19 Swanky Bathroom Upgrades to Create Your Own Private Oasis

Powder blue tile bathroom
Photo: Emily Followill

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, a roomy whirlpool tub, and more. These popular bathroom upgrades will require a small investment, but the reward is a luxurious oasis you'll love.

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Floating Vanities

floating wooden vanity in bathroom
David Tsay

A floating vanity gives any bathroom an airy feel. It can be as simple as a solid plank of wood with a vessel sink, or, like this one, outfitted with double sinks and drawers for storage. Consider an upgrade like this early in your bathroom remodeling plans, so you're sure it works with your layout.

02 of 19

Frameless Glass Showers

bathroom sliding glass shower
Marty Baldwin

A glass shower door lends a luxurious look, but the reason for installing one might not simply be about style. This shower has no ledge or lip to step over on entering, making it a great choice for aging family members or anyone with mobility difficulties. Give yourself an upgrade by switching to a walk-in option, whether it's for looks or for safety reasons.

03 of 19

Soothing Sounds

bathroom with walk in shower
Jim Franco

Make your next bathroom upgrade easy by installing your favorite soft music for easy listening while you rejuvenate. Whether you invest in a state-of-the-art sound system or simply put a portable smart speaker on the shelf, music has a great impact on mood. If you're installing a sound system, maximize the sound quality by placing speakers in opposite corners of the room.

04 of 19

Entertainment Centers

Powder blue tile bathroom
Emily Followill

If you keep up with the news while you're getting ready in the morning, consider installing a small television among your bathroom upgrades. Low-voltage, water-resistant televisions come complete with water-resistant remotes. To protect your television, keep the humidity levels in check with proper ventilation.

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Steam Showers

shower with teak bench shower seat
Michael Partenio

If you truly want a spa experience at home, add a shower that doubles as a steam room. 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, using a 220-volt electric heating element. A steam-generator supplier will help you determine the best size.

06 of 19

Bathroom Storage Solutions

tan bathroom organized mirror storage
Michael Partenio

Take your bathroom upgrades to the next level by adding storage. It's easy for surfaces to get overloaded with cosmetics and grooming products, but small bathroom upgrades in storage can create spaces to keep everything in its place. Mix open and closed storage, or try frosted-glass door inserts to break up a wall of cabinets and add interest.

07 of 19


mint green bathroom
John Bessler

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

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Tile Rugs

Bathroom with wooden cabinet and subway tile
David A Land

Almost any bathroom can incorporate a tile "rug" on the floor. You can add one by simply removing tiles from the area where you want to add the accent, then putting down the new ones. Like other bathroom upgrades, the tile rug adds a personalized look. It's also a great place to introduce pattern or color.

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Radiant-Heat Flooring

walk in showerwith glass doors in brick and gray bathroom
Emily Minton-Redfield

Treat yourself to warmth underfoot with a radiant-heat system installed under your bathroom floor. These systems are especially welcome beneath typically cold materials, such as ceramic tile and stone. If a new floor system is out of your budget, add a layer of style and comfort with a soft area rug to greet your feet when you step out of the tub or shower.

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Beautiful Tile Accents

bathroom corner with gray floor-to-ceiling tile
Werner Straube

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). For an accent wall that won't require a paintbrush, use colored tiles.

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Medicine Cabinet

open wall-mount medicine cabinet organization
Cameron Sadeghpour

Of all the 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 keep it from becoming the next clutter zone, place small trays and containers on the shelves to organize items.

12 of 19

Bathroom Vent Fan

large bathroom vanity with white vessel sink
Erik Johnson

You probably already have a bathroom vent fan, but older homes might not. If you don't have one, or yours is quite old, upgrade by improving the air flow. A new vent fan can clear a steamy mirror quickly and wick away moisture from the walls. Without a properly-installed bathroom vent fan, moisture can lead to mold and mildew.

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Glowing Hearths

fireplace near built-in tub in large bath
Megan Chaffin

Add a fireplace so you can enjoy the sight and warmth as you relax in the tub. 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 primary bathroom feel like an at-home spa.

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Bathroom Shower Benches

gray tile in shower with built-in bench
Werner Straube

A seat in the shower will encourage spa-like relaxation, and it makes a great small bathroom upgrade. Tile the bench to match the rest of the shower, or add one made of a contrasting material, like teak or glass. Enhance a shower bench with other bathroom upgrades, such as a steam feature or multiple showerheads.

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Heated Towel Bars

dark marbled tile wall with heated towel rack
Alex Hayden

Imagine hanging your towels from heated bars or wrapping yourself in warm terrycloth once you've finished bathing. If you're looking for bathroom updates on a budget, skip the electric towel warmer and place a shelf or bar in the shower, on the wall opposite the showerhead. The steam will warm your towel for you.

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Freestanding Tubs

modern bath with freestanding tub and brown accents
Werner Straube

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 muscles when you lean back. Keep in mind that you need plenty of hot water to fill a soaking tub, which adds to both your water and electric bills.

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Windows and Skylights

cool gray upstairs bath with skylight window
Kimberly Gavin

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

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Comfortable Bathroom Seating

white bench with open drawer in bathroom
Michael Partenio

Whether you want a spot to sit while toweling off, or a place to lean back and relax for a few moments, a chair or ottoman can increase the comfort level. Another easy bathroom upgrade is to place a cushioned bench beneath a window and add plenty of pillows. If you have a walk-in shower, don't forget to add seating there as well.

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Luxury Showers

white tile walk-in shower with glass door
Anthony Masterson

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

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