Property expert reveals the bathroom design mistake that could be devaluing your home

If you're planning to sell your home step away from the bathtub

'Does not having a bathtub devalue your house?' is a question every beginner renovator exploring small bathroom ideas has probably asked.

Related: The pointless home improvements that WON'T add value – so should you even bother?

It turns out that the instinct to pause for thought before ripping out that ancient bathtub is the correct one. While a brand new bathroom is in most cases a good thing and can add value to your house, there is one very specific bathroom modification that you should avoid if at all possible – removing the bathtub.

Does not having a bathtub devalue your house?

‘One common mistake sellers make is to replace the only bath in your home,' explains Thomas Goodman, property expert at 'Baths are a popular option for many people who like to wind down after a busy day. For people that don’t use a bath, they have opted for a space-saving shower instead.'

'Of course, this can make your bathroom appear bigger, but it can devalue your property if a bathtub is in the criteria of a buyer.’

Blue freestanding bathtub in triangular shaped blue and white bathroom with blue gold and floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

In fact, for many buyers, a bathtub is a non-negotiable house feature, and while they may just be willing to compromise in a house that never did have one, Thomas warns that ‘a buyer will be disgruntled if they see a potential space for a bath, without one.'

'They will observe the extra work they need to do fitting a bath in once the property has been purchased,' he adds.

How to plan which bathroom should have a bathtub

Free standing copper bathtub in bathroom with printed tile floor

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re not one for baths and don’t suffer from the lack of one this may seem like a strange bugbear. However, Thomas warns that  any seller should bear in mind that bathtubs ‘are an integral part of a home; some buyers would prefer a bath over a bigger bathroom space.’

Of course, if you have multiple bathrooms in your home, replacing one bathtub with a spacious, modern shower won't do any harm. In these cases, Thomas suggests assessing the uses of the different bathrooms carefully. ‘If you use one communal bathroom for visitors, a shower room accompanied with a toilet can be easier to fit downstairs,' he explains.

white built-in bath tub with black bathroom fittings in white bathroom

(Image credit: Future)

Conversely, if there is a master bedroom with an ensuite, it will fetch you a higher house price if there’s a bath. This simple upstairs-downstairs rule is a good starting point if you’re not sure where to start with a renovation project. 

Finally, bath or no bath, a bathroom should have neutral decor to appeal to a wide range of buyers.

‘Keep things simple with neutral tones and monochrome fittings’, says Thomas, and avoid, ‘loud interiors and copper taps’, as well as floral wallpaper’.

Related: How to plan a bathroom – a complete guide designing your perfect family bathroom or chic en suite

It may seem boring and even ‘drab’ to keep your bathroom white, but if you’re serious about selling, stick it out. ‘A plain white suite will act as a blank canvas’ on which the buyer can project their own taste. 

Do you need to rethink your bathroom renovation plans?

Anna Cottrell is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.