How to Update Your Master Bathroom

An outdated master bathroom is one of the first things you see in the morning and one of the last places you visit at night. While a full bathroom renovation may not be in the budget, changing the wall color, new towels and fixtures might be all it takes. If you don’t replace the tile, tub, shower or toilet and can keep the cabinets, you’ll save quite a bit of money.

Visit a bookstore that has a wide variety of home magazines such as “Better Homes and Garden,” “Sunset Magazine,” “Family Circle,” “House and Garden,” and “Beautiful Home.” The magazine racks will also contain special issue publications on home decor, bathroom renovation and interior decorating. Pull a stack of these magazines and see which ones have articles on bathrooms. Bring them home with you. If you’re updating a bathroom, magazines are better resources than books. Magazines are trendier than books, which take from 12 to 18 months to get to publication after they’ve been written and photographed.

Page through the magazines and pull out photos of bathrooms that appeal to you. These tear sheets will be the basis for your update. After you’ve gone through the magazines, start comparing the photos you like to determine what appealed to you. For example, you might find that a clean-lined serene spa-like bathroom is what you like, rather than the cheery flowered bathroom you thought you wanted.

Put the towels in the bathroom so you can see which colors go with the tile that’s already in place. Retiling a master bathroom is a big undertaking, so if you can use what’s there, you’ll save time and money. After you’ve selected the towels you like best, take them to the paint store and choose a color for the walls that’s several shades lighter than the towels. Be aware that certain colors will change the way skin tones look. Green may throw a greenish cast on your complexion, while pink makes skin slightly pinker. Since the master bathroom may be where you’ll be putting on makeup, that’s important to keep in mind.

Paint a broad swatch of your selected color on one wall of the bathroom. See how it changes in natural light and incandescent lighting. Getting ready for work often means getting up before the sun rises and using the bathroom with incandescent lighting. If the paint works out, paint the bathroom the new color.

Return the towels that didn’t work for the bathroom and purchase enough bath towels, hand towels and washcloths in the colors that did work. You only need enough to place on the racks as part of the decor. Use older towels or buy inexpensive white towels to use for showering and bathing.