Bathroom items you need to upgrade at the next opportunity – elevate your home instantly

Want a spa-like bathroom? These six simple swaps could be all it takes

Traditional bathroom with modern vanity and freestanding bath
(Image credit: Julie Soefer/Marie Flanigan Interiors)

Bathrooms are one of the less appreciated powerhouses of our homes. We depend on them morning and night to help us get ready and reset – so it only makes sense that the items we use there are of the highest quality. 

If you are looking to update your bathroom without replacing it, some simple swaps will instantly elevate this space, even if you don't have the time or budget for a full spa bathroom

These are the six bathroom items you need to upgrade at the next opportunity, according to designers, and why they make such a difference. 

Bathroom items you need to upgrade

Much like the kitchen items you need to upgrade, focusing on swapping out the things you use daily will help elevate your space and your experience. Changing out old towels and fixtures, for instance, will change how your bathroom looks while adding a touch of luxury to your morning routine. What’s not to like?  

1. Make way for a new mirror

White bathroom with large mirror

(Image credit: White Arrow)

If you feel your bathroom is looking a bit dated, or you want to update the space on a budget, changing out your bathroom mirror is the first place to start, suggests Sarah Storms, interior designer and Founder of Styled by Storms

‘I like to use an oversized, simple mirror – think round or a 'soft' rectangle (curved edges). It's an intentional change for the rest of the room, and it will increase the amount of light just by adding a more reflective surface.’

Interior Designer
Sarah Storms
Interior Designer
Sarah Storms

Sarah Storms is an interior designer based in Maplewood, New Jersey. After a career that spanned the US and Europe, Sarah launched her studio in January 2021 – allowing her unique background and creative passion for interiors, textiles, and color to shine through.

2. Switch out soft textiles

Luxury bathroom scheme with Mandarin Stone 's Calacatta Viola polished marble tiles

(Image credit: Future)

One thing we should be upgrading in your bathrooms regularly is our bathroom rugs, mats, and best towels. Not only do they eventually wear out, but they can harbor bad odors after a few years, meaning swapping them out will help make a bathroom smell nice

‘Nobody wants to step on cold tile when they get out of the shower, but you don't have to stick to your typical run-of-the-mill boring bath mat to keep your feet feeling cozy,’ begins Allison Garrison, interior designer and owner of Allito Spaces. ‘A vintage wool rug is a great addition to the bathroom that you can mix and match with solid color bath mats. If you are worried about the maintenance, you can also find some gorgeous vintage-look rugs that are washable.’

These quick swaps help to make a bathroom feel cozy, too, so what’s not to like?  

Allison Garrison
Allison Garrison

Allito Spaces are the creators of vacation-inspired homes for design-minded clients.  Importers of color, pattern and global style into Southern California beach bungalows, cottages and modern residences.

3. Elevate bathroom lighting

modern bathroom vanity and cabinetry by Studio LIFESTYLE

(Image credit: Studio LIFE/STYLE)

Bathroom lighting is essential to help us get ready for the day and bed. Swapping out your vanity lighting will increase functionality and elevate your space too, says. Nikki N. Klugh, principal interior designer and Founder of Nikki Klugh Design Group:

‘Use beautiful sconces and/or a chandelier to add a sense of luxury to your bathroom. This will help bring in metallics, better lighting, and a feeling of calm when you are getting ready in the morning or winding down at night.’

Nikki Klugh
Nikki Klugh

Nikki Klugh studied at the Art Institute in Albuquerque, NM, and has been transforming spaces as far back as she can remember. She is a professional member of ASID and IIDA, with 20 years of interior design experience and design certifications.

4. Swap out tactile fixtures

Neutral bathroom by Adrian Dagli of IW Studio with lilac vanity

(Image credit: IW Studio, photograph by Margaret Austin)

Anything you touch daily should be the highest quality you can source and afford. Not only does it feel and look nicer, but it will stand up to years of use and abuse. As such, when upgrading bathroom items, your fixtures and bathroom vanity should be at the top of your priority list, suggests the bathroom design experts at Vanities Depot:

‘Upgrading your bathroom fixtures, such as faucets, can significantly enhance both the aesthetic and functionality of your space. Consider choosing a high-quality faucet that complements your bathroom's overall design theme. Shiny metallics bring in sophisticated glamor, and brushed golds show up in a variety of finishes. Adding metallic accents to bathroom hardware or faucets plays on this trend. 

‘Then, consider materials such as high-quality wood and choose a style that complements your bathroom's design aesthetic for your vanity. Whether it's modern, traditional, or contemporary, if you are looking for a big update, select a green or blue vanity to provide a pop of color in your bathroom and a new focal point. 

‘Additionally, selecting a vanity with a luxurious material like quartz countertops can elevate the overall look of your bathroom.’

5. Upgrade bathroom storage

bathroom with double vanity, mirror and drawers

(Image credit: Future PLC)

To maintain its practicality, it is always useful to upgrade and expand your bathroom storage whenever you have the chance. This helps with both organizing a bathroom for a better morning routine and keeping the space looking neat to improve your relaxation in the space, shares designer Nikki Klugh. 

‘Adding wall cabinetry or a new vanity with better storage options will make your bathroom feel serene the minute you walk in because there will be less clutter on the counter or around the bathroom,’ she says. 

For a quicker or more affordable upgrade, add storage bins and turntables to keep backstock and regularly used products tidy and in easy reach, helping to stop overspending. 

6. Enhance the experience with nice soap

design a home that makes you feel good, bathroom with green and white wide stripe wallpaper, twin basins, rattan mirrors and accessories, white vanity, patterned floor tiles

(Image credit: Caitlin Kah Interiors / Carmel Brantley)

‘It sounds so simple, but luxury hand soap makes every trip to the bathroom an experience,’ says Allison Garrison, interior designer. ‘The feel of the lather and the quality of the scent will leave you feeling like you just left a fancy restaurant or high-end spa. It's a small moment of self-care and pampering that is so simple to implement.’ 

JO MALONE Oud & Bergamot Body & Hand Wash | View at Net-A-Porter

JO MALONE Oud & Bergamot Body & Hand Wash | View at Net-A-Porter
Infused with antioxidant-rich Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Jo Malone's body and hand wash conditions and nourishes the skin without stripping away moisture. 


What adds the most value to a bathroom? 

If you want to increase the value of your bathroom, changing out the larger fixtures, such as your bath and shower, for spa alternatives, such as a steam shower, and upgrading the vanity to a built-in unit with storage is the way to go.  

How do I add luxury to my bathroom?  

When adding a touch of luxury to your existing bathroom, consider swapping out the items you use regularly for higher-quality alternatives. This could be as simple as changing out towels to soft cotton ones or as intensive as completely changing your faucets. They may not seem like big changes, but they will have a noticeable tactile difference that will make your bathroom routine far more luxurious. 

When upgrading these bathroom items, opt for timeless alternatives rather than follow bathroom trends to ensure your bathroom remains a space you will love for years to come. You can always include trends in the smaller details of your space, such as the wall color or artwork – things that can easily and cheaply be replaced if you ever change your mind.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.