How much does it cost to renovate a bathroom? Three homeowners answer.

Tiling took the biggest chunk of the budget in Laurie Kline’s $50,000 bathroom renovation. Courtesy of Laurie Kline
Demolition of Laurie Kline’s old bathroom took three days. The renovation cost $50,000. Courtesy of Laurie Kline
Cheryl Conlin got the blue tiling for her shower from California-based Heath Ceramics, a company founded by one of the first American female ceramists. Not everything in the renovation came from the United States. The shower fixtures came from Italy. Photo by Tristen Rouse for The Washington Post
It took five attempts to get the vanity mirrors right, after several were damaged and one model wasn’t the right style. Courtesy of Laurie Kline
Cheryl Conlin focused on sourcing materials made in the U.S. for her $70,000 bathroom renovation. Photo by Tristen Rouse for The Washington Post
With a $50,000 price tag on their bathroom renovation, Laurie Kline and her husband did the work in phases to space out the expense. Courtesy of Laurie Kline

Bathrooms are some of the most utilitarian rooms in our homes. But they can also be the most relaxing — scroll through luxury listings on Zillow and count how many times you read the word “spa.”

If you want to turn yours into a private oasis, however, there’s no simple answer to how much renovating it will cost you. Prices vary depending on where you live, whether you hire a designer, how much plumbing and electrical work is required, the types of finishes you want, and more. Every remodel is different.

This is why we asked three homeowners: How much did it cost to renovate your bathroom? These renovations, all completed within the last year, account for different budgets and locations. Here’s a breakdown of what they spent — and where they saved.

Bathroom 1

Total cost: $17,275.

Total time: Six months.

Location: Port Ludlow, Wash.

Completed: November 2023.

When Collene Funk bought her remote Washington state fixer-upper in 2014, the primary bathroom still had metallic rainbow wallpaper and 1980s-style carpeting (yes, carpeting). She and her husband did the “bare minimum” to make the room usable — including replacing the too-low toilet and the carpet with tile flooring. “That was just a Band-Aid to make sure we could tolerate the bathroom while we did some renovations in the rest of the house,” Funk says.

Her main goal for the renovation was to gain more storage space in cabinets, keep the aesthetics consistent with the recently renovated living room and primary bedroom, and stay within budget. Funk’s husband, a retired contractor, constructed several parts of the project himself. She estimates that hiring someone else to do the work he did would have added a minimum of $6,000 to the total.

Even so, the budget was blown nearly from the start when they began re-tiling the shower and discovered rotted floorboards. This added to the timeline — “we rebuilt for four days before a single piece of tile was laid,” she says — and more than doubled the original $4,000 estimate for the tile contractor.

Another splurge was the vanity. Funk’s husband built it from raw mahogany and topped it with granite, for a total cost of about $3,400. Still, it was cheaper than the premade options they considered. One wrinkle: The old vanity was only 31 inches tall (fairly standard in the 1980s), so they had to move outlet boxes to match the new, higher countertop.

After a mistake with the shower tile order (which would have added time and money to fix), the couple wound up buying an off-the-shelf, beige option from Home Depot. Smaller fixtures such as towel bars, door handles and faucets came from Lowe’s; Funk went with a brushed nickel finish for all of them.

Budget breakdown:

Countertop: $2,704.

Shower tile labor: $8,200.

Tile and grout: $1,757.

Shower door: $1,500.

Faucets and sinks: $465.

Hardware: $270.

Towel bars: $365.

Vanity wood: $704.

Drywall and plywood: $360.

Other finishes: $455.

Mirrors: $200.

Light fixtures: $295.

Bathroom 2

Total cost: $49,090.

Total time: Eight months.

Location: Richardson, Tex.

Completed: January 2024.

When Laurie Kline bought her home in a Dallas suburb 20 years ago, she hired a painter to cover the primary bathroom’s brown-swirled marble vanity. The paint “almost immediately started flaking,” she says. Ever since, she’d longed to renovate the whole room (complete with leopard-print wallpaper and saloon doors to the toilet). Finally, in April 2023, she decided it was time.

From the start, Kline says, she and her husband were surprised by how expensive the planned renovation was compared with a bid they’d gotten a decade prior. “We had 10-year-old money in mind, and it was definitely double that,” she says. That’s why the couple took eight months to finish the remodel; doing it in phases allowed them to save up in between.

