A newly remodeled primary bathroom featuring mini-tile flooring, marble counters and wall tiles, a tub/shower combo, and clean white walls.

15 Primary Bathroom Remodel Ideas: The Only Bathroom Remodel Guide You Need

Bathroom Remodeling

by LB Gabriel Posted on May 15, 2024

If you spend each morning sharing a sink with your partner, staring at a pink toilet, or climbing into an outdated bathtub, you’ve probably spent a lot of time perusing inspiring bathroom remodel ideas. And, if you’re looking for a sign to turn those ideas into action, consider this a fortuitous read because this home project is definitely worth the price of admission.

Primary bathroom makeovers can maximize space, improve energy efficiency, and increase your home’s value. Most buyers don’t want to see a long to-do list when they’re looking at a home to purchase; they want to be able to picture themselves enjoying the space and having a touch of luxury at their fingertips.

If you’re in need of a one-stop-shop bathroom renovation guide, you’ve come to the right place. Here are our favorite 15 bathroom remodel ideas and helpful information about the cost, process, and more.

A before and after comparison of a primary bathroom remodel project.

All it takes is a few simple bathroom remodel ideas to create a big impact.

2024 Bathroom Remodel Guide: 15 Bathroom Remodel Ideas That Are Sure To Impress

All-white, spa-like bathrooms are still popular in 2024, but people increasingly favor looks with more character and pizazz. Out with the cookie-cutter ideas and in with infusing your home — yes, even the bathrooms — with bold, colorful designs and dramatic touches. The most important part? Go with what you like. That way, you’ll never be disappointed.

Q: What is the most likely meaning of the word renovate?
In this article, the terms “remodel” and “renovation” are used interchangeably, and while they share many attributes, they do differ in price and scope. A renovation fixes damage and updates the look and feel of a room. A remodel changes the size, structure, or layout of a room. As you can imagine, remodeling is often more expensive than renovating because it can involve changing the electrical functionality, plumbing, wall locations, and more.

A primary bathroom after it’s been remodeled to include a large soaker tub and a walk-in shower.

Want a spa-like oasis? Add a large tub and shower to your primary bathroom.

1. Install a Large, Luxurious Shower or Tub.

What’s more impressive than seeing a large shower with multiple shower heads, towel hooks, and steam options? People want to bring that upscale hotel feel to their own primary bathrooms, and a big shower or soaking tub is the most popular way to achieve this.

2. Swap Your Countertops for Quartz.

Not only is quartz easy on the eyes, but it’s also scratch- and stain-resistant. It looks like marble but costs less and can handle more wear and tear. Bonus points for its nonporous surface, which is less susceptible to bacteria growth.

3. Invest in ENERGY STAR®-Certified Fixtures.

Toilets are by far the main source of water use in your house, with older models using more than six gallons per flush. Many people are replacing their fixtures with energy-efficient models that reduce water usage to prevent wasting water and money.

Close-up of a contractor’s gloved hands as they install elements of heated primary bathroom flooring.

With heated floors, you’ll no longer dread turning off that steamy hot shower.

4. Turn Up the Heat…ed Floors.

Nothing feels better than a long, warm shower. And nothing is worse than turning off the water and stepping onto a cold bathroom tile floor. Take away the temp shock with heated flooring.

5. Go Green.

This time, we’re not talking about environmentally friendly bathroom solutions (although that’s always a winner in our eyes). Green is a popular bathroom color because it evokes feelings of calmness and harmony. Sounds pretty nice, right? We don’t suggest slathering the walls in an avocado hue, though. A subtle bathroom tile pattern, basin, or decorative touch will do the job.

6. Let in the Light.

Bathrooms typically aren’t large rooms, but no one wants to feel trapped in a small space, so you want to find creative ways to open up the room — especially if you can’t knock down walls and literally open up the room. One way to achieve this is to add more windows or remove treatments, blinds, shades, etc., from the ones you currently have in the room. This doesn’t have to mean forgoing privacy, either. Frosted glass or skylights are a great way to get sunlight in without shocking the neighborhood.

A newly remodeled bathroom featuring a chic mirror and vanity set with bold blue and gold wallpaper on the walls.

Try something dark and dramatic if you want your bathroom to be extra glam. 
(Source: Pinterest)

7. Get Funky With Wallpaper.

If you’ve had your eye on some fun wallpaper but are unsure how it would look covering larger walls of your home, put it in your primary bathroom instead. Try something dark and dramatic if you want your bathroom to be extra glam. Go for a floral if you want a softer look. Or opt for a mod pattern if you’re a mid-century modern fan.

