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Should You Change a Bedroom into a Bathroom?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 27 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Bathroom Design Bathroom Planner

Whether or not to do a bathroom remodelling project to make a bathroom from a bedroom is a problem that many householders are faced with. In practical terms it' ought to be simply a case of getting on with it as long as it's what you want, you can afford it and you're prepared to put up with the disruption of building work.

History of Bathrooms, House Design and Property Prices

The thing that makes this tricky for householders in the United Kingdom is that the housing market is almost uniquely fixated on valuing domestic property by the number of bedrooms they have rather than the total square footage, as in every other country. This means that bathroom remodelling projects that result in the loss of a bedroom will mean a lot of value being knocked off the house.

This is a question that often vexes owners of older properties which did not have a bathroom when they were first built, in the time before bathroom planners and luxury bathrooms existed. That means ordinary houses built before the First World War and quite a few for the ones built afterward. By the Thirties though, even mass suburban expansion was being done with houses that had bathrooms designed in from the start, even if they weren't on a grand scale.

Bathroom Design Options When Remodelling

For those with no bathrooms the options were between remodelling a bedroom into a bathroom or building an extension downstairs at the back. In many areas where the bulk of the housing stock is Victorian or early Edwardian terraced houses built for workers, the downstairs extension is pretty much the norm and no-one in that market would be surprised to find a bathroom at the back of the kitchen.

As long as proper attention was paid to damp-proofing and ventilation when the extensions were built, they should not suffer any particular problems. It can seem a bit odd going through the kitchen to have a bath but you soon get used to it. And the size of the extension could sometimes be big enough to allow a decent scale of bathroom too.

Practicalities of Remodelling a Bedroom into a Bathroom

This option was chosen by many people purely so that they could keep the number of bedrooms the same as before. A more practical solution would be to convert one of the smaller bedrooms upstairs into a bathroom, and in many terraced houses of this era the smallest bedroom was often found at the rear of the house, as was the kitchen.

This makes it a reasonably practical proposition as a building job because the water pipes to supply the bathroom would be close to hand and the soil pipes can be run down the rear of the house. The space in even the smallest bedroom usually allows bathroom planners a lot more leeway than an original bathroom. If you are able to convert a larger room then you could indulge in a luxury bathroom design, but it all hinges on that vital effect on the price of the house.

Biting the Bullet on Bathroom Remodelling

Whether or not to do a remodelling project of this kind is probably down to the length of time you will spend in a property. If an upstairs bathroom, particularly a luxury one, would make life a lot easier and more pleasant for you, and you aren't intending to move any time soon, then you should probably go ahead and do it.

If you already have a downstairs bathroom in an extension you could use that space to make a grander kitchen and it could be that the effect on the price isn’t as much as it might have been. Alternatively, when the time comes to sell you could test the market with the layout as it is, then if the scale of the bathroom and the lack of one bedroom appears to be putting people off, you can always convert it back into a bedroom.

This will be a lot cheaper than remodelling the bedroom into a bathroom in the first place and if it puts your house up into another price bracket, it may well be worth it.

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