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When it comes to the bathroom, sometimes we sacrifice form in favor of function. Take care of business, get clean, get out. Other times, however, we strive for something more.

Need some ideas for a makeover? Let’s take a look at some design trends in the throne room.

The Spa

spa bathroom

Would you like to make your bathroom a place where you can sink into the tub an escape from the pressures of everyday life?

You’re not alone. Amy Wolff, of Scottsdale-based Amy Wolff Interiors, said more clients are requesting a spa-like look and feel for the bathroom.

Keep the Foundation

In order to get this type of look for your renovation, you can start by revitalizing what’s already there.

“Remodelers are keeping the current tub and dressing up all around it with new tile in glass or faux wood,” Wolff said.

This is easier and less expensive than ripping out your existing fixtures and starting from scratch because you don’t have to redo the plumbing. Adding something simple like new tile can give things a fresh feel or totally transform a style.

Seats and Storage

Storage can be a challenge in a small space like your bathroom, and seating is often overlooked altogether. These things are not only practical, but can really raise the comfort level and visual appeal of your space.

Think about adding a bench to your shower. Keeping your balance while shaving your legs can be really tricky when you’re half-awake. And, who says showers have to be exclusively about hygiene? Why not take a seat and enjoy a steam bath for a few minutes at the end of a stressful day. A built-in bench also adds a touch of luxury to an otherwise simple space.

Another way to add a special touch that’s also practical is with a niche that’s inset into the shower wall. Replace the rack hanging off the showerhead and stop knocking over the row of shampoos and body washes you keep on the edge of the tub. Give them an intentional storage space with an attractively designed niche.

Need more storage outside the shower? Update your vanity! This can be another relatively simple upgrade that packs a one-two punch with style and performance. If you’re going for a sleek, modern look, try a wall-mounted version that looks like it’s floating. This can be a great option for a smaller room because it gives the illusion of more floor space. If your taste is more traditional, you can repurpose a dresser by cutting a whole in the top to insert your sink. You could even add a matching armoire to hang bathrobes and store towels.

Too Hot, Too Cold, Just Right

Sometimes in the morning the wait for warm water can be agonizing. We turn it up too high hoping the water will get warm faster and then that gives us quite a shock. It seemed like there was no way to win – until now.

Dale Miller, president and chief creative officer of Daring by Design, says that a simple valve adjustment can add to your ability to spoil yourself in the shower.

“A thermostatic valve set in the wall outside the shower enables us to permanently set the exact temperature we prefer and not get wet adjusting it inside the shower,” Miller said.

Consider Separation

Having your tub separated from the shower is a popular upgrade right now for folks who have the necessary space. A separate shower allows for much more freedom for customization (like adding a bench) and also allows for more elbow room. “The opportunity to separate the tub from the shower is timely. A deep soaking tub is a luxurious way to end the day. The popularity of the “rain” shower head and separate hand shower have come into use,” Miller said.

Many home buyers expect master bathrooms to have two sinks. Why not go the extra mile and add a second sink to the second bathroom? It’s not just the master bath that has to be shared. Is one user neat and tidy and the other a hoarder of toiletries? Having two sinks, whether they share a large vanity or each have their own, allows for users to maintain their own space. Save time and stress and potential sibling battles with this practical solution.

Modern Bathroom

gray and white bathroom

If you think a spa-like bathroom might put you to sleep if you walked in first thing in the morning, there are other options you can try.

Tracy Kay Griffin is the lead designer at Express Homebuyers USA.

“In more traditional or cottage style homes, 3×6 subway tile is the rage, as well as freestanding vanities with shelves instead of cabinets,” Griffin said. “The square sinks and frameless shower doors are popular here too.”

Let’s unpack that a little bit, starting with the tile.

Subway tile may not give your bathroom the appearance of the New York City underground, but its brick-like appearance will help your bathroom seem more modern and industrial.

Vanities with shelves offer the distinct advantage of being able to see what you’re looking for at a glance without having to open 67 cabinet doors.

