The Art of Bathroom Staging: 8 Expert Tips for Showcasing Your Home

An image of a virtually staged bathroom in the transitional style of interior design
Transitional style is the most popular for bathrooms, according to 2023 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study

When it comes to staging a home, the bathroom is often an overlooked space. It tends to be one of those areas we dismiss, thinking there's not much to be done. After all, it's not like we can fill it with furniture, right?

However, this is precisely what makes bathroom staging a bit tricky. The truth is, a well-staged bathroom has the power to leave a lasting impression on potential buyers and enhance the overall appeal of your home.

According to the National Association of Realtors' 2023 Profile on Home Staging, 54% of sellers' agents prioritize staging the bathroom when selling a home. While it may not initially be the room that buyers focus on (typically, the living room and kitchen steal the spotlight), any shortcomings in this crucial space are hard to ignore.

Here’s an overview of the topics we’ll cover in this article:

How to Stage a Bathroom: Tips and Ideas

A photo of a primary bathroom that's been virtually stagedd

The bathroom may not be the center of attention when it comes to selling your home, but it can make or break a buyer's impression. An unappealing and poorly maintained bathroom has the uncanny ability to cast a dark cloud over the entire house, leaving potential buyers feeling less than impressed. 

Here's how you can ensure that doesn't happen:

1. Declutter and Depersonalize

Before diving into any significant bathroom transformations, it's crucial to remove all personal belongings. Essentially, you want to erase any traces of your own life and make the space a blank canvas. 

Trust me, you don't want potential buyers conjuring up wild scenarios about your bathroom habits. To make them feel at ease, it's time to make a clean sweep and clear everything out.

Why, you ask? Well, let's break it down for you:

  • Avoid Awkward Imaginations: By removing personal belongings, you prevent buyers from envisioning your bathroom rituals. We don't want them picturing your morning dance routines or singing performances in the shower, do we?
  • Comfort is Key: To make potential buyers feel right at home, we need to create an environment that allows them to visualize their own future lives there. By removing personal items, we're giving them the freedom to picture themselves luxuriating in that bubble bath or getting ready for a night out in style.
  • Let the Bathroom Shine: When personal belongings are out of sight, the bathroom's true potential can take center stage. Buyers can focus on the sleek fixtures, beautiful tiles, and fabulous features that make your bathroom worth swooning over.

So, let's roll up our sleeves! Put away those family photos and shower bottles, clear off the countertops, and let the bathroom speak for itself. It's time to create a clean, inviting space that appeals to every potential buyer who steps foot inside.

2. Scrub Away the Grime

When it comes to staging the bathroom, cleanliness is absolutely non-negotiable. We're not talking about your run-of-the-mill weekly clean here. No, no, no. We're talking about a deep cleaning session that will leave your bathroom looking like it's been polished by a team of cleanliness-obsessed fairies.

You know those areas that you usually only tackle once a year? Well, now's the time to give them some extra love and attention. Get ready to scrub, scour, and banish any lurking dirt and grime. It's time to transform your bathroom into a sparkling sanctuary that would make even the most discerning clean freak jump for joy.

Now, if the thought of taking on this deep cleaning extravaganza feels a bit overwhelming, fear not! You always have the option to bring in the big guns – a professional cleaning service. According to the experts at Zillow and Thumbtack, the national average for a professional home cleaning is around $160. It's a common expense that many home sellers willingly undertake, and let's be honest, it might just be worth every penny.

But hey, if you're feeling up to the challenge and want to tackle the cleaning yourself, kudos to you! Just make sure to give these areas some extra tender loving care:

  • Clean and disinfect the toilet, including the bowl, seat, and exterior.
  • Wipe down the sink and shine the faucet.
  • Remove soap scum and grime from the walls, tiles, and fixtures in the shower or bathtub.
  • Clean the grout lines with a specialized grout cleaner or a mixture of baking soda and water.
  • Clean the shower curtain with a mixture of warm water and mild soap or vinegar
  • De-scale the shower-head to remove any buildup for optimal water flow.
  • Wipe down mirrors and windows using a streak-free glass cleaner.
  • Dust and clean light fixtures, removing any accumulated dirt or cobwebs.
  • Clean and polish any metal hardware, such as towel racks or shower curtain rods.
  • Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove loose dirt and debris.
  • Mop the floor using a suitable cleaner, focusing on high-traffic areas.
  • Clean the baseboards to remove any dust or marks.
  • Scrub the bathtub or shower tray to remove stains and residue.

