Bathroom Design Mistakes That Are Hurting Your Home's Resale Value

When it comes to home design, it's no secret that sales (and budgets) are made or broken by bathrooms (and kitchens). If you plan to sell your home at some point in the future, it's never too early to start assessing your bathroom to determine whether its design features might actually be mistakes when it comes to resale value. While you might love your bathroom's wall-to-wall carpeting or pedestal sink, potential buyers likely won't see the appeal.

Once you've moved away from viewing your house solely as a home and started also viewing it as an investment, you can remove some of the emotional attachment from the equation. The fact of the matter is that certain bathroom design features will increase its resale value and others will decrease it. If you're wondering whether or not your bathroom design choices are likely to be seen as a mistake by potential homebuyers and real estate professionals, consider this your guide. 

Luxury designs can intimidate buyers

If you happen to live in a luxury home, then creating or maintaining a luxury bathroom design makes complete sense. If you live in a small, minimalist, or even average home, however, incorporating an expensive luxury bathroom design might do more harm than good when it comes time to sell the property. Generally speaking, homebuyers who are looking for a small or simple home aren't the same buyers who are looking for luxury amenities — especially if they don't match the rest of the house.

"One renovation that reduces a home's value related to the bathroom is making it too luxurious, especially if the property is on the lower price range and the renovated bathroom does not match the overall home style," Daniela Andreevska, Vice President of Content for Mashvisor, told Yahoo! Finance. "Redesigning the bathroom of a relatively small, modern, affordable home is a huge mistake," she continued. While performing basic updates before selling isn't necessarily a misstep, a luxury transformation is rarely a good investment. Of course, this is good news if you're looking to cut the cost of your bathroom remodel.

Shower-only bathrooms are a hard sell

For those who don't live with small children, dogs, or adults who are disabled or elderly, a bathtub might feel like an unnecessary use of bathroom space. It might even be fair to say that most able-bodied adults agree on a shower being the most efficient, convenient way of cleaning oneself. If you're planning on selling your home, however, you'll want to make it appealing to as many potential buyers as possible. This typically means keeping or adding a tub.

When a bathroom only features a shower and does not include a bathtub, it does not constitute a full bathroom and cannot be referred to as one when the home is listed for sale. Instead, a shower-only bathroom must be listed as a three-quarter bath, which is not as valuable as a full bath. Most buyers — especially those with young children or dogs — require at least one bathtub, preferably on the main floor. Always keep the next owner of your home in mind when you consider removing a functional design feature. 

Vanity bulb lights are out of style

The exposed vanity bulbs long associated with old Hollywood glamour have reigned supreme within the world of bathroom design to the point of becoming the builder-grade standard in many areas. Finally, however, these iconic bulbs have met the end of their time in the limelight. According to top interior designers like Martha Stewart and HGTV's Jenny Mars, bathroom vanity lights have officially become outdated. This means that featuring them in your bathroom will age the entire room's design.

Instead of keeping or installing classic vanity bulbs, consider embracing Jenny Marrs' unique solution for outdated bathroom vanity lights. The designer recommends upgrading to pendant lights above or on each side of the bathroom mirror(s). Marrs features a home makeover that show showcases one such swap on her blog, adding, "With the new fixtures, new shower door, new pendant lights and the warmth of the wood on the cabinetry the look is completely updated with a clean Swiss-inspired style." If warm, updated, and clean sounds like a potential buyer pleaser to you, give pendant lights a try. 

Pedestal sinks lack functionality

Since bathrooms tend to be rather small spaces, it can be helpful to embrace a minimalistic style within them. However, minimalism can sometimes appeal more aesthetically than it does from a functional standpoint. A great example of this tug-of-war that tends to exist between appearance and functionality in bathrooms is pedestal sinks vs. vanities. A pedestal sink might be right for you if you're looking to create a streamlined look and eliminate clutter in a small bathroom.

Unfortunately, when it's time to sell your home, it's likely that most buyers will be looking for a bathroom space that offers functionality and storage rather than minimalistic appeal. A vanity offers a sink, countertop space, and drawer and/or cabinet storage. A pedestal sink, on the other hand, functions only as a plumbing appliance. If a higher resale value and more interested buyers is your goal, there is no real comparison between a vanity and a pedestal sink. 

Carpet breeds mold in bathrooms

While it might seem obvious to some, it does need to be stated that carpeted floors have no place inside a bathroom. While the trend of wall-to-wall carpeting did rear its head during the '70s and '80s, that doesn't make it an appropriate choice for flooring in a room dedicated to personal hygiene activities that are centered around water, steam, and moisture. As you might imagine, an absorbent material such as carpet tends to promote mold and mildew growth in a wet environment.

In a wet, steamy room like a bathroom, mold growth tends to take place below the surface. Even when the carpeting looks presentable, there could be mold and mildew growing in the padding below the visible fibers. These mold spores can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals along with producing a musty, unpleasant smell. This does not create a bathroom environment that will seem attractive to potential buyers. It is never recommended to install carpeting in a bathroom, and if your bathroom already features it, consider replacing it with a more water-resistant choice before listing your home for sale. 

Bold paint, tile, or wallpaper alienates buyers

Since most bathrooms are the smallest room in the house, they can be an easy space for homeowners to express their personalities. Painting or wallpapering a small bathroom can easily be finished in a day, while changing the look of your living room, kitchen, dining room, or bedroom is typically a multi-day project. Unfortunately, embracing the bathroom as a place to easily display the uniqueness of your personality with a bold paint color, wallpaper, or tile isn't the best idea when it comes to your home's resale value.

"For bathrooms, the biggest thing we've seen is painting it funky colors," Chris Gardner, owner of PaintRite Pros, told Yahoo! Finance. "You might think it would only lower the value a little to cover the cost of painting, but it often makes the house much harder to sell because people don't like the way it makes them feel when they're looking at the home." Instead, choose bright, clean neutrals to appeal to more future buyers and express your style through removable décor items.

Shower curtains don't compare to glass doors

Another easy way to express your personality and personal interests within your home's bathroom is by selecting a fun shower curtain. Nearly all colors or patterns, and even detailed photo-quality images, are now available in shower curtain format. This means the level to which you can personalize your bathroom design with extremely low effort is now unfathomably high. While this might be a fun way to spice up the bathroom for homeowners, it doesn't go over well with potential buyers.

Even a neutral shower curtain, in fact, is likely to be seen as a turn-off to a homebuyer when compared to a glass shower door or enclosure. No matter how clean, new, or unassuming your bathroom's shower curtain is, it can't create the same solid, permanent feel that glass can. Buyers are more likely to categorize a shower with a curtain as cheap and low-quality. If adding a glass surround is an option for you, it may be worth considering before you attempt to sell your home.