Most 1970s and 1980s bathrooms have common traits: single sinks, large plain mirrors, vinyl-sheet flooring, plastic crystal faucets highlighted with chrome details and cultured faux marble vanities.
To help redesign these old-style bathrooms, interior designers offer several do-it-yourself tricks that will turn old bathrooms into upscale, stylish designs that are sure to impress guests.
- Design Plan – Consider budget constraints when remodeling a bathroom. The biggest bang for your buck is new lighting, new mirrors, tile countertops, larger double sinks, elegant faucets, refinished cabinets, cabinet hardware, custom built in shelves and repainted walls.
- Custom Countertop – Some countertops are not standard depths and lengths. Instead of investing in expensive natural materials, such as upscale cultured stone or granite, marble mosaic tiles are an inexpensive, high-class alternative. Trim the tile in water-resistant cedar to give it up an upscale, finished appearance. Homeowners should make sure the finish on the cedar blends well with the color palettes, not contrasting and making it stand out. For a homemade finish that blends well with silver accents, consider staining wood with steel wool soaked in white vinegar. This gives a rustic appearance that blends perfectly with nickel coated hardware, faucets and custom mirrors’ trims.
- Counter Space – To achieve more counter space, consider building a new countertop. The standard countertop measures 25 inches and a typical deep sink is 20 inches. The latest style for bathroom sinks is square shapes with rolled edges, which help create additional usable space, making them perfect for smaller areas.
- Cabinets – If the vanity is still in decent shape, consider refinishing the wood or simply replacing the front of the cabinets. Use coordinating door hardware that matches or blends with faucet finishes for a uniform, custom appearance.
- Cabinet Space – To help maximize small bathroom storage, consider adding custom fit storage shelves underneath the cabinets. Have the shelf custom fit to accommodate plumbing. These shelves are ideal for storing necessities, supplies, baskets and plastic organizational containers.
- Mirrors – Consider either a custom wall mirror or rectangle mirror to replace the standard contractor-grade frameless plate-glass mirror. Contractor-grade mirrors lack personality and fail to make a design statement. These are often glued directly to the wall, which means that you may need to hire a professional to remove the mirror so it does not shatter. Another excellent option is framing the mirror, but most designers recommend using two matching rectangle mirrors with coordinating wood or metal tones.
- Medicine Cabinets – Old-style homes always had medicine cabinets. It is hard to find replacements for these old-style designs. Consider framing the exterior of the mirror in a whitewashed cedar or a color that matches the bathroom cabinets for a custom, built-in look.
- Toilet – The separate toilet area is often bleak and depressing. Consider adding floating glass shelves above the cabinet to organize towels, bathroom necessities and other items. Consider hanging custom mirrors to help reflect more light in these dark, windowless areas. Another option is using reclaimed pallets to highlight the area behind the toilet. Sand the rough wood planks to remove any rough edges and treat with a steel wool and white vinegar solution. Hang floating palette shelves and adorn with mementos, such as cute books, bookends, candles, intense, magazines and other personalized items.
- Lighting – Newer lighting fixtures focus on adding light and directing brightness towards sinks, which makes it easy for homeowners to brush their teeth, apply cosmetics and complete their daily routines.
- Shower – Most contractors used standard fiberglass shower and tub combinations. Consider adding a tiled shower for more warmth and an upscale appearance. Homeowners can opt for glass shower doors or a colorful shower curtain.
- Master Bathrooms – There are several must-haves when renovating master bathrooms. Not only do these upscale amenities make it more enjoyable to spend time relaxing in an oversized, custom bathroom, but it also helps resale home values.
- Ceramic Tile Shower – Consider using 12-inch by 12-inch ceramic tiles for a custom appearance. Ceramic tiles are very easy to clean, making it simple to remove dust and fungi.
- Shower Heads – Consider adding a custom multi-head showerhead with different pulsating massage heads for the ultimate relaxing spa retreat.
- Two Sinks – Two sinks are standard in today’s bathrooms. This also includes adding dual custom mirrors for separate vanity areas.
- Separate Toilet – Today’s master bathrooms opt for a separate toilet area, which allows for maximum privacy.
- Walk-In Closet – Master bathrooms, by definition, should have the largest, well-organized closets in any house. Consider using built-ins and upgrade organizational units to keep spaces clean and clutter-free.
- His and Hers – For larger-style bathrooms, his and hers towel racks create a separate, yet unified space for couples.
- Bathtub – Master bathrooms feature five pieces, which by definition means a separate bathtub, shower, two sinks and a toilet. An extra large soaking tub is an attractive master bathroom element. Consider adding candles and other small bath accessories for a spa-like look.
- Counter Space – Today’s bathrooms are incorporating more counter space, including vanity areas. Built-in towel racks and accessory areas are also becoming more common.
- Cabinet Space – With no shortage of cabinet space, today’s modern day homes offer plenty of organization for stowing toiletries, makeup, towels, washcloths and other everyday necessities.
- Sitting Area – For extra large master bedrooms and bathrooms, designers incorporate a relaxing sitting area, much like a spa retreat. This gives homeowners a space to decompress, relax, read or simply have a do-it-yourself manicure and pedicure day.
- Artwork – Do not forget artwork in bathrooms, as these colorful wall hangings help tie colors together, adding brightness to areas that lack natural lighting.
- Warming Lamp – Luxurious and popular in the 1970s, a warming lamp helps keep bathrooms warm after showers, which is perfect for people and fur babies alike.
- Mirrors – Select matching and coordinating mirrors, using them to highlight areas above countertops, in separate toilet areas, above oversize bathrooms and hanging above vanities.