December 2023

Putting in a powder room — 5 things to consider

If you’ve ever had to wait your turn to use the bathroom in your own home, or struggled to figure out the order for morning bathroom prep before work or school, the appeal of adding a powder room is not lost on you.

In addition to making your daily life easier, adding a powder room can increase your home’s resale value and make it more appealing to potential homebuyers who have — or intend to have — a family.

If you’re thinking of adding a powder room, here are five important questions to consider.

How much will a powder room cost?

A half-bath, typically only containing a toilet and sink, is usually 15 to 20 square feet. Cost factors include the square footage, the location of the room, the materials used and whether or not you’re converting an existing space or constructing a new addition.

Adding a 20-sq-ft powder room costs an average of $3,000–$5,000 to convert an existing space, or an average of $8,000–$12,000 to build a new addition.Footnote1 At 50 square feet, those ranges jump to $10,000–$12,500 for a conversion and $20,000–$30,000 for an addition.

How much value does a powder room add?

Adding a powder room increases the value of an average home by 10%, according to the National Association of Home Builders.Footnote1

A 2023 Cost vs. Value ReportFootnote2 reveals that adding a midrange bathroom has a return on investment of around 30.2%, a precipitous drop from 2022, when the ROI was 51.8%, and the previous decade, when the ROI hovered between 50% and 60%. It’s unclear at this point if this unfortunate drop is a new trend or merely an aberration, but it bears keeping in mind.

Though not directly correlated to value, the appeal of adding a powder room — as it relates to your home’s resale value — should take into account how many bathrooms the home already has. Going from a single-bathroom home to 1.5 baths is a big jump that can make the home much more appealing, whereas going from 3 bathrooms to 3.5 is a less significant change.

How big does a powder room need to be?

The minimum mandatory dimensions for a powder room vary according to local building codes and regulations. A general rule of thumb is to have floor space equaling 16 square feet.Footnote2

The powder room door needs a minimum width of 32 inches and should be at least 24 inches from the sink and toilet to allow the door to open and close comfortably (unless the door opens outward).Footnote2 To be ADA-compliant, the floor space must be at least 30 inches by 48 inches so a wheelchair can maneuver in and out of the room.Footnote2

The ceiling height needs to be at least 6 feet 8 inches.Footnote3

Where should you put your powder room?

The first question to ask when determining your powder room location is: Where does the existing plumbing run? If you can access those pipes, you’ll save yourself a considerable expense.

Consider converting existing, under-utilized spaces like a closet or an alcove under your stairs, allowing you to add a powder room without subtracting from the current living space on that particular floor. Closets and stairway alcoves are the two least expensive options. The cost range goes up respectively for upstairs spaces, laundry rooms, attics, bedrooms, garages and basements.

What about remodeling an existing powder room?

According to Angi, the average remodeling cost for a 15-sq-ft powder room is $2,250–$3,000, so this is a much more economical endeavor if you already have a powder room.

You can drastically change the overall effect of the room with a few minor updates, including: replacing the flooring, upgrading the faucet and towel racks, installing shelving or adding luxurious wall paper.

For the purposes of this article, we’ve limited our estimates to professional installation and renovation. If you have the skills and patience, DIY options will, of course, greatly reduce the cost.

A note from your lending specialist

Ready to install or renovate a powder room? Let’s discuss using a home equity line of credit to finance it.

1How Much Does It Cost to Add a Bathroom? (2023 Guide)” by Rachel Newcomb. Published May 3, 2023. Accessed August 2023.

2Powder Room Dimensions: Tips for Designing the Perfect Space.” Published April 18, 2023. Accessed August 2023.

3ICC Section R305 Ceiling Height.” Accessed August 2023.


MAP5979022 | 10/2023

More from this month's issue