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9 Bathroom Ideas for an Instant New Look

Does your bathroom need a quick pick-me-up? Check out these great ideas. They'll transform your bathroom from blah to brilliant in short order.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Install a vinyl wood plank floor

Installing a floating vinyl wood plank floor is as close to “instant” as flooring gets. Luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP) works extremely well in moisture-prone areas like bathrooms.

Lumber Liquidators' Tranquility Easy Click vinyl wood plank flooring (Rio Rosewood is pictured) is a floating floor that goes down easily and looks amazingly authentic. It can be installed with or without underlayment. It's affordable, easy to clean, moisture resistant and durable. And it looks gorgeous.

There are many other LVP varieties available in the Tranquility series, including African Mahogany, Antique Oak and Golden Teak. Prices range from $1.50 to $4 per sq. ft. Visit lumberliquidators.com for more information. This article will show you how to install luxury vinyl flooring.

Hang a shelf over your towel bar

For some reason, once the towel bar goes up, we don't consider the wall usable for anything else. Why not hang a shelf for toiletries and decorative items? Just make sure to mount the shelf high enough so it allows easy access to your towels.

Switch your light switch

Does your bathroom light get left on a lot? Lutron's Maestro occupancy sensor switch can solve that problem and save you up to $25 a year. It installs just like a light switch and automatically turns lights on when you enter and off when you leave. It senses daylight, so it turns on the lights only when necessary, and it works with all types of lightbulbs, including LEDs. The Maestro includes a push-button manual control switch and is available as a dimming sensor as well. It doesn't require a neutral. It's available at home centers and online. Learn more at lutron.com.

Install a new tub/shower trim kit

Give your shower an instant face-lift by swapping out your existing showerhead, handle and tub spout for new ones. To make this a painless switch, buy a trim kit that uses the existing trim valve—you won't have to touch anything inside the wall.

Before you buy, check the manufacturer's Web site for specs, styles and finishes. Also check your tub spout to see if it slips on or is threaded so you can buy the right replacement. You can buy complete trim kits or buy each component separately at home centers, plumbing suppliers and online retailers.

Add a second medicine cabinet—and shelves!

Here's a way to add more storage and bump up the sophistication of your bathroom. Mount matching medicine cabinets and add shelves between them. To support these shelves, we drilled holes in the sides of the cabinets and inserted adjustable shelf pegs. The shelves are simply boards finished to match the cabinets. This makes the most of the wall space above your toilet and sink. You could also mount something similar over a double sink setup. The cabinets can be surface mounted or recessed. The shelves give the unit a nice finished quality. Medicine cabinets start at under $100 each.

Hang a mirror behind the door

The wall behind the bathroom door goes unused because the door will hit anything that protrudes. Hang a mirror there. You'll still be able to use the back of the door to hang robes and towels. The mirror will instantly make the bathroom feel larger. And it's nice to be able to check whether your shirt is tucked in before you head out into the world. Full-length mirrors cost as little as $30 at home centers.

Add a ceramic shower shelf

Toss that grungy plastic storage shelf you have hanging over your showerhead and install a classy ceramic corner shelf instead. These are available at tile shops. Make sure you get a “flat-back” shelf and clean all the soap scum off the tile so the bond will hold well. Tape around the area where the shelf will go (place the shelf in the middle of a tile so grout lines won't run through the caulk). Scuff the tile with 80-grit sandpaper. This gives the silicone caulk some- thing to adhere to other than the slick tile.

Install the ultimate shower curtain rod

This is a twofer. A curved shower curtain rod is an affordable luxury that makes you feel a lot less claustrophobic taking a shower. Having just that extra few inches of space means you don't constantly brush against the shower curtain every time you raise your arm.

And a double curved shower curtain is just plain clever. You can hang towels on the outer rod, which buys you drying space and puts your towel right where you need it. Or you can hang your liner and your curtain on separate rods. You may need an extra-long liner since the curve pulls the hem of the shower liner higher in the tub. You can find a variety of double rods, both curved and straight, in different finishes at online retailers, bath shops and department stores.

Get a fabric shower curtain liner

Talk about your cheap thrills. Spend 10 bucks on a polyester shower curtain liner (sometimes called a “hotel” liner) instead of a plastic one and you'll never go back. Unlike plastic, it dries very quickly, so you’ll have less mold and mildew. It lasts longer, it's machine washable, it's soft against your skin and it doesn't have a funky plastic smell. What's not to like? The liners are $10 to $30 at online retailers, bath shops and department stores.

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