Baby Boomers Anticipate Aging in Place Needs in Bathroom Renovations – On the House

Baby Boomers Anticipate Aging in Place Needs in Bathroom Renovations

By on December 19, 2018

walk-in Tub

Half of bathroom remodelers focus on master suites as a whole

The majority of Baby Boomer homeowners (ages 55 or older) are addressing aging-related needs during master bathroom renovations (56 percent), according to the 2018 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. The survey of more than 1,100 U.S. homeowners using Houzz who are in the midst of, are planning, or recently completed a master bathroom renovation, found that one-third of Baby Boomers are addressing current aging needs, while nearly a quarter are planning ahead for future needs (22 percent). 

Baby Boomers who address aging-related needs are tackling major changes to the master bathroom. Nearly half change the bathroom layout and one-third remove the bathtub (47 and 34 percent, respectively). Other upgrades include installing accessibility features like seats, low curbs, grab bars and non-slide floors in upgraded showers and bathtubs. 

“Baby Boomers today account for the largest share of renovating homeowners and the largest share of renovation spend. This year’s bathroom study provides deeper insights into the preparations that 55+ households make in order to age in place,” said Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist. “Insights reveal that a significant proportion of Boomers are aware of pending aging needs and are proactive about integrating universal design features during renovations. That said, it is also clear that there are considerable opportunities to further educate the market on accessibility, and that the demand for universal design features will continue to grow.”

The study also found that homeowners are focusing on their master suite as a whole, with nearly half of master bathroom projects accompanied by master bedroom renovations (46 percent). Master bathrooms command the second highest median spend in home remodels, behind kitchens, at $7,000. Median spend for a major renovation of a large master bath jumps to $16,000. Meanwhile, master bedroom renovations saw a 33 percent increase in median spend last year from $1,500 to $2,000 (in 2016 and 2017, respectively). 

A surprising one in ten master bathrooms is the same size or larger than the master bedroom (11 percent). The study also shows premium features in master bathrooms are on the rise; dual showers, one-piece toilets, vessel sinks and built-in vanities show significant increases in demand over the past three years. 

Additional bathroom trends from the study include:

  • Major Ch-ch-changes: The majority of homeowners upgrade substantial features such as showers and vanities during master bathroom renovations (84 and 83 percent, respectively). Nearly half of renovating homeowners also change their master bathroom layout, and some move the room’s location altogether (44 and seven percent, respectively).
  • Bathed in Gray: Gray color palettes continue to lead for walls and flooring. Gray cabinets are also increasingly popular, having experienced a steady climb from a 10 percent share in 2016 to 16 percent in 2018.
  • Mixed Metals: Two in five renovating homeowners do not match metal finishes across fixtures and hardware in master bathrooms (42 percent). Of the 58 percent of renovating homeowners who do match metal finishes, the most popular options are matte nickel and polished chrome (38 and 28 percent, respectively).
  • A Rise in Farmhouse Style: Contemporary style continues to be the leading choice among renovating homeowners, despite its drop in popularity over the past three years. Farmhouse style, on the other hand, has more than doubled in popularity from three percent in 2016 to seven percent in 2018.
  • Pro Hiring Likely Impacted by Labor Availability: The majority of renovating homeowners hire professionals for their bathroom renovation projects (83 percent). That said, despite consistently large project scope and spend over the past year, hiring of general contractors declined to 46 percent (from 53 percent in 2017). This is likely driven by the industry-wide labor shortage, which includes contractors.

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