A square sink could also help give the bathroom a look that says, “I’m here to get the job done, but I’ll look good doing it.”

Finally, frameless shower doors give the appearance of one surface throughout, rather than transitioning to a metallic frame. It’s a clean look.

The real key to a modern bathroom is modern appliances. This toilet from Toto is a combination toilet and bidet designed for those that are looking for a more hygienic way of cleaning. It has adjustable seat and water temperatures, a warm air dryer and an air freshener. It’s even self-cleaning. Before you count that as one less chore on your list though, this option is a bit pricey.

Moving on to the shower, you can take your control to the next level with this system from ioDIGITAL. You can control the temperature and flow of multiple showerheads and you can set it from up to 30 feet away by remote control. There are also four presets so everyone can have their own personal settings.

Having a little trouble finding space for your lighting? You could let your mirror light the way. Recessed lighting is also good above cabinets and in the shower.

If you’re looking for a groovy accessory for the shower, consider a water resistant Bluetooth speaker so you can rock out to Bobby Darin while you’re splishing and splashing.

Simple Touches

The remodeling mentioned so far has been on a larger budget. If you’re not made of money, it’s amazing what a little bit of paint, accent tile and some color theory can do.

While re-tiling your floor or bathroom wall may be a bit of an ambitious project, a little bit of accent tile around the baseboards or base of the tub is pretty DIY friendly and the scope is manageable.

Miller described a popular color palette for today’s consumer.

“Contemporary best describes the most popular look of today,” Miller said, “especially in white and tones of grey as the palette. Adding touches of aqua, beige or yellow add some zing.”

While we’re obviously all about that zing, it may not be the way to go if you’re looking to re-create the relaxing, spa-like feel described earlier. Instead, it may make more sense to go with more muted, natural tones.

Finally, don’t worry too much about trends unless you’re getting ready to sell your house. You’re the one that has to live with the bathroom, so it’s sensible to decorate to your taste.

If you could do anything to upgrade your bathroom, what would it be? Let us know in the comments.


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This Post Has 70 Comments

  1. Bought a fixer upper 2 months ago. Mostly a face lift but the 2 guts are kitchen and master bathroom! Want to extend bathroom and closet in attic over living room which is 20 feet in height! Help!

    1. Hi Robyn:

      We can certainly help you look into financing options for that. If you would like, you can get started online through Rocket Mortgage or give us a call at (888) 980-6716. Good luck! That’s quite the project, but it will be exciting when it’s done.

    1. Hi Barbara:

      Unfortunately, this sweepstakes is over at this time. We don’t have any sweepstakes or promotions running at the moment, but keep an eye out as there’s always something new on the horizon. Thanks!

  2. I will love to remodel my master bathroom ,is very unconfertable ,this is the only part of my house ,has been touch ,thanks for the opportunity.

  3. the pictures you are showing is way out of my league. don’t get me wrong…i like them, but know i never going to afford them. you’re showing the difference bettween rich and poor. understand this is not a complaint, just an ovservation.

    1. Hi Joseph:

      The budget targets in this post were aimed at the $5,000 being given away as the grand prize of the Room for Improvement Sweepstakes. If you feel the pictures don’t reflect that, that’s good feedback we can take into consideration going forward.

      Kevin Graham

  4. I would love the be the lucky person to win a bathroom makeover. My bathroom still has the builders grade and style. I would like to upgrade and redo my floors bathtub, shower, sinks, countertops, lights and cabinets. My hubby and I are senior citizens, he is a veteran and I am a retired teacher of 36 years. Would love to have this happen to us it would be a dream come true!

  5. I bought a fixer upper built in the 1941 almost 2 years ago. I’ve done work on every room but the bathroom. I’d LOVE to finally get rid of all that baby blue tile I have in there!!!

  6. I would love to be able to remodel the bathroom in my guest house. My family enjoys staying there so much but the bathroom has a very small shower that could be enlarged and be much nicer! Hoping I win!

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