Want to add notable value to your house? Simple – renovate the bathroom.
That's the advice from PlaceMakers' Louise Cook, category manager for bathrooms for the leading building materials, hardware and home advice suppliers in the country – and who have noticed double digit growth in revenue from bathrooms as Kiwis continue their love affair with improving their homes in the wake of Covid-19.
"It's been pretty incredible," says Cook of the upswing in bathroom beautifications. "When the pandemic began, we thought we were going to see some tough times but it's gone completely in the opposite direction."
What's become clear is that the pandemic and shelved overseas holiday plans have persuaded many Kiwis that adding value to their greatest asset – their home – is the best response.
Cook says there are two main reasons aside from the pandemic: comfort and improving the value of their home in today's in-demand housing market.
"Of course, there are so many factors that can affect that value – like whether you are doing a major renovation or adding another whole bathroom to the house – or just doing up the room with maybe a new toilet or tapware and accessory fittings."
Another key factor is cost. Cook says it's too difficult to come up with an average spend as there are so many variables in bathroom renovations, but offers a range from about $2000-$5000 for a basic spruce-up to $30,000-plus for a big job: "It can be a lot higher than that, especially if people are adding a whole new bathroom to a house and building in features like underfloor heating or changing water and electrical positions. It just depends what people want and/or need."
That, Cook says, is the single most important element: sorting out what the customer wants.
"We always ask the customer who the bathroom is for and what they want to use it for. Is the bathroom in a family home where kids are a really important factor? Or maybe it's what we are seeing a lot of now – people renovating their bathrooms for comfort, so it is a kind of sanctuary, an emerging trend called 'cocooning'."
PlaceMakers have noticed a significant increase in activity across all interior design categories including kitchens, bathrooms, wardrobes, flooring and laundries. They work with builders doing the renovations or directly with clients who are DIY renovating kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and wardrobes.
Dedicated showrooms throughout the country mean customers can talk to a specialist consultant who helps them through the whole process from concept to completion, from design to installation and Cook says that conversation with PlaceMakers' experts often clarifies customers' minds about the job they want to do. We offer free consultations for customers so it is easy to kick-start any project with best advice from our teams.
"It's important to have a clear idea and we find many people are grateful for the 'what do you want to use it for' conversation."
The trends seen by Placemakers give an insight into Kiwis' tastes in bathrooms, whether they are doing up a house for resale or making it more comfortable for themselves:
- Coloured finishes: Accessories like tapware have become popular in different finishes; chrome is still No. 1 but is closely pursued by black, gunmetal, bronzes and golds as people seek more colour inspiration in their bathrooms.
- Spa baths & baths: The spa baths of the 80s and 90s haven't returned to quite those levels of popularity, says Cook, but they are making a comeback among people re-doing their bathrooms with a "sanctuary" flavour. Baths are also being fitted into more bathrooms these days. There are so many more options now with small sizes taking up a lot less space and baths are important for young families.
- Colours: People renovating bathrooms for resale usually choose lighter or "less evasive" colours, she says, while those renovating and staying put also generally like light or neutral colours for areas like tiles – greys, browns and natural colours. "It's the same for wall colours," says Cook, "though we are seeing some moves to deeper blues and deeper greens too. Overall, the natural look is very popular and people still like to bring greenery and nature into their bathrooms as it is very relaxing, very calming to sometimes a bland space."
- Shower options: The vast range of shower options are great for giving bathrooms a fresh start. "Sensual" options like the waterfall variety or the bracing practicality of body jets are two of a whole new range of shower technology available.
- Vanity and basins: Concrete and marble are materials being used in this area and related fittings. They offer warmth to the space as well as texture.
- Multiple bathrooms: Many renovations are designed simply to add another bathroom to an existing house and Cook says they are adding a family bathroom or an ensuite, with others adding on to ensure they have "two-and-a-half" bathrooms (with a separate toilet).
"It's a noticeable trend," she says, "people are wanting more space if possible – sometimes for the kids or for themselves and, to do that, they are not necessarily building large ensuites but smaller ones but where they feel really comfortable."
So, is it time you join one of these trends?
PlaceMakers has a comprehensive range of kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and wardrobes to help Kiwis building new homes or renovating current ones. It offers products that will stand the test of time and a huge range of accessories like sink mixers, towel rails, shelving, mirrors and more. PlaceMakers can also help with heating and cooling, with multiple options from heat pumps to fireplaces, from ventilation to central heating. PlaceMakers works with leading brands and suppliers offering market-leading product quality and warranties.