Bathrooms tend to be the most functional space in our homes. You might think you’re set as long as you have the basics: a sink, toilet, shower and mirror. But you just might be underestimating the improvement that a truly well-designed bathroom can have on your home and your life.

For instance, have you ever found yourself fighting with clutter on the countertops? As you reach for your toothbrush, you accidentally knock over the hand soap and a few other assorted bottles. Does your morning routine include leaning your face right up next to the mirror so you can see how you look despite dim lighting and smudged glass? It’s ok, these are perfectly normal bathroom woes.

But it’s time to show your bathroom the love it deserves with these four easy upgrades.  

bathroom

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

The vanity area is the crux of the bathroom. It sets the tone for the rest of the space and it makes or breaks how you feel when you’re inside. For example, if you and your roommate or partner are constantly knocking elbows and fighting over one small pane of glass, it’s may be time to upgrade to side-by-side mirrors.

If you’re short on space, you can still choose one mirror with a unique shape for surprising visual effect. Rectangular mirrors are a classic, but round, oval and square mirrors also deserve your consideration. Hanging a frameless mirror will maximize visibility and contribute to a sleek aesthetic, while a good frame adds a hint of gilded opulence or natural wood to the room.  

Layer the Lighting

Getting ready in the dark is such a drag. And when your single overhead lightbulb fizzles out, you’ll feel like you’re in a horror movie! Just like any other room, your bathroom requires a layered lighting scheme with the right brightness in all the right places.

Your bathroom lighting is only as good as its fixtures. While a ceiling flushmount is a good start for general light, you’ll need much more than that to properly illuminate the room. Flank your new mirror with wall sconces and you’ll suddenly find that you can see your own face clearly in the mornings and evenings. If you want to feel like you’re staying in a five-star hotel, hang a modern chandelier above the tub.

Add Furniture for Flair

Your bathroom can be relaxing and minimalistic without being bare bones. If the only furniture you have inside is the porcelain throne and a vanity, you might be missing one simple piece that ties the room together. Adding a tasteful, wooden bathroom stool is the perfect way to add some surface space (and some visual appeal) without having to install a piece of bulky furniture. A stool is a great place to perch while you wait for the water to heat up, and you’ll have a convenient place to set washcloths, candles, plants, soap and more.

Colorize and Texturize

Let’s be honest: sometimes our bathrooms slip into utilitarian mode, meaning they’re all work and no play. Step into your bathroom and look around. Do you see only sterile white, gray and black tones? Is the most colorful element the faded wallpaper of decades’ past? The walls, floors, countertops and window treatments are your canvas. Make the most of every inch!

You can also liven up the room with simple additions here and there. Instead of white towels that look just like the ones at your gym, pick up a set in deep-sea blue or pine-forest green. Instead of plastic blinds in beige, try cheery yellow curtains or sophisticated bamboo roll-up blinds.

Luckily, you don’t have to rip out the counters or reroute your plumbing to upgrade your bathroom. Start with the mirror, lighting, furniture and design scheme before you make any major changes. You’ll be surprised just how radically the mood and function improves with these tweaks.