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15 Ideas For An Epic Bathroom Remodel

Lauren Nowacki12-Minute Read
October 03, 2020

Various home renovations can help you create the house you always wanted or add value to the house you’re ready to sell. One popular option for homeowners and home sellers alike is remodeling the bathroom (whether it’s a half bath or the master).

With so many bathroom remodel ideas out there, your project can quickly become overwhelming. But by making even just a few of the changes listed below, you can make a big impact on the look and feel of one of the most intimate rooms in your home.

1. Match It To Your Home’s Interior Design Style

Today’s most popular decor styles aren’t restricted to the kitchen, living room and bedroom. Don’t be afraid to use them in your bathroom remodel as well.

A minimalist style will help reduce clutter, while a coastal design will help bring in natural elements and soothing colors that keep the room feeling light and fresh.

Whatever style you choose, make sure it meets your goals of the room and shows off your personality.

2. Revamp The Tiles

New tiling can completely transform a bathroom, while also freshening up the look and helping you better achieve the decor style you’re going for. After all, you can’t have gaudy retro tiles of different colors or flowery wallpaper in your sleek, modern bathroom.

Aside from bringing your bathroom into the right decade, installing new tile (or other types of flooring that are bathroom-friendly) serves other purposes as well. These include replacing broken or moldy tiles and protecting your walls and floors from moisture.

When choosing your tile, keep a few tips in mind:

  • Unless the tile is white, don’t cover your entire bathroom in one color or print.
  • Dark colors can make a space feel small, so use lighter colors for smaller bathrooms.
  • Save smaller tiles for smaller areas, as their installation is more tedious.
  • If you want to use color, consider smaller pops of color in the tile or install a mosaic in a smaller area, like the shower.
  • If you do choose patterned tile or a mosaic, make sure the rest of the tile and flooring is less showy or busy.
  • Stay away from sleeker, i.e. slippery, surfaces when it comes to flooring – especially in the shower.
  • If you’re deciding what areas to tile inside your bathroom, remember that tile is waterproof. Any area that comes in direct contact with water is an easy first choice.
  • Before choosing your tile, consider the rest of your design, including the color and style of your vanity, cabinetry, shower, tub and other bathroom accessories.
  • Ceramic is the least expensive option and one of the easiest tiles for DIY installation.

3. Update The Lighting

Changing your bathroom lights is a way to enhance your bathroom with minimal effort. While there are several lighting options you can incorporate into your bathroom, you’ll want to choose ones that don’t take up much space, provide adequate lighting – especially around the vanity – and fit into your current or future design.

Here are some of our favorite light fixture options:

  • Vanity bar lights. Popular bathroom light fixtures, vanity bar lights are a single row of lights that typically sit just above the vanity mirror. They provide a clean, traditional look while saving space. To get the look just right, make sure the bar of lights is no more than 3/4 the width of the mirror.
  • Sconces. These wall-mounted light fixtures are often used to frame an object, in this case, your vanity mirror. Typically installed in pairs, sconces provide adequate lighting and balance while not taking up too much space.
  • Statement piece. Light fixtures that make a statement provide a focal point for the bathroom and can complete the look of your design style. These beautiful pieces can provide a unique touch to your room without overwhelming the eye.
  • Chandelier. Also a statement piece but deserving of its own bullet, a chandelier offers a certain elegance to a bathroom and provides a regal feel in a place where one sits on the royal throne.
  • Uplighting. This dramatic lighting effect can create a relaxing ambiance to a low-lit bath or highlight special pieces in the bathroom. It’s achieved by putting light fixtures on the ground and pointing them up the wall.

4. Maximize Storage Options

Between toiletries, toilet paper, hair products and towels, clutter is a common problem in the bathroom. Because bathrooms are typically some of the smallest rooms in the home, you may have to get creative when it comes to effective storage solutions. To increase available storage during a bathroom remodel, try these tips:

  • Use floating shelves on walls where floor storage is not an option.
  • Build shelves or cubbies into the walls of your bathroom and shower.
  • Instead of a small wall dividing the toilet from the rest of the bathroom, use a shelving unit.
  • Install a medicine cabinet for smaller toiletries, medicine and makeup.
  • If you have a floating vanity or sink, add storage in the unused space underneath.
  • Use a thin ladder to hang your bathroom linens.
  • Install hooks to hang towels and robes.
  • If you have a freestanding tub, utilize the space around it.
  • Install a bathroom vanity that has ample counter space and cabinetry or drawers, which help with storing more discreet items.
bathroom storage

5. Change Out The Vanity

As mentioned above, a vanity can provide you with more storage space, with countertops and cabinetry underneath, and help hide clutter and personal items. Since they’re pieces of furniture you’ll leave in the home for the next owner, they can also help add value to the home.

