Kitchen v. Bath – Where to Allocate Your Renovation Budget
When someone says they’re remodelling their home, the first question asked of them is almost always the same: kitchen or bath?
It’s no surprise that kitchens and bathrooms are top of mind when it comes to remodelling. In fact, according to a recent study done by the National Association of Home Builders, when a group of contractors was asked to list their most common jobs, a whopping 81% listed “kitchen” as one of their most popular requests. Right behind kitchen on that list? You guessed it… bathroom.
Kitchens and bathrooms are the most common remodels because these are two areas of the home that speak to the most basic human needs: eating, and taking care of our bodies. As such, a well-done kitchen or bathroom remodel can pay great dividends when it comes time to eventually sell your home.
But, where should you start? If your kitchen and your bathroom both need some love, and the budget only allows tackling one of the two, it’s important to think through all the considerations before deciding which one to remodel.
As someone who has performed countless kitchen and bathroom design and remodelling projects, I’ve developed my own list of items homeowners need to consider before they decide to move forward with their home remodelling project. Let’s take a look!
For any medium to large-scale kitchen or bath remodel, you should plan for at least 4-8 weeks of construction. As with any home remodelling project, disruption to your routine is something to consider. While the end result is always worth any minor inconvenience, it’s still important to plan ahead so that you’re best prepared to weather the construction.
When deciding between a kitchen or a bath remodel, you should think about if and how you’d manage to go without these spaces in the interim. For kitchen remodels, most homeowners opt for a mix of delivery, eating out, and keeping a small collection of non-perishable foods stashed somewhere else in the home. As for a bathroom remodel, the main question is whether or not you have a second bath. If no, then you’ll seriously need to consider relocation for the duration of the remodel. If you do have a second bath, you’ll need to make sure it’s equipped to handle the increased load during the remodel.
Reputable design and build firms will go out of their way to minimize disruption and inconvenience during your home remodelling project. However, by planning ahead and mentally preparing yourself, you’ll save quite a bit of stress and anxiety when that first demo day arrives!
Of course, cost is a big consideration when it comes to any home design and remodelling project. While there are a vast range of factors that go into determine the cost of a project, generally speaking, homeowners should expect to spend upwards of $50,000 or more for a major kitchen remodel. As for bathroom remodels, pricing can run from anywhere between $10,000 to $50,000 depending on if the space requires an expansion, and what kind of fixtures and amenities the client wants.
As you can tell, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact number until you look into the specific needs of your home. But in a general sense, you can expect to pay more on a kitchen remodel than you would a bath remodel.
In terms of deciding what is the appropriate amount of money to spend, that is a very personal decision. However, the Appraisal Institute of Canada offers some guidelines based on the value of your home, and how long you plan to stay after the remodel:
“If you renovate your kitchen as a facelift prior to selling it, you should spend no more than 10% – 15% of the cost of your house. If you are going to remain in your house for more than five years, you can spend 25% or more – and in most cases you will recoup the cost of the renovation when you sell.”
Return on Investment
With cost in mind, let’s talk about what a remodel can do for the overall value for your home.
Kitchen and bathroom remodels have some of the strongest returns on investment of any home project, so you can rest easy knowing that the money you’re spending on your home is more of an investment in your future than anything else.
As mentioned above, if you plan to live with your renovations for at least 5 years, there is strong chance you’ll recoup nearly all of the investment when it comes time to sell. However, there is a caveat to this statistic, and that comes with the choices you make during the remodelling process.
When you choose to redesign a kitchen or bathroom, you should always land on a design you love. It’s your home, after all! However, if you do intend to one day move and would like to recoup on your investment, it’s important that you work with a reputable designer to create a space that meets your personal needs, but that is also appealing to the larger buyer market.
Super unique design choices, even if done well, can make it more difficult to sell your home down the line at the price that reflects the value of the remodel. If your kitchen or bathroom remodel deviates too far from a timeless design, recouping your investment will become much more difficult.
All this said, my most important piece of advice for homeowners considering whether to do a kitchen or a bathroom remodel is simple: what do you actually want? While yes, there are broader considerations you should make regarding design choices, budget, and disruption to your day-to-day life, but in the end, this is a major decision you are making for your home and your family. As such, it should be a decision that reflects your personal preferences.
If you spend long days at the office and daydream about coming home to a glass of wine and a large soaking tub, then by all means press on with a bathroom remodel. If you fancy yourself an amateur chef that hosts friends and family for dinner frequently, the opt for the kitchen remodel so that you have a place you love to entertain!
There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing between a bathroom and a kitchen remodelling project. In the end it’s a personal choice, and when done right, either decision can bring a whole lot of happiness and joy to your home…not to mention a whole lot of added resale value.
Still can’t decide? If you’re in the Vancouver area, feel free to reach out. I love helping homeowners think through all the options, and make an informed decision about transforming their spaces into rooms they love!