Bathroom Trends and Money Saving Tips

As discussed on the Pete and Brenda radio show, to be aired , 3/17/10, 12:40pm & 9:40pm PST:   Stream live from the Web           

Bathroom Trends and Money Saving Tips 

You can justify remodeling your bathroom(s) because it is one of the best ways to increase your home’s value!  And if you get it done before you put your home up for sale, (if ever), you can enjoy the fruits of your investment and /or labor.           


Bathroom design has recently been somewhat more modest after we quit experiencing the rapid appreciation in home values during 1995 – 2005 .   According to the latest Home Design Trends Survey (HDTS) from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), more homeowners are choosing to remodel and renovate, rather than move into a bigger house or install fancy appliances. People are now moving away from glitzy features such as steam showers and towel warming drawers/racks, and instead looking for energy-efficient/greener options such as water-saving toilets, radiant heated flooring and LED lighting options.          

Popular bathroom products and features, 2008 – 2009           

Water saving toilets: 63% 57%
Radiant heated floors: 52% 50%
Accessibility / universal design: 50% 52%
LED lighting: 49% 41%
Doorless showers: 47% 50%
Hand showers: 36% 45%
Linen closet / storage: 29% 25%          

Click on photo for larger view

 Out:  Over excess of 1980’s and big, bulky tubs that don’t get used much          

In:  Luxury is going to the showers and vertical spa systems, i.e. custom shower systems. 

In:  Frameless glass showers that disappear into the room;  walk-in, door-less showers, showing off beautiful tile work.  Walk-in showers are not only stylish, but can accommodate inhabitants in their later years          

In:  Water conservation thru shower heads:  Moen and Envi are two such brands.          


In:   Free standing sink vanities that function more as piece of furniture than a utilitarian sink…          



Interiors by Decorating Den

Interiors by Decorating Den


In powder rooms you have more creative freedom with the walls because you don’t have to worry about moisture like you do in baths with a shower and/or tub…          



Easy Powder Room Facelift:  View an earlier post for more great ideas           


In:  Decorative mirrors above sink vanities… 



© Interiors by Decorating Den

 Money Saving Tips:          

 A great place to start is making your current surfaces shine.  Here are some helpful tips I found on          

Don’t replace a yucky shower door: Just scour it.  Instead of replacing grimy glass shower door, clean it with a mixture of one part muriatic acid and about 10 parts water. Scrub with steel wool. After wiping it down, reinstall the door.          

Grimy bathroom walls:  An easy way to get rid of surface mold: Mix a spray bottle with one part water and one part bleach. Just spray it on the wall, and watch the mold disappear. Give it a fresh coat of paint, and your grimy bathroom will go from red flag to red-hot.  This also helps clean up shower grout.          

Avoid dated tile by painting:  A low-cost alternative to replacing the tile is to use paint. First coat the tiles with a high-adhesion primer. Next, brush on a special ceramic epoxy covering. For a fraction of the cost of new tile, you will have a new look and an up-to-date bathroom!          

Wall surfaces          

Create an accent wall with tile.  Typically the sink wall is a great area for this…          

HGTV_RMS_Vicki_ Born

Low-cost tile tricks           

– Mix small quantities of the fancy tiles in with the less expensive tiles for a custom, high-end look.           

  Create a creative accent wall with tile by adding a vertical column running up the wall in the more extensive accent tile, and surround it with standard tile.  The vertical column will create drama and make your ceiling look taller.           

–   Purchasing stock tile keeps cost down


Create an accent wall by adding texture with joint compound and paint shades…         

Click on photos for a larger view…                       

Textured accent wall using joint compound

Here’s a great tip–  Joint compound holds up to moisture well for texturing a wall, while you can’t use faux wall texture products in moisture areas.           

The wall above has 3 shades of gray and dabs of metallic silver applied with a sea sponge roller, and small pieces of sea sponge, then blended with a thick roller brush.    On the counter, inexpensive black granite tiles were applied over the old laminate countertop, and stock trim from Lowes was used on the edges.  Add a new faucet and suddenly the vintage 1950’s pink sink looks cool again!  


Bath Fixtures:  Shop around on Ebay and Craig’s list, as these can get expensive.   While it can be risky to do plumbing work yourself, it’s not a big deal to replace faucets on your own.  This is a great way to update a sink area… not to be overlooked!  Tips & instructions for replacing a faucet.          


Accessories are a great place to shave costs by shopping for bargains, so you can save the big bucks to splurge on items that will have a bigger impact, such as a Jacuzzi tub.          


For bath hooks and towel bars think out of the box.  For example you can use fun coat hooks as towel hooks…         

Interiors by Decorating Den

Ahhh, these accessories add a luxurious, tropical feel without spending an arm and a leg….               

