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7 Simple upgrades for a totally chic bathroom

Elizabeth Dodson

There’s a sweet spot for bathroom decor, and it lies somewhere between outhouse and spa.


t I’ve seen some horrible bathrooms, from the over-matched room where everything from the loofah to the toilet brush is the same olive green to cat litter-themed bathrooms where you can’t tell where the rug ends and the kitty grits begin.

t Believe it or not, your bathroom is one of the most important areas of your home when you’re thinking about reselling. According to the remodeling cost vs. value index, remodeling your bathroom can give you up to a 65 percent return on your investment.

t Bathrooms can also be expensive to remodel, so if yours hasn’t been updated since the 1970s, it tells potential buyers that your house is a “project.” And most people aren’t looking for that kind of commitment.

t But there is a way to remodel your bathroom without tearing everything out and installing a deluxe Jacuzzi bath.

1. Put away your products

t There’s nothing that breaks the illusion of a magical new house quicker than a row of body washes and hair products crowding your shower ledge. When buyers are imagining their new lives in your home, your anti-dandruff shampoo kind of kills the mood. Install a pretty shelving unit or a shabby-chic cabinet to stow all your tubes and bottles.

2. Replace your light fixtures

t A dingy bathroom or one with hospital lighting will put off potential buyers. The perfect bathroom light should be flattering and relaxing for bath time but bright enough for putting on makeup, so invest in some warm light bulbs that give plenty of light without blinding visitors. Fittings and fixtures are also important; just replacing a light switch, lampshade or stained electrical socket can make your bathroom look like new.

3. Dress up your windows

t Windows play a big part in making your bathroom look stark or inviting. Dressing your windows with a thin, light-colored curtain or a stylish set of draperies will give your potential buyers the impression of luxury. Window dressings are also a fun, easy way to add a splash of color to an otherwise drab bathroom.

4. Choose the perfect color

t There are several go-to colors for bathroom design. Shades of blue, green and white are the most popular, but even with these classic fallbacks, it’s very easy to get it wrong. A cold blue can make the room uninviting, and white can often expose dirty areas or look a little institutional.

t Testing shades of your favorite colors on the wall first should give you an idea of the effect they’ll have on the room so you don’t commit to that broccoli-soup green that called itself “Tranquil Turquoise” on the can.

5. Add some art

t Just because your bathroom should be a relaxing, simple room doesn’t mean you can’t add some touches of personality to liven up the space. Hanging a few tasteful prints or photographs, such as your favorite beach landscape or a modern abstract in natural tones, can really stimulate the imagination and make your bathroom memorable.

6. Accessorize

t There’s a fine line between designing a clean and pretty bathroom that won’t distract the buyer and creating a clinic. You don’t want your new bathroom to be so bare that visitors feel like they’re about to get their teeth cleaned. Accessories can make all the difference. A few flowers in a vase or a textured bathmat can help your bathroom strike the right balance.

7. Buy a full-length mirror

t If your bathroom is a little on the small side, investing in a full-length mirror will add a sense of space and function to your bathroom that will really impress visitors. Just remember to keep it clean. If there’s one thing worse than a dirty mirror, it’s a huge dirty mirror.

t By following these steps to bathroom glory, you’ll have visitors inviting themselves back, and buyers booking repeat viewings just so they can visit your bathroom oasis again. Don’t let them get too relaxed, though. Escorting people out of your house in towels with soapy hair can get a little awkward.

Photo credit: home designn/Flickr

t Elizabeth Dodson is the co-founder of HomeZada, a cloud-based home improvement and organizational software tool. HomeZada strives to educate and provide resources for homeowners in all areas of home management, including home improvement projects, maintenance, inventory, property information and property value. Check out HomeZada’s blog for more helpful tips!

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