8. Add a Fireplace.

Heated floors and towels go a long way, but if you really want to infuse your space with comfort and warmth, one of the hottest bathroom remodel ideas — no pun intended — is installing a fireplace. If you want a rustic cabin vibe, go for something with natural wood or worn brick. If modern luxury is the name of the game, consider a recessed electric fireplace like this one from Home Depot.

9. Paint Your Tile Floors.

Did you know that you can paint over those tile floors? It’s true! Clean the tiles to remove any debris, then lightly sand them to make the surface rough. This will help the paint adhere to the tiles. After that, apply a coat of primer, then two coats of epoxy or enamel paint once the primer has dried. Let each coat of paint dry completely before painting a new one. Once your tiles are the color and shade you desire, use a clear sealant to shield the paint from moisture and wear.

A set of new cabinet hardware pieces for a primary bathroom remodel.

Try swapping your old hardware for some new pulls.
(Source: Pinterest)

10. Replace Cabinet Hardware.

Installing new cabinets can be time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. If you want your cabinets to look like new without breaking your back or the bank, try swapping your old hardware for some new pulls. Sleek, gold hardware is very stylish and adds a touch of class to any cabinetry.

11. Paint the Ceiling.

Don’t want to paint your whole bathroom? Like the color of your walls and want to keep them as is? You don’t have to change the whole room to make an impact — just repaint your ceiling. Go with a bold, dark color like forest green or navy. Or if you’re really feeling creative, try wallpaper or paint a pattern with stencils.

12. Add Warm Accents.

No one likes a cold space, but avoiding that feeling in a room filled with only porcelain, stone, and tile may feel tough. Adding a Roman shade to a window, a small patterned rug, an oversized wicker basket filled with rolled towels, a small potted plant, and a little piece of art will go a long way in livening up the primary bathroom.

A newly renovated bathroom with polished ceramic subway wall tiles arranged in a herringbone pattern on the walls.

Take the tiling up a notch and add it to your walls.
(Source: Pinterest)

13. Tile Your Walls.

Tile. It’s not just for primary bathroom floors anymore. Take the tiling up a notch and add it to your walls. You can use the same tile on your floors and for wainscoting, or you can do a complementary mix-and-match on the floors and walls. Better Homes and Gardens has some great ideas if you’re looking for inspiration. 

14. Install a Glass Partition.

If your primary bathroom has a decent amount of square footage, one of the hottest 2024 bathroom remodel ideas is to box in your tub and shower with a floor-to-ceiling glass partition. This is also referred to as a wet room bathroom. If you want to go this route, keep in mind that all materials used in the primary bathroom need to be waterproof. Wet room bathrooms have a lovely open look, but they can also come with extra water splashing around.

15. Go From Double to Single.

No, we’re not suggesting a relationship status adjustment. If you want more space in your primary bathroom, ask yourself if you really need those double sinks. If you can slim down your large, double sinks — and the cabinetry that goes with them — to a single one, you can create more room for a tub or shower. You can also get creative with storage, installing floating shelves or a sleek mirrored medicine cabinet instead of using larger drawers.

 A primary bathroom is under construction. The shower has been partially dismantled, there are tools scattered around the room, and the walls are unfinished.

Labor costs are usually the biggest line item in a primary bathroom remodel budget.

2024 Bathroom Remodel Guide: Your Questions Answered

How Much Does a Primary Bathroom Remodel Cost?

If money is no object, you can sink (pardon the pun) a lot of money into a primary bathroom remodel. Labor is around half of the overall cost, and fixtures can run in the thousands — especially if they’re on the high end.

Estimates show that the national average for a primary bathroom remodel is $11,533, with projects ranging from $6,624 to $16,922. To keep the budget in check, you’ll need to do your research, create a plan, and stick to the schedule. Our home remodeling checklist has some tips for making this happen.

What Is the Most Expensive Part of a Bathroom Remodel?

If you add marble countertops, hardwood flooring, new cabinets, and high-end fixtures, the cost of materials may be the most expensive part of your primary bathroom remodel. However, labor costs are typically the biggest expense, especially for larger spaces. This is because, besides refiguring the space, you’re dealing with intricate lighting and plumbing issues that usually require professional assistance.

Can I Redo My Bathroom Myself (i.e., How To Cheaply Renovate a Bathroom)?

A primary bathroom remodel isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a small room, but it has some big elements (more on that in a minute). That being said, there are some smaller tasks you can take on yourself if you want to save a little money

  • Flooring: Removing and replacing flooring with vinyl or bathroom tiles takes some concentration and elbow grease, but many homeowners can handle it.
  • Painting: Changing the wall color is a simple task that only takes a few hours to complete.
  • Cabinet Installation: If you’re not doing custom cabinetry work, you can most likely install your bathroom cabinets and countertop yourself.
  • Toilet Installation: While removing a toilet can require some plumbing knowledge, putting one back in place is a heavy but fairly simple task.
  • Cosmetic Changes: Installing shelving, mirrors, artwork, and other aesthetics are great DIY projects.

