How to renovate a rental bathroom

Interior designer and property consultant from The House Doctor, Nadia Sakey, gives her advice on how to quickly and efficiently renovate a rental bathroom.

Modern bathroom after renovation
ARTICLE Nadia Sakey

Just like your own home, a rental property is also an investment that will prove fruitful over the long haul, as well as the short term with the rental income. 
Renovating or adding a bathroom is a home improvement project that is sure to give you 100% return on investment – in the short term is more appealing to renters (and could possibly demand a higher rent) and in the long term it can add significant value to your property. 
As a house doctor, I practice in efficiencies and practical planning every day and I know all the tricks when it comes to adding value on a budget! The first piece of advice I would give is to:

Work with what you’ve got

Take stock of what you have and assess what you can keep, revamp or need to replace. It’s amazing what a respray can do to an existing vanity that offers good storage. Baths can also be resurfaced and tiles professionally cleaned, resealed and re-grouted. Replace items that you really need; like tired tapware with a good consumer guarantee and renovate the items that serve the need and space well.


Asses if the layout is working well. The ideal situation is not to move the plumbing around - maintaining the existing layout will save on labour costs and plumbing parts. 
Remember, you don’t need council consent if your remodel is working within the existing foot print and maintaining the existing number of plumbing items; however, if you’re adding a shower or an additional toilet you will have to factor in the consent process and fees. Talk to your specialist about local and up-to-date council changes.


Repainting a bathroom is more cost-effective than tiling, but it can take longer to paint a bathroom than any other room – so factor in time and labour. However, for a rental, good porcelain tiles are more practical and will take a beating, whereas painted Gib will mark and scratch. 
When evaluating, factor in another repaint in a couple of years. Technology in digital printing has come a long way, so it’s possible to have a totally practical and seemingly indulgent bathroom on a budget. 
Marvel’s new range of ‘marble look’ porcelain tiles have such a huge variation in print that you would be forgiven for thinking it was the real thing! Consider using large format tiles; they are not only more cost-effective and quicker to lay; they can also make a small space appear seamlessly large. 

Wet room

If you want a modern looking bathroom that is incredibly practical and efficient in every way – consider creating a wet zone (a half wet room) or full wet room. 
Wet rooms do require full water proofing and the flooring will need to be raised slightly to create a run-off for water. Initially, the cost might be higher than just replacing the shower cubical, but the benefit is a modern clean look that mitigates the need for glass and the constant maintenance that goes along with that. In the long run, a wet room is a good investment for rentals and they also look the bomb!

You might be interested in reading: How to add value to your home.

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This article by Nadia Sakey featured on page 34 in Issue 019 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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