12 Easy Ways Interior Designers Turn Sad Bathrooms Into Insta-Worthy Dream Spas


I've been having major Instagram-envy of the spa-like bathroom setups I've been seeing on social media. A cozy bath with a glass of wine? Sign me up! In addition to being our retreat, our bathrooms are becoming the backdrop to our social media photos. Maybe it's because the lighting is more flattering, or maybe the larger mirror makes it easy to snap your OOTD. One way or another, that once-private space is making its way into the public eye. Unfortunately, it’s also the last part of the home that we think to decorate. And who wants half empty bottles of shampoo, or stray hot tools photobombing your good hair day?

Still, you’d be surprised how easy and affordable it can be to refresh even the tiniest corner. “There are lots of cosmetic upgrades you can make that'll completely transform the look of your space, and a lot of them can be done in a weekend —  or even an evening.” shares Stephanie Purzycki, founder of interior designers The Finish.   

ADVERTISEMENT

From smaller home decor enhancements, to something as simple as replacing bathroom fixtures and furnishings, even the smallest change in your washroom can take the space from sterile to spa. “Think outside the box with art,” says Texas-based interior stylist Danielle Montgomery. “You can frame or hang just about anything. Beautiful handmade cards, woven placemats, collections or DIY art." The list goes on and on.

“You have an opportunity in your bathroom to do something special that doesn't need to be cohesive with the rest of your space because it is always the one room that has a door, adds Toronto-based interior designer Nike Onile. "When you're looking for a large impact on a low budget, start with the largest real estate in the room the walls."
And when in doubt, paint! "A coat of paint in a bold colour, like a deep green, or a bright neutral, like a warm white, can make the whole space seem updated," recommends Purzycki.

But what if I don’t own? I hear you. The good news is that bathroom renovations are not a home decor project that only homeowners can enjoy. Renters can use removable DIY hacks, and invest in fixtures that you can keep when you move. "There are so many impermanent products out there that people who own homes are using because they can’t make decisions," shares Onile.
 
Ahead, 12 easy ways to upgrade your bathroom — from installing a new shower head and faucet to creating your own, private gallery wall.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

1 of 12
Courtesy of Bulbrite Solana.

Illuminate Your Space


No windows? No problem! LED Mirrors and mirrors with integrated light sources are a great way to illuminate even the darkest  washroom. If you're renting, or don't want to spend your renovation budget on replacing the mirror, subbing your old light bulbs for an LED alternative can achieve a bright light with less energy consumption. On a washroom vanity, the Smart LED Globe bulbs by Bulbrite Solana allow you to dim or change to the warmth of the light from warm candlelight to the full 600 Lumens brightness — ideal for makeup application.
ADVERTISEMENT
2 of 12
Courtesy of Amba Quadro.

Add Some Heat

A heated towel rack offers instant spa vibes. Not only do electric towel warmers make your linens toasty, they also use less energy than the standard drier, and reduce mildew in bathrooms. Choose between a wall-mounted or a freestanding towel rack to fit into your space. For added luxury, if you’re undergoing a full bathroom renovation and have the budget, consider adding heated floors by installing a heated underlayer that allows you to control the temperature of the tiles with a wall-mounted dial.
3 of 12
Photo: Anita Yokota.

Use A Primer Before You Paint


A primer, like the KILZ 3 PREMIUM PRIMER, is ideal for the moisture and humidity in the washroom because it creates a mildew-resistant film once applied. Then, use a high gloss or eg-shel finish so that the walls are easier to clean. Sue Wadden, director of colour marketing at Sherwin-Williams, recommends Pure White SW 7005 for the classic look, Daydream SW 6541, a moody blue for a soothing spa feel, or the forest green Cascades SW 7623 for a nature-inspired statement. Erika Woelfel, vice-president, color and creative services at Behr shared that her fail-safe bathroom paint colours are Toasty Gray (N320-2) for a natural space, and silvery grey Riverdale (N410-2), soft pink Rosewater (S170-2) and light blue Watery (HDC-CT-26) if you’re looking to add a bit more colour.
4 of 12
Courtesy of Rebecca Hubert.