3. Make Any Necessary Upgrades

When it comes to upgrading your bathroom, it's essential to keep your budget in mind. After all, we don't want any unnecessary financial stress. According to the 2023 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, the median amount spent on a bathroom remodel is $13,500, which is a 50% increase from the previous year.

Popular upgrades include improving systems (62%), increasing shower size (51%), changing the layout (43%), and modifying walls (41%).  A ventilation fan (61%), radiant heating (16%) and a tankless water heater (9%) are the most common systems added. 

However, if you don’t want to take on any major remodeling jobs, here are some small upgrades that are bound to make a difference:

  • Revamp the Lighting: Upgrade your lighting fixtures to create a warm and inviting ambiance. Consider adding dimmers or installing energy-efficient LED bulbs for a cost-effective and eco-friendly lighting solution.
  • Swap Out Hardware and Fixtures: Give your bathroom a quick facelift by replacing outdated hardware. Update those cabinet handles, towel racks, and even the shower-head to give your bathroom an instant modern touch.
  • Freshen Up with Paint: A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in rejuvenating your bathroom. Choose a color that complements your existing fixtures and gives the space a clean and vibrant look.
  • Modernize Your Vanity with Paint: Give your bathroom cabinet vanity a sleek and modern look by simply painting it. Choose a color that complements the overall aesthetic of your bathroom.
  • Recaulk for a Fresh Look: Over time, the caulking around your bathtub, shower, and sink can become worn and discolored. Recaulking is a simple yet effective way to freshen up the appearance of your bathroom. Remove the old caulk using a caulk remover tool or a utility knife, ensuring you do not damage the surfaces.

Another, much more budget-friendly option is to consider virtual renovation for your bathroom. This allows you to showcase the full potential of the space to potential homebuyers, especially if they are already in the market for a good renovation project.  However, it's crucial to be transparent and disclose any changes made to the photos to avoid misleading clients.

4. Go for a Neutral Color Palette

A photo of bathroom staging, done digitally

When it comes to choosing colors for your bathroom, it's essential to keep buyer preferences in mind. Neutral color palettes remain a favorite among the majority of buyers, so if you're considering painting the walls or cabinets, this is something to consider.

While dark and moody colors can look amazing in a bathroom, it's important to ensure they cohesively make sense within the space. If not, it's generally better to steer clear. The goal is to create a bright and airy atmosphere, and lighter neutrals are much better at making the space feel more spacious than dark colors.

According to the 2023 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, white continues to be the most popular color for bathrooms across the board. In fact, 29% of renovating homeowners have chosen white as the top color for upgraded vanities, making it the second most popular choice after wood (33%). White also holds the top position for countertops (63%), shower walls (43%), and non-shower walls (37%).

So, if you want to create a bathroom that appeals to a wide range of buyers, opting for a neutral and bright color scheme, with white being a prominent choice, can help create a timeless and universally appealing space.

But don't be discouraged if your bathroom has a darker color scheme and you're not keen on undergoing a complete renovation before selling, there are still ways to brighten it up. This brings us to our next point.

5. Proper Lighting Matters 

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the mood and ambiance of any room, and this holds especially true for bathrooms. Insufficient lighting is a common issue that can make bathrooms appear dark and uninviting. According to the 2023 Houzz report, lighting fixtures are upgraded in a whopping 82% of bathroom remodels.

Recessed lights continue to be the top choice among remodelers, with an increasing trend towards sustainable options like LED bulbs (62%) and light dimmers (34%).

Pro Tip: Typically, a color temperature of 2700-3000 Kelvin is recommended for bathroom lighting. This falls under the warm white category and tends to create a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

To achieve the right lighting for your bathroom, consider the following tips:

  • Maximize Natural Light: Open curtains or blinds to allow an abundance of natural light to fill the space. Ensure that windows are clean and sparkling to enhance brightness.
  • Upgrade Light Fixtures: Replace outdated or dim fixtures with modern, energy-efficient options. Choose fixtures that complement your bathroom's style while providing ample illumination.
  • Layer Lighting: Create a well-balanced lighting scheme by incorporating multiple layers of light. Install task lighting around mirrors and vanities to facilitate grooming activities. Add ambient lighting, such as recessed lights or a stylish chandelier, to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Consider Dimmers: Dimmer switches offer the flexibility to adjust lighting intensity according to different moods and occasions. They allow you to create a relaxing spa-like ambiance or a well-lit space for daily routines.
  • Accentuate Features: Use lighting strategically to highlight key features in your bathroom, such as a stunning bathtub, decorative tile backsplash, or an eye-catching vanity. Accent lighting can draw attention to these focal points and contribute to a visually appealing space.

