Two weeks ago on this home staging blog I asked for your best home staging recommendations for the ugly bathroom you see pictured here.
Anyone with an eye for décor will quickly tell you that while this space is simply too ugly for a potential buyer to fall in love with, it won’t take a huge investment to give it a total makeover.
Thank you for all of the great comments and ideas that were left on the original ugly bathroom post. As you’ll see from my advice, most of the solutions were mentioned by readers. That’s proof that when you have a natural flair for decorating this stuff just comes easy!
Now for a bit of background about this particular ugly bathroom. It was in the attic of a home that had been converted into a living space for a teenager. The additional 2-piece bathroom in the attic was a great selling feature for the home overall, because it made the attic living space much more functional. Clearly it was a nice bonus to have on a listing sheet, but it in its current state it was just plain scary once a potential home buyer would actually get to see it.
The following are my home staging recommendations and advice for transforming this space. As usual, you’ll see I’ve tried to work with what is already in the space since that will be the least costly approach for the client and, in turn, the one that they’re most likely to be on board with implementing.
Clearly, the green and turquoise flowers have got to go. Normally, I’d recommend applying primer and painting right over the wallpaper (much cheaper and faster than removing the paper and risking getting into lots of plaster work, especially in an old home). However, in this case the wallpaper is coming off the wall already in so many spots so removing it entirely is the best option.
Since there is a fair amount of natural light in this small space, consider painting colors like these from Benjamin Moore: Waterbury Cream (HC-31), Old Salem Gray (HC-94) or Georgian Green (HC-115) for the walls.
The ceiling can either be painted the same as the walls or brighten it to several shades lighter. I wouldn’t go totally white on this ceiling just because of the size of the room, how bright it is and the placement of the window. My inclination is to paint the ceiling the same as the walls to minimize the number of different elements competing visually in this small space.
Repaint all trim (both what’s currently painted white and what’s currently painted that pinky beige) to Decorators White – except the trim that runs at a diagonal on the wall facing the toilet. That should be painted the same as the wall so that it won’t be a distraction, breaking up the room even further.
Get rid of distractions
Remove the thing hanging from the ceiling beside the window and the large chrome light fixture to the right of the medicine cabinet. Remove the toilet paper roll holder because right now it’s the focal point when you’re standing in the doorway
Clean and Depersonalize
My advice always includes a reminder to clients to remove all personal items from around the sink and also to clean out the medicine cabinet. And extreme cleaning is always important in any bathrooms and kitchens. The less they sparkle the less these rooms will appeal to buyers.
Cover up the old vinyl with a laminate click floor, or peel and stick vinyl “tiles” or sheet vinyl which are inexpensive. These should be neutral and compliment the wall color selected. If budget allows, go with ceramic tile. Regardless of material chosen, I’d consider applying it to the vertical surface of that step leading up to the toilet which will visually hide this more than having it painted trim color. Ideally, that step would be eliminated, but the fact that it’s there at all suggests it was a necessity at the time.
Accessories make a key difference in any staging project and they will especially work their magic in this ugly bathroom. Get a new wall sconce to hang to the right of the medicine cabinet. Something contemporary and simple since it has to be squished into a spot that already has so many distractions with the diagonal wall and the medicine cabinet.
Replace the current towel bar and add a matching handle for the medicine cabinet and also a matching wall-mounted toilet paper roll holder (which will hang discretely beside the toilet rather than being out in front). Find some nice fluffy towels that coordinate and contrast with the new wall color. Remind the homeowners they can pack them up and bring them to their new home after the house sells.
In the ideal world, I’d be tempted to replace the current sink with something more contemporary. But once you get into a new sink and new taps, the plumber to install it all and the plaster work that would have to be done to the wall once the sink is switched out, it probably isn’t worth it. If this were a main floor powder room, this would definitely be appropriate. However, given that this is a surprise extra washroom and it’s in the attic, I don’t think changing the sink/taps is necessary.
Some readers suggested adding a fabric skirt to the sink. My initial thought is that it might make things too busy (given the tight space and the uneven floor), but it would be worth considering once the other changes are made. At that point it might seem like an unneeded extra or on the other hand it might be a welcome addition.
I don’t always have “all” the answers on the first look at a space. During a home staging consultation I would note the sink skirt as a possible addition to be considered after the other things were done. I always prioritize my recommendations for my clients so that when time or budget gets in the way of my best-laid plans, the “must-have’s” are done and some of the “nice-to-have’s” fall by the wayside.
Various window treatments have been suggested. Since this is an attic, privacy isn’t an issue, and the window is right up against the edge of the ceiling— I would just leave it as is.
Find more home staging advice for bathrooms, attics and every other space in a home in the Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide: Home Staging Tips, Tricks and Floor Plans. This downloadable guide is helpful to anyone looking for help with design principals and home staging ideas. When you place your order, you’ll receive the book right in your email inbox right away.
Home stagers, what additional recommendations would you have for the attic bathroom in the photo above?
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Debra Gould knows how to make money as a home stager and she developed the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love. She is frequently profiled in the media for her home staging expertise and is the author of 5 guides for home stagers.