Small changes can revamp an outdated bathroom at little cost

Apr 4 2011

A variety of shelving options extend the storage possibilities within a bathroom.
A variety of shelving options extend the storage possibilities within a bathroom.
A bathroom renovation can cost thousands of dollars, but homeowners can take an alternate, less costly route to revamping an outdated bathroom. Changing cabinetry hardware, adding open shelves and refinishing an old vanity are some easy, low-cost ways to update a bathroom.

"Open shelving is now being integrated into bathroom designs as another architectural element, particularly in line with today's modern decorating style," Deborah Burnett, spokeswoman for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) told

Some ideas for open shelving include free-standing, floor-to-ceiling units, adding a marble shelf along the tub or encasing large tubs or whirlpools with wall shelving at both ends. A series of glass "floating" shelves can be installed in a vertical or horizontal configuration. The additional storage space for towels, as well as decorative items such as candles and bath oils, is both functional and attractive.

Painting a vanity is another quick fix that homeowners can undertake to give their bathrooms an updated look, but it will require products that will stand up to the moist atmosphere of the space. A high-adhesion primer, followed by semi-gloss latex paint and finished with a non-yellowing, water-based polyurethane are the paint products homeowners should use to make an old vanity look new again, the website recommends.

To give bathrooms a warmer look, home decorators can add texture to the walls by hanging fabric rather than wallpaper, the website suggests. Soaking fabric in liquid starch will cause it to adhere to the wall easily, which can later be removed just as easily with water and a sponge.

A simple change in the hardware on bathroom cabinetry can change the look of a wood vanity and storage closets from contemporary to traditional, or vice versa. Knobs and drawer pulls come in a variety of metal finishes, ceramic, glass or wood that can be stained or painted to match the cabinets.

If replacing older fixtures and tiling is not in the budget, homeowners should can choose a color palette that will coordinate with the existing style to create a retro look. Adding accessories that are reminiscent of a previous era is another way to enhance this style.

Buying custom blinds online will give homeowners a wide selection of window treatments that are attractive in bathrooms and will wear well in moisture. There are many options in colors, finishes and materials that will fit any bathroom décor.
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