Remodeling a master bathroom can provide a spa like sanctuary while adding value to your home. With some design upgrades — countertops, tile, fixtures, cabinetry, and bathtub — you can create a new look that really makes a splash.
The vast array of materials, colors, and design choices can be overwhelming. To help get you started, read on for 20 master bathroom remodel ideas.
How the Master Bathroom Has Changed Over Time
In the 1960s and 1970s, people started migrating from the cities to suburbia. More space meant more square footage. Initially, a master bath meant a bigger bathroom with a double sink.
In the 1980s, opulence was king. Master bathrooms meant sunken jetted tubs, lavish fixtures, and expansive countertops for perfume bottles and dressing vanities.
Today, some real estate agents and developers use the term “primary” bathroom or bedroom vs. “master” (even though the National Association of Realtors® has noted that a HUD opinion said “master” in this context is not related to race or gender and therefore does not violate fair housing laws).
While primary bathrooms are still spacious, style trends have taken a more subtle turn toward organic materials and earthier tones.
Regardless of trends, the master bathroom is here to stay, and is considered a must-have for many first-time homebuyers and experienced buyers.
What Is the Average Size of a Master Bathroom?
A master bathroom is defined as the largest bathroom in the house, and is almost always connected to the primary bedroom. A suburban master bath averages 100 square feet but may range from 75 to 210 square feet.
A master bathroom typically features:
• A double sink
• A large shower
• A toilet
A bathtub is not a requisite, but these days most homebuyers want a tub in the master bathroom, especially if there is not another one in the house.
First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.
10 Standard Master Bathroom Remodel Ideas
An average-size master bathroom renovation may cost $10,000 to $30,000, depending on material types, labor costs (do you need to find a contractor?), and the scope of the project.
Here are 10 remodeling ideas for a standard master bath that can offer panache for your cash.
1. Refresh Your Countertops
Replacing worn-out countertops in a master bath can transform the feel of the space. Granite, marble, and quartz counters add a sense of contemporary elegance but cost more than laminate.
Granite can cost $40 to $200 per square foot; marble, $75 to $250; and quartz, $55 to $155. Laminate costs around $15 to $40 per square foot. That’s just the materials.
2. Go for the Hip, Hip Bidet
While common in Europe and Japan, bidets are finally gaining popularity in the United States. Because bidets limit the use of toilet paper, they are considered good for the environment and better for your skin.
A stand-alone bidet with installation can run between $500 and $1,500. An all-in-one bidet toilet can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500.
3. Install a Walk-in Shower
Walk-in showers are usually partially enclosed with glass — devoid of doors, tubs, and shower curtains. The lack of barriers creates an open, contemporary look, almost like bathing in an outdoor shower.
Beyond being stylish, walk-in showers are accessible. With no steps or ledges to trip over, this type of shower remodel will age well with you and your home.
4. Consider Shower Speakers
As long as you’re redoing the shower, you might as well add some in-ceiling shower speakers. These advanced sound systems offer hands-free use, connecting to voice assistants like Siri or Alexa. Singing in the shower never sounded so good!
5. Install a Fan Timer Switch
A long, hot shower can generate a lot of steam. A smart-fan timer will sense the amount of steam and moisture in the air, turning on and staying on long after you’ve toweled off. This can prevent water damage, excess moisture, and potential mold.
6. Upgrade Outdated Fixtures
Switching out your old faucets, knobs, and light fixtures is a quick and cost-efficient way to spiff up your master bathroom.
7. Tile an Accent Wall
Retiling the entire master bathroom can take a big bite out of your wallet. Some homeowners are choosing to tile a single wall or focal area. You can energize the space by contrasting white subway tiles with a colorful wall of hexagonal tiles.
8. Elevate Your Look With Floating Shelves
Even a master bathroom can use more storage. Floating shelves on the walls can help achieve a sleek, minimalist look and cost less than installing cabinets.
If the bathroom has a closet or you’d like to add one, a closet remodel might be in order.
9. Keep Things Cozy With Heated Floors & Towel Racks
If you’re renovating your master bathroom floors, perhaps you could put in an electric or water-based heating system. This will ensure toasty toes without clunky radiators or exposed pipes.
Heated towel racks provide warmth in the winter and a quick-drying option for summer beach towels, all for about the same electric costs as flipping on a light switch.
10. Outlets in the Vanity Drawers
A master bath typically has a lot of vanity drawers. Installing outlets inside the drawers will help keep hair dryers, electric razors, and other appliances from cluttering your countertop.