The great thing about vanities is they can also be easily modified. Many of them can be painted, altered for more storage or updated with new hardware or different sinks.

Here are a few popular styles to choose from:

  • Wall-mounted, floating vanity. This type of vanity is mounted to the wall, which gives the appearance that it’s floating. It usually has some drawers or cabinetry but leaves unused space below it. Add a few baskets or more shelving underneath to get even more storage.
  • Freestanding vanity. The stand-alone vanity is not connected to a wall and can be moved around. The sinks are part of the vanity, whether dropped in or mounted underneath. These vanities come with cabinetry and/or drawers and usually extend to just inches above the floor.
  • Vessel vanity. The vessel vanity can be mounted to the wall or free-standing. What makes it different from the other vanities is that the sink sits on top as a separate piece. If you want a more flexible option for swapping out the sink in the future, choose a vessel vanity, which can fit more sinks or different sizes and shapes.

6. Swap Out The Sink

The place to wash your hands and brush your teeth, the sink is an important part of your bathroom routine. It can also be an important part of your bathroom renovation. They type of sink you choose will depend on whether you want a vanity, how much storage you need and whether you want to make the sink a statement piece, too.

  • Pedestal sink. The pedestal sink is one, free–standing unit that includes the sink and pedestal. It doesn’t include any storage or counter space. However, it does take up less space than other types of sinks.
  • Wall-mounted sink. This type of sink mounts to the wall and only features the sink, nothing else. It doesn’t provide any counter space or storage, either. However, it does offer plenty of space below to store items in baskets or bins. Some homeowners even wrap fabric around it, like a skirt, to hide the stored items.
  • Under-mount sink. This type of sink is built into a vanity, connected under the countertop. While it provides a clean look on top, an under-mount sink does take up valuable storage space below.
  • Drop-in sink. True to its name, a drop-in sink drops into a hole cut into the top of the vanity, with the rim of the sink resting on the surface.
  • Vessel sink. This type of sink is often the most decorative, sometimes even the statement piece in a bathroom. That’s because the entire sink is visible – and meant to be seen. While it’s easier to swap out different sinks, they’ll have to be the same shape and size or you’ll need to modify the hole in the vanity counter.

7. Replace The Toilet

Replacing your toilet may seem unnecessary, but if you have an older model, doing so can help save you money in the long run. Modern toilets use up to 5 fewer gallons of water than older models, and many provide the eco-conscious dual flush system. This system allows you to choose between two flushes depending on how much water – and power – you need. This also reduces the amount of water you use.

Replacing your toilet also allows you to find one that better fits your needs, including height and seat shape. You can also customize your toilet to include such features as:

  • Hands-free, no-touch flushing
  • Heated seats
  • Built-in lights
  • Self-cleaning features
  • Motion-activated seats

If you’re replacing your bathroom flooring, now is the perfect time to replace the toilet since you may have to remove it anyway to install the new floor.

8. Rethink The Shower

If you’re not doing a full-on replacement, here are some ideas to give your shower an updated look:

  • Retile your shower.
  • Add a decorative mosaic design.
  • Expand the shower stall for more space.
  • Install a new showerhead.
  • Build shelving into the shower wall.
  • Add a bench.
  • Install or remove shower doors.

If you choose to replace your shower, consider these stand-alone shower options:

  • Prefabricated units. These are some of the most common types of showers in the home and some of the easiest to install on your own. They come as a kit, either in one piece or multiple pieces with a shower pan and three walls.
  • Custom shower. These showers are built by professionals and fit your specific needs and desires, including shape, size and materials.
  • Enclosed shower. The enclosed shower is a walk-in shower that is surrounded by glass walls with a glass door. They can come in a variety of shapes, like square, rectangle or neo-angle with multiple sides. They also come rounded, which provides more shower space.
  • Corner enclosure. Specifically designed for the corner, the corner enclosure shower has at least one 90-degree angle that fits right into the corner. They are popular for small bathrooms since they take up less space and often fill unused space.
  • Bathtub-shower combination. Due to their space-saving ability and dual use, bathtub-shower combinations are popular in many homes, especially those with small children.
modern shower

9. Change Out The Bath

One way to give your bathroom an updated look and feel, consider separating the tub and shower into separate bathing areas, if room allows. This departure from the typical bathtub-shower combination can give you more bathtub options and allow you to get the bathtub of your dreams, like any of the following:

  • Freestanding tub. These tubs are standalone tubs and typically accessible from all sides. Because they don’t need to be attached to the wall, they can be a beautiful centerpiece to a bathroom. They’re often deep and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They typically rest on the bathroom floor, with faucets coming from the floor or attached to the wall directly over the tub.
  • Corner tub. Just like corner showers, these tubs fit into the corner of the bathroom and can be great for utilizing vacant corner space. Due to their shape, these tubs are often wider than normal tubs, often taking on more of a hot tub-like shape.
  • Alcove tub. These recessed tubs are most commonly found in bathtub-shower combinations. They typically connect to the wall, fitting into a space carved out for them, and show just one finished side.
  • Walk-in tub. Walk-ins are the best tubs for people with mobility issues, allowing the bather to enter the tub through a water-tight door instead of having to climb over the threshold.