The couple also saved by sourcing materials themselves, rather than through a contractor. They found tile at wholesale flooring chain ProSource and matching all-black, squared fixtures such as faucets, handles and towel hangers online from Build With Ferguson. She also bought a mirror with a rear light at Home Depot.

The demolition took three days, including ripping out a space-hogging jetted tub and adding a larger shower. Tiling was the biggest expense at over $9,000, including materials and labor. Kline wanted to keep a wall of original glass bricks because they allow more light to come into the space, so she chose gray ceramic tile that she thought complemented that feature.

The vanity mirror that finally worked out was the fifth model ordered for the project — two were smashed on arrival, another was chipped after installation and yet another was the wrong style.

Kline did task her contractors with sourcing the cabinets and countertops, since she wasn’t sure how much she’d need. The result is an L-shaped, double-sink vanity painted taupe, topped with quartz.

Though her contractor tried to talk her out of getting heated floors, she insisted on them and says the addition was well worth it, costing less than she expected. The entire project went relatively smoothly, Kline says, though her biggest takeaway was that she was grateful to have been able to work from home throughout it. “There’s always something,” she says, “and I wouldn’t want to come home at the end of the day and find out that the plumber had a question and left because there was nobody here to answer it.”

Budget breakdown:

Designer fee: $2,250.

Demolition: $1,594.

Shower: $1,788.

Tiling: $9,136.

Painting: $4,532.

Fixtures: $8,792.

Countertops: $4,645.

Cabinets: $5,742.

Heated flooring: $2,405.

Electrical: $3,089.

Plumbing: $5,117.

Collene Funk and her husband spent $8,000 on their bathroom renovation, saving thousands because her husband is a retired contractor who did much of the work himself. Courtesy of Collene Funk

Bathroom 3

Total cost: $74,082.

Total time: 15 months.

Location: Arlington, Va.

Completed: June 2023.

Cheryl Conlin had an unusual goal for her bathroom renovation: to source as many materials manufactured in the United States as possible. “I wanted to highlight the beauty of American craftsmen,” she says. “I didn’t want, as I told my designer, that white marble bathroom that everyone has. … I don’t find beauty in that.” As such, several of the materials in the final product are bespoke.

Conlin had planned for years to renovate her condo’s only bathroom (which still wore its original 1980s style), so she’d saved enough to bring her specific vision to fruition — even when that meant paying over $1,000 for a custom tile delivery. “I was just really impressed and carried away by the beauty of it all,” she says. “It was a ‘sky’s the limit’ sort of thing.” Her original budget of $50,000 ballooned by $20,000.

She began working with a designer in March 2022, though the renovation didn’t begin for over a year, in part because of the unique materials.

Demolition posed a potential challenge, since contractors told Conlin to plan on her only bathroom being out of service for two to three weeks. Luckily, an out-of-town neighbor gave Conlin access to their unit.

The shower has tiles from California-based Heath Ceramics, a company founded by one of the first American female ceramists. Builders also added a niche to hold bath products, plus a bench. The shower fixtures, some of the few items not sourced from the United States, arrived several months after they were ordered from a small factory in Italy. Conlin’s cabinets, made by a custom builder in Washington, Va., were designed in an L-shape to maximize drawer space. Conlin had a preferred cabinet shade in mind, but it took several samples, paint cards and a handcrafted wood stain to achieve the olive/khaki tone. To highlight the woodwork, she opted not to include handles or pulls.

Conlin’s old bathroom felt cramped due to bad design choices, such as a door that swung inward toward the toilet. She originally wanted to replace it with a space-saving pocket door, but when builders found the wall was too thin to accommodate one, she instead chose a sliding barn door with hidden hardware.

Despite a lengthy and pricey renovation, Conlin says she wouldn’t change anything about it. “It’s the nicest room in the house now,” she says. “It’s really exactly what I wanted.”

Budget breakdown

Vanity: $7,952.

Labor: $8,900.

Plumbing fixtures: $5,213.

Vanity lighting and mirror: $1,878.

Toilet installation: $600.

Shower tile: $8,771.

Shower tile delivery: $1,238.

Floor tile: $685.

Shower doors: $3,500.

Countertops: $4,900.

Demolition: $10,450.

Plumbing: $4,500.

Electrical: $3,495.

Barn door: $4,000.

Project management: $4,500.

Design fee: $3,500.

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