Homeowners are remodeling bathrooms with more modern styles, experts say

By Christie Battista - ROCKFORD (WREX) -

What does your bathroom say about you? If it's still full of ceramic tile and clunky shower doors, it says you're getting behind the times. Remodelers and homebuilders are reporting that "sleek" and "stylish" are the current trends, and they may be here to stay.

"Remodeling bathrooms is a popular home improvement project, but they're not cheap," Angie Hicks, Angie's List Founder, says. "They can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000."

An Angie's List contractor survey revealed that homeowners are willing to spend handsomely on better bathrooms because much of the cost, often around 80%, comes back to them on resale. People are pulling out their ceramic tile in favor of cultured marble panels, thick-glass shower doors and sleek fixtures. They want to enjoy their bathrooms, not constantly maintain them.

"They're tired of fighting the grout lines," Bathroom Design Professional Mary Wright says. "They're tired of having to re-caulk. Maybe they don't have a lot of people in their family members that squeegee a lot. So by that maintenance standard, they want something that's easier to clean."

"Consumers are looking for less work around the house especially when cleaning their bathrooms, so the trend remodelers are seeing is more walk-in showers with frameless doors because they're just easier to maintain," Hicks says.

They also look very modern, much like the floating vanities many people are going to. Homeowners seem willing to give up that underneath storage space in exchange for a streamlined appearance that makes it seem like a bigger room.

"People really like having that open feel," Wright says. "They don't like, necessarily, feeling so built-in, so compartmentalized in the space any longer. They're trying to more or less to take down the walls, have a much more spa feel."

Free-standing tubs remain very popular. As for fixtures, chrome, brushed nickel and Venetian bronze are still in style.

One contractor says his average remodeling project is now starting at $20,000 after years of costing $15,000. Hicks warns everyone to be careful not to overspend and then price yourself out of the neighborhood when you go to sell.

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