How much does it cost to remodel a bathroom? — a budget blueprint

With some smart planning and budgeting, you can get your dream bathroom. Here, we break down the main costs to expect and share tips for saving money on your bathroom remodel.
9 min read
You might not notice how much time you actually spend in your bathroom, but chances are, it’s a lot. After all, this humble room is the epicenter of your personal hygiene and self-care. But all that daily use means that a bathroom can start to look a little worn out over time.Whether you want a fresh look, are finally ready to repaint and fix the windows, or simply want to increase the overall value of your property, remodeling a bathroom can be daunting. But don't worry — we're here to help. In this article, we cover the main expenses you need to save for, budgeting tips, and much more. Let’s get started!

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Bathroom remodeling: costs to factor in

So, you want to remodel your bathroom — but how much will that actually cost? Understanding the cost factors of a bathroom remodel is crucial for effective planning and budgeting. As with any kind of renovation, various elements come into play, including the project scope, materials, labor costs, and any additional features or upgrades. From simple cosmetic updates to full-scale renovations, the cost can vary significantly — it’s around €9,000 on average, but can be over €25,000 for high-end projects. Here's an overview of what to expect:
Type of bathroom renovationAverage cost (per hour or m²)
Changing wall and floor coverings€30–50/m²
Upgrading the electrical system€200/m²
Replacing the plumbing system€18/hour
Installing new bathroom fittings (shower, toilet, sink, etc.)€2,000
Furnishing a bathroom €1,500
Full renovation — 4-m² bathroom €3,500
Full renovation — 6-m² bathroom€4,250
To help you estimate the expenses involved in remodeling your bathroom, let’s look more closely at what you’ll need to factor in.

Size and layout of the bathroom

The size and layout of a bathroom play a significant role in determining the cost of a remodel. Larger bathrooms generally require more materials, such as tiles, flooring, and paint, which can lead to higher costs. Plus, a larger bathroom may have more fixtures and features to replace or install, such as sinks, toilets, showers, or bathtubs, which can increase both material and labor expenses.The layout of the bathroom is another critical factor. If you're significantly changing the existing layout, you might need to budget for additional work like rerouting plumbing and electrical systems. Altering the layout may require demolishing walls, installing new plumbing lines, and rewiring electrical connections, all of which can add up quickly.

Fixtures, materials, and quality

No surprise here: The fixtures and materials you choose can significantly affect how expensive the overall project is.Sinks, toilets, showers, bathtubs, faucets, lighting, and other fixtures come in various options and price points, depending on their brand, style, functionality, and durability. High-end fixtures made from premium materials or with advanced features often come with a higher price tag. If you need more budget-friendly options, you can still find decent quality products at a lower cost. Materials are another major aspect that affects the cost of a bathroom remodel. The materials that you choose for flooring, walls, countertops, cabinetry, and other surfaces range from affordable options like ceramic or vinyl to luxurious ones like marble or natural stone. Higher-quality materials may cost more upfront, but the investment could be worth it in the long run. Remember to measure accurately when you’re estimating how much you’ll need of these different materials. Ultimately, when it comes to fixtures and materials, your preferences, needs, and budget will impact the overall cost of the remodel.

Labor and professional fees

Chances are that you don’t have the expertise to do the entire remodel on your own. And experts such as contractors, plumbers, electricians, and designers come at a cost. If your project involves extensive structural changes, such as moving walls or rerouting plumbing and electrical systems, it will likely require more labor — and more money.In addition to labor costs, professional fees may apply for design consultations, architectural services, and project management. These fees vary depending on the scope of the project and how much you need professionals to be involved.

Permits, appliances, and other features and upgrades

The cost of permits can vary depending on your location and the specific requirements of your project. Make sure to research local building codes and permit fees, so that you can keep your project compliant and include the fee amounts in your budget.Other appliances, such as ventilation systems and lighting fixtures, also contribute to the overall cost. Upgrading to high-quality, energy-efficient appliances may require a higher initial investment, but can help you save on utility bills in the long term.And that’s not all: Heated flooring, custom cabinetry, or smart home automation can all inflate the cost of a bathroom remodel. These features often involve specialized materials, advanced technology, and skilled craftsmanship, which don’t usually come cheap.Prioritize the features that are most important to you and plan that into your budget accordingly.

