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5 tips for modernising bathrooms

November 2017

The bathroom follows hot on the heels of the kitchen for the title of 'most important room in the house'. Anyone who has ever viewed a property to rent will tell you that being confronted by a grime-ridden bathroom with outdated fixtures and dubious-coloured units which look as if they were first fitted in the 1970s invariably makes the property less appealing in the eyes of the prospective tenant. 

In shorthand, we're saying that a bathroom in a buy-to-let property should contribute to a tenant's decision to want to rent the property. The bathroom should be an appealing prospect, not a deterrent.  

Bathrooms are used every day, so they are bound to suffer a little wear and tear. This means that a touch of renovation and refurbishment over the years is inevitable. Bathrooms also need to function well (there's nothing more exasperating than having to contend with an unpredictable shower when you've overslept and have to be at work in 30 minutes), and that makes all the little details important to get right. Whether the bathroom is shoebox-sized or capacious, it's good to create a feeling of space and light, as this alone will make the room more appealing. 

And remember, you don't need to splash out on an expensive remodeling project to make a difference to a bathroom badly in need of rejuvenation; a few tweaks and alterations is often all that's required in a rental property.

Here's a few tips for modernising a bathroom in your buy-to-let. 

1) Refit new fixtures 
Is the shower a good pressure? Is the loo seat in need of replacement? Perhaps the bath has seen better days, or the bathroom cabinet unit? If anything looks out of date or in need of replacement, look to replace it as cost effectively as possible. Unless you're buying a new state of the art freestanding bath, and we imagine you're not, most replacement fixtures should be reasonable in price. Our advice? Spend a little more where it matters, and save elsewhere. 

2) Focus on the details
Is there a hook on the back of the bathroom door for hanging a towel, shower hat or dressing gown? Is there a proper towel rail to hang the towels on? A bathroom which functions well is a bathroom which focuses on the details and gets them right. This can prove harder if you, as a landlord, haven't actually used the bathroom as a bathroom yourself. If you don't think the units need updating but still want to spruce up the space, why not upgrade the handles on the units or the taps? This can make all the difference for minimum outlay.  

3) What's the lighting like?
Good lighting in a bathroom is important, especially if there's no window to speak of to allow in natural light. Overhead spotlights work well, as they will light every corner of the room as opposed to one hanging light in the centre of the room. Good lighting can also make a room appear bigger. Think 'task lighting', which may include vanity lighting.

modernise bathroom
4) Rip out any old tiles 
It's surprising the number of bathrooms you see which are still defined by that once-popular shade of avocado-green and outdated, time-worn units. If there is any old tiling which has seen better days, rip it out and replace it with something streamlined, neutral in colour, and which gives the bathroom an aesthetic boost.

5) Think neutral
Use of colour in a bathroom often works well, but in a rental property, the aim is usually to depersonalise as much as possible. Stick to neutral paint colours like off-white, beige, or even pale grey, and create a unified colour scheme which complements the units, features and fixtures.  

At Oscar Knight we offer a complete interior design and refurbishment service in addition to the other services we provide landlords. This is available for properties in Wandsworth, Putney, Battersea and Wimbledon. If you want to maximise the investment potential of your property by modernising the bathroom, get in touch for help today.