Interiors by Decorating Den


  • Ask the stone and solid surface suppliers for remnants of stone. This is a great way to afford a beautiful stone solid surface countertop. 
  • Tile is actually very affordable and an excellent way to upgrade the look of the bath by using it for bathtub shower surrounds, floors, walls, and countertops. It’s the labor that can really add up. So if you learn to do this on your own, you can have a great look at a very reasonable price!
  • Install tile over laminate: I have had this done on several countertops and it works great if done right… Here are directions to do it yourself
  • A soapstone top, with its river rock color and matte finish, has a warmer look than polished granite. You can get the look of a solid surface countertop without relying on a fabricator to cut and install. You can cut to your specs using woodworking tools. Slabs start at about $25 per square foot.

Window treatments:  Don’t skimp by leaving out window treatments. Your options are endless in a powder room, but in rooms with showers and baths, make sure they’re washable or dry cleanable.

© Interiors by Decorating Den

© Interiors by Decorating Den



You don’t need to spend a lot on your window treatments.  Notice how simple the above treatments are, while still adding impact.  

For shades and blinds, you want to make sure they hold up to moisture as well.  Faux wood blinds are great, such as Hunter Douglas Palm Beach™ polysatin shutters or EverWood® X-tra blinds …These products are made from materials that are guaranteed to never warp, chip, crack or fade even in the most extreme temperatures. They are ultra easy to clean as well.           






 Above:  This bath didn’t need a remodel, but notice the big difference the window coverings and change in lighting made!          

Light fixtures:          

–   Easier and less expensive than you may think…  Many inexpensive options can be found at Lowes, Home Depot  or spray paint your existing fixture…. This is an excellent area to work on because updating your light fixtures can really make a big difference!          

–  Get creative, think out of the box— consider outdoor light fixtures, chandeliers, etc          

–   Learn to install on your own.  Here is a video for dummies

Vanities:   In the master bath you can add a lot of value and functionality with double sinks.  Double sink, free-standing vanities are fabulous, but they cost approximately $700 – $2,000.  If that puts you over your budget, here are some of my favorite cost-cutting ideas from This Old House and HGTV…      

Vintage washstand
Set between matching pedestal sinks, a tiled-back washstand creates a his-and-hers vanity for a lot less coin than a new dresser-style model. Expect to pay about $250 for a similar washstand at antiques or thrift shops.            


 Wall-Hung Mirrors:  Easy-to-hang flush-mount mirrors don’t require wall-busting construction like recessed medicine cabinets do. Find similarly elegant oval models with beveled edges for about $99; Pottery Barn,  Home Depot, Lowes          

Sideboard vanity:  A mirrored dining room buffet replaces both a run-of-the-mill medicine chest and a sink cabinet. Paint it the same color as the walls to give it a built-in look. Find a buffet for your bath at flea markets for about $400.     


 Curved backsplash
A custom demilune backsplash gives this painted wood vanity the look of a vintage washstand. Instead of warp-prone wood, use a sheet of marine-grade polymer that’s easy to cut with a jigsaw and never needs paint, about $76 for a ½-inch-thick, 24-by-27-inch sheet; Jamestown Distributors      


Simple skirted sink:  A gingham curtain hides exposed plumbing, and punches up a white and cream color scheme. 
Save on vanities in the master bath with this great look:  A double sink, free-standing vanity is a larger investment that you can save on by combining two smaller pedestal sinks such as these shown at left.  And for the necessary storage, add standard, stock cabinet in between…    


Add storage when you take away a linen closet for a bath expansion:    Add cabinetry above your double sink vanity…   



15 Responses to “Bathroom Trends and Money Saving Tips”
  1. MarK Darvin says:

    Your article is very topical for me. Thanks for the information. I really liked your blog. I add this blog into bookmark.

  2. PiterJankovich says:

    My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

  3. interiordesignlondon says:

    Good tips, good tips. All is good.

  4. Amazing tips, it’s very very usefull…

  5. we are always using stainless steel shower heads for our bathroom *

  6. I love the photo of (This old house) i think that the design is vintage and modern at the same time .The him and her sinks look very beautiful together and the dark wood makes the bathroom come to life . I also really like how the mirror trim is the same as the units Beautiful .

  7. ukhotdeals says:

    Thank you for very informative post of yours. You have explained everything well. I appreciate that you shared this to us.

  8. That’s a lot of bathroom designs. I like the one with the circular bath, makes the area more spacious.

  9. plumbing says:

    Every single details are becoming modern including the style of faucet which makes an attractive appeal because of it’s style and unique design.Truly that most of homeowners are becoming decorative in terms of beautifying their bathroom place.

  10. Simply wish to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is simply great and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the enjoyable work.

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