Why redoing your retro-colored bathroom isn't always the best idea

By Leigh Kamping-Carder  | July 17, 2014 - 12:59PM

Mustard: great on hotdogs, not so great as a color scheme for your toilet, sink and bathtub. But if you’re selling, particularly with so few apartments on the market, is a more contemporary redo worth the money and hassle?

Quite possibly not, according to the New York Times, which tackled the issue in response to a seller’s question about renovating bathroom fixtures in a “very retro shade of mustard.”

To be sure, an old-fashioned W/C can make your whole apartment seem “outdated,” as Les Meyers, a broker at Citi Habitats, tells the Times. Plus, bathroom renos are among the best investments for sellers, increasing the value of a home by as much as 100 percent of the cost of the project, Michael Vargas, president and CEO of Vanderbilt Appraisal Company, a Manhattan-based appraisal firm, has noted.

Still, you might want to hold off. Even if replacing a toilet and sink are comparatively easy, the Times says, it’s potentially a major job to swap out your bathtub, considering the retiling and plumbing issues involved.

“And before you know it, you could have dropped, easily, $15,000 between materials and construction costs,” Jennifer Rusch, an architect and owner of the New York firm ways2design, tells the Times.

Also, as we’ve noted before, it’s pretty easy to stage a bathroom to make it look more appealing. Repainting, regrouting tiles, reglazing a tub or sink, getting a new toilet seat, and giving the whole room a thorough scrub can go a long way, and for a lot less cash than replacing the actual fixtures. Also, buy extra fluffy towels (you can take those with you when you move) and a new, matching shower curtain, then add some flowers to the room.

And if all that fails, take a page from thrift stores and call it "vintage."

“The color itself isn’t necessarily a problem,” Rusch tells the Times, “because retro is in.”


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