What’s the first place you see in the morning and the last place you visit at night? There’s a good chance it’s your primary bathroom. Often that room falls to the bottom of the list when it comes to home improvement. It shouldn’t. Think of how much better it would feel to spend that necessary time in a place that bright, that’s modern, that’s even a little luxurious.
But with so many things around the house, and in your life, demanding your time and money, how will you ever manage to find the resources to create a primary bathroom you can love? Well, help is on the way. Here are 25 ideas that won’t bust your budget and don’t require a remodeling expert. You can even knock off a few of these next weekend.
Related: Make Living Room Look Luxurious | Make Kitchen Look Luxurious | Make Primary Bedroom Look Luxurious | Make Foyer Look Luxurious | Make Basement Look Luxurious | Make Dining Room Look Luxurious
1. Throw a Color Party
Pick a color or pick a theme. Maybe your color is blue and your passion is the seashore. Choose bath accessories that reflect you: a blue shower curtain festooned with seashells, a bath rug with sand dollars, towels with blue seahorses. Hang small pictures or wall sculptures that extend your theme. Or your favorite color may be your theme. Bold tones aren’t necessarily better but they sure can be more fun. Maybe your color extravaganza starts with the towels you already have.
2. Accentuated Painting
Grab the paint can and continue your color scheme onto the walls. If you choose bright towels you may prefer to use a more subdued primary wall color and to reserve the matching bright one for trim and possibly the door. However, you don’t have to work that way. The primary bathroom is one place where you can set your color boldness free. It’s traditional to use only one color for the walls, but you’re not bound to tradition. How about a room-circling horizontal stripe halfway up the wall? How about a different color below and above that midpoint? How about extending that upper wall color on to the ceiling? If you can imagine it, you can paint it.
3. Unlock Your Inner Michelangelo
Your primary bathroom may not be the Sistine Chapel, but if you have a little artistic talent, or know a friend who does, give ceiling painting a shot. It doesn’t have to be a picture; an abstraction or a geometric pattern might appeal to you. If you don’t like the results you can always paint over it, and you’ll forever have the delicious secret knowledge about what lies under that unremarkable pastel covering.
4. The Monochrome Look
This is 180 degrees from the theme and bright color philosophy. It’s where the walls, ceiling, towels, and accessories are all the same color or shades of the same color. White and off-white are the obvious choices, but you can do blue, green or even purple as well. It’s not for everyone, but you can use the idea even if the monotone look is not what you want. Here’s how. Get your single wall color in place and bring in as many matching accessories as you have. (No sense buying new towels at this point.) In a week or two, you’ll find yourself imagining the color you want to add. Bingo! You’ve found your accent color.
5. Brighten the Caulk and Grout
If your tile has been around for a while, the grout has become dull and faded. It happens slowly, so you may not have noticed it. If you go over it with grout renewal products, you’ll be surprised at how much the floor or shower brightens up. Also, you can whiten old caulk with bleach or with baking soda and vinegar.
6. New Life for Vanity and Cabinets
Replacing your primary bathroom woodwork is a major commitment, but you can give it a new look and feel in a matter of hours. Touch up the old paint if you really love it, but there’s more creativity to be expressed in choosing a new color. Or colors! White is interesting if you have darker walls. How about a bold color for the doors and drawers and a neutral for the trim. Or vice versa. If you aren’t shy about expressing yourself try alternate colors on drawers.
7. New Hardware
You might find different handles and pulls that make the perfect marriage with your new cabinet colors. Even if you haven’t painted, a new look in hardware can brighten things up, especially if the old stuff is a bit shiny and shopworn. Think about a brushed look. You might find you’ll want to change the doorknobs and towel racks to match.
8. Faucets and Fixtures
Changing some of the metal in a primary bathroom is good, and swapping it all out is even better. Maybe it’s time to update your faucets and your shower head. This is an opportunity to give yourself the handheld massaging unit you’ve always wanted.
9. Bye-Bye, Medicine Cabinet
Medicine cabinets are so 20th century. If you still have one it may be time to bid it sayonara. If there’s not a handy drawer for your toiletries, put them into an organizer on the countertop, or deploy a small organizer to hang them on the wall.
10. Look into Mirrors
When your medicine cabinet gets its funeral, so does its mirror. But that’s good news: now you have the opportunity to spruce things up with a new one. Pick one up at your favorite home improvement store or, for a little more fun, browse garage sales and second-hand shops for a looking glass that can be lovingly restored. They can be round, rectangular, plain or ornamented. For a totally different style consider one that hangs on a chain from the ceiling.
11. Mirror Frame
If you’re giving a new home to a distressed mirror, or even if the one you have looks like it needs help, make a new frame for it. You can buy a framing kit, or for an interesting project on a rainy afternoon, you can make one from a few sections of basic molding.