By prioritizing proper lighting, you can transform your bathroom into an inviting oasis that captivates potential buyers and enhances your overall staging efforts. Illuminate your way to a bathroom that shines in all the right ways.

6. Incorporate Luxurious Elements

An image of a virtually staged bathroom

If you want your bathroom to exude the same level of luxury as a high-end hotel or a serene spa, it's all about the small touches of opulence. By adding elements of luxury to your bathroom staging, you can create a space that truly stands out.

Here are some ideas to enhance the overall appeal of your bathroom staging:

  • Plush White Towels: Invest in high-quality, fluffy towels that exude luxury. Display them neatly on towel racks or fold them neatly on countertops for a touch of elegance. 
  • Spa-worthy Accessories: Introduce spa-inspired accessories to elevate the look and feel of your bathroom. Consider adding a decorative tray with scented candles, or a sleek soap dispenser and lotion set. These small details can create a sense of luxury and relaxation.
  • Statement Mirrors: Choose a mirror with an intricate frame, a unique shape, or built-in lighting for added functionality and elegance. A statement mirror can become a focal point in the bathroom and enhance its overall allure. Consider incorporating smart tech and sustainability features like LED lighting or an anti-fog system for added convenience and efficiency.
  • Decorative Storage Solutions: Replace generic storage containers with chic and decorative options. Consider using glass jars or apothecary-style containers for storing toiletries or cotton balls. These elegant storage solutions can add a touch of sophistication to your bathroom staging.
  • LED Strip Lighting: Set the perfect mood with LED strips along mirrors, vanities, or cabinets. These versatile lights create a soft and indulgent glow, bringing a sense of opulence to your bathroom. Plus, they are energy-efficient and long-lasting, making them both practical and stylish.
Pro Tip: Elevate your bathroom staging with captivating vignettes - carefully curated arrangements that add visual interest. Choose a theme and select a few key elements like fresh flowers, rolled-up towels, scented candles, or decorative trays. Play with heights and textures to create a balanced and visually appealing arrangement. Remember to keep it simple by including 3-5 carefully chosen items, allowing each one to shine and enhance the overall look of your bathroom.

7. Bring Nature Inside

There's something incredibly indulgent about stepping into a primary bathroom adorned with a beautifully arranged bouquet of fresh flowers. The fragrance fills the air, creating a captivating sensory experience that exudes luxury. It's a small touch that can make a big impact, instantly elevating the overall look and feel of the space.

Pro Tip #1: To ensure your flower arrangements stay fresh for longer, trim the stems at an angle, remove any leaves below the waterline, and change the water every few days to prevent bacterial growth.

Another effective way to achieve a similar effect is by adding potted plants. When it comes to effectively incorporating them in the space, consider placing a succulent or an orchid on the countertop for some visual interest. Alternatively, maximize the vertical space in your bathroom by opting for a hanging plant in the corner, creating a visually striking and space-efficient display.

Pro Tip #2: Opt for low-maintenance plants that thrive in bathroom conditions such as low light and high humidity. Examples include pothos, snake plants, or ferns. These plants require minimal care and can withstand the bathroom environment.

8. Create a Multi-Sensory Experience

Bathrooms are probably the one spot in a home that can benefit the most from a pleasant scent filling the air. A well-chosen bathroom fragrance has the power to not only instill a sense of ease in potential home-buyers but also evoke positive memories and emotions within them.

While it may be tempting to use visible air fresheners to mask any unpleasant odors, it's important to remember that we want to create a positive impression without drawing unnecessary attention. Remember, we don’t want potential buyers to start thinking about what actually goes on in the bathroom.

Instead, let's focus on creating a scent profile that is simple, yet inviting. Think of scents that evoke a sense of cleanliness and freshness, like crisp linen or invigorating citrus. These scents instantly make people associate your bathroom with a well-maintained and hygienic space. On the other hand, you could also opt for scents that transport people to a peaceful and luxurious spa-like experience, such as lavender or eucalyptus.

Pro Tip: When staging a bathroom, remove any potential sources of bad odors such as trash cans and bath mats to ensure a fresh and inviting environment for potential buyers.

How to Maintain the Bathroom In-Between Showings?

