1. Home
  2. Blog
  3. Mortgage Rates
  4. Room for Improvement: Bathroom Edition
Modern bathroom

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. Please check out our disclosure policy for more details.

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 and escape from the pressures of everyday life?

You’re not alone. Amy Wolff, of Scottsdale, Arizona-based Amy Wolff Interiors, says 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 says.

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 on the walls or floors surrounding your bathtub can give things a fresh feel or totally transform a style.

To get a spa-like experience, look for a tile that evokes the soothing environment of an actual spa, like this white and gray marble mosaic tile.

Marble tile product photo.

For an earthier look, try a natural stone tile on your shower floor or surrounding your bathtub.

Stone tile product photo

If installing new tile is a big enough project to be a no-go for you, there are ways you can transform your bathroom into a spa getaway without any extra elbow grease on your part.

A wooden mat for your shower is ridiculously easy to incorporate into your bathroom decor and immediately adds a calming, natural feel to your daily hygiene routine.

Wooden shower mat product photo.

Another easy way to feel pampered? Get yourself a bath sheet. A bath sheet is just like a bath towel, but bigger. Gone are the days of wrapping yourself up in a flimsy, already-soaked towel.

Bath sheet product photo

Finish off the look with a beautiful, soothing candle, like this terrarium candle. It’s a two-for-one: you get the warm ambiance of a candle and the natural beauty of a succulent.

Terrarium candle product image

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.

This wall-mounted wooden bench, in particular, is beautiful and functional. Close your eyes and you can imagine you’re in a luxury sauna.

Shower bench product photo

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, like this one that offers plenty of extra storage space.

Niche for shower product photo

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.

Bathroom vanity product photo

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 Boca Raton, Florida-based 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,” she says.

Thermostatic valve product image

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 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,” Miller says. “The popularity of the ‘rain’ shower head and separate hand shower have come into use.”

Large soaking tub product image

Rain shower head product image.

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.

Try this large double vanity with plenty of storage for multiple users.

Tahoe double bathroom vanity set with mirror.

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 Springfield, Virginia.

“In more traditional or cottage style homes, 3-by-6 subway tile is the rage, as well as freestanding vanities with shelves instead of cabinets,” Griffin says. “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.

Subway tile product photo

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.

Modern vanity product photo

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.”


Square sink product image


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


Seamless shower door product image.


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 deodorizer. It’s even self-cleaning. Before you count that as one less chore on your list though, this option is a bit pricey.


Combination toilet bidet product image


Moving on to the shower, you can take your control to the next level with this system from Moen. You can control the temperature and flow of your shower using your voice, your smartphone or a remote control. With the ability to program personalized presets and connect the device to a virtual assistant, warming up the water is as simple as saying “Alexa, start ‘Morning Shower,’” before hitting the snooze for just a couple more minutes.

Smart shower controls product image


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.


Lighted mirror product image


If you’re looking for a groovy accessory for the shower, consider a water-resistant Bluetooth speaker, like this awesome shower head with a speaker built right in, so you can rock out to Bobby Darin while you’re splishing and splashing.


Shower head speaker product image


Simple Touches

Much of 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 retiling 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.

Turquoise accent tile product photo


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

“Contemporary best describes the most popular look of today,” Miller says, “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 who 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.

This Post Has 74 Comments

  1. I love this idea. Thank you so much! I helps me as a plumber in Georgetown to apply these tips. Thank You

  2. Please dont put crazy patterned tile down, if you’re trying to sell a house. I don’t know how many folks right now that are doing that. That is a big deal breaker for me. A neutral is always better.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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!!!

  8. 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!

  9. We are senior citizens with limited income. My bathroom needs a redo. The faucets and tub leaks which could cause mold within the walls. Help!

  10. having an older home the bathroom is a sickening yellow, tile shower, cracking. after 2 neck and 2 back surgeries, would love to remodel and made it a spa massage shower and update the rest of the bathroom

  11. I would love to upgrade my bathroom. I want a tub I can really soak in like the claw foot tub from olden days. Or a spa, it would help my health so much. I really would be so thankful,im on a fixed income and it would be such a huge boost to everything in my life. Please!!

  12. My husband has had two back surgery and i would realky like to remodel our batheroom with a walk in tub . we only have a shower now.

