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Upsell Ideas for Kitchens and Bathrooms

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By Denise Deveau

When quoting a kitchen or bathroom job, more often than not you will put together a quote based on a list of specifications and leave it at that, but a renovation or new build project can be a perfect time to think about pointing out some extra features that customers may be willing to consider – once they hear about them.

”The upselling opportunities are definitely there,” says Scott Duncan, sales manager for Desco Plumbing and Heating Supply. ”Beyond the basic fixtures, we’re seeing some really interesting products and finishes now that are popular with customers, especially in the higher end brands.”

Gordon Stille of Bathworks says customers are willing to pay extra for quality items that suit their aesthetic. ”For example,” he says, ”the most used appliance in your kitchen is your faucet. Why would your customer not want to spend more on a quality product that will last longer?”

He adds that technological innovations are also becoming increasingly important to homeowners, whether it’s a Bluetooth showerhead that can link with smartphones for streaming music, or faucets with touch technology.

”Whether a manufacturer is the first to innovate or follows somebody else’s innovation, all the major ones are coming out with them, because these are the kinds of things more and more customers are looking for.”

Ultimately it’s all about giving customers their money’s worth, and then some, says Jacqui MacNichol, showroom consultant with Wolseley Canada Plumbing division. ”A big part of our business is helping customers achieve more with their price point. But there are also lots of things available to upsell them. It’s about giving them a whole package rather than just faucets and showers.”

Royal Flushes

You might think a toilet installation is a pretty basic line item in your quote, but you can always up the ante by suggesting a wall mount option. Or better yet, a bidet seat – a concept that showroom managers say is all the rage right now.

”Bidet seats are very, very popular right now, and can be installed on existing toilets or they can be built into new unit,” MacNichol says. “Some have features like pre-misting, heating, front and rear washers and a dryer, and can run from $600 to $1,800.”

Or here’s another fun feature for the homeowner who turns green at the thought of scrubbing toilets: a self-cleaning toilet with built-in electronic controls that dispense cleaning fluid and flush automatically at scheduled times.

Shower power

There are always ways you can up the bath and shower experience, from digital controls or Wi-Fi compatible fixtures to steam functions or body jets. You can even throw in a bit of aromatherapy for a treat.

Diana Di Carlo, sales and operations manager for Desco’s water closet showroom, notes that newer tubs are turning heads with features like air-jet whirlpool combo systems – an attractive option for people with skin conditions or who enjoy pampering themselves. A freestanding system can run up to $8,000. ”It has more effect than just relaxing in a spalike tub. It has health benefits too.”

Solid surface tubs using materials like volcanic limestone are going strong, she adds. “Not only do they have wonderful warmth retention, it’s said they add natural minerals to the water. They are stupendous and look very edgy and modern.” The price tag for one of these beauties can be well over $10,000.

According to showroom folks, a big upsell is steam systems for showers. ”You can up the experience even further with lights and music,” MacNichol says.

An attractive feature for shower areas are linear channel drains that give everything a more modern, clean look. Another option are shower towers, in which all the functions are wrapped in a pillar, making for an easy retrofit. Some even have anti-fog mirrors for shaving.

Don’t forget behind the walls as well. Upgrading valves during the rough-in stages allows you to run several functions off a single valve, so users can have a better, customized shower experience using a single or multiple features at once.

Fixing up the fixtures

It’s never a problem to add a bit of bling to your proposal when talking faucets, whether in the kitchen or bathroom.

Today’s hottest finishes for fixtures are matte black and gold, with some champagne bronze thrown into the mix as well. Some fixtures can even be custom ordered in colours like purple or teal.

For the kitchen, sensor faucets are really where it’s at right now, Di Carlo says. Some suppliers even have foot sensors, which are handy for the mobility challenged who have difficulty reaching or turning faucets.

If you’re working from a clean slate, pot fillers installed behind stoves are a handy kitchen accessory that users might not have considered. Homeowners are also big on additional sinks for prepping vegetables or working at an island.


With older Canadians looking to stay home longer, many are turning to bathroom conversion ideas that include walk-in tubs or barrier-free wet room showers with hand rails and seating, Stille says.

”Rather than mom and dad having to downsize or move to a seniors’ home, the best next step might be to spend a few thousand dollars converting their existing bathrooms,” he says.

”People are realizing they can invest in an indoor system that has all the functionality and benefits of a hot tub and takes the stigma away from walk-in tubs,” Di Carlo says. A handy feature on some newer walk-ins is a quick drain system that can do the job within 90 seconds.

And for the physically challenged or elderly, you can always suggest decorative grab bars that are a cut above the norm, she adds. ”These can bring your shower to a new level instead of bringing it down with a commercial-style bar.”

Under-the-counter deals

If you’re looking for some added revenue, don’t forget to suggest possible ideas for under the kitchen sink. A nice renovation upgrade is a compact instant hot water system. Beyond the fact users can have tea and coffee ready in an instant, the system can be used to disinfect toys, warm baby bottles or steam vegetables quickly.

Food waste disposers are also making a comeback, as companies come out with more compact, quieter systems, reports Duncan. “In some areas waste systems couldn’t handle food in the water, but that’s not an issue anymore.”

Water filtration systems are also small enough to be installed under the sink to provide a constant supply of water for cooking and drinking.