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Many Bathroom Remodels Are Really More of an Upgrade

Survey: Remodeling skyrocketed during lockdowns with many homeowners focused on their bathrooms. The desire to “soak in a bathtub” rose 6 percentage points.

Bathrooms have become popular spots to renovate during the pandemic, particularly to outfit with more spa-like features, according to the 2021 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, a survey of nearly 3,000 homeowners planning or who have recently completed a bathroom renovation.

The report finds a higher interest in both bathtub and shower upgrades. The percentage of homeowners who relax in their renovated bathroom by soaking in the bathtub is up by six percentage points this year, reaching 61%, the survey finds. That outpaces the 54% share who unwind with long showers.

More than three-quarters of homeowners added premium features to their bathtubs and showers. For the bathtub, it often included space for whirlpool baths. Shower upgrades included rainfall showerheads, dual showers, body sprayers and thermostatic mixers, which maintain a steady temperature.

“In the midst of the chaos created by the pandemic, we’re seeing homeowners turn to their bathrooms for respite, creating calming sanctuaries with premium features, hygienic surfaces, and plants and other greenery,” says Marine Sargsyan, a senior economist with Houzz. “Given the major changes involved, homeowners renovating their bathrooms are seeking out professional help at a growing rate, and hiring general contractors.”

The median cost of bathroom projects rose to $8,000 this year. Higher-end projects started at $30,000.

The following are some additional trends revealed in the report:

  • More greenery: Nearly one-third of homeowners added plants to their bathroom after a renovation for their aesthetics, their role in creating a calming environment and their help purifying the air.

  • Marble is hot: Marble is being used by renovating homeowners this year more often than before. It’s becoming a favorite for flooring inside and outside the shower, along with the walls outside the shower.

  • Colorful vanities: White continues to be the most popular choice, but blue and wood vanities gained popularity. The share of homeowners opting for blue vanities doubled year-to-year (8% in 2021, up from 4% in 2020), while medium and light wood tones are becoming more common (14% and 8%, respectively in 2021).

  • Lighting priorities: More owners add lights to their bathroom upgrades. Wall lights and recessed lights remain the two most popular upgrades, but lighted mirrors, such as those with LED lighting and anti-fogging systems, pendant lights and chandeliers gained popularity this year. Dimmable lighting also contributed to a more spa-like atmosphere.

  • Commode upgrades: More than a third of homeowners who upgraded their toilets during renovations added technology. Bidets remain the most popular tech feature, added by one in five homeowners, followed by self-cleaning mechanisms, heated seats, overflow protection and built-in nightlights.

  • Custom medicine cabinets: Nearly one-third of renovating homeowners installed custom or semi-custom medicine cabinets. Many of these cabinets also included features like hidden plugs and inside lighting.

Source: “2021 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study,” Houzz (Oct. 6, 2021)

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