(ARA) - An outdated kitchen may be inconvenient and unappealing, but a behind-the-times bath can be downright demoralizing. Shabby bathrooms are not only no fun to live with, they're a big turn-off to potential buyers.
But in today's economy -- and in a buyers' real estate market -- it doesn't pay to go overboard and over-spend on a bathroom remodel. A major remodel not only strains your wallet, it can result in overly personalizing the bath into something that won't appeal to a broad range of potential buyers.
"These days, less really can be more when it comes to remodeling your bathroom," says Dan Auer of Faucet.com, a leading online retailer of decorative plumbing products. "A mini-makeover can give you the beautiful bathroom you crave, without breaking your budget. And you can create a space that is attractive to both you and buyers when the time comes to sell your home."
Any remodeling project that doesn't require you to dip into your savings or go in debt to accomplish it can qualify as a "mini-makeover." It's possible to make a big difference in your bathroom with as little as a few hundred or as much as a few thousand dollars. You can save even more time and money by shopping online and by doing the work yourself.
First, start with the walls. Obviously, tearing down walls and relocating plumbing can't be categorized as a "mini-makeover." But you can do a lot with your walls for very little money, from simply repainting to adding texture and art work. Don't forget towel bars, towel rings and shelving; these necessities can do double duty as decorative elements as well.
Next, consider the focal points in the room -- namely, the fixtures and mirror. If you're working with a budget of a few hundred dollars, you probably won't be able to replace the old commode with a low-flush, designer model or retile the shower stall. But you can upgrade the faucets on your sink, tub and shower, replace or beautify the mirror, and switch out a utilitarian showerhead for something more luxurious, like a rainfall or massaging showerhead.
For just a little more investment, you can replace an old cabinet-style sink and vanity with a stylish pedestal model. If you're committed to cabinets in the bath, be sure to replace outdated door handles and drawer pulls with a more contemporary style. Many designers now offer handles and pulls in finishes like brushed nickel or bronze that coordinate with your bath accessories.
Lighting can also revive a bath. An overhead light and/or light directly above the mirror are necessities, but you needn't sacrifice beauty for functionality. Replace dated dressing room style bulb-bars with sconces or a fixture that features decorative shades. Swap out old incandescent lights with energy-efficient alternatives and you're not only beautifying the room, but reducing energy costs as well.
As a crowning touch, tie the room together with accessories. A new shower curtain and matching window treatment can give the bath a fresh look. Decorative hand towels placed on a towel ring beside the vanity are both practical and pretty. And don't forget to throw in a touch of indulgence, whether it's some high-end scented candles or a luxurious towel warmer.
Finally, remember that time is money, even when you're doing your mini-makeover yourself. Take advantage of online resources, like Faucet.com, to avoid wasting gas driving around looking for just the right products or the frustration of trying to find what you want in a big box store. The site offers thousands of products and plenty of ideas for your bathroom mini-makeover project - plus friendly customer service that's easily available over the phone.
"The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the house," says Auer. "Easy updates will make sure it's more enjoyable for both you and your guests." Courtesy of ARAcontent