Of course, if you never take baths, you could also remove the bathtub altogether to open up even more space. Take the time to really consider whether you want to get rid of your tub, especially if you have small children who may prefer baths over showers.

10. Replace The Hardware

An update as small as replacing the hardware in your bathroom can make a huge difference in the overall look and modernity of the space.

  • Exchange bland, traditional faucets with ones that feature a new finish, a modern look, ornate handles or a spout that distributes water in a unique way.
  • Aim for convenience with a touchless faucet, built-in soap dispenser or flexible head that can pull from the base.
  • Replace knobs and handles on your cabinetry with ones that add more character, like hardware made from gemstones, mercury glass, ceramic or marble.

11. Make The Most Of Your Mirrors

Mirrors are a typical bathroom feature, but they can do more than show your reflection.

  • Make the mirror a statement piece by choosing an odd shape or one that comes with ornate framing.
  • Find extra storage by installing a mirror that has a shelf or comes attached to a medicine cabinet.
  • Aid in your grooming with a mirror that lights up.
  • Strategically place mirrors to help make a small bathroom look more spacious.
  • Add a for-free mirror to reduce streaks.

12. Improve The Ventilation

Proper ventilation is effective in preventing mold growth and water damage. A new overhead exhaust fan will suck out humidity and mildew, along with odors, dust and chemicals in the air. Even if you already have a fan, you may want to consider installing a new one that’s a better fit and runs more quietly. Newer models also have updated features, including heaters or motion and humidity sensors.

Installing or updating your windows can also help remove humidity and odor and usher in fresh air. They’ll also provide more natural light into your bathroom.

When working on your windows, remember that privacy is key. If you wish to have the windows open while you bathe, consider installing them higher up, where certain body parts won’t be exposed. You could also choose jalousie windows – glass slats that open at a downward angle, allowing air to flow in but obstructing the view of passersby.

For added privacy, get frosted glass, which distorts images while still allowing in light. Of course, the right window treatments can also help. When it comes to such a damp room as the bathroom, you’ll want treatments that are easy to clean and hold up well in high-humidity environments. These treatments include faux wood blinds or shutters, vinyl shades or light, fabric curtains that are easy to wash.

bathroom with large windows

13. Don’t Forget About Your Fabrics

Replacing your bathroom textiles and linens can freshen up your space without much effort. Replace worn-out towels, with new, plush linens, add a bathroom rug and dress the windows with soft, flowing curtains that are easy to clean to add softness to the room.

14. Add Safety Features

Certain additions to your bathroom may not be as cosmetic as they are safe. To make the space safer for you, young children or older residents, consider adding nonslip flooring, safety rails in the bathing area or even a walk-in tub for those with mobility issues.

15. Incorporate Luxurious Extras

Whether it’s taking bubble baths, applying mud masks or indulging in other self–care routines, true pampering is done in the bathroom. Adding luxurious touches to your bathroom can help the space to feel more relaxing and rejuvenating, like having your very own bathroom spa.

Bring luxurious elements into your design by painting the bathroom in a jewel–tone like emerald, amethyst or sapphire. Add gold hardware and accessories, plush seating and a few marble features, like tiling or countertops. Finish the look with a piece of artwork, a mural or some other extravagant statement piece.

Once you make your bathroom looks luxurious, add in the things that make it feel that way. Include the following add-ons to experience true indulgence:

  • Heated floors
  • Rain showerhead
  • Bidet attachment
  • Fireplace
  • Towel warmer
  • Steam generator
  • Sauna
bathroom with green accent wall

The Bottom Line

Bathroom remodels can mean making small changes like switching the hardware, changing the paint color and bringing in new linens. They can also mean major renovations, including replacing your sink or retiling the walls and floor. Whatever you choose, make sure you create and stick to a budget and consider how it will affect the value of your home.

For more remodeling ideas and home decor inspiration, check out even more homeowner tips on the Rocket HomesSM blog.

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Lauren Nowacki

Lauren Nowacki is a staff writer specializing in personal finance, homeownership and the mortgage industry. She has a B.A. in Communications and has worked as a writer and editor for various publications in Philadelphia, Chicago and Metro Detroit.