Small fixes can mean big changes in the updating of a bathroom

09/13/2013 3:14 PM

09/13/2013 3:15 PM

You want a better bathroom, but don’t want to put a drain on your finances? Worry not. This is one room in the house where little things mean a lot.

A very basic change is to buy a new shower curtain and good quality towels.

Is this a kids’ bathroom? Think bright colors and fun patterns. Or, to create a spa-like retreat, look for fluffy towels in serene neutrals, and maybe add accessories like new soap dishes and towel rails in elegant materials.

Another easy change is to swap out your showerhead for a new, multifunction model. If your water pressure isn’t all it could be, showerheads designed to boost spray power can help. You might also try a shower filter to see if you notice an improvement; basic models can be found from under $30 from brands such as Aquasana and Sprite.

A hot trend is bringing music into the bathroom – the better to accompany your shower serenades. The Moxie showerhead from Kohler, for example, has a built-in wireless speaker that uses Bluetooth technology to sync with your music device. (Suggested retail for the showerhead: $199.)

If you’re feeling handy, one of the cheapest ways to transform a bathroom – or any room – is color. “You can always very quickly change the aesthetics of a room with a can of paint,” says David Alhadeff, interior designer and founder of The Future Perfect, a furnishings store based in San Francisco and New York.

Is the room white? How might it look in bright yellow with towels and bath mat to match?

Look for the new humidity-resistant paints that come in flat finishes for a refined look.

Another way to make a big change is to evaluate the lighting. A lot of bathrooms still have a single overhead light fixture, which casts unflattering shadows.

“Lighting is everything in the bathroom, and there are a lot of tricks to how we want to illuminate ourselves within that space to make ourselves look best,” says Alhadeff. “If you’re getting only overhead lighting, you’re not getting the clear picture of what you look like.”

If you already have lighting around your mirror, a change of bulbs can work wonders, and lighting along the side of the mirrors is preferable, says Alhadeff. Creating layered lighting is more involved than buying a new towel, especially if you have to hire someone to add electrical outlets for sconces and mirror lighting, but it can make a bathroom much more inviting.

A cheaper way to create a soft ambience: Light a few candles, or cluster battery-operated ones.

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