When it comes to renovating a rental property, the kitchen and common living areas usually take precedence for most real estate investors and landlords. However, if you’re looking for a great return on your investment, remodeling the bathrooms can get you some really good bang for your buck. With a few budget-friendly bathroom upgrades, you can significantly enhance the appeal of your property and attract more high-quality, prospective renters.

Advantages of Investing In A Bathroom Remodel

A dingy, old, and outdated bathroom can be a huge turnoff for potential tenants. Renovating it though, can yield numerous benefits.

Increased Property Value

Whether you plan to rent out your rental property or sell it in the future, updated bathrooms can lead to increased rental income and likely a higher sales price.

Greater Appeal

A pristine new bathroom can create a strong visual impact. Pictures of it can be used to showcase your rental property in listings, attracting additional interest and attention.


A bathroom remodel doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. The expense largely depends on the bathroom’s size and desired finishes. With moderate upgrades, you can achieve impressive results for just a few thousand dollars.


Unlike many other home improvement projects, a cosmetic bathroom remodel is well-suited for handy landlords to tackle on their own. Taking on a bathroom remodel yourself not only makes it more affordable but also gives you complete control over the process.

Before Getting Started

If you’re going to invest in bathroom renovations, you’re going to need a plan.

Set A Realistic Budget

Determine the scope of your renovation and set a budget accordingly. Whether your remodel involves a complete gutting or just a few uplifts, having a well-defined budget will help guide your decision-making. With a realistic budget, you can stay on track and prevent overspending.

Pro-tip: When determining your budget, set aside a 10% cushion as a buffer for any unforeseen expenses.

Research Local Regulations

It’s essential to familiarize yourself with local building codes and regulations pertaining to bathroom renovations. To avoid potential legal issues, ensure that you comply with any permits or inspections required by your jurisdiction.

Plan for Downtime

Understand that a bathroom renovation will render the space unusable for a period of time. Consider the impact on your tenants and make necessary arrangements to provide alternative bathroom facilities during the renovation period if necessary.

Hire Reliable Professionals

If you’re not skilled in DIY projects, hire experienced and licensed professionals to do the job. Research and vet contractors, plumbers, and electricians to confirm they have the necessary expertise and a good track record.

Choose Durable and Low-maintenance Materials

As a landlord, prioritize selecting materials that are durable, long-lasting, and easy to maintain. Opt for fixtures, flooring, and surfaces that can withstand wear and tear.

Include Storage and Organization Solutions

Well-designed storage and organization solutions are a welcomed addition to any bathroom. Maximize space by incorporating functional elements such as vanities with ample storage, wall-mounted cabinets, or shelving units. Adding towel bars, hooks, and shower caddies provide tenants with convenient spaces to store their belongings.

Incorporate Lighting and Ventilation

Although proper lighting and ventilation are often overlooked, they are critical aspects of a bathroom remodel. A combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting can create a well-lit and functional space. Installing high-quality exhaust fans or windows will promote proper ventilation and prevent moisture-related issues like mold and mildew.

Consider Tenant Preferences

While it’s important to make upgrades that enhance the value and appeal of the property, also take into account your tenants’ preferences. Think about their needs and desires when choosing fixtures, finishes, and design elements for the bathroom.

Communicate With Tenants

If the renovations are taking place while tenants are still occupying the rental, inform them about the plans, timeline, and any disruptions they may experience. Maintain clear communication throughout the process to manage expectations and address any concerns they may have.

8 Rental Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

  1. Paint Walls
    A simple yet effective way to upgrade a bathroom is to give it a fresh coat of paint. A clean white or crisp neutral color will make it feel brand new, and will also make it feel bigger. But before you paint the walls, double check there is no existing mildew, mold, or water damage.
  2. Replace Flooring
    Redoing the flooring is a quick and cost-effective way to modernize the space. You can take a conventional approach and replace the old tile with a sleeker option. Or, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you can opt for luxury vinyl flooring, which can be installed directly over the existing tile instead.
    • Depending on the materials you choose and the size of the space, flooring can range in price. When selecting which material to go with, it’s best to go with a non-slip option. Otherwise, it can become a hazard when wet.
  1. Update Hardware
    You don’t have to undertake major changes to breathe new life into a bathroom. Sometimes, the most impactful visual enhancements are the simplest. Bathroom hardware presents an excellent opportunity for such tweaks.
    • Upgrading bathroom hardware, including faucets, drawer pulls, towel racks, and showerheads, is both straightforward and budget-friendly. With a multitude of options available, you can choose any stylistic direction you desire to add a fresh and personalized touch to the space.
  1. Update the Shower
    If your bathroom features both a tub and a shower, you may want to think about combining them into a single, modern walk-in shower. A frameless shower door that allows you to add two or more showerheads can create a luxurious ambiance that leaves a lasting impression on potential renters.
    • If you’re worried about nixing the tub because your rental accommodates a lot of families with young children, consider installing a bath fitter over the existing tub and adding glass shower doors. Using doors in place of shower curtains can give the bathroom a whole new look and feel.
  1. Replace the Vanity
    If an outdated vanity is dragging down the appearance of your bathroom, fear not—it’s relatively straightforward to replace it with a new one. Many big-box retailers offer complete sets that include the vanity, countertops, sink, and faucet, making the upgrade a no-brainer. Just remember to remove the old vanity before redoing the floors to avoid any surprises, especially if the new vanity has different dimensions.
    • Pro-tip: If you plan to sell your property soon, pick materials with potential buyers in mind. When it comes to choosing countertops for example, buyers often prefer marble and granite.
  1. Add a Backsplash
    With the convenience of peel-and-stick tile, you can completely modernize a bathroom. There are a range of options available that perfectly mimic the look and texture of traditional tile, minus the hassle of dealing with grout. By incorporating a backsplash into the bathroom design, you can instantly elevate the overall aesthetic and even better, protect the walls from water damage and stains which will end up saving you money in the long run.
  2. Upgrade the Mirrors
    Does your current bathroom mirror appear cheap and frameless, a relic from the rental’s original design? If it does, swapping it out for a different one can make a significant visual statement without breaking the bank. Since it’s often the focal point of a bathroom, you’ll want to choose a good one.
    • You can remove the existing mirror and replace it with one or two standalone mirrors to hang above each sink. While this option may require some drywall repair and painting, the impact on the overall look of the bathroom can be substantial.
    • If you’re not ready to toss the mirror just yet, consider framing the existing one on your own to jazz it up. Simply measure it and cut wood at 45-degree angles to create a frame around it. The wood can be stained or painted in any color of your preference, with the possibility of incorporating decorative crown molding for a unique and ornate appearance.
  1. Opt for Energy Efficiency
    Making your bathroom energy efficient will benefit the environment and your wallet. Consider installing low-flow fixtures such as faucets, showerheads, and toilets, which reduce water consumption without compromising performance. Switching from incandescent bulbs to LED bulbs can also significantly lower energy usage. If your budget allows for it, you may want to insulate hot water pipes to minimize heat dissipation and reduce the time it takes for hot water to reach the faucet or shower.

Making Your Bathroom More Attractive

Although bathrooms are among the smallest spaces in a rental unit, revamping it is a great opportunity to make a lasting impression. Whether your budget is small or unlimited, a few fresh updates can go a long way. Remodeling bathrooms will not only make your rental property a more appealing choice for prospective tenants, but can also make it stand out for potential buyers when you are ready to sell, and can improve your bottom line.

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