Bathroom design: what does it cost to renovate a bathroom in New Zealand? - Kitchen and Bathroom NZ
Bathroom design: what does it cost to renovate a bathroom in New Zealand?

Bathroom design: what does it cost to renovate a bathroom in New Zealand?

Planning a bathroom design or renovation is a great way to add value to your home. But what’s involved, what does it cost and how do you choose the best bathroomware products?

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

If you’re considering a bathroom makeover or if you’re about to embark on designing a bathroom from scratch, it’s important to understand the fundamentals and the likely costs of different design decisions. Here’s a look at some of the key costs of bathroomware products and what you need to know about bathroom design ideas on a budget right through to the ultimate in bathroomware luxury.

How much does it cost to renovate a bathroom?

A basic bathroom renovation in New Zealand is likely to cost anywhere from around $20,000 upwards, depending on the scope, size, fittings and design. Simple material choices can make a significant difference to the overall cost of a bathroom design. Another key aspect that will change the cost significantly is if you’re creating a new bathroom in a room of the house that was previously used for other purposes; will you need to install a window or ventilation in the bathroom, or will you need to factor in plumbing or waterproofing costs? If the room in question was already a bathroom and you’re redesigning it, tile removal cost may need to be factored into the budget. Are you considering a wet room or a walk in shower? Each of these factors, and many more, will have a strong bearing on the associated costs of the renovation or build.

You’ll also need to factor in labour costs. The tradespeople and designers usually involved in a bathroom renovation include a kitchen and bathroom designer, electrician, plumber, tiler, waterproofer, plasterer and painter however depending on if you’re planning to do some of the work yourself, you may need less of these trades. For example, to save costs it can be a good idea to opt to do the painting work yourself if you’re on a budget. For specialist trades such as waterproofers, electricians and plumbers there are various regulations around work that must be undertaken by a certified professional so it’s important to understand up front what the requirements are and what types of work need a building consent.

Bathroom renovation costs in New Zealand:

  • Cosmetic renovation of an existing bathroom $5,000
  • Basic bathroom renovation (including new fixtures) $20,000
  • Mid-range bathroom renovation (including new fixtures) $30,000
  • High-end bathroom renovation (including new fixtures) $50,000+

DIY bathroom design tip: If you have an existing bathroom that’s in need of a bit of an upgrade, consider repainting, upgrading cabinetry handles, blinds or window coverings and installing modern lighting. These simple touches don’t require consent and most can be done yourself and can make a huge difference to the space without breaking the bank.

The bathroom can be a place of design creativity. Here, Japanese designer Oki Sato brings together water and light to create the Axor LampShower from Matisse

How much does it cost to tile a bathroom in New Zealand?

Tiling a bathroom can prove an expensive exercise and tiling cost per square metre can vary significantly – but there are some easy ways to keep the costs in check. Glass, ceramic and porcelain tiles are popular choices for the bathroom, while vinyl tiles are a low cost option that can provide a striking finish. A rough guide for the cost of tiling, including adhesive, grout and labour is anywhere from $70 per square metre up to around $350 per square metre.

Extending the bathroom floor tiling up the wall will increase the associated costs but brings benefits worth considering such as the illusion of more space, water resistance and ease of maintenance.

Budget tip: To keep costs down, consider creating a feature strip of wall tiles rather than tiling the entire space.

When putting together a tile budget, don’t forget to factor in the cost of the tiler. Tiling is a precise activity that requires skill to achieve an optimal and professional finish. This is one area you don’t want to scrimp on at the expense of quality, so be sure to check references before engaging a tiler and ask for photos or a portfolio of recently completed projects if possible. A tiler generally charges around $70/hour for labour.

Tiles are a popular material for the bathroom for many reasons including their durability, strength and lack of required maintenance over time. However, where tiles trump many other materials is in their ultimate versatility and range of finishes and aesthetics that can be created. Think anything from concrete look tiles through to timber-look tiles right through to a traditional mosaic tile or uber contemporary large-format tile, all of which can create a striking impact when paired with the right fixtures.

