Kitchen or bathroom: which gets the best return on investment?

If you’ve ever been house hunting, you’ll have seen photos of a beautiful home and felt elated…until you get to the 1980s kitchen. The bathroom is even worse. In your eyes, the house just plummeted in value.

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As humans, we automatically devalue a property with unrenovated bathrooms and kitchens because we know they’re tough areas to update. They can be a mission to modernise and, let’s face it, not cheap.

But, while they might be the areas left till last, they’re also the areas of greatest return. We’ll show you what kind of return you can expect on your renovation, and tips for getting maximum value.

The two types of return on investment

Return on investment (ROI) means how much money you’ll get back compared to your outlay. But there is another ROI at play here: lifestyle.

And, if we can add an extra, functionality.

If you’ve ever lived in a home with an old bathroom, you’ll know exactly how disheartening it can be to look at and use daily. Broken tiles, terrible colours, leaky taps, a poor layout and mouldy silicone are just the tip of the iceberg.

The same goes for kitchens. Older-style kitchens are often cramped, have little bench space and have cupboards and benchtops straight out of The Brady Bunch.

So, your second ROI is the delight you will get out of your new kitchen and bathroom. It’s the pleasure you feel every time you’re in that space. It’s the improved functionality. And sure, you’ll sell your home for a higher price, but it’s a great place to be in the meantime, too.

What’s the ROI on each?

Let’s talk kitchens.

Kitchen renovations can yield a significant return when done right. On average, a kitchen renovation can recoup 60-80% of the project’s cost, which is an excellent ROI.

You are, after all, turning the heart of the home into something beautiful and inviting.

Bathrooms are considered tricky areas because of the amount of plumbing. As renovators, we can tell you that bathrooms are not as difficult as they might seem when you have experts doing the work.

The ROI on bathrooms is exceptional at around 57% to 62%.

Which room should you renovate?

The numbers would say a bathroom should be the priority, but it ultimately comes down to your home. Which room is more unsightly? Which one is the least functional? Which one is in desperate need of repairs?

Of course, the best outcome would be to update both, which would give your home the maximum ROI. People love a beautiful kitchen and bathroom.

How to renovate for maximum ROI

You have a few options for renovating bathrooms and kitchens. You can do a minor update by changing out cupboard doors, replacing or painting benchtops and installing new fixtures such as taps and sinks.

For most people, a complete refit is a better option. That means pulling out and replacing all the fixtures and fittings. A refit gives you the opportunity to redesign your space and know that there are no problems lurking behind the scenes, such as leaks or rotting wood.

Before we go any further, it’s a good idea to ask professionals for help and ideas and to carry out the work. When you’re dealing with waterproofing, plumbing and gas lines, you’ll need experts to make sure it’s done right.

Poor workmanship is a major red flag for buyers, so make sure you’re getting help where you need it.

Now, let’s explore the key features that maximise ROI and stay budget-friendly at the same time.

Key features to update for maximum ROI

1. Functionality

First and foremost, the space should be functional for a wide audience. You and any future buyers will appreciate a practical layout and efficient use of space, especially in a kitchen.

In a kitchen, you can get creative with pull-out pantry shelves, deep drawers over cupboards, and even stealing space from an adjacent room to build a butler’s pantry.

Bathrooms come in all sorts of formats today that make practicality much easier. You can include an open shower, pop the bath in the shower space, and include wall-mounted vanities for extra storage.

Floor-to-ceiling tiling is also a good idea for longevity because it protects plasterboard from humidity and is easy to keep clean.

2. Appliances

For your sake, and for future buyers and the environment, consider energy-efficient appliances. They help save money now and earn a little more later.

There are also excellent brands of appliances available today that don’t cost a fortune but have a good reputation, which is another tick for earning more down the track.

3. Design

Your design will depend on the style of your home. A classic Queenslander will need a very different kitchen to a suburban townhouse.

But, it’s all about how your style will date. How quickly will your design elements go out of style? Remember when everyone was adding vertical strips of tiles to every kitchen and bathroom in the 2000s? Today, we can look at a home like that and know exactly how old – and uncool – that home is.

To make your spaces as appealing as possible even after many years, it can be a good idea to keep the palette neutral with light tones. Then you can add pops of colour with the styling, such as coloured towels, potted plants, pictures and benchtop decorations.

Taking the first renovation step

If you’re still not sure which space to renovate first, we’d suggest bringing it back to your lifestyle right now. Choose an area that is the most difficult to live in, and make that a priority. Of course, for the best ROI outcome, think about doing both before sale day.

If you need help with your renovation, you are welcome to reach out to our team. We love creating new kitchens and bathrooms and are experts at all types of home renovations and extensions, as well as building granny flats.

Our team is happy to chat with you about your home and what areas you’d like updated and give you ideas and a custom quote. Please contact us on 07 5635 8990 or via our contact form on our website.

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