10 Small Master Bathroom Remodel Ideas
Not every master bathroom has enough space for a Jacuzzi tub. Here are some remodeling ideas for a small master bath.
1. Install a Pocket Door
Doors that open on hinges can take up a lot of space. A sliding pocket door to the bathroom can make the master bath feel much roomier.
2. Add a Skylight
Adding a skylight in the master bathroom can flood the space with natural light, making it feel more airy and spacious. So can recessed lighting.
3. Choose a Long Sink
Instead of the standard double sink, consider a long, troughlike sink for a master bathroom vanity. It can provide a chic, modern look, and the elongated sink creates the illusion of more space.
4. Mount an Elongated Mirror
As with a long sink, stretching a mirror across a whole wall, instead of just over the vanity, can add depth and extra reflective light.
5. Opt for a Floating Vanity
A floating vanity is a cool design choice for a smaller master bath. It can add openness and more space underneath the sink for storage.
6. Add Lights Under the Cabinets
Cabinets, vanities, and shelves can cast a shadow on the floor, darkening a master bathroom and making it feel smaller. Installing lights underneath countertops and storage units can cast a downward light to add dimension.
7. Stretch the Floor Tiles Into the Shower Stall
If you have a walk-in shower, consider extending the floor tiles into the shower stall floor. The continuity of design will give the illusion of a longer space.
8. Add Storage
Select bathroom pieces with a dual purpose: mirrors with built-in shelves, a vanity with multiple drawers. Containing your clutter will make the master bath seem bigger and is one of the ways to refresh your home.
9. Consider a Freestanding Bathtub
Although a stand-alone tub can need more room for its fixtures, a clawfoot or modern oval bathtub can make a small master bathroom feel grand.
10. Stick to Light Colors
Soft whites, blues, and greens reflect natural light from windows and skylights, making the master bath seem more spacious. Choose light vs. dark colors for wall paint, shower curtains, and countertops.
Ways to Finance a Master Bathroom Remodel
A master bathroom renovation can add up. Here are several ways to finance the project.
If you own your home and have sufficient equity, you may be able to open a home equity line of credit (HELOC), using your home as collateral. You’ll only make payments on the amount you borrow, the limit may be higher than a personal loan, and a HELOC usually has a lower interest rate than a credit card or personal loan.
But the rate is usually variable and can increase, and you could face closing costs and a minimum-withdrawal requirement. If you default on a HELOC, you risk losing your house.
Still, HELOCs tend to be hot when interest rates are rising.
If you have sufficient home equity, you can apply for a cash-out refinance. You would refinance your home mortgage loan for more than you owe, take out part of the cash difference, and use the lump sum to build your new master bathroom.
Expect mortgage refinancing costs of 2% to 5% of the loan amount.
With a personal loan for home improvements, you can receive a lump sum and repay it with interest in monthly installments. These loans typically offer same-day funding with no collateral required. The rate is based on the loan term, the amount of credit requested, and your credit score.
If you have a 0% interest period on a credit card, it could be a smart way to pay for your master bath reno. But unless you pay attention to the end of that introductory period, you could end up buried in interest charges. A missed payment will hurt your credit scores, and most of the time a late payment will stay on a credit report for seven years.
Remodeling a master bathroom will add value to your home and create a retreat where you can invest in some serious self-care. The cost to remodel a primary bathroom has a wide range.
How to renovate so you can luxuriate? SoFi offers a personal loan of $5,000 to $100,000 with no fees, as well as a cash-out refinance.
SoFi also brokers a HELOC that allows access to up to 95%, or $500,000, of your home equity to finance your master bathroom redo and any other upgrades.
Does remodeling a bathroom increase home value?
Yes. One study showed that the average full bathroom remodel cost about $26,500, and homeowners could expect a return on investment upon resale of about 60%.
What is the biggest expense in a bathroom remodel?
Labor in general. Plumbing and tile work in particular. Want to move the toilet? That’s a complicated task.
What is trending in bathrooms?
Steam showers, towel and floor heaters, and spa-inspired decor. Vintage-inspired sinks, mirrors, light fixtures, and clawfoot tubs. Wet rooms, where the shower, tub, sink, and toilet are all in the same room at the same level. Earth tones and jewel tones. Smart devices.
What should you not do when remodeling a bathroom?
A downward-facing light centered over the mirror can cast a shadow. Other mistakes: not adding enough storage, buying fixtures made with plastic parts instead of metal, installing a hook out of reach from the shower, and not adding a hand shower, which will mean a tougher task cleaning the shower walls.
Photo credit: iStock/stocknroll
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