Make A Gallery Wall


A quick and inexpensive way to change the look of your bathroom is to hang a piece of art. Nuria Madrenas, the founder of Toronto-based Mrkt Gallery, an online gallery dedicated to promoting works by women artists, recommends art that celebrates the female form. Woman by Esmée Rothweiler, Best Babes by Rebecca Hubert, or a series of nudes by Eden, would all fit into a bathroom or smaller powder room space. Adding decorative items to your bathroom counter, like a Marble Round Tray from Elte, Bubble Storage Box, or Pacha Planter Sienna from Elte Mkt, is another way to enhance your bathroom décor without adding clutter.

5 of 12
Courtesy of Tempaper.

Wallpaper Your Powder Room


While wallpaper adhesive isn't ideal for a high moisture washroom, pre-pasted and peel and stick options can make a fun statement in a powder room. The pre-pasted, high-quality paper sheets from PastedPaper make it easier to install around fixtures, and other items bolted to the wall than the traditional wallpaper roll. Renting? Try out a wall decal or wallpaper from Tempaper, which is not only steam- and moisture-resistant, it also comes down cleanly.
6 of 12
Courtesy of RoomMates.

Peel and Stick Tiles


Hate your floor? Try peel and stick floor tiles to cover up unsightly vinyl floors. FloorPops is a water-resistant and washable alternative to replacing your floor and requires no special tools or grout. This is a cost-effective way to add a tile print, marbled or wood grain appearance to any room. Or use RoomMates’ Peel and Stick Tile Backsplashes to add a pattern made from a durable vinyl material to your walls between the counter and your mirror.
ADVERTISEMENT
7 of 12
Courtesy of IKEA.

Screw in New Handles


Just like you would in your kitchen, replacing the handles on your bathroom drawers and cupboards can easily modernize the space. Longer pull handles, like the HACKÅS collection from IKEA, are a smooth and contemporary option to match with your new matte black faucet.

8 of 12
Courtesy of Cascada

Declutter Your Bathroom


The right bathroom storage solutions will keep the space feeling relaxed and airy. If you’re planning a full bathroom renovation, consider installing a washroom vanity, like this one designed by GlucksteinElements for The Home Depot, that has built-in drawer organizers. To organize the space you currently have, maximize cabinet space by hanging Umbra’s Flex Hair Dryer Storage over the door, or display items neatly on your countertop with the Pirouette Cosmetic Organizer or Cascade Cosmetic Organizer. A storage ladder, like Pottery Barn’s Ainsley Ladder Floor Storage, is a great alternative to store your cosmetic items and linens in neatly.   
9 of 12
Courtesy of Delta Faucet.

Replace the Faucet


Replacing faucets and fixtures are a way to upgrade your bathroom without having to do a complete remodel. For a touch of sophistication, switch out the standard chrome finished faucet with a darker fixture to create a chic yet relaxing space in your bathroom. Black fixtures, like the Kitano Collection by Delta Faucet in Matte Black, are still trending this year with renovators opting for the single handle for a cleaner look in their washrooms.

10 of 12
Courtesy of Grohe.

Switch out Your Showerhead


The best part about switching out your showerhead is that even if you're renting, it is one of the easiest fixtures in your washroom to install by yourself. Plus, you can bring it with you when you move. To transform your bathroom into a spa, splurge on the GROHE Rainshower™ SmartConnect, which shifts from relaxing rain spray to invigorating jet spray — or a combination of both — with the push of a button. Or, enjoy the soothing effects of essentials oils in the shower with the Moen Aromatherapy Handshower with INLY Technology.

11 of 12
Courtesy of Omigo.

Upgrade the Toilet Seat


For both comfort and hygienic reasons, it may be a good idea to switch out your toilet seat if you’re moving into a new home. A new model can come with a few upgrades andeatures. For example, Kohler's Reveal™ Nightlight Quiet-Close™ has a built-in night light, and the Purefresh™  from Kohler combines a carbon deodorizing system that neutralizes odours with a built-in freshener for added sanitation. As an eco-friendly alternative, bidets help to reduce toilet paper use by 75% or more. Don’t want to splurge for an entirely new one? Omigo has designed a line of bidet seats, and bidet attachments that are easy to install on your existing toilet seat. 

ADVERTISEMENT
12 of 12
Courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond.

Add Extra Length to Your Shower Curtain


Montgomery recommends lengthening your shower curtain from the usual 72x72 to 84", 96" or even 108". "The same way floor-to-ceiling drapes bring your eyes all the way up and create drama, extending the length of your shower curtain can do the same thing.” For a cohesive look, coordinate your towels, math mat and other linens to match your shower curtain.
ADVERTISEMENT
Load more...
ADVERTISEMENT