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Bathroom remodel on a budget: 4 ideas to save money

If you're considering a bathroom remodel but want to keep the costs in check, you're not alone. The good news is that a stylish and functional bathroom doesn't always have to break the bank. Here are four practical ideas to remodel your bathroom on a budget and save money:
  • Research and plan: Research different suppliers to compare prices and find the best deals. Planning the project in detail helps you to avoid costly mistakes and unnecessary expenses. This way, you can limit the risk of overspending on non-essential items and identify areas where you can cut costs. Proper planning also allows you to gather quotes from multiple contractors and negotiate better prices. 
  • Optimize your current bathroom: Instead of changing all the features of your bathroom, simply spruce up the existing layout. This will help you save money — especially when it comes to plumbing. Avoid extensive pipe rerouting or installation if possible, and leave sinks, toilets, and showers in their current locations.
  • Hire professionals or DIY: While doing things yourself potentially saves money, be realistic about your own skills and experience, and consider the complexity of the project before taking on major tasks yourself. If you're not confident, stick to simple jobs like painting. You could also do some DIY work and then hire professionals for more complex or specialized areas. Critical aspects of the remodel should be handled by qualified professionals — otherwise, you might have to pay for repairs sooner rather than later.
  • Consider alternatives: Investing in an efficient toilet or shower head may be more important than splurging on high-end faucets or lighting fixtures. However, choosing lower-cost fixtures doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing style or functionality. Many manufacturers offer budget-friendly options that will still stand the test of time. Explore cost-effective alternatives like vinyl decals or wallpaper that mimic the look of tiles. Similarly, you might research prefabricated shower stalls or vanity cabinets that are less expensive than custom-made options.
These money-saving ideas allow you to create a stunning bathroom while sticking to your financial limits. Wait, you're not sure what your financial limits are? Then you need to set a budget — let’s look at how to do that.

Setting a realistic budget: budgeting tips for your bathroom remodel

Setting a realistic budget is critical to the success of any remodeling project. A solid financial framework helps you to consider your project carefully, save for it effectively, and then spend wisely.Here are a few budgeting tips for creating a bathroom that fulfills your dreams and doesn’t damage your bank account.

Establish your goals and priorities

Start by identifying your main objectives for the remodel. Are there issues that need to be addressed, or do you want a nicer design or improved functionality? Determine what elements are essential and where you can adjust or compromise. If the plumbing is in desperate need of an update, for example, dedicate a larger portion of your budget towards that. When you set clear goals, you can make more informed decisions about where to focus your spending.

Consider long-term advantages

Evaluate the long-term value of your investments. While it's important to stay within your budget, certain choices can ultimately help you save money. For example, investing in energy-efficient fixtures or durable materials may result in lower utility bills and fewer maintenance costs in the long run.

Start saving and create a contingency fund

To avoid breaking the bank, make a plan for how you’ll save the money that you need for your bathroom remodel. For example, use the 50/30/20 budget model and allocate 50% of your income for essential needs, 30% for non-essential wants, and 20% for savings — which can go straight towards your reno project.An emergency fund is important for your overall financial health, and you can apply the same principle to your bathroom renovation. Set aside 10-15% of your total budget as a contingency fund. This can provide a financial buffer and prevent you from going over budget if unexpected problems arise.

Compare costs and negotiate

Before starting your project, research the average costs of different materials, fixtures, and labor in your area. Make sure to get quotes from a few different contractors to compare prices and find the most cost-effective options. This information helps you create a realistic budget that’s aligned with your goals.

Track expenses and monitor your budget

Monitoring your budget serves as a roadmap for your spending. Save all receipts and invoices related to your bathroom remodel so that you can accurately track how things are going. A spreadsheet or budgeting app is another helpful tool to record and track your outgoing funds. Create categories and input the date, description, and amount of each expenditure. This lets you monitor your expenses in real-time and gives you a breakdown of how much you’re spending in each category.And finally, remember to review and adjust your budget as needed throughout the process. Are you overspending in a particular category? If so, you can cut costs in other areas to rebalance your budget.

Ready for your bathroom remodel

With proper planning and execution, remodeling your bathroom becomes much more manageable. And now that you have an understanding of the main costs involved in bathroom remodeling, you can build effective budgeting and saving strategies — your dream bathroom awaits!

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Saving with N26

If you've always envisioned making your home truly yours, why not start saving up for those dream renovations? The numbers can seem overwhelming at first, but with some solid planning, you can smash your savings goal. At N26, we help you reach your wildest ambitions. That's why we developed Spaces sub-accounts where you can stash your savings alongside your main account. Set a target amount, then let our features like Rules and Round-Ups automatically squirrel away some cash for you. Before you know it, your dream home can become a reality. Don't forget to check out more of our home renovation tips.

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