13 Ways To Update Your Bathroom Without Renovating

Aura By Tracie Ellis

Not in love with your bathroom look? Give it a refresh with these no-reno updates.

So you’ve inherited a relic from the 50s for a bathroom… It’s mid-century but in all the wrong ways. Do not despair. Whether you’re renting or you’re up to your eyeballs in DIY with your first ‘project’ home, there is an answer.

Set your trowel to the side and give your bathroom a facelift with these simple updates.

Aura by Tracie Ellis Feather Towel, Stone Blue, Waffle Bath Mat, Denim and Waffle Towel, Denim. Browse towels online at Zanui.

1. Edit your space

Friend of The Living Room, de-clutter expert Peter Walsh believes that removing unnecessary items can have a profound effect on your state of mind. So first things first, cull.

“It’s very do-able,” Peter says. “It just requires mindfulness and clear direction.”

Release yourself from the need to hold onto all the things. Embrace your new free self! 😀

Plus, clean surfaces help balance busy wallpaper or tiles.

Browse decorative storage online at Zanui. Image from apartmenttherapy.com.

2. Be shrewd with your storage

Opt for a variety of enclosed and open storage options. Baskets, temple boxes, and decorative jars add character as well as housing your bits and bobs.

Floating shelves are great for small spaces. They’re easy on the eye and great for displaying baskets, artwork, plants and towels.

Your space is super compact? Opt for mesh baskets and symmetrical placements for a more spacious look.

Mulberry Threads Co Bamboo Cotton Luxury Bath Mat. Browse bathroom accessories online at Zanui.

3. Update your bathroom accessories

Opt for coordinated bathroom items, such as soap dispensers and dishes, tumblers and caddies for a cohesive look in your space.

Marble-look, copper-coloured and geometric designs add a touch of sophistication.

Browse cabinets and sideboards online at Zanui. Image from 500px.com.

4. Refresh your cabinetry

Paint dark cabinets in lighter hues to enhance your sense of space. Or alternatively sand them back. Renting? Switch out your existing cabinet hardware with shiny new handles and a new towel rack (available at your local hardware store).

This is remarkably easy to achieve and inexpensive yet it makes a big difference to your bathroom aesthetic. What are your taps looking like whilst you’re at it?

Aura by Tracie Ellis Parquet Towel, Charcoal, Kami Bath Mat, Snow and Kami Towel, Snow. Browse towels online at Zanui.

5. Add in a side table or stool

Introduce an extra surface for display or storage with a stylish side table or stool. This adds versatility as well as being an opportunity to introduce additional textures.

Think distressed wood or a sleek metallic finish for rustic or chic contemporary style respectively.

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Vinyl flooring from hometalk.com.

6. Revive your flooring with vinyl

Not fussed on the flooring in your bathroom? Vinyl flooring can give a similar look to hardwood and tiling without the expense. Peel-and-stick tiles are easy to install and they’re durable.

Vinyl flooring comes with a felt or foam backing, so it’s softer underfoot. Nice for winter mornings!

Aura by Tracie Ellis Parquet Towel, Pastel Mint, Kami Bath Mat, Charcoal, Parquet Bath Mat, Pastel Mint and Kami Towel, Charcoal. Browse towels online at Zanui.

7. Add personality with new towels

Introduce pattern (understated or overt) and play up the plush factor with new towels. There are some truly delicious options out there.

Style your bathroom space with coordinated bathmats, towels and face-washers in vivacious or serene hues.


Ladder shelving makes distinctive shelving in your bathroom. Image from blog.casa.it.

8. Display them on a vintage ladder for rustic charm

Using a distressed timber ladder in your bathroom adds textured appeal and new levels to display your bathmats and towels.

Alternatively opt for a decorative metal ladder for sleek modern lines.

Aura by Tracie Ellis Waffle Towel, Smoke, Waffle Bath Mat, Smoke and Feather Towel, Glacier. Browse towels online at Zanui.

9. Create a feature with your mirror

Add visual appeal with an ornate framed mirror within your bathroom space. This creates a focal point and an airy feel.

Budget not healthy enough for a complete refresh? Add a tiled frame to an existing mirror or mirror tiles.

Browse lighting and feature mirrors online at Zanui. Image from cityfarmhouse.com.

10. Install stylish lighting

Enhance the ambience and functionality of your bathroom with featured lighting. We love that Hollywood dressing room look with exposed bulbs arranged above your mirror. Great for doing your face and hair.

Renting? Consider an exposed-bulb table lamp, like the Rouge Living Crawford or Hartman Table Lamps. Or replace the ceiling light fixture with something that’s more you. Take it with you when you go!

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Americanflat Bee Happy Print Art and Americanflat Wake up and Be Awesome Print Art. Browse wall art online at Zanui.

11. Stay motivated with inspirational wall art

Up the ante with a rousing quote within a frame – perfect for getting you started on those sleepy mornings. Display this on your shelving or hang on your wall to catch your eye first thing!

Browse pots and planters online at Zanui. Image from insideout.com.au.

12. Add living décor accents

The humid environment of your bathroom is the perfect climate for some gorgeous ferns or an orchid. A terrarium makes a cute touch. Or a hanging plant in macramé to match your retro look. 😉

Inartisan Hand Crafted Decorative Apple, Copper. Browse décor accents online at Zanui.

13. Add definitive décor accents to match your unique style

Introduce a sculptural ornament, like LS Collections’ Decorative Birdhouse Gourd or an iitala Vitriini Box for quirky nuance.

Or opt for earthy coastal charm with a piece of driftwood, shells or a polished stone.


Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.