More Ways to Update a Bathroom

By Kate Riley January 7, 2015

I spent the day painting laundry room cabinets at the fixer house, it’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do, I’m excited to share that space with you next week! Meanwhile let’s continue the topic of bathroom renovation from yesterday’s post on five ways to update a bathroom with four additional ways to make improvements.

Update the Lighting.  Modern vanity lights are far more attractive than the dated marquee vanity fixtures leftover from the 1980s. Another stylish upgrade is to swap the overhead vanity light for two sconces that flank the mirror, a change we made in our hall bathroom. We paid an electrician to do the job and the result was so worth it!

chrome sconces_thumb[2]

better homes and gardens 

gray vanity bathroom sconces

the lily pad cottage

Chandeliers or statement light fixtures also add personality to a bathroom space, remove the boring overhead "boob" light and upgrade with something unique or glamorous, one you’ll appreciate every time you enter the space!

glamorous bathroom chandelier

house beautiful

crystal chandelier in bathroom

liz levin interiors


Replace the Vessels (Sinks and Tubs).  The vessel sink is a thing of beauty, one that may require a new countertop or vanity to go with it if you replace an older overmount, but the look is one that’s desirable to many homeowners for its contemporary appeal.

contemporary faucet vessel sink_thumb[3]_thumb_thumb

better homes and gardens

this old house

A more expensive but oh so stunning vessel is the freestanding tub, so lovely and such a luxurious retreat where you can relax at the end of a long day.  

freestanding tub

how to decorate

freestanding tub

liz levin interiors


Cover Those Walls. Board and batten, tongue & groove planks, and wallpaper all upgrade a bathroom space in a dramatic way. Since the bathroom is a room that is smaller in square footage compared to the rest of the house, you can have some fun and make a major style statement while you’re at it! Bold or soothing, it’s your call.

tongue and groove walls

better homes and gardens

bathroom board and batten

brian vanden brink

wallpaper above beadboard in bathroom

ej interiors

wallpaper in bathroom_thumb[1]

zoe feldman design


Soften with Textiles. The multiple tile and stone surfaces in a bathroom make it a moisture friendly space but from a design perspective can leave it feeling cold – soften it with textiles beyond the obvious plush set of towels. A pretty roman shade or patterned shower curtain are both opportunities to add color and pattern. 

roman shade over tub

tobi fairley

double shower curtain

miss mustard seed

simple soft shower curtain

apartment therapy

Don’t miss yesterday’s post on Five Ways to Upgrade a Bathroom (vanities, flooring, etc!). What would you include in your dream bathroom makeover? Glass tile? A freestanding tub? Do share :)


  1. What a great article Kate! I painted stripes on our master bath wall on a whim one night while my son was taking his bath. Everyone in my house still loves it, but I’m sort of growing tired of it and am itching to do something different. Our house is a new build so sometimes it’s hard to pull out a perfectly good brand new faucet and replace it, or light fixture, or shower enclosure. This has given me the inspiration to look at my bath in a new way to see where I can add character rather than reno a brand new bath. Thanks!

  2. Love all the bathrooms. However I’ m looking for ideas for our powder room which is really small-about 3×8! Right now I have a pedestal sink and am a bit tired of it and would like more storage. Have ben looking for vanities that go the full width 36 inches but the problem is the vanity tops they come with are 37 inches. Any ideas with a reasonable price range? Also need ideas for sconces and mirrors.

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