18 Bathroom Updates You Can Do in a Day

The bathroom may not be the venue of choice for your next social gathering, but on any given day, it receives a number of visitors—and for that reason alone, it's worth paying extra attention to the design and decor of your bathroom. Consider too that bathroom upgrades can have a great return on investment. Fortunately, you don't have to spend a lot of time, money, or effort to transform your bathroom for the better. Even if you're not in the market for a full bathroom renovation, consider a DIY makeover using one of these 18 update ideas. With a bit of inspiration and basic skills, you can accomplish each one of these projects in just a day's time.

  1. Paint a Mood

    Painted Bathroom

    Oh, what a coat of paint can do—especially a tranquil watercolor shade of blue against pure white. The restful combination will make you feel like you’re visiting your own oasis.

    Quaker Rose

  2. Windowsill Arboretum

    Bathroom Plants

    Even in a small space with artificial light and lots of humidity, many houseplants will thrive. Bring the outside in with bath-loving plants like aloe, azaleas, and ferns.


  3. Make a Splash

    DIY Tile Backsplash

    Tiling a bathroom doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. Choose a small space—for example, above the sink—and lay a tile backsplash to add interest.


  4. Make the Pulls Pop

    Replace Bathroom Hardware

    There’s nothing like a new set of cabinet hardware to refresh a room. The possibilities are endless: Go modern, rustic, or vintage, or as in this case, pick a style that literally “pulls” the bathroom together.


  5. A Reason for Vanity

    Paint Bathroom Vanity

    Don’t replace your vanity—paint it! Whether you opt for a color to blend in and match the walls or an alternative bright shade to set it off from the rest, a paint job is guaranteed to give the whole room a facelift.


  6. Mirror Art

    Modern Bathroom Mirrors

    Replacing a bland mirror with a couple of more artful versions can help a bathroom feel a bit less sterile. Making mirrors yourself, with the addition of vintage frames or a wide grosgrain ribbon at the top, will give your mirrors a style all your own.

    My Home Ideas

  7. Get Down to Brass Tacks

    Brass Bathroom Fixtures

    If you have dated brass fixtures, achieving an updated look is easier than you may think. From towel bars to toilet paper holders to lighting, a coat of spray paint can completely transform your collection. If you like a less glossy look, companies like Rust-Oleum offer several sprays in an antique finish.


  8. Blind Them with Style

    Wood Blinds

    Wooden plantation blinds really pull together a room, and you can never go wrong with classic white. If you have some odd-size windows, custom blinds are readily available from such online retailers as blinds.com.

    Related: 8 Decorating Solutions for Tricky Windows


  9. Refresh the Accents

    New Shower Curtain

    Even if you never pick up a hammer or nail, you’ll feel like you’re walking into a transformed space if the accents are new. If you have neutral walls and fixtures, here’s your chance to be bold with the shower curtain, towels, and rug!


  10. Hook It Up

    Bathroom Hooks

    Although you usually see these in a foyer, a simple shelf or bar with hooks is right at home in a bathroom. If you have an open wall near the tub, adding hooks will ensure that your towels and robe are always at the ready.

    Following Friends

  11. Be Spa-Minded

    Bathroom Displays

    Details can be delightful. Why keep your cotton balls and Q-tips under the sink when you can display them in pretty glass jars like these? Or, if glass in the bathroom seems like an invitation to disaster, score a few low-profile rattan baskets to store your wares.

    Pottery Barn

  12. Say It with a Stencil

    Bathroom Wall Stencil

    A wall-to-wall stencil covering a solid paint color will give you the look of wallpaper without the pesky peeling problem that can plague humid areas. It will take some patience to do this yourself, but the result will be well worth it.

    SAS Interiors

  13. Sitting Pretty

    DIY Toilet Replacement

    In comparison with some of the other appliances in your home, swapping out a toilet isn’t terribly difficult. A new commode will make a dramatic difference. Visit Buildipedia for a video tutorial on how to do it yourself.

    American Standard

  14. Caulk It Up

    DIY Bathroom Caulk

    This is a practical project that also improves the appeal of your bath. Recaulking a sink or tub will not only tidy things up, it will help prevent leaks and water damage.


  15. Decal Declamation

    Bathroom Wall Decals

    No matter what you have to say, there’s probably a wall decal to help you say it. Companies like Trading Phrases specialize in bathroom decals, which will hold up to moisture so long as the surface is clean and dry when the decal is applied.

    Trading Phrases

  16. Frame of Mind

    New Bathroom Mirror

    Bathroom mirrors are often frameless, but they don’t have to be. Either replace your existing mirror with a framed version, or get a frame kit to do the job without even having to take the mirror off the wall. MirrorMate has more than 60 styles and will custom-cut a frame than you can install in minutes.


  17. Board Room

    Bathroom Beadboard

    Beadboard is often added as a custom element during initial construction, but thanks to full sheets of beadboard paneling, you can do it yourself. With some Liquid Nails to start and a nail gun to finish, you can install beadboard in your bath to create a bright, upscale effect.

    Sand and Sisal

  18. Shower the People

    DIY Shower Head Replacement

    A new shower head can make you feel like you’re on vacation at home. Depending on your preferences, you can go for a dual shower head with varying pressures and speeds, or a rain shower head that gives you a softer, more relaxing experience.

    Plum Deluxe

  19. For More...

  20. Don't Miss!


    Low in square footage? Certainly! Short on style, features, or convenience? Absolutely not. Click now to see 25 of our all-time favorite small bathroom designs.