Why I Bought My Kids a New Bathroom for Christmas!

Adding Basement Bathroom

It is amazing that one of the smallest rooms in the house is the often fought over the most! 

This room of course, being the bathroom and who gets in first.   Six people bickering over who has been in the bathroom for too long becomes exhausting.  Each person “Needs” to get in “Now” so everyone gets rushed. 

This was our stressful way to begin each work and school day.  But not anymore!!

This may not have been our most exciting Christmas to date.  Being in a very practical mood, I decided to add another bathroom to our house sooner rather than later.  Christmas seemed as good a time as any.   The peace and quiet we now enjoy in the mornings, is priceless.

Practical Sense

Our upstairs bathroom was updated when we bought the house.  That was the good news.  The main floor bath however, still has ugly pink and black tile on the floor and all pink porcelain fixtures.  This bathroom desperately needs to be gutted and redone.

This was my big problem:  If we gutted this main floor bathroom, we would have to live with one bathroom while the work was being done.  This may sound trite, but no way!  I wake up before 5am each day so that I get my bathroom to myself.  There was no way six people would be sharing one bathroom without fighting!

This is why adding a basement bathroom was convenient both for now and later.   Adding the bathroom in the basement was no inconvenience to our family at all.  We could close the basement door and forget about it.  After a few weeks, our new bath was open for business.  That is when the morning calm began!  On weekday mornings, there is no more bickering, there are plenty of bathrooms available.  The quiet calm that has replaced the morning stress is heavenly.

A good home improvement may mean a little less spending for the holidays or a more frugal vacation.  I think it is worth it because of the daily benefits now combined with the increase in home value down the road. 

Simple Basement Bathroom

Increase in Home Value

Not only do we get the thrill of not having to share our bathroom, we have increased our home value.  Our house now has 3 full baths instead of just two, making it more attractive to buyers.  Adding a bathroom can increase your home value by as much as 20%.  Adding a half bath without a shower you can expect an increase of as much as 10%.  Since we were very frugal with our shopping, our return on investment could be close to 100% depending on the housing market when we sell.

Often homeowners start fixing up their houses to prepare to sell them at a higher price.  While this makes sense, I would like to be able to enjoy the home improvements that we make on our home.  I have heard people say that they did tons of work to their houses just before selling.  Rather than waiting to make home improvements simply for selling, I would like time to enjoy my investment.

Adding a New Bathroom

Financial Sense

We were very frugal with the new bathroom.  It is in the basement; it doesn’t need to be fancy.  It is simple and practical and yet, it is larger than our other two bathrooms.  We shopped for just the basic items and did quite a bit of online shopping comparisons.  The vanity was purchased during a Black Friday special.  We got it for half the price of most of the other vanities we were looking at.

The medicine cabinet was another great buy.  For a simple item, it took me a long time to find just the right one.  After searching all the local stores and their online inventory, we liked nothing.  After a few more tries online, I finally got lucky.  I found exactly what we wanted for just over $100, plus free shipping.

Since this is a basement bathroom, it is not the main bathroom that has the most traffic.  It doesn’t need to be fancy and it is not necessary to put in a pricey stall shower. This bathroom only handles a few showers a week, not 2-4 per day.  It gets less traffic and so, less wear and tear so it is okay if it has a sensibly priced shower rather than over-priced.  Once our kids go to college in the not so distant future, the bathroom will hardly get used at all.  Frugal choices makes sense for this project.

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How I Broke the News


I am fairly calculated in my planning.  I wanted my kids to know that there wouldn’t be a big trip or a huge surprise for the holiday.  I wanted them to know before they started writing elaborate gift lists for Christmas.  I sent them the following text in October so they could guess and have time to think about it.

Text to Tell Them:

My Big Present for Christmas is something that everyone can enjoy!  Everyone gets to use it.  You can use it everyday, if you want.  You can also let your friends use it. You will not grow out of it.  It won’t be replaced any time soon by the updated version.  We will have it for many years.  It costs more than $1000 and less than $10,000.

It didn’t take long for one of them to guess correctly!

Unexpected Benefits

When we do entertain, the kids often retreat to the basement where there are couches and a TV.  There is now less traffic up and down the stairs to use the bathroom.  We recently added a pool table in the basement as well.  Now the basement is a well equipped hangout for the kids and their friends.  They can feel like they have their own space.  There is plenty of room for large slumber parties and now they have their own bathroom.

My basement also houses my laundry room and extra pantry.  I had no idea how useful the bathroom would be for me.  No more running upstairs to rinse out rags or pre-soaking laundry.

The space for the bathroom had been a useful storage room.  There was also a large extra corner in the space that continues to serve as storage for large items.  I was able to gain a bathroom and maintain some additional storage space.

Hidden Storage Space Idea

Getting the Best Value with your Home Improvement

Historically, kitchens and bathrooms add the most value to a home and yield the greatest return.  A new bathroom can generally add up to 20% to your home value.

Other home improvements that have a high return are front doors and attic bedrooms.  Adding a new entryway door can yield a 97% return on investment.  Attic bedrooms can bring as much as an 84% return on investment.

Thinking of doing some remodeling on your home?  Do some research to see the best types of home improvements to improve your home value.

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  1. Excellent solution to a very common family household situation. We recently renovated our second bathroom from a half to a full and what a difference it makes in the morning! We’re also very happy about the increase in our home value and we get to reap the benefits for several years to come! Great idea and thanks for sharing!

    1. Each week, I appreciate the extra living space more and more. It is totally worth being frugal for a few months add the bathroom. I love when the choices we make pay off even better than expected!

  2. Great idea to plan it as a Christmas present. The new bathroom looks terrific and I’m sure the kids appreciate it now that they’ve had time to enjoy its convenience. Well done Gloria!

    1. The convenience of an added bathroom is great, even more so than planned. In terms of house value, we also did the front door and back patio.
      While we still have years in the house Im going to see what other improvements can give us the greatest value. But we can enjoy the renovations now!

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