11 Budget Ways to Live Luxe in Your Bathroom

Turn your bathroom into a spa-inspired oasis with these quick fixes.
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My favorite thing about a luxe hotel room (after the yummy bed and plush bathrobes) has got to be the bathroom. There’s nothing quite like a fancy bathroom to make you feel like you’re spending the day at a beautiful spa.

Open Shelving in Airy, White Bathroom

Open Shelving in Airy, White Bathroom

The bathroom is a private place, but open shelving can create the illusion of space in smaller square footage, and with a less weighty wallet hit than cabinets. A few drawers or covered baskets on high shelves can house your private items, and your colorful towels, pretty soaps and washes, and other bathroom decor don’t have to hide in a dark closet any longer!

Photo by: IKEA


If you’re looking for your bathroom to feel a bit more luxe, we have some easy-fix budget ideas for you to try out.

Replace the Light Fixture(s)

Timeless Bathroom in Black and White

Timeless Bathroom in Black and White

Designer Brian Patrick Flynn transformed this contractor-grade bathroom into an elegant, classic space strictly using shades of black and white. White subway tile walls, black porcelain tile floors and an aged iron chandelier all enhance the room's timeless appeal.

This is an easy fix to help your space immediately feel a bit more luxe whether you're in a rental or own your home. Standard bathroom fixtures almost always tend to be pretty lackluster.

You can add a chandelier if you’d like your space to feel a bit more glam, or go for a more modern pendant for a streamlined look. If you’re in a rental, make sure to save the original fixture so you can swap it out before you move out.

Another fun trick I like to use is to add a lamp on the bathroom counter, which also amps up your chic factor.

Replace the Faucet or Showerhead

White Bathroom With Subway Tile

White Bathroom With Subway Tile

White subway tiles deliver crisp freshness to this bathroom that also features a vaulted ceiling and midcentury modern sconces. Brass fixtures in the shower and sink offer a welcome pop of color.

Photo by: Jim Tschetter

Jim Tschetter

This fix takes a bit more planning but is still a lot easier than you might think and can really make a big impact.

If you’re not looking to replace your sink, keep in mind that you will need to choose a replacement faucet that is the same type and set-up as the current faucet that is on your sink. For example, if you currently have a centerset faucet, choose another centerset faucet to replace it.

For showerhead replacements, make sure you're looking for “universal” showerheads if you're not looking to make any other physical changes to your shower or bath set-up. Go for a rainhead showerhead if you want to recreate that same luxe hotel vibe you find in many of the boutique hotel bathrooms.

Use Coordinated Accessories

Square Pedestal Sink With Oval Mirror

Square Pedestal Sink With Oval Mirror

A square pedestal sink pairs with an oval mirror in this bathroom. Chrome fixtures and simple black and white accessories complete the fresh design.

Photo by: M.A. Allen

M.A. Allen

Rather than using liquid soap in its original container, consider getting a few coordinated bathroom accessories to pull the look of your space together. These can include a soap dispenser, toothbrush holder, a drinking glass and even storage containers.

Add Fresh Flowers

Slipper Tub Surrounded by Marble in an Elegant, Traditional Bathroom

Slipper Tub Surrounded by Marble in an Elegant, Traditional Bathroom

This gorgeous traditional bathroom turns a dormer window into a striking architectural detail by covering the barrel walls in Calacatta marble tile. A slipper tub nestled in the nook is a sunny spot to enjoy a long soak.

Photo by: Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Adding fresh flowers is pretty much always a great idea when it comes to design, and it’s no different in your bathroom. Based on the size of most bathrooms, you can usually get away with adding smaller arrangements than you might have in other areas of your home. Make sure to keep the flowers in a spot that won’t be in anyone’s way or get easily knocked over.

Get Creative With Your Towels

Bathroom With Family Friendly Storage

Bathroom With Family Friendly Storage

When designing a bathroom for a busy family of five, Wanda Ely used a wide trough-style sink that lets all three children brush their teeth at once and added clever storage solutions to store everyone’s essentials. “The clients wanted a white bathroom with Scandinavian, spa-like feel with open shelving,” says Ely. “The floating, rustic maple shelves had holes routed out of them to fit various glass and metal inserts that help hold and organize their belongings. Stainless steel inserts hold toothbrushes, glass test tubes hold flowers, glass cups hold miscellaneous items like hair elastics and cotton balls.”

Photo by: Wanda Ely Architect, Inc.; Scott Norsworthy

Wanda Ely Architect, Inc.; Scott Norsworthy

Hanging towels on a towel rack is just fine, of course, but you can amp up the luxe factor a bit by rolling up your towels. You can try rolling them up and stacking them on a shelf or even displaying them in a nice basket. This will definitely add a spa vibe to your space.

Invest in Luxe Towels

Small Bathroom With Clever Storage Solutions

Small Bathroom With Clever Storage Solutions

Cabinets in a small bathroom can take up a whole lot of space—create storage by using hanging baskets and rails on the wall, then make use of accessory containers to organize all the small stuff.

