DIY Network

Tips for Sprucing Up a Bathroom

Old bathrooms have charm. Though some sprucing might be necessary, conserving the gracious look intended when it was built might be the best way to go.

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Keep and capitalize on the room's attractiveness. Play up its vintage look by bringing in antiques or collectibles or that same generation. Select wall coverings and fabrics appropriate to the room's age. Flea markets are a great place to find treasures of this kind.

To visually lower an unpleasantly high ceiling, paint it a darker color or run a heavily patterned wall covering on it. Anything that attracts the eye makes the space advance. In other words, it will look smaller than it really is.

Aging ceramic tile or vinyl can be covered up with a warm-colored carpet or area rug. The bathroom will look good to the eye as well as feel good underfoot.

Though large windows are sometimes viewed as a problem area in big, old bathrooms, they can actually be a blessing. Dress the windows with an appropriately elaborate hand. Fabrics or sheets that coordinate with the wall covering are a good solution. Use the same material on shower curtains.

Consider skirting an old-fashioned sink.

For a whimsical-looking bath, try painting a mural on one or more walls. The motifs are easily transferred from greeting cards, puzzles, wallpaper prints and such. Simply enlarge the design on graph paper, cut it out, trace onto the wall and paint.

Most outdated bathrooms suffer from lack of storage space, poor lighting, difficult-to-clean surfaces or worn walls and floors.

To add storage, shelves above the commode are a quick, easy and inexpensive solution. Depending on the decor, select from acrylic, glass and brass, wood or mica. Another attractive storage idea is a portable cart. Cosmetics and towels can be close at hand and be attractively displayed as well.

To improve lighting, rack lighting is a quick and inexpensive way to add light. Be sure not to place the light directly overhead or behind your head when standing at the mirror. This will cast ugly shadows. Attaching period fixtures to the wall flanking the mirror adds charm. Use the maximum wattage on the lamps that the manufacturer allows.

To make easy-to-clean surfaces, re-cover the vanity in mica, tile, marble or Corian. The expense will be justified in time saved cleaning and it will give you and your family and guests visual pleasure.

To repair worn walls and floors, the method of repair will depend on the extent of the damage. Wallpaper does wonders in covering up the uglies. A liner applied under the paper will help smooth rough spots. Covering the floor with padding and carpet will help hide unpleasant tiles, vinyl, terrazzo or wood.

The bathroom is a place we go to refresh and rejuvenate. Take the time to evaluate your needs before you revamp. The effort will be repaid many times over.

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