Tile design tip: Create a bathroom of timeless appeal with encaustic tiles (also commonly known as Morrocan tiles). To save on cost, choose a feature area for the encaustic tiles and surround with a more pared-back tile or floor covering.

These encaustic tiles from The Tile Depot combine old-world charm with contemporary monochrome design

How much does it cost to install a shower?

A shower installation will cost anywhere from around $1000 to over $8000 depending on the size, materials and desired features. The standard shower size in New Zealand is 900mm x 900mm. Tiling a standard-sized or a larger custom shower is likely to increase the total cost of installation. Acrylic and PVC showers provide simple and cost effective alternatives to their tiled counterparts.

What is the cost difference for a tiled shower vs. an acrylic shower?

Depending on the choice of tile and the size of the shower, a tiled shower will set you back between $7000 and $12,000 with vinyl, ceramic and porcelain tiles at the lower end and stone tiles at the upper range of costs. By contrast, an acrylic shower will cost between $2000 and $6000, but offer far less latitude for customisation.

A breakdown of approximate shower installation costs (including materials and labour):

  • Acrylic shower box $2,000 - $6,000
  • Tiled shower $7,000 - $12,000
  • Glass shower door $800 - $2,500
  • New plumbing $1,000 - $3,000
  • Retile existing shower $1,500 - $4,000
The custom lattice shower screen from Crest Showers creates a stunning feature in front of a black tile backdrop

Built-in vs. freestanding baths: what are the costs?

Designer baths can double as an eye-catching statement piece, enhancing the bathroom design and reflecting the character of your home. Freestanding baths are ideal for a larger space and offer far more options in terms of size and shape in comparison to built-in baths, however they’re generally the more costly option as well. A free-standing natural stone bath, for example, will inject a feel of luxury and elegance but could cost anywhere up to a few thousand dollars for the bath alone.

In comparison, a standard built-in bath can cost as little as a few hundred dollars so it pays to consider the overall aim of the bathroom design and where budget should be best allocated to maximise the use and enjoyment of the space.

A breakdown of approximate bath costs (excluding installation labour):

  • Basic built-in acrylic bath From $300
  • Basic bath sides skirt From $250
  • Basic freestanding bath From $1,500
  • Bath/shower set with door From $1,200
  • Built-in spa bath with jets From $2,500
  • Freestanding stone bath From $2,500
  • Cast iron freestanding bath From $3,500 - $10,000

Budget tips for choosing a bath: Consider the space as a whole. How often would you use a bath? Are you likely to use it more or less frequently over time? For example, is the main reason you want a bath to use it to relax at the end of the day, or is it for children who will likely use it less over time? If you’re clear about why you’re incorporating a bath in your bathroom design, it is easier to allocate the right amount of budget to it. If you’re realistically likely to use the bath only once in a while, it’s probably not worth splashing out on a high-end designer bath and instead opting for a basic plastic version. However, if you’re aiming to create a spa-like haven then allocating more of the budget to a designer bath will likely pay off.

The bathroom is a great place for creativity when it comes to design. This Kelly Hoppen Harmony Bath by Apaiser from Plumbline transforms the bathroom into a sanctuary.

Bathrooms for accessibility: what does it cost to create a future-proofed design?

If you are renovating your ‘forever home’ it will pay to consider future-proofing the design to allow for necessary adaptations as you age, or to make the bathroom safe for family members and guests young and old. Designing a bathroom for accessibility is no longer about incorporating unsightly grab rails and safety elements. Rather, a bathroom designed for accessibility will likely be hard to discern from one that’s not with the right choice of fittings.

The cost of incorporating accessibility aids in a bathroom is akin to specifying standard pieces, but it’s worth considering the aims of the bathroom design in the early stages to ensure the best use of pieces for your particular decor and scheme.

Wet rooms, with their flexibility in design, easily accessible showers and ease of cleaning are one option to consider when looking for a future-proofed bathroom design.

This high-spec fit out utilises Gorman support rails from SA Plumbing that have a minimalist design and no mounting rose to create clean lines and a contemporary aesthetic

What is a wet room and what does it cost to create one?

