The bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate, second only to kitchens (hence why most of us tend to leave these spaces as is). But you don't need a gut renovation to make your space feel luxe. If installing a new vanity, acquiring a lust-worthy claw-foot tub, and splurging on a whole new shower aren't in the cards, there are still numerous ways you can give your bathroom an expensive look without breaking the bank.
Renting? You, too, can go luxurious for less sans the extensive renovations. By upgrading small details like your storage, mirror, or bath mat, you can swiftly elevate the look and feel of your bathroom without having to put a sledgehammer through your vanity.
Here are our nine favorite affordable bathroom decorating ideas for elevating your favorite place in the house to unwind.
Add a Place to Perch
Nearly every high-end bathroom we’ve stepped into is equipped with seating of some sort—be it a simple garden stool, a tufted ottoman, or an ornately carved armchair. Raw wood and soft upholstery adds depth and dimension against hard tile and stone for a well-balanced scene. Plus, not only does the accent look expensive, but it also feels grand. Why do your pedicure on the toilet seat when you could do it on your very own throne?
We often see hurricane jars filled cotton balls in the most well-appointed of bathrooms. The traditional look isn’t for everyone, and some of us like our toiletries more concealed. But one of the most tried-and-true tricks for giving your space an elevated aesthetic is to contain your odds and ends. Store your soap in a dish rather than on the sink, stash your toothbrush in a beautiful tumbler, or keep your cotton swabs in a darling box. Trust us—doing so will instantly neaten your space.
Replace Your Bath Mat
A dirty or tired bath mat is a surefire way to make your bathroom look unkempt. If you have one, there’s no question that it should be swiftly replaced. But the fanciest bathrooms have taken this a step further by replacing terry cloth mats with Turkish and Persian rugs. The tufted wool rugs are both soft and the perfect substitute for a bath mat. Better yet, with beautiful patterns and colors that only get better as they fade, they can add so much personality and sophistication to your bathroom.
Usually these types of rugs are a major investment, but thanks to a bathroom's small footprint, owning a little piece of handwoven luxury is totally possible.
Hang a Mirror With Flair
It’s sad how many of us settle for contractor-grade mirrors from the bathroom aisle at the local hardware store. By choosing a mirror with a little more personality and getting clever with storage rather than resorting to the standard medicine cabinet, you’ll elevate your space to something far from basic. Look for interesting shapes, antique or vintage detailing, or a grand size to add plenty of light.
A new mirror can cost hundreds of dollars. If you’re on a budget, browse flea markets for affordable, pre-loved options.
Input a Monogram
A monogram is a staple of practically every classic sophisticated bathroom we’ve seen. Monogrammed bath towels are a no-brainer, but you can make your mark on hand towels in a powder room, a tissue box, or even the back of an upholstered chair.
Get the Hang of It
Ever heard the expression, "A place for everything, and everything in its place?" Placement is one thing that great designers are always successful at. A bathroom can easily look messy if there’s clutter or no place to hang your towels and robes (or if linens are tossed on the floor). So hang a small hand-towel ring right by the sink where it’s needed, install a hook for your bathrobe, and make sure you have a rod to hang your bath towels on. These simple additions may be virtually unnoticeable to the average guest, but they can make a drastic impact on the look of the room.
Bring in a Touch of Brass
We’ve been seeing brass and copper everywhere lately, especially in the most luxurious of bathrooms. The fact that it’s not chrome (the most basic of finishes) instantly gives it a leg up on the average look. You don’t need to replace all of your faucets (trust us, hardware can add up), but a new soap dish, magnifying mirror, or a little jar might just do the trick.
Dress Up Your Walls
Even though wallpaper can be costly and time-consuming, the payoff is definitely worth it. It’s not as cheap as a new soap dish, but compared to paying a contractor to install a new shower and tiles, it’s a bargain. If your space just needs some pizzazz or if it’ll be a while before you can tackle a full renovation, spending a couple hundred bucks on a roll or two can be transformative. To make the most of your budget, opt for just an accent wall or ceiling to curb costs.