You can do some of these things on your own, or you can work alongside a contractor if you want to divvy up the to-do list. The PODS Blog has some great hiring recommendations for finding the right person or team to handle the job.

Talk openly with your project team if there are aspects of the remodel that you want to handle, such as buying your own tub, replacing your fixtures, or installing the sink. Your contractor will go through the repair estimate with you, letting you know if your time is well spent on these projects or if rolling them into the overall cost is more effective.

Remember that plumbing, electrical work, drywall, and other construction tasks are tough to handle alone and require years of training and knowledge. It may seem like you’re saving money by doing things yourself, but repairing the damage can often cost more if you make a mistake. If you want to knock down walls, reroute plumbing, or change wiring, it’s best to consult a professional.

A couple is speaking with a contractor in their driveway. A second contractor is working near a PODS container that is being used to store tools and materials during the primary bathroom remodel.

Make room for your primary bathroom remodel with a portable storage container.

What Do I Need To Do Before the Primary Bathroom Remodel Begins?

Before the remodel begins, you’ll need to clear your primary bathroom and possibly even tear out elements and fixtures. That’ll probably require packing up some boxes and finding space for everything else that’s removed from the primary bath.

To prevent creating a mess in other parts of your house, you might want a place to put everything, like a PODS portable storage container kept in your driveway. Keep it there as long as you need to, and use the extra space to store your things and organize your tools and equipment, keeping everything out of your way (but within arm’s reach).

What Do You Remodel First in a Bathroom?

If you’ve created a budget, decided on a plan, and are ready to get to work, then it’s demo time. This means getting rid of flooring, tile, and fixtures. Once the primary bathroom is clear, it’s time to do the plumbing and electrical rough-in work. After that, you move on to drywall, painting, and tiling. Then, you install a shower and/or tub. Finally, install lighting, add a vanity and sink, and install a new toilet. Last but certainly not least, accessorize to your heart’s content.

What Adds the Most Value to a Bathroom Remodel?

Updated bathrooms and kitchens are big selling points for potential homebuyers. In fact, bathroom remodels have the highest return on investment, at almost 73%. Meaning that for every dollar you spend on your primary bathroom remodel, there’s a $1.72 increase in your home’s value. Now that’s a worthwhile project! If you want to focus on the most appealing aspects of the primary bathroom, replace the bathroom fixtures, update your countertops, and add a fresh coat of paint.

A recently remodeled primary bathroom that now features a large soaker tub, a walk-in shower, and a home sauna.

If you’re working with a limited space, you may have to choose between a tub and shower. However, a primary bathroom remodel involving more square footage might allow for both (and a sauna, too!). 

How Do I Come Up With Unique Bathroom Remodel Ideas?

Sometimes you know you want a refreshed space but don’t know how to make it happen. If you’re looking for inspiration, we love turning to the experts. But if you want a more customized approach, here are some considerations.

  • The main uses: Is this for a married couple with grown children, or will the whole family crowd into the bathroom every morning to get ready? If you have a lot of people in the space, you may need a tub and a shower, more storage space, etc.
  • What’s working well as-is: You may only think about what parts of your primary bath need to change, but ask yourself what’s working. What do you like? If something can stay the same, it’ll save time and money.
  • Storage needs: If you’re cramming towels underneath the sink or piling toiletries on the countertops, consider building a small linen closet or incorporating shelving.
  • Tubs vs. shower: Tubs take up a lot of space. If soaking isn’t your cup of tea, use the square footage for something you’d enjoy more. Mini sauna, anyone?
  • The fun details: If you have the space, do you want some little extras, like a separate toilet area, vanity seating, or an attached closet? With some foresight and imagination, your primary bathroom can be so much more than a four-walled square.

No matter your reason or goal, a primary bathroom remodel is a great way to enjoy your home to its fullest. You deserve to have a space to reinvigorate yourself after a long day. Put in that steam shower or upgrade your tub to the model with massaging jets. Pick and choose the elements that appeal to you, and you won’t regret it.

LB Gabriel is a freelance writer who lives with her husband, daughter, and Golden Retriever in Memphis, TN. A frequent PODS Blog contributor, she's a sucker for any tip she can find on downsizing, cutting clutter, or minimalist living. When she's not on a deadline, you can find her on a tennis court or golf course.
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