  13. Oh, Quicken! What an answer to prayer a bathroom remodel would be!! I need grab bars and a more efficient setup. Making it pretty and spa-like would just be icing on the cake!! Even if we don’t win, still the best loan company we’ve ever dealt with!!

  14. We bought our home with a crack in the shower floor and requested it be repaired instead of replaced. Five years later we now have mold in the subfloor and in the walls. A makeover would definitely improve our air quality and health.

  15. I would LOVE to modernize our ’60’s pink & peach bathrooms. Besides the pink tub, toilet, & sink, the pink & gray linoleum is totally hideous! The peach bath has a dark green shower which leaks onto the carpet. Help!

  16. I too, have pink tile. I have removed about 1/3 of it, but it has mortar behind it and is so hard to break up and so heavy to carry out. The tub is gosh-awful pink and the tile on the floor.
    I’m sure I’ll be much older by the time this gets done. Ha! Thanks

  17. I would love to turn my 2nd floor tub into a shower. I’m at my wits end stubbing my toes getting in and out of a high tub that has shower door tracks.

  18. It is funny they describe subway tile as a “modern” look. We have a historic home. After much research, when we re-did our bathroom we used subway tile to match historic bathrooms. Now it is modern too?

    Other historic features are now considered modern as well – sunflower shower heads, tiled benches, niches, claw foot tubs.

    We also use thermostatically controlled shower valves. It does not need to be a separate valve outside the shower. However be warned, a good thermostatically controlled shower valve will cost $1000 or more and the cheap ones do not work. Also, they have to be replaced after a while. They quit working.

    Another thing we learned is to be aware of location of noisy things. where is your shower and where will someone use a hairdryer in relation to the bedroom. Try to put these things on the wall opposite the bedroom. sound carries through a wall much better if there is no intervening airspace or cabinet/walls etcetera. Put your storage on the bedroom wall if possible.

    1. One more thing. A zero threshold shower is good planning for when you age or have elderly guests. Even better if it is wide enough for a wheelchair.

        1. Hi Barry:

          We are reusing the article content from last year when we ran the same contest. You can enter once per day from now through October 17. Also, I love your tips. Particularly about the zero threshold shower. (I use a wheelchair.)

          Kevin Graham

  19. The faucet for my tub and shower is on an outside wall and has been leaking for a couple years. The only way to replace it is to rip out the tub with the 1 piece attached tub surround. Attempts to stop leak by way of the faucet has resulted in flooding the bathroom down to basement at least 3 times. So for now have to use channel lock to turn the water on and off. That looks lovely especially when you haves guests. Channel lock is getting pretty rusty need help soon. I am disabled on fixed income. Need a miracle.

    1. We’re sorry to hear that, Elaine. It sounds like you’ve got a complicated situation on your hands. Best of luck in the Room for Improvement Sweepstakes! The last day to enter is September 25, 2015 (tomorrow!!!).

  20. Would love to have a functioning shower! House was built in 1960 and not maintained well – we just bought it and the master bath literally has the tiles falling off the walls.

  21. Bathroom is small, harvest gold shower. Needs to be redone for my husband who is 81.. plus I would enjoy decorating it. I already think Quicken Loans® are the greatest, I would think even more if I win!!!

    1. Thanks for the kind comment, Starlett! We think you’re great too. And keep entering the sweepstakes each day for your chance to win $5,000!

  22. I have 2 bathrooms built in 1955! One is so small you almost can’t dry off in it! The other one is a nice sized tub…no shower….and PINK ceramic tile! Yikes!!

    1. There is way too much pink tile left in the world, Gina. Keep entering the sweepstakes for your chance to win! You only have eight days left to enter!

  23. As a teacher and single parent there’s never enough money to do all the things that need to be done. My bathroom is in terrible need of a major makeover. This win would be a dream come true!

  24. Bathroom redo sure would be a dream for my wife and I. As I age, my military service injury is really growing in intensity, but being retired now doesn’t allow for this dream financially viable.

    1. Thank you for your service, Philip! And keep entering the Room for Improvement Sweepstakes for your chance to win $5000 to renovate a bathroom. Have a good day!

Leave a Reply to Susa Cancel comment reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *