How to Make Your Bathroom Look Expensive

katherine carter

Katherine Carter

You don't need a big decorating budget to create a luxurious bathroom, as long as you know the best color secrets. Learn how to use paint color and accessories to create a gorgeous bathroom on a budget.

Changing the lighting in your bathroom is one of the easiest ways to transform a plain space into a high-end showpiece. Rethink how lighting is typically used in a bathroom for a designer look. Instead of the traditional light bar above the mirror, try out pretty sconces on either side. If you have the space available, pendants are a trendy look for bathrooms.

Pair your new lighting with updated vanity mirrors and new hardware for a gorgeous bathroom makeover. Watch lighting trend reports for the latest ideas in lighting placement and design.

  • 01 of 14

    Use White for Elegant Simplicity

    Rebecca Rollins Interiors

    Rebecca Rollins Interiors

    White cabinets and countertops create the backdrop for a simple and elegant bathroom. Use a light neutral paint color and white bath linens to create a high-end hotel bathroom style. A casual bathroom can look more expensive if you splurge on quality white towels and rugs. Pair your white linens with neutral accessories to tie everything together.

    Continue to 2 of 14 below.
  • 02 of 14

    Gray Bathrooms Are Classic Beauties

    mindy gayer LINDSAY STETSON THOMPSON gray bathroom

    Designed by Mindy Gayer / Photographed by Lindsay Stetson Thompson

    After decades of white or wood-toned bathrooms, gray has burst into the design industry as the new go-to bathroom and kitchen color. The reasons for choosing gray for your bathroom are obvious. Gray is soothing and easy to match. Warm grays, such as greige, can keep a bathroom from looking cold. Greige is also a perfect choice to complement a wood vanity or trim in the space and with brushed silver fixtures. Use lighting and accessories to complete your high-end gray bathroom look.

    Continue to 3 of 14 below.
  • 03 of 14

    Create a Soothing Bath Retreat With a Monochromatic Color Scheme

    Erin Williamson

    Erin Williamson Design

    The most expensive bathrooms are usually spa-inspired. Simple colors and materials are the favorites for spa-inspired bathrooms because of their relaxing qualities. You can create that spa vibe with a simple monochromatic color scheme. You don't have to choose a neutral color for your monochromatic scheme. A pretty blue or aqua paint color in varying shades can be super relaxing, too.

    Creating a monochromatic color scheme for your bathroom is easy. Start with a soothing color such as Clark + Kensington Harbor Lane, and add lighter and darker shades of that color, layering them for depth. Most paint strips from paint store fan decks are arranged from dark to light, which makes creating your color scheme easy.

    Continue to 4 of 14 below.
  • 04 of 14

    Make the Outdoors the Star

    A dark blue bathroom with a bathtub and towel rack with a beautiful backyard view
    Caiaimage/Robert Daly/OJO+ Collection/Getty Images

    Most expensive bathrooms incorporate the outdoors as a design element. For your bathroom makeover, look for ways to bring the outdoors in with new window treatments that let more light in. Plants and artwork depicting plants are not just great ways to recreate an outdoor space but can have feng shui benefits as well. 

    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Painted Furniture Creates a High-End Custom Bathroom Style

    A beautiful bathroom with brown walls, white painted furniture, and two oval mirrors.

    Sometimes all you need to create a luxurious custom-style bathroom is a coat or two of paint. If you're handy at all, there are awesome DIY tutorials online that can help you turn a dresser or chest into a vanity. If you're not into DIY or don't have the time, you can use paint to create a custom look with your boring bathroom vanity.

    Choose a paint color for your vanity project that you can repeat around the room in linens and accessories. A rich gray or greige paint color will give your bathroom vanity an expensive look while keeping it neutral.

    Continue to 6 of 14 below.
  • 06 of 14

    Rethink White Trim for Masculine Bathroom Style

    A massive, luxurious blue bathroom with bathtub, drapes across the window, vanity, and mirror.

    If you love the enchanting look of dark wall color and floors, there's no reason to spoil the mood with white trim and molding. Dark color walls can be beautiful with crisp white trim, but for a subtly elegant look, pair rich wall colors such as navy blue, charcoal gray, or dark brown with mid-toned neutral trim colors.

    A bathroom makeover with dark colors will need the right lighting, so be sure to experiment with light fixtures and bulbs when you sample paint colors. The secret to a room with deep wall color is accepting that this space will not be light, and know that finding the perfect combination of lighting and natural light is crucial to the room's success.

    Continue to 7 of 14 below.
  • 07 of 14

    Neutral Wainscoting Gives Your Bathroom Elegance

    A bath with two tones of gray paint with a towel rack nearby.

    This elegant bathroom from Sherwin-Williams shows you that a simple change such as painting your wainscoting in a neutral color other than white can completely change your bathroom. There is no hard and fast rule that wainscoting and beadboard must be painted white. You definitely will want to stick with neutrals if you change your wainscoting, but you will still have a wide range of colors to choose from.

