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Houzz Study: Homeowners Seek Spa Feel in Bathroom Renovations

Two in five homeowners report using their renovated bathroom for rest and relaxation.

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Two in five homeowners report using their renovated bathroom for rest and relaxation.
The “U.S. Bathroom Trends Study” is an online survey fielded to U.S. Houzz users between June and July 2020.

Two in five homeowners report using their renovated bathroom for rest and relaxation (41 percent), according to the 2021 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. The survey of nearly 3,000 U.S. homeowners using Houzz who are in the midst of, are planning or recently completed a bathroom renovation, found that cleanliness and a lack of clutter are key to creating a spa-like atmosphere (68 and 63 percent). This may explain why modern, transitional and contemporary styles, which are characterized by smooth surfaces and sleek lines, remain the leading choices for renovated bathrooms (20, 19 and 18 percent, respectively). 

You can download the full 2021 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study here.

Other features gaining popularity for their serene characteristics include dimmable lighting and greenery (38 and 19 percent, respectively), up six and five percentage points, respectively, since 2020. In fact, nearly one-third of homeowners add greenery to their bathroom after renovations (32 percent), because they find plants to be aesthetically pleasing, create a calming environment and purify the air (88, 64 and 34 percent, respectively). 

The percentage of homeowners who relax in their renovated bathroom by soaking in the tub is up six points this year (61 percent), outpacing the share of those who unwind with long showers (54 percent). More than three quarters of homeowners incorporate premium features into their bathtubs and showers (79 and 74 percent, respectively). Top premium features for the bath include soaking tubs, space for two and silent whirlpool baths (68, 19 and nine percent, respectively), while premium shower upgrades include rainfall showerheads, dual showers, body sprayers and thermostatic mixers (55, 23, 16 and 13 percent, respectively). 

“In the midst of the chaos created by the pandemic, we’re seeing homeowners turn to their bathrooms for respite, creating calming sanctuaries with premium features, hygienic surfaces, and plants and other greenery,” said Marine Sargsyan, Houzz senior economist. “Given the major changes involved, homeowners renovating their bathrooms are seeking out professional help at a growing rate, and hiring general contractors in particular.”

Homeowners increasingly turned to professionals for help with projects this year (84 percent from 82 percent in 2020). Significantly more homeowners hired a general contractor compared with last year (49 percent versus 43 percent in 2020). Hiring also increased for bathroom remodelers, bathroom designers and interior designers (22, 14 and 11 percent, respectively in 2021, versus 20, 12 and nine percent, respectively in 2020).

The median spend for bathroom projects was $8,000, while higher budget projects (with the top 10 percent of project spend) came in at $30,000 or more among homeowners. Those doing “major” bathroom renovations, which include shower upgrades, spent three times more on their renovations than those undergoing minor renovations ($15,000 versus $5,000, respectively). Median spend increased for both small and large bathrooms that underwent a major remodel, jumping by 20 and six percent, respectively, from the previous year. 

Additional trends from the study include:

  • Marble in Vogue: Marble is being adopted at a higher rate by renovating homeowners this year, with increased usage in shower flooring, non-shower flooring and nonshower walls (17, 13 and six percent, respectively in 2021, from 13, 10 and four percent, respectively in 2020). 

  • Colorful Vanities: While white continues to be the dominant color chosen across all bathroom features, blue and wood vanities have become more popular over the past year bringing warmth and texture to bathrooms. In fact, the share of homeowners opting for blue vanities has doubled compared to last year (eight percent in 2021, from four percent in 2020) and medium and light wood tones are becoming more common (14 and eight percent, respectively in 2021 from 12 and six percent, respectively in 2020). 

  • Lighting Upgrades: Homeowners cite both insufficient lighting and no natural lighting as issues before a bathroom renovation (28 and 11 percent, respectively), which may explain why more than four in five homeowners upgraded their lighting fixtures this year (82 percent). Wall lights and recessed lights remain the top two choices in upgraded lighting (57 and 55 percent, respectively), however lighted mirrors, pendant lights and chandeliers all inched up in popularity from last year.

  • Toilet Technology: More than a third of homeowners who upgraded their toilets during renovations incorporated technology (36 percent). Bidets remain the most popular tech feature for one in five homeowners (20 percent), followed by self-cleaning, heated seats, overflow protection and built-in nightlights (15, 13, 10 and 10 percent, respectively). 

  • Lighted Mirrors: Three-quarters of renovating homeowners install mirrors in their renovated bathroom (78 percent), with over half installing more than one mirror (59 percent). Some upgraded mirrors have advanced features, such as LED lighting and anti-fog systems (20 and 18 percent, respectively). 

  • Custom Medicine Cabinets: Nearly one-third of renovating homeowners install custom or semi-custom medicine cabinets (30 percent), many of which include features such as hidden plugs and lighting on the inside (20 and 18 percent, respectively).

The “U.S. Bathroom Trends Study” is an online survey fielded to U.S. Houzz users between June and July 2020.

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