Don't Settle for Basic Lighting
Overhead lighting is so often overlooked that someone should write a song about it. Perhaps because it’s usually there when we move into a new home, so we never get around to updating it. Regardless, there are some really handsome lighting options available that don’t cost a ton of money. Swap your builder-grade fixture for a chandelier over the tub or vanity to see your space transform with just a little elbow grease.
Add Some Marble
Adding marble into your bathroom is one of the easiest ways to take things up a level. Associated with elegance and sophistication, marble can be implemented in a variety of ways, from vanities to showers to floors, and containers that sit neatly on the sink. Don't feel as though you have to splurge on real marble, though—there are plenty of simple tile options that will do the trick on a budget.
Add a Bathtub Tray
Such a simple addition, yet it can make all the difference. A stylish bath tray displayed across your bathtub has plenty of possibilities. Whether you decorate the tray by adding fresh flowers, candles, and decorative soaps, or lean towards a minimalist interpretation by keeping it clear, it can create the appearance of a spa-like atmosphere instead of your ordinary bathroom.
Bring in Flowers
Flowers easily brighten up any room—and your bathroom is no exception. Adding a simple vase of fresh flowers gives the space vibrancy and color in a unique way. Additionally, real flowers in a stunning arrangement add some flair in an affordable fashion.
Switch Out Your Showerhead
Nothing is more relaxing after a long day than taking a hot shower to relieve the stress. However, if your current showerhead is old, outdated, or needs some repair, the experience can feel less than satisfactory. Rainfall showerheads have grown in popularity in recent years due to their design and how they seem to upgrade a shower instantly. While specific models can be pricey, there are plenty of options available under $100 that can be installed relatively easily.
Try a Minimalist Aesthetic
The minimalist aesthetic always has a way of giving a sophisticated vibe to a room, despite that it relies very heavily on pairing things down as much as possible. If you're trying to work in a whole new theme, then play around with a neutral color palette, metallic finishes, and keeping your counter free of random items and unnecessary dećor. You might be surprised just how much money you save by keeping things simple.
Framed artwork can take any ordinary space and transform it, so why not add it to your bathroom as well? Strategically placed art in your bathroom brings to mind the idea of art museums and galleries, which makes the place feel a bit more extravagant than usual. However, getting artwork doesn't have to be costly—plenty of reasonably priced prints are available online to choose from. Grab a set of black frames, and you're ready to go!
Add a Bench to Your Shower
We've already mentioned having a place to sit in the bathroom, but why not take it a step further? If you have the space in your shower, adding a simple bench to sit on can elevate things easily. Rather than constructing a costly version, simply look for an option that is water-resistant and sturdy enough to do the trick. Going for natural materials, like this wooden version, can make you feel like you're entering a luxurious spa rather than your same old shower.
Include Hanging Plants
While any type of plants are always welcome in our bathroom, hanging plants feel as if they are in a league of their own. Gorgeous pothos, string of pearls, and air plants can turn your bathroom from clinical to your own private oasis. The good news is, finding them is relatively easy and won't break your budget.
Create that refreshing spa atmosphere by hanging a eucalyptus plant around your showerhead. While the water runs and steam emerges, the eucalyptus oil is released into the air, so you can easily breathe it in. The results add a spa-like feeling to your space—and it's more cost-efficient than buying a ton of body care products with eucalyptus in them.
Lean a Ladder
If you don't want to invest in a whole new storage unit for your towels, or if you just want to display a few of your more decorative ones, then opt for a simple ladder to lean against your wall. Using the rungs, drape your towels, washcloths, or even other bath products to properly display them in a unique way.
Work With Unique Storage Space
While this may depend on how your bathroom is set up, take a look around and see if there are unique storage opportunities you're missing. In this bathroom, the windowsill was a perfect space to add some floating shelves to store bathroom products—and during the day when the sunlight pours in, it gives the appearance of lit-up shelf space that feels extravagant without much work involved.