Homeowners searching for R&R in bathroom remodels

Style topped function in remodels, according to Houzz’s 2020 survey
(Photo: Rachel Loewen, Houzz)

It’s been a long year, and homeowners are ready to relax. The 2020 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study found that homeowners with a pending or recent bathroom remodel are making style and comfort a priority.  

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Ugly, outdated bathrooms are the No. 1 reason homeowners are taking on bathroom remodels, according to the survey released Tuesday. Functionality is much less likely to spur a redo, the survey of 1,600 homeowners found. Between a quarter and a third of respondents cited hindrances like poor lighting or insufficient storage, compared to 69% who just wanted to bring their bathroom up to date.

The bathroom isn’t just a functional area in the home. Over 40% of homeowners use the space as a place to unwind, and over half of people who completed a master bath renovation said they’re spending more time there. Homeowners are incorporating dimmable lights (33%) and, to a lesser extent, mood lighting (7%) to help make their bathrooms a comfortable space.

The most important bathroom features that help homeowners relax are cleanliness and lack of clutter, highlighting the need for stylish storage options. Homeowners overwhelmingly prefer white for their bathroom color — it was the top choice for every surface, including accent walls. Houzz found homeowners are using surface materials to distinguish accent walls more often than color, pattern or texture.

The tub versus shower debate continues, with homeowners split on soaking in the tub or taking long showers when they want to relax. Even so, the shower is the focal point in the bathroom. The survey found homeowners are twice as likely to increase the size of their shower as they are to increase the size of the bathroom. Half of master baths don’t have a tub, including 23% where owners got rid of one in their remodel, usually to make room for a bigger shower.

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These features clearly matter to homeowners, because a shower upgrade increases the average cost of a bathroom remodel three times: from a median $4,500 for smaller remodels with no shower upgrade to $14,000.

Some other things to keep in mind:

  • Modern is the top style (20%), but just barely. Transitional and contemporary style tied at 18%.
  • Pro is the way to go. The survey found 82% of homeowners hire a professional to do their remodel, with most choosing a general contractor (43%) and 20% bringing in a dedicated bathroom remodeler.
  • Built-in, shaker style vanities are the clear leader, but owners aren’t afraid of customization in their vanity selections. 58% used a custom or semicustom option, and floating vanities are on the rise.
  • There’s no question, undermount double sinks are the most popular option (65%). Drop-in sinks have a toe-hold (17%), but vessel and pedestal sinks are losing ground.
  • Advanced mirrors with anti-fog features or hidden plugs are attractive luxuries, but LED lights were the most common features in new mirrors (20%).
  • Toilets are getting high-tech, too. Among renovators who updated their toilet, over a third included premium features like bidets, self-cleaning systems, heated seats and overflow protection.

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