    For such an important painting project you'll want to sample the new color first. Use a piece of wainscoting or trim to try out your colors so that you can move the sample around the bathroom to get a look at all the angles. It's extremely important to be sure about your paint color before committing it to features that are affixed to your walls.

    Continue to 8 of 14 below.
  • 08 of 14

    Add an Unexpected Pop of Color With Vibrant Cabinets and Shelves

    sire design

    Sire Design

    This white bathroom gets an instant style boost with bold color from the stunning aqua Decora cabinets and shelves. A quick makeover of your white bathroom doesn't need a lot of color. The secret to this pricey look is to choose one color for an accent and repeat it throughout your bathroom. Inexpensive accent pieces can include a new rug, towels, artwork, hamper, or even a mirror frame.

    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Use Tile for a Zen Retreat Style Bathroom

    A peach bathroom with candles adorning the bathtub.

    Taking the time and expense to redo your bathroom means that the outdated tub surround or insert should probably go. Expensive bathrooms feature tiled showers and tubs even in the simplest of spaces. Tile is a splurge for your bathroom that can be a timeless update. The secret to choosing a bathroom tile that will stay stylish is to choose neutral colors and simple designs. A gorgeous glass tile ribbon through your tiled shower can give it tons of personality while keeping it relevant for years to come, especially when it's paired with neutral tile colors.

    Continue to 10 of 14 below.
  • 10 of 14

    Use Colorful Glass Tiles for an Art-Inspired Bathroom

    A bathroom with colorful tile glass surrounding the sink, and a toilet separated by a small wall.
    Jodi Jacobson/E+ Collection/Getty Images

    Bathroom tile doesn't have to be neutral or plain. Expensive art-inspired spaces use tile in creative ways. For your artsy bathroom, try installing a glass tile backsplash in pretty colors. If you are redecorating your bathroom inexpensively, look for mirrors with colorful tile frames. Match towels and other accessories to your colorful tile accents for a fun new look.

    Continue to 11 of 14 below.
  • 11 of 14

    Make a High-End Vintage Bathroom Style With One Paint Color

    forbes and masters

    Forbes + Masters

    Are you decorating a bathroom with vintage features? This color secret can turn your dated bathroom into a trendy space. When you are decorating a dated bathroom that you can't change, don't try to fight the features that you can't fully remodel. You can use those dated features to your advantage by choosing one paint color to unify space.

    If you choose a paint color in hopes of hiding the unusual tile or flooring, it will do the opposite. A bathroom with pink tile will look even pinker if you try to "minimize" the pink with green or blue. You'll want to choose a bathroom paint color that is similar to the dated tile or flooring to hide it in plain sight. Your other color secret weapon is to choose a color of the era your bathroom was built and go for the luxury look that was popular at that time. Because of its simplicity, Mid-Century Modern paint colors and style can be used in bathrooms of any era.

    Continue to 12 of 14 below.
  • 12 of 14

    Luxurious Wood Accents Add Natural Style to Your Bathroom

    erin williamson design bathroom

    Erin Williamson Design

    Wood as a decorative element in your bathroom can give the space a relaxed and calming retreat style. Using wood as a horizontal wall design is reminiscent of a sauna at high-end resorts and ski lodges. Pair the wood accents with neutral paint colors and natural decor accents to complete the soothing look.

    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Try Rich Jewel Tones for a Dramatic Powder Room

    A jewel tone bathroom with purple walls and a hanging wall-mounted sink.

    Powder rooms are the ideal spot for a glam bathroom makeover. This is the one room of your home where you're almost expected to go a little over-the-top with your decorating and paint color.

    Painting your powder room in a jewel tone paint color is a perfect start to your redecorating project. Choosing a deep paint color can work beautifully with the right lighting, but you don't have the same lighting rules for a powder room. Your lighting needs for a room that is used occasionally are different than a master bath where you'll be putting on makeup or showering. You'll want to sample any paint colors you're considering, to be sure you have the right one. Also, be prepared to paint extra coats of your new jewel tone paint colors, or choose the right primer or primer-paint combination.

    Add pretty accessories and towels, then finish your powder room makeover with a beautiful mirror and glamorous lighting.

    Continue to 14 of 14 below.
  • 14 of 14

    Personalize Your Bathroom With a Wallpaper Accent

    A bathroom with wallpaper accent near the ceiling, along with wooden floors, separate tub, and wooden vanities with farmhouse sinks.

    You can create a custom bathroom style with just a little wallpaper. Old school wallpaper borders are not as popular as they once were, but using wallpaper with crown molding creates an elegant look. In a powder room try a wallpaper accent wall for a glamorous bathroom style.

    Yes, wallpaper can be used in a bathroom if you have enough ventilation, but powder rooms and guest baths are the perfect spots. Temporary or renter's wallpaper is a great solution for bathrooms because of its adhesive, instead of paste, application.