Okay so I’ve been thinking a lot about bathrooms lately. Maybe because our Desert Bathroom renovation has taken over our life. We’re still making our way through the tiling process, which has meant a lot of learning-on-the-job. It’s been a much bigger timeline than I think either of us expected, and I’m so proud of Travis for leading us through our biggest DIY yet!
Naturally, working on tile for this long has me daydreaming about all the other parts of this renovation that I can’t wait to get to. Tile is a huge part of this design scheme, and y’all know I love the sophistication that Fireclay tile brings to these spaces. But I can’t help but think of all the details that can elevate the bathroom.
So, here are my top three Tips for taking on a bathroom update without the tile hassle.
Light Up Your Life
The biggest update you can possibly make in the Bathroom is to your lighting scheme. Ideally, the bathroom (and most rooms, for that matter) will feature three types of light:
- Natural light
- Functional light
- Ambient light
These all work together to set different moods within the space, so your bathroom can switch gears as you do. Applying makeup with accuracy and relaxing in an evening bath have very different light requirements. Get a bathroom that can do both!
I’ve seen my fair share of bathrooms that don’t even have windows. Unfortunately, natural light is impossible to create without a renovation. Though if you are renovating, I recommend adding a skylight, which allows for a well-lit daytime bathroom that doesn’t lose any privacy. We’ve added them in both our master bath and the Desert Bathroom. They’ve made all the difference!
Functional lights allow you to actually see what you’re doing, and I’ve found the best way to brighten up a space is to add recessed lighting. Placement, however, is key. Adding recessed lights above the shower or bath and the toilet will illuminate the spaces sconces can’t reach. But add them above your sink, and you will never want to look in the mirror again. Recessed lighting above the mirrors is the WORST. It’s not natural, making even the most beautiful among us look sunken and scary.
The vanity is where ambient light comes into play. If you’re trying to accomplish an upgrade sans construction, this is the place to shine! Sconces have such a wide range of personalities, and their flattering light provides dimension to the space (and face). I like to add sconces beside or just above the mirror. Living in rented space? There are battery-operated mirror mounts that can give you the kind of lighting you crave.
The second best way to refresh a bathroom before tiling is to clear the vanity space. A cluttered sink can feel claustrophobic, so let the countertops breathe! Speaking of which: if you’re stuck with an old formica vanity, contact paper is an easy solution to spruce up tired countertops. I’ve done this a couple of times with great success—even in my kitchen!
For an instant hotel-bathroom vibe, store a small number of daily-use items in a tray alongside hand soap and a candle. This helps the space feel very intentional while maintaining clutter-free countertops. Brushes and makeup can be stowed in a drawer or the medicine cabinet. Drawer organizers are critical for keeping the vanity from turning into a junk drawer! Likewise, baskets are great for cabinets, and small jars and tins are perfect for catching bobby pins and hair ties.
And if you find your bath products piling up around the tub? Hang those too with a stylish shower caddy, hung around the shower head. Everything should have a place, without sitting around. With less objects set out on the surfaces, the bathroom is easier to clean—and stays cleaner longer.
You can modernize any bathroom by simply replacing old bathroom hardware. This is an easy way to incorporate beautiful design elements with only a drill! I love matte black and brass elements for a contemporary finish. Towel rings and hooks add a polished touch, while helping to keep floors and surfaces clear. Bonus points for updating drawer pulls and faucets to match!
It is crazy what a set of beautiful bath towels can do to up your bathroom game. I love a waffle towel! They’re absorbent but lightweight, taking up less space in the linen closet. Plus, the texture feels modern and adds dimension to the bathroom. Invest in bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths, and feel your life change. And throw in a robe for good measure!
Looking to go the extra mile? Up the ante with soaps and candles that feel luxurious, and polish off with a happy bouquet, or even better a permanent plant resident! Ferns and fiddle leaf figs will both do well here, but you can pick any high-humidity plant based on the amount of natural light your bathroom gets.
All you need now is a show-stopping runner! This is doubly-great if your bathroom has dated tile you’re trying to hide. Plus, a warm texture for bare feet is everything and will add a grounding sensation to early morning routines.
Now you have a bathroom where you might turn that routine into a morning ritual that starts off every day with intention! The bathroom is such an important space, since we start and end our days here. It’s a room where you must look yourself in the eye, and that relationship deserves a room where you can feel like your best self!
It can be amazing external upgrades can feel like an internal shift, too.