It appears that Australians don’t like to share when it comes to bathrooms. According to research by the Housing Industry Association, more and more Australian families are installing extra bathrooms into their homes, where ever space allows. Bathroom renovations and installations are one of those things that, when done well and on a budget, can add more value to your home than they cost to install. Cheap bathroom renovations don’t necessarily mean the room will be of low quality or lack style, it’s simply a case of being able to spend money where it matters, and saving money where you can. But what is a cheap bathroom renovation? How much does a cheap bathroom renovations cost? And why?
How much does an average bathroom renovation cost?
In their 2017/2018 kitchens and bathrooms survey, the Housing Industry Association (HIA) found that the average cost of a bathroom installed in a new home to be $16,430, while a bathroom installed as part of a renovation cost $17,522 on average.
However, another study by Houzz Australia found that people aged over 54 typically spend $11,900 on a bathroom renovation, while people aged between 35 and 54 will usually spend about $12,700. If you’re under 35 years of age the studied indicated you would shell out around $9,100 on a bathroom renovation.
A report by Open Agent suggests that, regardless of size, budget bathroom renovations cost between $5000 and $15,000, a standard renovation costs between $15,000 and $25,000, while a premium or luxury bathroom renovation can skyrocket to more than $25,000.
How much does a small bathroom renovation cost?
The same Houzz Australia Bathroom Trends study reports that small bathrooms less than five metres square in size cost around $9,700 to renovate.
How much does a large bathroom renovation cost?
A bathroom larger than five square metres may cost around $13,200.
How to do a cheap bathroom renovation
Doing a bathroom renovation on the cheap requires a lot of DIY and time spent sourcing robust yet affordable products. Things that will directly influence how cheap or expensive your bathroom renovations are:
- Needing to hire professional trades people
- Whether your bathroom/home will require structural work
- What kinds of tiles, flooring, tapware and fixtures you choose
- The size of the bathroom
- If you plan to move the plumbing or other permanent aspects of the bathroom
- If you’re installing and entirely new bathroom, or simply updating the old one
Service Seeking’s Renovation Consumer Price Index from 2016, which is based on 52,000 quotes submitted through its online marketplace, reports the average cost of paying a professional tradesperson for work on ranges from $42 to $80 an hour. It’s important to keep this in mind when you are planning your bathroom renovation. If you want to do a cheap bathroom renovation, then you’re best bet is reducing your need for professional tradespeople as much as possible.
- Building and renovations: $62.80 per hour
- Carpentry: $56.45 per hour
- Electrical: $75.56 per hour
- Painting: $42.56 per hour
- Plumbing: $80.92 per hour
- Tiling: $44.93 per hour
How to save money on your bathroom renovation
A full bathroom refit is where the dollars will start to add up. Director at Watara Home, Mitch Curtissays, "If you want to change the layout, the costs for labour will contribute to a high percentage of the overall budget." In particular, leaving the plumbing where it is will be a huge money saver.
"Maintaining the placement of your existing toilet, shower and vanity waste locations allows you to achieve a more cost-effective renovation. Within this you can increase the storage, introduce a walk-in shower and a stylish wall faced toilet to achieve a great visual impact at a lower cost," says Kia Howat, Interior Designer at GIA Bathrooms and Kitchens.
2. Reconsider tiles
They may be small, but the cost of tiles adds up – quickly.
"Tiling can easily get expensive depending on what style and brand you choose," says ReeceBathroom marketing Lead Daniela Santilli. "A great way to get the look you want while avoiding a hefty price tag is to restrict tiling to just half the wall length, or consider only tiling your feature walls in the wet areas, like behind the bath and in the shower zone."
3. Less is more
"You can save money by keeping things minimal and refrain from saying yes to every accessory that fits your theme," says Daniela. "Find a focal point of your bathroom and allow for one statement accessory, and then work with just a few supporting items."
"Consider dual-purpose accessories like mirrors that act as a centrepiece while providing function."
RELATED CONTENT: 6 renovation tips to make your small bathroom look bigger
Cheap bathroom renovation ideas
Depending on how much love your bathroom needs, pick one or more of the below ideas for a cheap bathroom renovation or weekend makeover. These ideas are great for people who are already happy with the general layout of their bathroom, and are looking for an aesthetic update.
If you want to expand your bathroom, relocate your bath, toilet, shower or vanity, or introduce a window, then you will need to consult the appropriate professional tradespeople for quotes on things like carpentry, plumbing, electrical work and other general labour costs.
- Update the fixtures, fittings, knobs and tapware with modern replacements that match for a luxe and cohesive finish.
- Add some storage such as floating shelves, extra towel racks or hooks.
- Updating your vanity can change the whole bathroom and be done in a weekend.
- Replace the shower frame, shower screen or curtains.
- Lighting can really affect the feel of a bathroom, update yours with something modern, eye-catching or a little luxe for a focal point, like a pendant.
- Install a new mirror that will compliment your tapware and fixtures.
- Replace your tiles or re-grout your old ones. Choose colours that are neutral and modern (such as white and grey), smaller spaces feel more open when you use large tiles, and you can use small tiles to make the bathroom feel cosy, or draw attention to a particular feature.
- Paint your bathroom for a quick and affordable way to update the whole space. Even an old bathroom can be dressed up if it’s been white-washed first.
- To add personality and class to an already character-filled bathroom, consider using a refurbished vintage dresser as a sink pedestal.
- Replacing an old bath or shower can be expensive, try having your current one professionally refinished if it’s stylish but a little worse for wear.
- Upgrade shower heads and taps with water-saving models to save yourself some money in the long run.
- For a bathroom with wow-factor, try covering one or all of the walls with wallpaper. Combined with a coat of paint, this can really make the bathroom pop.
- If the layout of your bathroom is fine, and the basics such as the toilet and vanity are attractive, just retile the space with tiles that are fresh, modern and timeless to elevate the whole room.
- Should you have floorboards hiding under dated vinyl or laminate, now is the time to reveal them and add a warm, natural finish to your space. It’ll save money on tiling the floor. Try painting the space with white, charcoal grey or navy for a modern bathroom.
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