5 Signs Your Bathroom is Outdated

— And 5 Ways to Make it Wow in the Now

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Some old bathrooms are charming; claw foot tubs, sea foam tiles and pretty pedestal sinks can bring an amazing vintage vibe. Other old bathrooms are not so charming; they just look sad and out of date. If you’re brushing your teeth under Hollywood bulbs; bathing in a jetted, almond-colored tub; or storing your toiletries in an oak-encrusted medicine cabinet, there’s a good chance your bathroom’s among the latter.

Not sure where your bathroom stands? Here are a few signs that your bathroom could use an update:

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1. Unfit Flooring

If you’ve got carpet in your bathroom, it’s time to replace it. Bathroom flooring is meant to endure years of heavy moisture and foot traffic. Not only is carpet susceptible to moisture damage and mold, but it also collects bacteria from your toilet. Gross.

The fix? Swap out sullied carpeting for large-format tiles in ceramic or natural stone. Or, consider hot trends like patterned tiles or laminates and ceramics that look like hardwood flooring. Then, get that cozy carpet feel with a machine-washable bath mat.

2. Comatose Countertops

Boring old countertops can really drag a bathroom down — and rounded, mega-mauve countertops like these are a telltale sign that your bathroom saw its heyday in the 1990s.

The fix? Ditch the flat Formicas in favor of natural stone, engineered quartz or an up-to-date solid surface. Or, consider painting your countertops for a real budget-friendly solution. The key to modernizing your bathroom countertops is to focus on clean lines and earthy, neutral colors and textures.

3. Glaring Glamour Bulbs

Exposed bulbs were once the telltale sign of a glamorous bathroom upgrade. These days, they’re just the telltale sign of a dated space. 

The fix? Updating your lighting is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to modernize your bathroom. Renew your vanity lighting with a pair of LED sconces placed on either side of the bathroom mirror. Or, install an updated bathroom bar that includes a white or frosted shade for each bulb to soften the light.

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4. Unfashionable Fixtures and Accessories

Dull, clear-knobbed brass faucets; plate mirrors; and bathroom fixtures in beige, bisque and bone are anything but current — and industry experts are even declaring whirlpool bathtubs to be past their prime.

The fix? Think clean and crisp. White fixtures; framed mirrors; and sleek faucets in chrome, nickel or gold will go a long way in helping you modernize an outdated bathroom. And, if you’ve got the room and the budget to swap your old bathtub for a deep, free-standing soaker, you’ll create the kind of modern bathroom oasis that will impress and inspire your neighbors and friends.

5. Overworked Oak

There’s no denying the fact that golden-toned oak had a respectable run as the go-to bathroom cabinet material, but there’s also no denying the fact that the reign is over. And, if you’ve got old oak in your bathroom, there’s a good chance it’s looking a little worse for wear anyhow.

The fix? There are a number of ways to update tired bathroom cabinets, whether they’re made of oak or another material altogether. The first is paint; refacing your cabinets can give your bathroom a whole new look and feel at a far lower price point than an all-out replacement. The second option is to spring for new cabinets. In either case, think maximum storage in simple design — and opt for whites, refined neutrals and up-to-date wood finishes.

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