As sanitation has progressed, the layouts of our homes have evolved. As such, many older properties were not built with bathrooms inside, rather with outhouses either for family or communal use. In some homes, outdoor toilets were used right up until the 1960s or 70s when they were installed in small bedrooms or ground floor extensions.

Downstairs bathrooms can be inconvenient, especially for young families or the elderly who need the family bathroom to be close to the bedroom. But moving a bathroom can be expensive and a lot of work – and if there’s no clear space to relocate the bathroom to, it could even mean changing the upstairs layout or moving the stairs. Most estate agents would recommend an upstairs bathroom, although in certain areas, downstairs bathrooms are to be expected. So, will an upstairs bathroom make a big difference to the value of your home? And is moving the bathroom upstairs worth it?

Researching your decision

If you live in a terraced or semi-detached home, you’re in luck, because the homes around you will also have dealt with the same bathroom location problem at one point in time. Get to know your neighbours and ask them about the layout of their own homes and how they have handled the bathroom location issue.

Another way to research your decision is to ring up local estate agents to talk about what buyers want from their homes in this area. Estate agents are experts in their field and they’ll be able to tell you the difference in value of a home with an upstairs bathroom or a downstairs bathroom.

If you need to change the upstairs layout, enlist the help of an architect or builder to see what is possible. Draft up a floorplan and move around walls until you have found a good solution. Remember to preserve natural light sources and period features like coving and original doors.

Changing the layout of your home

Ideally, moving a bathroom upstairs is as simple as one two three. But in reality, it could mean compromising a bedroom. In a smaller house, going from three bedrooms to two, or from two bedrooms to one bedroom can really affect your home’s value in a negative way. It’s for this reason that you may need to get creative in order to move your bathroom upstairs without sacrificing a bedroom. This could mean changing the positioning of the stairs, moving doorways, knocking down walls and building new stud walls in their place.

If you decide to keep the downstairs bathroom you could renovate it into a shower room with built in utility room storage. Then for an upstairs bathroom, add an ensuite or jack and jill bathroom by sacrificing space from the largest room, or swap the smallest bedroom for a bathroom and add a loft extension so that you don’t sacrifice the bedroom count.

How much does it cost to move a bathroom upstairs?

New bathrooms can cost anything from between £300-£5000, but relocating a bathroom could cost even more when wastewater pipes and plumbing needs to be relocated. You’ll need to consult a plumber for a quote.

Tiling alone can cost up to £2000 for a full bathroom – so if you’re watching your purse strings, consider bathroom wall panels as a contemporary alternative. Other potential cost-saving ideas include forgoing a bathtub for a shower tray, using second-hand or refurbished furniture where you can find it, and painting/fitting some elements yourself.