style, functionality, and budget goals. It is just as important to achieve a layout and design plan that fits your lifestyle needs as it is to find your ideal style and aesthetic. And of course, you need to accomplish the project within what your budget allows.

A typical bathroom remodel involves renovations in areas such as:

Because a bathroom remodel involves so many moving parts, it’s helpful to break it down into a few basic parts – functionality and lifestyle, style and aesthetic, and budgeting.

Functionality and lifestyle

When planning your bathroom remodel, first think about who is using the bathroom regularly. Here are some examples of people who may need different accommodations in their bathroom:

  • Children
  • Senior Citizens
  • Roommates
  • Couples
  • A person with a disability

What functionality do you require in your bathroom, and what would it need to improve the routine of the person or people it’s serving? Think of those questions and review them when speaking with a contractor.

Bathroom remodels give homeowners the opportunity to rethink a space and its function entirely. For some, that might mean adding a second sink for a couple or siblings. For others, it could mean moving the toilet to a different area for more privacy. If you are older and plan on living in your home for years to come, you might consider some home accessibility installations.

When planning for functionality, think about how much time you spend in your bathroom daily. Do you share the space with others? How can you make it more comfortable and convenient?

Style and aesthetics

With so many appealing modern bathroom styles today, how do you begin to choose? While some homeowners have style and design preferences that call out to them right away, others may find the decision trickier.

To help you dream up your ideal bathroom style, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is the bathroom large or small? Lighter colors and fixtures tend to make smaller spaces appear larger, while warmer and darker tones work better in larger spaces.
  • Do you to want make a unique statement, or would you rather a classic style? Some homeowners want their bathroom to stand out, while others may be looking for something more timeless that boost resale value.
  • Do you want colors, tones, and textures to be integrated, or vary? Some homeowners like the look of matching features, while others prefer two-toned styles and contrast.
  • Are you looking to “open up” the room? Some bathroom renovations help to create a more open and airy space. Try walk-in showers or skylight windows.

Modernize recommends starting by exploring inspiring trends and bathroom remodel ideas that other homeowners are implementing. Check out the latest master bathroom trends, tile ideas, shower styles,  and flooring suggestions.

Budgeting and cost 

Bathroom remodeling can be as simple or lavish as one’s taste or budget can envision. These days, the average cost to renovate a bathroom in the U.S. can range from $1,000 to upwards of $25,000. The range is so wide because bathrooms come in so many different shapes and sizes! A small bathroom with a single shower will have different needs than a mid-size bathroom with a shower/tub combo. And both of those will have totally different needs from a large and lavish master bathroom.

  • Small or half-bathroom remodel: $3,500 – $10,000
  • Full bathroom remodel: $7,000 – $20,000
  • Large or master bathroom remodel: $14,000 – $25,000+

Keep in mind that these price ranges are estimates – you will have to get a true estimate or quote from a contractor to determine the cost for your particular project.

The total cost depends on the scope of the project, number of installations that need to be completed, size of the bathroom, labor timeframe, and more. Often, the bulk of bathroom remodel costs usually go toward expensive items such as fixtures, plumbing, installation and hardware.

If you are looking to renovate just one area of your bathroom, rather than the entire room, this may drive down the cost. For instance, if you would like to renovate only the flooring in your bathroom, you can get in touch with a few flooring professionals and request quotes.

Materials for areas of the bathroom will also vary drastically in cost. Bathroom materials can range from tile and stone to drywall with fun colors and wallpaper. Similar to kitchen remodeling, materials like tile come in plenty of affordable options as well as with DIY-friendly options. However, many aspects like sealants, grouts and ventilation are all considerations that should be discussed with a professional.

Bathroom Remodel

A bathroom remodel may include:

  • Upgrading bathtub or shower

  • Updating faucets, flooring and lighting

  • Installing new tile in tub or shower

  • Installing a new vanity

  • Freshly painted walls or new wallpaper

While expensive, there are several options for homeowners today to finance their bathroom remodel project. Professionals can guide you on the logistics of your budget, as well as various payment plans and financing options that work for you.

Shower Remodel

You may decide to renovate your shower as part of a larger bathroom remodel project, or remodel the shower space by itself. A shower remodel consists of two components: the fixture and the enclosure. Showerhead fixtures can range in price from $25 to $2,000 depending on the specs.

