How will a bathroom door w/translucent opaque glass affect resale value?
September 29, 2017 8:32 AM   Subscribe

We're going to update the small bathroom in our small condo in Portland, Oregon. In Europe, it's common for interior doors, including bathroom doors, to have glass in them. I'd like to replace the current solid door with one that has opaque translucent glass for reason explained below. Even though it won't be possible to see who is on either side of the door, how concerned should I be that potential buyers unfamiliar with this feature will be weirded out by it and look elsewhere?

The bathroom is an interior room at the end of a long hall. I'm interested in a glass bathroom door so that the bath can be at least partially illuminated by the hallway lights and some daylight even when the door is closed. Also, I envision that with the translucent bathroom door, I could turn on a light in the bathroom that would create the pleasing effect of a warm glow in the hallway.

Of course, the glass would be the kind that doesn't break into deadly shards.

Do you see any downside, either in terms of resale or other factors?
posted by A. Davey to Home & Garden (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would not want a house that had these windows except at the very top of the door. I would feel like I could be seen, even if that were not true. But maybe not everyone is prudish like I am.
posted by Night_owl at 8:34 AM on September 29, 2017 [11 favorites]

I wouldn't care because I know that I can change a door just as easily as I can change the paint on the wall.

If it's a concern, keep the old door if you can/if you have someplace to store it, and then you can change it back if/when you decide to sell.
posted by cooker girl at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2017 [43 favorites]

If you're going to be in the condo more than a couple of years go ahead and get the door you want now and you can always change it out if it's going to be a serious issue for resale. It's just a door.

Only other downside I can think of is how any guests to your home might feel about the bathroom door (sounds like the door opens into the hallway rather than, say, the dining room, so it might not be too bad).
posted by mskyle at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Is this just a standard door? It's your condo, make it he way you want. Replace the glass door with a standard door if you plan to sell. Seems like a minimal change to make the place more sellable if you're concerned. (Then you can keep your glass door.) People don't like many things down to paint color in a potential house. So yes this could turn someone away. So just swap it out if you plan to list it.
posted by Crystalinne at 8:40 AM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

My wife would be weirded out by this, but I would not.
posted by jindc at 8:44 AM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I love the idea for all the reasons you mention. Just keep the old door if you think people might mind.
posted by jessamyn at 8:47 AM on September 29, 2017 [8 favorites]

Do you see any downside, either in terms of resale or other factors?

I find this quite weird, and I am not a squeamish person. So, I would discount your resale price by the cost of replacing a door. Given that's all of a couple hundred dollars, I don't really think this is a significant issue for you.
posted by saeculorum at 8:49 AM on September 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

As a buyer, I wouldn't think twice about it, any more than I would let wall color or a lighting fixture be a deciding factor in a home purchase. These things are all easily changed.

As a seller, I would probably swap the door before listing, an easy and inexpensive fix, because I understand that some potential buyers have zero imagination and let things like wall color or a lighting fixture influence their decisions.
posted by The Deej at 8:49 AM on September 29, 2017 [12 favorites]

This is something that any buyer can easily and inexpensively change if it doesn't suit them. Also, the other day I was at a house where the toilet was actually inside the master bedroom (In a small alcove so not directly visible, but definitely in the same room. The sinks and the jacuzzi were on full display near the bed.) and the guy whose house it was said it was like that when he bought the place, so it certainly didn't stop those original owners from selling. He said he just figured they were swingers or something.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 8:51 AM on September 29, 2017

I see no difference between this and what color the house is painted. If it were me, I wouldn't make any adjustments or have concerns about buyers, particularly in Portland, caring.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2017

Just get the door that you want, and either 1) keep the original door in storage to be used if/when you're looking to sell, or 2) buy a new, $80 hollow core dore when looking to sell. It's an interior door and so very unimportant in the grand sceme of a house.