Photo by: IKEA U.S.


Speaking of towels, if you’re going to splurge anywhere, you might want to consider splurging on some luxurious towels for your bathroom.

When you're shopping for towels, stick to a white palette, if you want to mimic that luxury hotel look. Also consider getting yourself some bath sheets, which are the largest sized bath towels available.

Use Regular Rugs

Bright, White Transitional Bathroom With Split Vanities and Red Accent Rugs

Bright, White Transitional Bathroom With Split Vanities and Red Accent Rugs

Light gray walls and white furniture create a bright transitional design in this Chicago bathroom. A glass door cabinet splits the vanities creating total his and her space. Red rugs add a warm color accent in front of the large bathtub.

Photo by: Baird & Warner, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Baird & Warner, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

I always like to use a regular rug in a bathroom, rather than a bath mat, to help amp up the luxe factor. Even if you choose to still use a bath mat in front of your shower or bath, you can still use a standard rug as a centerpiece in your bathroom.

Replace Cabinet Pulls

Green and Neutral Bathroom with Mirrors, Patterned Wallpaper and Blue-and-White Rug

Green and Neutral Bathroom with Mirrors, Patterned Wallpaper and Blue-and-White Rug

This gorgeous green-and-white bathroom features two mirrors and a double vanity to make it easy for a pair of people to prepare for their day. Farmhouse-style fixtures light up the space, while a blue-and-white throw rug provides a bright contrast to the kelly green cabinets and accents.

Photo by: Allison Corona Photography, Let It Shine Photography, Doug Petersen Photography

Allison Corona Photography, Let It Shine Photography, Doug Petersen Photography

This is another big impact idea that people often overlook, but you can easily switch out the cabinet pulls on your bathroom vanity. Again, if you're renter, make sure to choose updated pulls that are the same size as the ones that are currently there, then just save your old ones to switch back before you move out.

Add Art

Bathroom Art Gallery

Bathroom Art Gallery

A bright red boy's bathroom becomes an imaginative art gallery with a mix of original children's pictures, prints and even toys. Change out the artwork with new and favorite pieces to keep the display fresh and fun.

This is one of the easiest upgrade ideas on our list; if you don’t have art in your bathroom, add some pronto! I prefer to use larger, unexpected pieces in a bathroom, so don’t be afraid to step outside the box a bit when choosing yours.

Keep in mind that whatever you hang should either be ok to be around steam or behind glass to avoid getting damaged. And don’t feel like you can only have one simple piece of art in your bathroom. Try adding pieces in an unexpected spot, or add multiples and hang a series.

Use Trays

Charming Bathroom With Tufted Ottoman

Charming Bathroom With Tufted Ottoman

It’s the little details that give the HGTV Dream Home 2015 master bathroom the luxurious touch interior designer Linda Woodrum was hoping for. “Trying to create the sense of a five-star hotel is very important," she says. “I think that’s the experience you have when you walk into the space.”

Trays are another easy solution that anyone can try. Choose a chic tray, then use it on your bathroom counter to keep all your items such as soap, flowers, candles and makeup together.

Add a Framed Mirror

Art Deco Boutique Bathroom

Art Deco Boutique Bathroom

This very glam bathroom incorporated a mix of matte and glossy black throughout with all gold accents and marble floors to brighten up the space.

Photo by: Casey Dunn

Casey Dunn

If storage space is not a challenge for you, consider switching out your medicine cabinet for large, impact mirror.

Once you abandon the medicine cabinet, it opens up your choices greatly in terms of a mirror. Just make sure you remember to consider the dimension of your mirror in relation to your current sink/vanity set-up.

15 Dreamy Spa-Inspired Bathrooms

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Elegant Symmetry

Centered in a bay window, the freestanding tub in this beautiful master bath is as sculptural as it is inviting. Designer Liz Williams chose this symmetrical arrangement to play up the classic architecture of the space, and to create a focal point in the large bath.

Serenity Now

With a guiding principal of tranquility for this master bathroom design, designer Catherine Frank recommended an open layout to create a flexible, curated quality for the space. "The focal point of this linear, rectangular room is a freestanding acrylic bathtub by WetStyle; its sleek curvature and monolithic form create a sculptural vista seen immediately upon entering the room," she says. "We specified a neutral palette to further simplify the environment, using only three materials: rift-sawn white oak, striped marble slabs and textured white marble tiles on the accent wall behind bathtub."

Photo By: Emily Minton Redfield; emrphotography.com

Shining Example

A wall of onyx is undeniably the star of the show in this spectacular walk-in master shower, so lighting designer Gregg Mackell took care to illuminate the natural artwork (as well as the entire space) well. He says, "Square aperture shower lights provide a strong downlighting component, while hidden LED strips in the niche and under the bench provide a soft indirect floating effect. By using metallic trim finishes, the shower downlights visually become just another piece of shower hardware."

