Lower-cost ideas to spruce up an outdated bathroom.

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Not everyone can have a sprawling bathroom with floor-to-ceiling tile, soaking tubs and roaring fireplaces. But everyone can have a bathroom that feels luxe, no matter how old or small.

Skip the full bathroom renovation and try adding a few small accents to take your space from plain to polished. Here are some items to consider, along with ways to add even more style.


A liner alone is functional, but isn’t the most elegant look. And a shower curtain without a liner can leave you with a very wet floor. What you need is a combination of both and, ideally, a curtain that falls all the way to the floor for a sophisticated look.

Step it up: Replace your shower curtain liner every few months to keep it fresh.


If you’ve always used bar soap, consider switching to something a little less sticky and puddle-forming. Choose a bottled hand wash that smells nice and isn’t harsh on the skin.

Step it up: Pair your hand wash with a moisturizer that you, and your visitors, will appreciate.


Contrary to popular belief, your bath mat doesn’t have to come from the same set as your towels. So if yours has seen better days, pick up a new one. Try elevating your mat by using a durable indoor/outdoor 2-by-3-foot rug in a low-maintenance flat weave.

Pottery Barn Aerospin Sculpted Organic Bath Towels, $39.50
Pottery Barn Aerospin Sculpted Organic Bath Towels, $39.50

Step it up: Try a vintage kilim style or beautifully textured mat for a floor covering that looks as good as those in the rest of your home.


It can be a grim realization, after washing your hands at someone else’s house, to realize the only way to dry them is with a damp bath towel. Do better for your guests by hanging a set of hand towels by the sink.

Step it up: Set out a stack of linen guest towels when throwing a dinner party so guests don’t have to share. Place a dedicated bin nearby to collect the used ones, a la a gourmet restaurant.


If your beauty products don’t fit in the medicine cabinet, pick up some storage to corral them so your countertops stay clear. This can also help when you have guests over so you can easily spirit away the overflow. If you have open shelving, highlight your prettiest products or those that guests may want to use themselves.

Step it up: A fancy tray holding a few luxe products has a luxury-hotel feel. When hosting guests, fill the tray with items like hand soap, moisturizer, perfume and breath mints.


If your towels each have a different color or texture, it may be time for an upgrade. Throw out stained or ratty towels once a year to keep things fresh. Classic all-white towels are easy to bleach and to replace, as you don’t have to worry about matching colors.

Step it up: Complement your white towels with a set of navy, charcoal or black washcloths for removing makeup — this helps keep your whites white.


Hooks are great, but they don’t allow towels to dry evenly, especially in a wet climate. Avoid moldy towels by spreading them out on a bar to dry.

Step it up: A heated towel bar will speed up the drying process and keep your bath sheets extra cozy.