Staging the Bathroom

For a faster, more profitable home sale

Pretty bathroom vignette.Create a pretty vignette in your bathroom. Photo by Pottery Barn.

Staging the bathroom before you put your house on the real estate market can often mean the difference between a fast home sale or having it linger on the market for months.

Home buyers will be looking for at least one bathroom with a luxurious soaking tub, decent sized shower, great storage and great lighting.

The spa-like look is still greatly desired in today's home market and it's easier to create than you may think, even in a small bathroom. It’s all about light, color, texture and the right accessories. 

After you have decuttered, cleaned and made any necessary repairs to your bathroom, you are ready to move on to the fun part!

Keep reading for bathroom decorating ideas that will entice home buyers to make an offer on your home.

How to stage a master bath

Master bath with large mirror.The mirror in this bathroom gives the feeling of another room. Hang a mirror where it will reflect a light fixture or the outdoors.

Your goal is to create a spa-like ambience when staging a master bathroom. This is easily done by using the right colors.

  • Paint walls with a semi-gloss paint in pale neutral colors like; aqua, turquoise, sage, cream, tan, warm pale yellow or white.
  • Paint trim work and doors white to freshen the space and add a contemporary look.
  • Be sure that light fixture and electrical outlet switch plates closely match a white wall color in a small bathroom. 
  • Decorate the bathroom with crisp white towels and a white or neutral colored fabric shower curtain. 
  • Roll fluffy towels and display on bamboo mats, in baskets or wooden bowls. Rolled towels make a bathroom look elegant.
  • If you have room, place a comfortable chair in the bathroom to create a sense of relaxation. 
  • Fill a basket with sea sponges, bath brushes or pretty soaps and set by the bathtub or corner of the vanity.
  • Fill tall clear glass jars with cotton pads, Q-tips or bath salts.

Stage the bathroom with artwork and mirrors

Leaning art in the bathroom.Unify art by using like colors.

Don’t clutter the bathroom with too many small pieces of art.

Ok, maybe there shouldn't be a picture on the bathroom counter in the picture on the right. I just like the black and white photo montage.

Hang a single large piece of art above the toilet or towel bar.

An extra mirror will add depth to a room by seemingly extending the room through the glass.

The best place to hang a mirror is where it will reflect light, like opposite a window with a great view or a sparkling light fixture.

Mirrors are great for bouncing extra light around the room, creating the illusion of more space. 

Be careful of what a mirror reflects; you don't want to hang it where it reflects the toilet.

How to hang towels for home staging

Arrange towels artfully on a towel rack by folding a bath towel lengthwise into thirds. This keeps the edges from showing.

Hang a matching, or color coordinated hand towel over the bath towel in a layer, also folded in thirds. 

Hang a towel folded into thirds and drape it over the edge of the bathtub. Layer a folded washrag on the towel, then place a beautifully wrapped bar of luxury soap on top.

Or, roll towels and arrange in a basket on a shelf or the countertop if you have room. 

Watch the video below by curbNotes for unique towel folding and hanging ideas for staging the bathroom.

Ideas for accessorizing your bathroom

Rolled bathroom towels create a sense of luxury.Rolled towels impart a feeling of luxury.

When staging the bathroom, you want everything to look fresh and new.

Don't forget to add a plant to your bathroom decor. Greenery adds a freshness to any room.

Hang a new shower curtain in a white or other neutral color, or select one in a neutral geometric pattern to add a contemporary flair to the space.

When buyers are on the way over, be sure to leave the shower curtain 2/3 open to reveal the interior of the shower or bath. This will give the bathroom more visual depth, making it feel bigger.

Visually increase the size of your bathroom by replacing a shower curtain with a clear glass door.

A frameless glass shower door will make the bathroom look even bigger! 

  • Place battery-operated votives in pretty jars around the bathroom. Or lay out a row of votive candles along the bathtub or windowsill.
  • For winter viewings, stage the bathroom with towels in rich, dark colors. In the spring and summer, lighten up the bath with fresh light colors. When in doubt, fluffy white towels are always a winner.
Create a lovely bathroom vignette.Create a lovely bathroom vignette.
  • Buyers love storage, so swap out a pedestal sink for a bathroom vanity with cupboards and drawers. 
  • For a quick renovation, swap out dated bathroom fixtures for new ones that are sleek and modern. If you don't, buyers will only be thinking about how much it's going to cost to replace them and may negotiate the price of your house down. 
  • Match the fixtures if you can, especially in a small bathroom. 
  • Light fixtures can match, as well, though it's not really necessary. I prefer to mix in a few unexpected textural elements. 
  • To be safe, stick with a satin nickel, bronze, or chrome finish, as they appeal to most people. 

  • Keep floors clear to maximize the square footage of the bathroom. Remove the garbage can and laundry hamper for home viewings.
  • Crack the bathroom window to let in fresh air.
Bath accessories in a basket.
  • When staging the bathroom, create a pretty vignette, using objects from nature like sea shells, star fish, sea sponges, or pretty soaps in a jar.
  • Fill attractive containers or jars with Q-tips, cotton balls, beach glass, bath salts and tiny molded soaps.
  • Be sure to use odd numbered groupings when arranging your bathroom vignettes, and vary the heights of accessories when creating arrangements.
  • Place a luxurious new rug next to the shower or bathtub. Or hang the rug on the edge of the bathtub.
  • Soften an empty corner with a LIVE green plant. A bit of greenery will freshen and help create that spa-like feel that so many people love. 

What Not to do in the bathroom!

Fluffy toilet seat covers with matching bathroom mats are outdated.Fluffy bathroom accessories are outdated.
  • Please don't use outdated fluffy matching toilet rugs, toilet seat covers and rugs. 
  • Stay away from decorating with fake flowers or plants.
  • Avoid decorating in a themed decor; like a tropical or beachy theme. Use just a few decorative accents instead to give an impression of a theme without going overboard. Buyers will not want to remove tropical wallpaper or paint over bright orange walls.
  • Don't hang a plastic shower curtain for staging--they just look cheap. Instead, use a neutral-colored and textured cloth shower curtain.
  • Remove pink ruffles, knick knacks and cutesy items, like crocheted toilet paper holders and towels edged with tatting. Keep things gender-neutral.
  • Don't leave the toilet seat up...EVER! Close the lid for viewings. 
  • Don't leave a soggy bar of soap in the bathroom, ever.
  • Remove damp, ratty towels and old bathrobes from the back of the door, as they WILL turn buyers off. Believe me, buyers WILL judge your home by such small details as these! See depersonalizing your home for more on this subject.

A recent survey on the biggest buyer turnoffs showed that a soggy bar of soap, damp towels and a toilet seat left up were the biggest buyer turnoffs for most people.

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