If I were looking at a house, and let's say it had a perfectly clear glass door (read: stupid idea for a bathroom), I'd mentally gripe about the door, but if I wanted the house, I don't even think I'd require the buyer to swap out the door as a part of the offer.

That said, some people have (reportedly) passed on houses because of paintings on walls, or bedroom furniture (read: things that they wouldn't be buying anyways). I'd advise making your house look like others in your area when selling. But as pointed out in the first paragraph, that's trivial to do - unless you're actively looking to sell the house right now, get the door you want.
posted by nobeagle at 8:54 AM on September 29, 2017

I used to have a bathroom like this in NYC and it would not dissuade me one bit. And having just bought a house, dealbreakers seem to be unchangeable things like location or overall layout. I say go for it and get the door you like.
posted by mochapickle at 8:58 AM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I used a door with a window in my bathroom and covered the window with very pretty paper this is slightly translucent. I like it.
posted by theora55 at 9:01 AM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've seen this before (even exterior bathroom windows!), and I really like it. It gives the bathroom an airy feeling. I wouldn't think twice about it.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:04 AM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Occurs to me that one of the reasons I may think this is such a good idea is I HAVE THIS (somehow I forgot). My bathroom door is one with clear/frosted panels on the top 2/3 and not the bottom 1/3. I know this is not the type of door you are asking about, but also might be a decent compromise position.
posted by jessamyn at 9:20 AM on September 29, 2017

As a buyer, I wouldn't care because I know I can change it.

As a seller, I'd swap it out because a small but non-zero percentage of people can't see past tiny cosmetic details that they could fix for $100, which is why the standard advice is to keep your place really neutral when selling.

As a guest, I'd never use your bathroom, and would be waiting till I went home to relieve myself.
posted by tocts at 9:32 AM on September 29, 2017 [9 favorites]

I just put a door with opaque glass into our airbnb unit. It looks great no complaints from anyone. I would not like translucent glass but I would support opaque glass as long as it is in character with the home.
posted by stewiethegreat at 9:49 AM on September 29, 2017

How much can be seen from the other side? Is it frosted, or as opaque as glass block? If I thought someone could see even my shape on the other side, I'd be really embarrassed, and I wouldn't be the only one. A lot of people won't have a problem with this, but the people who do will have a really big problem with it. It won't keep you from selling your house, because it's just a door, but it will impact how other people feel in your house as guests.
posted by everythings_interrelated at 10:22 AM on September 29, 2017 [7 favorites]

Let's assume that this feature is universally disliked even though I personally think it sounds nice.

How competitive is the housing market? The last two homes I have bought have had some hideous cosmetic features. It cost only a few $100 and several hours to fix, but if it was completely worth buying because our housing market is very competitive. I couldn't afford to be so picky when the decision is have sponge painting versus living a block away from a commuter rail station. But if it is a buyer's market, people can afford to skip homes that have these minor imperfections.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:23 AM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Maybe you could put a small towel bar at the top inside of the door and then hang a single curtain panel or something there for when guests (who might be squicked out by a glass door) are over?

I think it sounds kind of cool, but yeah, I'm on team "put the old door in the basement and then put it back on when you try to sell the house".
posted by jabes at 10:25 AM on September 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

Replacing a door is pretty cheap and easy to do. If I was interested in the house I would just add it to my list of things to do once I moved in.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:38 AM on September 29, 2017

I don't find it weird at all, but then I've traveled a bit & it's something I've seen before, it's more common in smaller/older houses to maximize light. Also I am of the POV if people really want to watch me pee that badly that they'd stand there in the hall way in a private residence face pressed against the opaque glass to try to watch me do it good luck to them. As others have said, if you are worried about resale, either keep the door you're replacing down if you have the space to store it or throw a cheap door up when you're ready to sell, you usually spruce up a place before selling anyway.
posted by wwax at 10:50 AM on September 29, 2017

Even as a renter, if this bothered me it's such a small change that I'd ask the landlord if I could pay to switch it out.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:58 AM on September 29, 2017

> Do you see any downside, either in terms of resale or other factors?

