Our Favorite Bathroom Upgrades

modern bathroom with solid floating double vanity
If you're planning a bathroom remodel, consider adding a few of these fabulous features. Learn how to upgrade a bathroom with radiant-heat flooring or a roomy whirlpool tub. These upgrades will require a small investment but you'll reap restful and stylish rewards.

Floating Vanities

A floating vanity updates any style of bath and makes the room feel airy by adding open space between the bottom of the vanity and the floor. A floating vanity can be as simple as a solid plank of wood with a vessel sink or, like this one, can be outfitted with double sinks and drawers for storage. Consider bathroom upgrades like a floating vanity early in your bathroom remodeling plans.

Frameless Glass Showers

A glass shower door lends a luxurious look to any bathroom, but the reason for installing one might not be all about looks. This shower lacks a ledge or lip to step over to enter the shower, making it a great choice for aging family members. Give yourself a shower upgrade by switching to a walk-in option, whether it's for looks or safety reasons.

Radiant-Heat Flooring

Treat yourself to warmth underfoot with a radiant-heat system installed below your bathroom floor. Such a system is especially welcome beneath typically cold materials such as ceramic tile and stone. However, a new floor system may not be feasible if you're searching for bathroom upgrades on a budget. For that, add a layer of style and comfort with a gorgeous, soft area rug to greet your feet when you step out of the tub or shower.

Beautiful Tile Accents

Taking tile beyond the floor is an affordable, easy bathroom upgrade. Add glamour and a bit of sparkle by installing a backsplash of glass mosaic tile above your vanity, or take your bathroom over the top and tile an entire wall or walls. Use colored tiles to create an accent wall without getting out a paintbrush.

Related: Our Favorite Bathroom Backsplashes

Medicine Cabinet

Considering all small bathroom upgrades, installing a medicine cabinet might be the most useful. A medicine cabinet can magically make all the clutter on your vanity countertop disappear. To make sure your cabinet doesn't become the next clutter zone, place small trays and containers on the shelves to corral like-items. 

Related: Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

Comfortable Seating

Whether you want a spot to sit down and towel off or a place to lean back and relax for a few moments, a cushioned chair or ottoman ups the comfort level of any bath. Another easy bathroom upgrade is to place a cushioned bench beneath a window. Be sure to add lots of pillows. If you have a walk-in shower, don't forget to add seating there as well

Bathroom Vent Fan

Your bathroom likely already has a bathroom vent fan, but older homes might not. Upgrade your bathroom by improving the air flow. A new vent fan can clear a steamy mirror quick and wick away moisture from the walls. Without a properly-installed bathroom vent fan, that moisture could sit and cause mold and mildew to grow.

Soothing Sounds

Make your next shower upgrade easy by keeping your favorite soft music on hand for easy listening while you rejuvenate. Whether you invest in a state-of-the-art sound system or stash a small CD or mp3 player on the shelf, music has great impact on your mood. If you're installing a sound system, maximize sound quality by placing two speakers in opposite corners of the room.

Entertainment Centers

If you keep up with the news while you get ready in the morning, consider installing a small television in your remodeled bathroom. Low-voltage, water-resistant televisions designed for installation in areas near water come complete with water-resistant remotes. To protect your television, keep bathroom humidity levels in check with proper ventilation.

Glowing Hearths

Put a fireplace in your bathroom to enjoy the sight and warmth of a roaring fire as you relax in the tub or do evening stretches. If the bathroom is attached to your bedroom, consider a double-sided fireplace for twice the enjoyment. Paired with a few other easy bathroom upgrades, a fireplace will make your master bathroom feel like an at-home spa.

Shower Benches

Just like in a lavish spa, a seat in the shower will encourage a slower pace, making it one of our favorite small bathroom upgrades. Tile the bench to match the rest of the shower, or add a bench made of a contrasting material like teak or glass. Enhance a shower bench with other upgrades in the shower, such as a steam feature or multiple showerheads.

Related: 31 Breathtaking Walk-In Shower Ideas

Heated Towel Bars

Yet another cozy bathroom upgrade idea: Hang your towels from heated bars so you can wrap yourself in warm terry cloth when you finish your shower or bath. If you're looking for bathroom updates on a budget, skip the electric towel bar and instead place a shelf or bar on the shower wall opposite of the showerhead. The steam from the shower will warm up your towel for you. 

Related: Our Favorite Dream Bathrooms

Freestanding Tubs

Wash away stress in a deep soaking tub. If you long to linger in the soothing jets and serene bubbles of a whirlpool tub, buy a model that's roomy and doesn't strain your muscles when you lean back. Keep in mind that you need plenty of hot water to fill the tub, which adds to both your water and electric bills.

Related: Our Ultimate Guide to Buying a Tub

Steam Showers

If you truly want a spa experience without leaving home, put in a shower that doubles as a steam shower. To make your shower steam-ready, equip it with a door that seals tightly on all sides. Install a vapor barrier on the ceiling and wall framing to prevent moisture, which causes wood rot, from reaching studs and joists. Include a steam generator outside the shower. This heats water from your water system using a 220-volt electric heating element. A steam-generator supplier will help you determine the best size.

Storage Solutions

Take a beautiful bathroom to the next level by adding practical and pretty storage. It's easy for bathrooms to get overloaded with cosmetics and grooming products; small bathroom upgrades in storage can allow you to put everything in its place. Mix open and closed storage, or try frosted-glass door inserts to add interest to the room and break up a wall of cabinets.

Windows and Skylights

Brighten a dark, dull bathroom by adding windows or a skylight. Let your room's proportions and features dictate size—under-the-eaves baths, for example, are great spaces for a skylight. If wall space is limited or views are unappealing, consider a skylight. Operable models, called sky windows, offer ventilation as well as light and have frames that match wall windows. To prevent moisture and condensation problems, choose high-quality windows and install them according to the manufacturer's specifications, or call on a professional.


Even the bathroom needs glamour, and adding a chandelier is a quick, easy bathroom upgrade to a hardworking space. Hang a pretty fixture over the bathtub so you can enjoy it while you lounge, or put it near a window so the crystals can bounce light around the room. If your chandelier has crystals, you can swap out your vanity knobs for faux crystal versions to match.

Luxury Showers

Dual showerheads, handheld showerheads, body sprays, and a broad bench take an ordinary shower experience to invigorating and lavish. Wall-mount showerheads are small bathroom upgrades and can be adjusted to spray high or low for people of different heights. Many handheld sprayers can be adapted to existing plumbing lines, making for easy installation.

Tile 'Rugs'

Almost any bathroom can incorporate a tiled "rug," and one can be added to an existing bathroom by simply removing tile from the area you want to add the accent, and then putting down the new tiles. Like other bathroom upgrades, the tile rug adds a custom and personalized look to the bathroom. It's also a great place to infuse pattern or color.

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