Wet rooms are completely waterproof bathrooms with a sloping floor to assist drainage. As they don’t require bath screens or shower boxes and glass, wet rooms often feel far more spacious than traditional bathrooms and have the dual benefit of being highly accessible.

Wet room bathroom costs are increased by the need to completely waterproof the room before laying the finishing materials, so are not necessarily a go-to option for tighter budgets. In New Zealand, you could expect to pay around $30,000 for a wet room, including fixtures and plumbing.

From standard to high-end: what do vanities cost?

As one of the more prominent features in the bathroom, choosing the perfect vanity is vital to establishing and emphasising the overarching theme. The options in terms of size, style and materials are endless with a wide range of vanity prices to suit any budget. A vanity can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars through to a few thousand.

Vanity costs in New Zealand:

  • Single, basic vanity From $500
  • Basic double bowl vanity From $1500
  • Bespoke/high-end vanity $3000+

When choosing a vanity, consider the space and storage requirements, the height of the users, and whether a single or double basin is desirable. In terms of design, there are countless options so it pays to spend time in the early stages of your bathroom design considering the feature pieces in your bathroom. If one of those is a vanity, discussing the style, size, finish and colour that appeals to you with your bathroom designer is a great way to ensure you’re making the right choice. For smaller spaces, wall-hung vanities can make the room feel more spacious, while floor standing vanities can be better suited to larger bathrooms.

Budget tips for choosing a vanity: The easiest way to keep costs down when selecting a vanity is to opt for a smaller piece and select a basic flat wall mirror to complement it. Mirrored cabinets offer the next level up in terms of price, but a basic vanity itself excluding a mirror generally starts at around $1,500. If you’re looking for a high-end vanity, the options are diverse. A bespoke vanity is made specifically for your space, and can incorporate lighting, recessed shelving or floating drawers, for example. If you’re intending to specify a bespoke vanity, it’s a great idea to talk to a kitchen and bathroom designer about how best to integrate a custom design into the room.

Here, art enters the bathroom in the most dramatic way with the Dutchmaster Collection by Kohler with bold, lush florals dramatically enhanced with a deep, moody background

Timeless trends: tapware costs and styles

A bathroom makeover and a new bathroom alike aren’t complete without the perfect tapware – and these small features make a big difference. Taps can define the style of the bathroom too, so consider thinking outside the square.

If you’re on a budget, a simple bathroom mixer can be purchased for as little as under $100, but at the other end of the scale if you’re interested in high-end designer tapware, you’ll be looking at a few thousand dollars per piece.

Well designed bathroom tapware has an innate beauty, whether its sculptural or minimalist, bold or detailed, and the beauty of choosing tapware is the almost limitless choices in terms of size, finish, function and colour. However, tapware can be costly, so it’s worth considering what portion of the bathroom budget you’re happy to allocate to it from the outset to narrow down the choices.

If statement tapware is the aim, creativity can reign supreme. Perhaps it’s a brass floor-mounted bath filler, striking bold taps in a bright, overtly contemporary colour, or a brushed gold angular mixer set, the choices are vast.

In many cases, it pays to select tapware in conjunction with showerheads and mixers to create a synergy of design across the bathroom. Selecting different pieces from different suppliers can work in some situations, but it is often the case that even when the same basic colour or finish is chosen, the products can be vastly different when put in close proximity to one another due to different styles of manufacturing or pigments used.

Bathroom tapware costs in New Zealand:

  • Basic basin mixer/taps $50 - $300
  • Mid-range tapware $300 - $2,000
  • High-end/designer tapware $2,000+

Tapware design tip: Consider the types of tapware used in the rest of the house. Do you want to create a theme between rooms or create a statement in the bathroom? If you’re making a statement with tapware, get as creative as you like with colour, finish and style and consider making the tapware the centrepiece of the bathroom, but remember to choose it first if this is the aim so the other pieces will work well in conjunction with it.

Colour choices for tapware are vast, as in this COX from Paini collection by Metrix Bathrooms

What does bathroom flooring cost and what are the best options?

