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The Six-Hour Bathroom Mini-Makeover

An easy and approachable upgrade (in half a day!) for a refreshingly luxe look

A new showerhead, faucet, and vanity light fixture, along with a deep-hued wall color and some glamorous accessories, turn a tiny master bath from drab to fab. Prop styling by Kira Corbin.
A new showerhead, faucet, and vanity light fixture, along with a deep-hued wall color and some glamorous accessories, turn a tiny master bath from drab to fab. Prop styling by Kira Corbin.


Let’s be clear: we’re not talking about a gut renovation here. What I wanted for my master bath (which, like many New York City bathrooms, is the opposite of expansive) was a quick, easy, and cost-effective upgrade—the decorating equivalent of instant gratification. Because while the overall layout isn’t groundbreaking, it’s functional and efficient—a wholly livable space. So the goal for this mini-makeover was to find simple and approachable ways to add an element of luxury to the existing structure… oh, and pull it all off in a single afternoon. Here’s how I got it done.

The "before" shots of the bathroom—a completely forgettable space.
The "before" shots of the bathroom—a completely forgettable space.

The list of pet peeves for the old bathroom revolved around three things: a blah wall color, an aesthetically out of place light fixture, and a showerhead that was clogged and hard to clean. The pastel blue walls were neither here nor there—but given the expanse of brown tile, it was difficult to figure out what color would be right in the mix. The chrome-and-white tulip-shaped fixture over the vanity felt much more traditional than the rest of the space. As for the showerhead, the ideal new option was one that worked well, looked great, and didn’t break the bank.

THE PAINT Inspired by this image from the Hudson Valley storefront of Hawkins New York, I chose a smoky aubergine hue that I might have never planned on otherwise. The new shade—BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Home Decorators Collection’s Sarsaparilla in Semi-Gloss—added a burnished, bronzy plum backdrop that complemented both the white and brown tile nicely. (Bonus points for the paint-primer combination, which saved time and was easy to apply.) 

THE LIGHT FIXTURE + FAUCET  Riffing off the more sophisticated hue was the addition of a sleek, low-profile vanity light in a similarly deep finish. Reign Collection’s 3-Light Antique Bronze Bath Light looked even better once the existing chrome faucet was swapped with Delta’s Porter 8 in. Widespread 2-Handle High Arc Bathroom Faucet in Oil Rubbed Bronze. 

The finishing touches to an afternoon makeover: greenery, art, and some subtle candlelight.
The finishing touches to an afternoon makeover: greenery, art, and some subtle candlelight.

THE SHOWERHEADWith its multiple settings, streamlined silhouette, and easy-to-clean nozzles, the Delta 5-Spray in. Showerhead was a practical and affordable choice. And shockingly, it functions much better than my previous model, which was twice the price. One afternoon and a TaskRabbit appointment later, the bathroom install was complete.

THE FINISHING TOUCHESLittle everyday luxuries are what add dimension to a space. I’m a big proponent of art in bathrooms, particularly framed prints—as long as you have good ventilation and the pieces are framed well. (Otherwise, choose affordable or easily replaceable images that you wouldn’t be afraid to risk.) A trio of deep-hued candles and a few fresh sprigs of greenery enliven any bathroom, as does a tray of daily essentials that are pretty enough to put on display. In this case, it’s a collection of cosmetics from Glossier, Beautycounter, and Tom Ford Beauty, as well as my current heavy-in-rotation black-and-gold cuff from Anna Beck, that complete the picture. 

 

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