Maintaining a bathroom in-between showings can be a breeze if you've already moved out of your home. However, if you're still residing there, it can be a bit more challenging. Here are some suggestions to help you out:

  • Reserve the white towels for display purposes only and ask your family not to use them.
  • After using the shower, make sure to squeegee the screens to keep them clean and free from water marks.
  • Wipe down the countertops each time you use the sink to maintain a pristine appearance.
  • Keep the flowers in the vase fresh by changing the water regularly.
  • Keep the toilet lid closed at all times to maintain a tidy and presentable appearance.
  • Empty the trash regularly to prevent any unpleasant odors.
  • Check for and address any water stains or marks on the bathroom fixtures.

Staging a Bathroom for Sale with Virtual Staging

An image of a small bathroom that's been virtually staged

If you're selling an empty house and don't have the budget for traditional staging, virtual staging is an excellent alternative. It offers the same benefits but at a much more affordable price (only $24 per image). With virtual staging, you can show potential buyers how the space could look while also creating a strong online presence for marketing purposes.

Related Article: Why Virtual Staging Is More Important Than Ever? (Data-driven Insights)

Virtual staging is especially useful if the bathroom is filled with outdated decor that you can't replace for practical reasons. The beauty of virtual staging is that we can digitally remove the homeowner's belongings and replace them with sleek, modern decorations. 

However, it's essential to keep the actual bathroom clean to avoid misrepresenting its true state. So, while virtual staging can work wonders, don't forget to maintain the bathroom's cleanliness in reality.

Bathroom Staging Before and After Examples

An image of a bathroom staging before and after transformation

In our first before and after example, you can clearly see how adding just a few high-end touches can immediately elevate the bathroom.

Let's take a look at our second example, which showcases a jaw-dropping transformation achieved through our new virtual renovation service. This is the perfect solution if you're dealing with an old, outdated bathroom and your target audience consists of homebuyers that are not afraid of a good renovation project.

A before and after bathroom transformation done through virtual renovation

With virtual renovation, you have the power to make your buyers envision the incredible potential hidden within that bathroom. Just take a peek at the after photo – it's like stepping into a modern oasis! We've completely modernized the space, from the sleek vanity and sink to the upgraded fixtures, hardware, and stylish high-format tiles. But we didn't stop there! To add a touch of luxury, our team of designers has included some eye-catching artwork, neatly folded towels, and even high-end cosmetics containers.

FAQs on Bathroom Staging

How to stage a small bathroom?

Staging a small bathroom becomes a breeze when you follow these four simple steps: opt for light neutral colors, maximize lighting, keep surfaces decluttered, and add small touches of luxury.

Brighter colors are essential as they visually expand the space, while good lighting, reflected in the vanity mirror, creates an illusion of openness and airiness.

To avoid overwhelming limited counter space, create a small vignette with three decor items of varying heights for maximum impact.

Lastly, elevate the bathroom's ambiance with small touches of luxury, such as white fluffy towels, a scented candle, or apothecary-style containers. These additions will add a touch of indulgence and sophistication to the space.

How to effectively stage a bathroom vanity?

The key to successfully staging a bathroom vanity is simplicity. Avoid overwhelming the counter space with excessive decor or trinkets. Instead, focus on functionality by decluttering first and then incorporating small touches of luxury for visual interest. The goal is to create a clean and inviting space that highlights the vanity's potential while maintaining its practicality. 

You can elevate your bathroom vanity with an eye-catching vignette consisting of 3 to 5 items of varying heights. Here are a few easy vignette ideas to get you started:

  • Spa-inspired Vignette: Arrange a tray with a scented candle, a small vase of fresh flowers, and a stack of rolled-up white towels. This creates a serene and luxurious ambiance.
  • Minimalistic Vignette: Place a modern soap dispenser, a small succulent plant, and a sleek toothbrush holder on a tray. This clean and simple arrangement exudes a contemporary feel.
  • Fresh and Clean Vignette: Place a clear glass jar filled with cotton balls or bath salts, a crisp white hand towel neatly folded, and a small bottle of high-quality hand soap on a tray.

How to stage bathroom towels?

To effectively stage bathroom towels, choose high-quality towels that are plush and in good condition. Neatly fold or roll them, ensuring straight and even edges. 

Display the towels in an organized manner, whether stacked on open shelves, hung on towel bars or hooks, or placed in a decorative basket or tray. Consider layering towels of different sizes or adding decorative accents such as ribbons, candles, or fresh flowers. Remember to keep it minimal and avoid overcrowding the space. 

In Conclusion…

Bathroom staging is an essential step in getting your home ready for sale. It can make a significant difference in attracting potential buyers and increasing your chances of selling at a higher price.

The good news is that you can accomplish bathroom staging without spending a fortune. With some careful curation of simple, yet impactful decor or even exploring the option of virtual staging, you can transform your bathroom into a selling point.

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