The bathroom is the new kitchen
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Lifestyle changes and new technologies have transformed the kitchen into the central hub of today’s home. That has driven a surge in kitchen remodels in recent years as home prices have risen, releasing pent-up demand among long-term owners and new buyers to upgrade and update their homes.
As those kitchen projects get completed, homeowners planning to remain in their homes for the long haul are turning next to the bathroom as the space they most want to redesign.
Bathrooms, along with kitchens, have historically been the two rooms in the home on which owners are willing to spend substantial amounts of money to renovate or add on.
The most recent American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey, from the first quarter of 2017, reports requests for kitchen and bathroom remodels increased a point, from 52 to 53, from the previous 12-month period.
The 2017 Houzz & Home study finds, "Kitchens and bathrooms, which continue to command the lion's share of renovation spending, are significantly more likely to be renovated than any other room of the home."
Kitchens were the most frequently undertaken remodeling project, by 29 percent of the participants. However, a guest or other bathroom, such as a powder room, and master bathroom, combined made up 45 percent of all projects (24 and 21 percent, respectively).
They also made up 4 percent of additions, compared to 3 percent for kitchen additions. According to the National Association of Home Builders 2017 U.S. Kitchen + Bath Market Size Study, each year homeowners remodel upwards of 10.2 million kitchens but 14.2 million bathrooms.
Clearly, one reason bathroom projects outnumber kitchen remodels is because there are more of them in the home. Data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau on characteristics of new home construction in 2016 found of the 738,000 homes completed last year, 25,000 (3 percent) had one and one-half bathrooms or less, while 273,000 (37 percent) had three or more bathrooms.
Like kitchens, the bathroom has gradually taken on greater importance in the home in recent years. As people have come to regard the bathroom as a haven and retreat from everyday stresses, they are adding more bathroom spaces to ensure privacy and to claim private space in the home.
A recent article for Construction Dive points out that today’s bathroom remodels are becoming increasingly custom projects as homeowners are willing to spend more for desired amenities. In its 2016 Bathroom Study, Houzz notes "budgets do not always line up with actual costs."
For example, 34 percent of study participants had budgeted between $10,000 and $25,000 for a master bathroom remodel, but 42 percent actually spent that amount. In addition, more homeowners spent over $25,000 than those who had budgeted this amount.
A major reason for these cost overruns, the study finds, is “homeowners are investing in luxurious features in their upgraded master bathrooms to create spaces worth lingering in.”
Homeowners in recent years have opted to remodel or renovate a guest or other bathroom first, over the master bathroom, possibly because they are more visible and/or usually cost less to refurbish, since they have fewer fixtures and amenities.
Now, requests for master bathroom remodels appear to be increasing. The number of master bathroom projects in the Houzz & Home study rose from 20 percent of all projects in 2015 to 21 percent in 2016 and additions also were up 1 percent, while the number of guest bath projects remained flat.
Remodelers and designers can anticipate that demand for such projects will likely increase as homeowners, realizing additional equity in their homes, turn their attention to areas other than the kitchen that they have been longing to improve.
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