Six Affordable Luxury Bathroom Updates You’ll Actually Enjoy

Building a luxury bathroom typically means doing a wide-scale, big-budget renovation. You know the type: rip everything out and replace it with something high-quality and expensive. But adding a sense of luxury to your bathroom doesn’t have to mean rebuilding it from the ground up. In fact, the improvements you’ll get the most mileage out of are often much smaller in scale. So if you don’t have the budget for a major remodel, try out these smaller, more affordable bathroom upgrades instead.

Upgrade Your Shower Head

Meno Series Single-Handle 1-Spray Tub And Shower Faucet SH-AZ032BN in Brushed Nickel from Anzzi
Building an entirely custom shower is one of the biggest and most expensive bathroom renovations you can undertake, but it only takes five minutes and the cost of parts to upgrade to a luxury rainfall shower head

The number one recommendation I’d give to anyone looking to improve their bathroom is: replace your shower head. Even if you already have a pretty solid multi-function shower head, there’s pretty much always room for improvement. More importantly, there’s room for improvement that doesn’t involve ripping out a wall, retiling, and rebuilding your shower from scratch. Instead, look for shower heads that are at least one step nicer than your current one. If you have an awful showerhead, shop for at least a three-function shower head with boosted water pressure. If you have a nice one, consider upgrading to a shower panel. Either way, the replacement is straightforward to make; you just swap them out with your current shower head – usually no plumber needed. The whole project shouldn’t cost you more than a few hundred dollars start to finish.

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Install A Towel Warmer For A Little Personal Pampering

Starling 6-Bar Stainless Steel Wall Mounted Electric Towel Warmer Rack TW-AZ025CH in Polished Chrome from Anzzi
Adding a towel warmer to your bathroom gives maybe the most obvious luxurious returns of the projects on this list, especially if your bathroom is on the chilly side

Towel warmers are another “luxury” item that’s actually easier to add to your space than you might think. Some need to be hardwired (which can be a little more expensive). But many are totally standalone and only need to be plugged into an outlet. Towel warmers are actually one of my favorite bathroom luxuries, too, especially in the winter. Not only will they provide you with toasty warm towels, but they also provide ambient heating on cold days. As an added bonus, towel warmers hold more towels at once than a conventional towel bar, and dry them faster.

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Stay Plugged In With A High-Tech Medicine Cabinet

High-tech medicine cabinets are easily the most expensive and difficult to install of any item on this list, but if you're willing to splurge, you can find ones with an incredible array of features
High-tech medicine cabinets are easily the most expensive and difficult to install of any item on this list, but if you’re willing to splurge, you can find ones with an incredible array of features

Ever found yourself juggling outlets, or struggling to find enough plugs for everything on your bathroom counter (plus your phone)? You’ll probably get the most bang for your remodel buck out of a new, high-tech medicine cabinet. These do need to be hardwired (and will require an electrician), but can tap into the same power source as your vanity light, which keeps the project minimally invasive. Why make the upgrade? A high-tech medicine cabinet will provide you with a backlit mirror and oodles more storage space. But the real appeal is the addition of anywhere from two outlets to a whole extra power strip. It’s a big upgrade, but can streamline your morning routine and let you charge your electronics while you get ready.

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Get A Better Look At Your Reflection With A Magnified Mirror

A magnified mirror might not have made your luxury bathroom top ten must-have list, but it can save you a lot of awkward leaning and mirror gymnastics
A magnified mirror might not have made your top ten must-have list, but it can save you a lot of awkward leaning and mirror gymnastics

On the other hand, if you find yourself leaning in close to your current mirror, or squinting at your reflection? The luxury bathroom upgrade you want might be even simpler. Magnifying mirrors (also sometimes called makeup mirrors or shaving mirrors) make it easier to get a close-up look at yourself while you’re doing your daily grooming. This look is a little old fashioned but is definitely making a comeback, for the simple reason that it’s just plain useful. Most include two magnified mirrors: one that’s close up and one that’s REALLY close up, if you want to get really intimate with your own pores. Some models are even backlit; that’ll mean the added cost of a professional installation, but also the clearest and most accurate reflection you can get.

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Replace Your Old, Ugly Faucets!

An image of an oil rubbed bronze faucet turned on and spraying into a bathroom sink
If you have an old, corroded, or cheap bathroom faucet, spending a few hundred dollars on a luxurious widespread faucet can significantly elevate the look and feel of your space

If your bathroom needs triage more than TLC, but you can’t currently give it the work it really needs? Simply getting new fixtures can feel like a major luxury. Bathroom vanities, sinks, toilets, tubs, and tile are all wildly expensive. But you can easily elevate your existing bathroom with two simple changes: your sink faucet and your tub faucet. Splurging on new, nice hardware (and, okay, maybe a deep clean and some new caulk) will help reframe the way you see your bathroom. The same old sink will shine with a new luxury faucet. Ditching old, corroded fixtures will make your shower somewhere you’re more inclined to be. This project can cost you as little as a few hundred dollars to DIY. More importantly, if your existing fixtures are really bad, replacing them can improve your water bill by cutting down on leaks.

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…And The Rest Of Your Hardware, While You’re At It

An image of a small luxury bathroom that features all matching oil rubbed bronze hardware on the vanity, mirror, lighting, and walk-in shower
If your bathroom is feeling tired, mismatched, or a little dated, updating your hardware is the most affordable way to get your bathroom updated, coordinated, and back on trend (by Spazio LA)

In that same vein, there’s a reason that “replace your hardware” is the oldest piece of advice in the book. While changing out your faucets will definitely have more impact, combining it with replacing your door and drawer pulls, toilet handle, towel bars, shower curtain rod, and so on will give your space a coordinated feel. Using a bold metal finish (like brushed gold or oil rubbed bronze) will make even a blah bathroom pop. It can even make your space feel more on-trend, without any major updates. Better still? Pulling it off is dirt-cheap and extremely DIY friendly. If you’re desperate to improve the look and feel of your bathroom, you can easily pull this off in a weekend.

Even if a magazine-worthy bathroom isn’t in the cards any time soon, that doesn’t mean you can’t beautify your space. Adding a few small, luxury bathroom upgrades won’t break the bank, and can help you love your bathroom again!