It is important to discuss with your contractor both who will be using the shower the most and what their needs are. For instance, a child’s needs are different from an adult’s when considering the type and height of a showerhead. A pet owner may require a handheld showerhead to shampoo and rinse a dog’s coat. Ultimately, day-to-day routines impact the setup that’s best for a homeowner.

Types of showerheads to consider:

  • Fixed: This is the most basic option, optimal for small bathrooms. Like the name, fixed showerheads stay in one place and are optimal for small bathrooms. Even the most budget-friendly versions have variants with two or more spray settings, but it’s all coming from the same showerhead.
  • Handheld: Handheld showers are ideal for situations including family and pet-use. Seen in master bathrooms, handheld options come with an attached hose and a wall attachment, where it can be used as a fixed showerhead.
  • Rain: Perfect for that spa-like master, rain showerheads are larger, fixed showerheads usually installed higher than a typical showerhead or from the ceiling to mimic rainfall. It’s worth noting that rainfall showerheads can require special plumbing and larger drains. Consult with a Modernize-vetted contractor today about what it would take to upgrade your space.
  • Massage: Massage showerheads are lauded for their versatility. Usually, a fixed showerhead with an abundance of settings, spray patterns include jet and aeration settings. These are higher pressure than a rain showerhead and can be used to relieve muscle soreness.

Shower enclosures to consider:

  • Frameless: Frameless shower enclosures are the sleek, strong, glass enclosures that don’t need metal framework to support the edges. They’re popular for their clean, metal-free look that can let a homeowner showcase the tile or stonework happening inside.
  • Semi-frameless: This option comes with the same sleek, refined look frameless enclosures offer, but with more room for accommodations around a layout that doesn’t have as much wiggle room or a smaller budget. Semi-frameless options have a metal window structure but keep the door portion frame-free.
  • Framed: This traditional option utilizes a strong framework to add clean lines and support. Like a window, it outlines the whole enclosure, including doorways. Homeowners can tie the whole look together by matching hardware to the finish of the framework.


Homeowners looking into bathtub replacements should consider a similar set of questions and consider functionality. For instance, freestanding tubs are lauded for being kid-friendly. Even if a homeowner doesn’t have children, home value experts say it’s worth considering in a kid-friendly neighborhood for the resale value alone. Homeowners should also consider whether they would prefer a shower/tub combo, versus a freestanding soaking tub or a massage tub with jets.

Popular types of bathtubs to consider:

  • The combo: A shower/tub combo uses a bathtub enclosure and builds a shower around its space. They’re versatile, accommodate different needs and as we previously mentioned, can help with resale value.
  • The soaking tub: Soaking tubs are deeper, wider, grander tubs that allow you to submerge entirely underwater for a long, healing experience. Garden tubs — the popular French oval tubs featured in luxe catalogs — are a type of soaking tub. They typically utilize standard plumbing, but Modernize encourages you to discuss the type of tub you envision with a contractor ahead of time.
  • Freestanding tub: Just like it’s name, a freestanding bathtub is showerless. Varieties include the ever-popular vintage style clawfoot tubs and one of their highlights is the fact that it can go anywhere your plumbing will work with instead of being cast off to a shower or anchored to a particular wall.
  • Massage bathtub: Massage tubs can add a spa-like experience to your home! They come with whirlpool jets that massage and relax the skin and body, making them ideal for soothing muscles and joints, those with chronic pain, and the elderly.

Planning, Timeline and Next Steps

Permits and insurance

As noted in our Modernize Contractor Checklist, it’s important to discuss what permits, if any, will be required for the bathroom remodel. Important things to ask your contractor include:

  • Do you have proof of insurance?
  • Can you provide proof of permits?
  • I would like to see the project plans for my space


Shower and tub projects can typically be completed in one day. Talk to your contractor about ideal timeframes upfront as they may limit your options. If the one-day route is not an option, be sure to communicate with your contractor about the timetable at hand in order to plan ahead.

Multi-day or longer-term bathroom projects often mean needing to expect your water to be turned off while contractors are working. Make sure to have a plan for the disruption — not only in the loss of a bathroom but with any noise or dust that can be expected with any home improvement project.

Next Steps

Whether it’s picking out the right tile or going over a list of questions to ask your contractor, Modernize is your trusted source for bathroom remodel projects. Our guides are created to empower homeowners — we provide guidance on full bathroom remodels, remodeling costs, budgeting and financing options, and much more.

However you decide to proceed, bathroom remodeling is an exciting opportunity and we are here to help you figure out what’s right for you! Modernize can help connect you with a contractor who makes your posh spa bathroom vision a true reality.

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