Natural Elegance

In this contemporary master bath, the warmth of natural wood balances the stark elegance of the freestanding tub, for a look that's sleek and sophisticated. "The simplicity of the materials and layout gives the occupant a calming sense when in the space," says architect Steve Besch. "The clean cedar wall is a relaxing backdrop to the freestanding tub and decorative light fixture."

Photo By: Peter Nilson, Peter Nilson Photography; peternilsonphotography.com

All the Amenities

The renovation of a 10,000 square-foot Colorado home included a complete revamp of the master bath. The new space includes a huge walk-in shower outfitted with all the bells and whistles — a rainshower-style shower head, a hand-shower, steam function — and is fitted with gorgeous blue Moroccan tile. Favorite feature: "The built-in cabinetry beside the shower not only houses the bath linens, it has a warming drawer to keep them toasty," says designer Andrea Schumacher.

Photo By: Emily Minton Redfield; emrphotography.com

Perfect Combination

Even the most well-appointed, high-end bath must offer practical features. To help this one serve the dual masters of style and substance, designer Wendy Ann Miller created dual vanities with a mix of closed and open storage, topped with sculptural vessel-style lavatories. The result, says the designer, is "a sophisticated space with timeless appeal, that suits the homeowners' needs for both function and luxury."

Modern Glamour

To give this remodeled master bath its look of soothing sophistication, designer Liz Williams played cool tones of taupe and blue against the rich textures of the antique ceiling beams and doors. "To lend some unexpected edge to the design we laid Helsinki marble from Walker Zanger in a chevron pattern on the floor," says Williams. The cabinets were custom finished by artist Judy Neukrug in a striated look that mimics wood grain.

Personal Retreat

"This bath is part of one of my all time favorite projects," says designer Jamie Herzlinger. "I designed it to be a true spa — an oasis in the home." The feature-filled shower boasts steam, two shower heads, a hand-held sprayer, a bench and even a stereo system. Cove lighting in the ceiling is "the perfect way to set the mood for a relaxing steam while listening to music," says the designer.

Small Wonder

Not every house has room for a sprawling master bath, but luxury comes in small packages, too. Case in point: this compact master bath, which boasts a light-as-air look and pampering shower accessories. "The space had good bones to start with, but I wanted to give it a dose of personality and a larger appearance," says designer Yanic Simard. "The clear glass fixed shower panel, frosted inset cabinet door, floating vanity and airy porcelain tiles visually open up the space, while the mosaic-tiled shower niche adds pleasing variety without appearing busy. The deep toned vanity adds a rich counterpoint without adding too much weight, for a perfect balance of materials."

Photo By: Brandon Barre; brandonbarre.com

Steamy Dream

In a personal steam room, designer and architect Peter Rose created sculpted body recliners to provide a truly relaxing experience. "The undulating forms of the recliners are tied to the rectilinear forms of the wall through the integration of mosaic tile on both. Glazed porcelain wall tiles provide an elegant and immaculate spa counterpoint," says Rose.

Photo By: Ed White; edwhitephotography.com

Waterfront Retreat

For a beach house with spectacular ocean views, designer Molly Frey created a master bath oasis influenced by the watery tones of its setting. Spa-like amenities include a large shower with a combination of marble and glass tile, multiple shower heads and body sprays, a large soaking tub, radiant heated marble floors and custom-built vanities with frosted-glass detailing. "We even added a shelf to hold an iPad at the vanity, a heated towel rack and linen storage built into the eave," says Frey.

Photo By: Molly Frey, Molly Frey Design; www.mollyfreydesign.com

Old World Elegance

In some projects, the bath is the last space to get the designer's magic touch. But in this renovation, the master bathroom was the first priority. Designer Andrea Schumacher created a rich, classic look by pairing khaki-colored grasscloth wallcoverings with blue-and-white Suzani-style draperies that perfectly frame the piece-de-resistance: The freestanding cast iron tub. "The mother-of-pearl fireplace surround lends a hint of glam to the room," says Schumacher.

Green and Gorgeous

Not only overflowing with pampering amenities — multiple shower heads, a built-in bench, integrated storage niches — this walk-in spa shower boasts green cred, to boot: "The luxe-looking limestone wall tile is actually Lithoverde, the only natural stone comprised of 99-percent post-industrial recycled and reclaimed material," says architect Kevin Yoder. A skylight floods the shower with sunshine, a feature the owners cite as one of their favorites.

Grand Impact

A mix of gleaming glass and warm natural materials give this enormous master bath a look that is at once airy and grounded. Designer Magued Barsoum created a focal point in the large space by nestling the freestanding tub in the semi-surround of the bay window; a large walk-in shower features Rainforest Green granite trim and a heated towel rack.

Fit for Two

Designed with the needs of a couple in mind, this master bath features dual vanities joined by a show-stopping two-person whirlpool tub. The tub's square shape plays up the room's linear theme: Designer Carla Aston chose to repeat rectangular elements throughout the space to create a clean, modern look.

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