If I were a houseguest I would have to go to the gas station down the street to pee. I need privacy in the bathroom, and translucency isn't enough. You can tell when I sit and when I stand and how long I stare at myself in the mirror and if I'm adjusting my clothing! (I grew up in Europe, so, this isn't just an overly shy American perspective.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:30 AM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah, a curtain or shade might be a good compromise for when you have guests - I have a frosted full-size window that's right next to my toilet and looks directly into my next-door neighbor's kitchen, but one can pull down the shade if it feels too up-close and personal.

I've stayed in several hotel rooms with bathroom doors like this and I think it's awful in that context - you can't turn on the light to the bathroom without lighting up the whole room! How are you supposed to pee in the night without waking up your partner?
posted by mskyle at 11:42 AM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: One way to help appease people might be to hang a small valance on the inside of the door and hang some grommeted curtains from this. You can keep them open 99% of them time, but shy people can close the curtains after they've closed the door.
posted by hydra77 at 11:44 AM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I bought a house that had translucent panels on in the doorway, for the reasons you describe. I didn't notice until, like, the third day we lived there.

But you might as well keep the old door and swap it back in when you put your condo up for sale because, as you can see in this thread, opinions vary.
posted by MangoNews at 11:51 AM on September 29, 2017

Keep in mind that the glass can be broken. I lived once in a house that had a few interior doors with panes of rippled glass, and one of my kids accidentally put his fist through it and got a nasty gash that required an ambulance and many stitches. He and his sister were squabbling, and he made a sudden move that shattered the window.

This was an old house, and the glass was original, so if you decide to do this, I'd suggest safety glass. It was lovely, though, to have the open feel and light from a transparent door. However, in my location it was against code to have interior doors that were partially glass, for fire protection I think. We had to replace it with a door that met code.
posted by citygirl at 3:10 PM on September 29, 2017

If you don't regularly have guests, go for it. I can't imagine a serious buyer rejecting a house or trying to reduce the price based on a single, easily replaced door.

If you host guests in your home, it could give me pause. Many types of glass that light can pass through also show the shape of what's on the other side of the glass. Especially if there's a big difference in the light in the bathroom and the light in the hallway. I wouldn't want to have a vague outline of my body seen by others for the reasons that The corpse in the library mentioned. A non-public bathroom is a place where people have expectations of near-complete privacy.
posted by quince at 3:50 PM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

I bought a house recently and this would have been a total non issue. We looked at one house that had (transparent!) glass doors on the bedrooms and bathrooms, which was super weird IMO, but wasn't a deal breaker or anything. Door replacement is relatively easy in the scheme of things.

Agreed that I might be uncomfortable with this as a guest - it would depend on what part of the door is glass and how opaque it is.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:09 PM on September 29, 2017

How big is your condo? As a person who always lives alone I never even close the bathroom door. If I had to live with anyone else I’d love a door with opaque glass in it especially if it made the rest of home brighter.

Realistically a door is something so easy to swap out that it wouldn’t even be part of my decision to buy a home. It just depends on whether your buyers want something close to perfect or if they’re willing to make a few easy changes.
posted by bendy at 8:51 PM on September 29, 2017

Got a picture? I've seen some "translucent glass" that you can see the shapes of bodies and people through, which would be uncomfortable (think like a frosted shower door). But I've also seen actually opaque glass, usually colored, where it lets a little bit of light through but no visibility at all.

Although, from a resale value perspective, doors are so easy that it shouldn't really matter at all.
posted by Lady Li at 2:21 PM on September 30, 2017

It's portland, the market is fucking nuts and this will not dissuade anyone (of reasonably sound mind) from making an offer.
posted by sazerac at 9:04 AM on October 2, 2017

« Older What normal thing from your childhood would be...   |   How do I find a job and move from 1000 miles away? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.