12. Floating Shelves
If you have an assortment of toiletries strewing themselves about because you’ve no place to put them (possibly because you ditched your medicine cabinet) floating shelves may be the answer. These look like they’re just suspended on the wall but they’re actually anchored. Buy a kit or make them from wood and old furniture sections you have around the house. Small ones on either side of your new (or refurbished) mirror are suitable for the little things, but you can install big ones on other walls for towels and even a few souvenirish items of decor.
13. Wall Organizers
Floating shelves aren’t the only way to create wall storage. There are ready-made organizers with shelves or bins that keep those bathroom essentials where they look neat and are easily found. Wicker is especially attractive and counters the cluttery look of a bunch of little bottles and tubes. Wood, plastic and metal and options as well.
14. Even More Wicker
Bathrooms are by nature industrial and abounding in hard surfaces, and there’s nothing like wicker to soften the look. Shallow wicker baskets next to the sink hold aerosols and tubes. Deeper ones on the toilet top are good for napkins and that spare roll of TP, and they make a toilet look not quite so toilet-like. A wicker basket on the floor is prettier than most hampers. A wicker stand, several baskets tucked into a piece of furniture, is both attractive and functional.
15. Hooks As Towel Holders
If you have a limited amount of wall space to hang your towels, this may be the answer. Or try it if you’re simply bored with looking at ordinary towel racks in just about every bathroom you’ve ever seen. Three or four staggered hooks on a short wall can do the job of several feet of the old-fashioned towel hangers. You can hang your robe or your pajamas on them as well. If you have a few rubber-coated hooks in your garage, scrape off the covering and spray paint them, and they’ll no longer be taking up workbench space.
16. Find That Ring
Rings are also good as towel rack substitutes for the bath towels, and they keep hand towels conveniently near the sink. You can buy towel rings at the local home store but you don’t have to. Twist some colorful rope into a ring and attach it with a wall mount. Punch the center out of the tambourine no longer want to hear the kids bang on. No need to go on; you can brainstorm half a dozen ideas on your own.
17. Two for One: a Shelf and a Towel Rack
You can buy one of these, but that takes a lot of the joy out of it. Fashion one from a floating shelf. U-clamp a couple of sections of rope from the bottom, tie loops in them and slip a dowel through. Or do two loops and two dowels for a double-decker.
18. A Ladder as a Towel Hanger
Here’s a modern touch that you won’t find in just any bathroom. Take a short wooden ladder and lean it against a wall. Or cut off half of that old stepladder. Just for kicks, paint the rungs in alternating colors. With the right ladder, you get a bonus: a little decorative shelf space.
19. The Skinny on Shelves
If you don’t have enough cabinet space, but you just have a tiny spot of the floor near the wall, here’s a great way to repurpose some old metal shelving. It ought to be tall and it needs to be skinny. Spray paint it and wrangle it into your primary bathroom. If the heights of the shelves are adjustable, so much the better. This is another great place to use those wicker baskets. A big hamper-like one on the bottom shelf, and small baskets as they get higher and the shelves grow closer together. Add something decorative way up on top.
20. Magazine Rack
It never hurts to have a little reading material in the bathroom. You can use a wicker basket with a few magazines sticking out of it or buy a ready-made wooden number. It’s a low-risk DIY effort to screw or glue one together. Or pretty up a slotted office rack with some spray paint and hang it low on the wall in a strategic location.
21. Standing Toilet Paper Holder
If you haven’t seen one of these yet, you’re pretty soon going to. It’s practical, too, if your toilet is wedged between the shower and the vanity and there’s nowhere you want to drill a hole for a conventional TP holder. If you don’t like the one in the picture, make your own with some kind of base and some paintable PVC.
22. New Toilet Seat
Even inexpensive ones come in all sorts of styles that include wood as well as plastic looks. Pick one up on your way home from work and effect about the quickest bathroom transformation on the planet. For a few dollars more get the “no slam” variety. Give it a gentle push and it settles into place on its own. Kids love to watch it and it even makes grown men want to put the seat down.
23. Refreshed Lighting
Okay, this one’s not as easy or cost-free as the other 24, but it’s still a winner in terms of what you get for your money. It will give added life to your revamped paint and color scheme. In too many bathrooms the light is overhead or over the mirror. That leads to spottiness: light that’s harsh in some places and inadequate in others. It costs a lot less than a full bathroom makeover to rethink your entire lighting scheme. High hats over the sink are excellent and pendants are both useful and decorative. Depending on its location you may want more light in the shower as well.
24. Pleasing Aromas
Your eyes aren’t the only thing your primary bathroom ought to delight. It should be easy on the nose as well. An attractive scented aerosol spray container ought to be part of every countertop collection of toiletries. A couple matching scented candles have to be burned only occasionally to be effective.
25. Just a Little More Metal
Metallics, like mirrors, reflect light and make any space feel bigger and brighter. Look for an opportunity to slip the extra metal into your bathroom design. For example, a stainless steel soap dish or wire countertop basket. For example, a silver-colored vase or toothbrush holder. All the better if you can match the finish to the faucets.