Tiles remain one of the most popular choices for bathroom flooring due to their durability and flexibility in terms of colour, style and finish. They’re easy to maintain and require little maintenance, however it’s vital they are correctly installed with appropriate waterproofing and grouting.

Despite appearances, there are many other products that come in at a lower cost than tiles that replicate the look of traditional porcelain or ceramic tiles, such as vinyl or lino tiles, and offer similar benefits.

Bathroom flooring costs per square metre (excluding installation)

  • Ceramic tiles From $70
  • Vinyl flooring From $50
  • Lino flooring From $50

Flooring design tip: If you’re considering underfloor heating, make sure the flooring you choose is compatible with the type of system you prefer. If you’re renovating and already have a tiled floor, it can be expensive to remove tiles so it may be that other types of heating for the bathroom will be the most cost efficient such as a vented central heating system or radiators.

What do toilets cost in New Zealand?

Like other bathroom elements, toilets range greatly in price depending on the style, finish and features. A basic toilet will cost around $400, excluding installation, while a high-spec toilet with custom features and wireless or bluetooth integration, lighting and washing or bidet features can cost anywhere from around $3,000 excluding installation.

A plumber is generally required to install a new toilet correctly, and will be required if new plumbing is needed, or you’re looking to change the layout of an existing bathroom. Bear in mind that changing the layout of an existing bathroom is likely to escalate costs significantly so if you’re on a budget, consider working with the existing layout where possible. Plumbing labour costs can range from around $70/hour upwards.

Toilet design tip: To reduce the cost of upgrading a toilet, check the type and placement of water inlets and make sure the new model you choose will integrate easily with the current plumbing. For small bathrooms, consider wall hung models or if you’re looking for something high tech, options such as the SensoWash Stark F incorporate automatic opening and closing, lighting and heated seats.

Find out more about designing or renovating a bathroom

What do bathroom mirrors cost?

The mirror is a vital part of any bathroom renovation or makeover but choosing the best bathroom mirror for your home can be a difficult task if you’re not sure where to start. Bathroom mirrors vary greatly in price, ranging from as low as a few hundred dollars into the thousands, including installation.

However, the cost of a mirror for the bathroom will depend on various factors, most notably size. Other key factors that influence the price of mirrors include whether or not heating or lighting is integrated into the mirror, if the mirror is part of bathroom cabinetry (generally the more expensive option compared to a flat wall-hung mirror), the type of glass specified, whether it is a framed or frameless mirror, and any bespoke elements.

What is the best type of mirror for a bathroom?

Mirrors, while very functional pieces of bathroom decor, are also important when it comes to creating a sense of space, openness or reflecting light and as such often become a central design element, specified in conjunction with lighting and bathroom cabinetry.

More often than not, LED backlit mirrors are the option of choice when it comes to achieving ideal lighting. A backlit bathroom mirror ensures a consistent, even light - something that’s important when using a mirror for applying makeup, shaving or hair styling.

Approximate cost of bathroom mirrors in New Zealand, excluding installation:

  • Basic wall-hung mirror (standard size and specifications): From $200
  • Mid-range mirror with lighting and defog: From $600
  • Infrared mirror heater: From $850
  • High-end mirror with integrated, bespoke elements: From $1,000

Design tip: Framed mirrors can make for a stunning feature in the bathroom, but before purchasing, make sure the frame is moisture resistant.

The contemporary bathroom mirror: no longer just a mirror

Many mirrors are no longer just that. Rather, they are an integrated combination of mirror and heater or mirror and lighting feature, for example. A popular contemporary style of mirror utilises infrared technology to create an invisible heat source that heats the objects in the room rather than the air; a particularly energy efficient heating solution for the bathroom.

This mirror from Hershel-Infrared is also an infrared heater, combining aesthetic simplicity with energy efficient heating.

Designer, bespoke and LED mirrors are limited only by the imagination, and when it comes to finding the perfect mirror, it can often come down to balancing aesthetic and functional qualities, available space and budget.

Recommended reading