10 Expert Tips for Keeping a Bathroom Toasty Warm

Hard ceramic, porcelain, and stone surfaces in a bathroom are very functional, but they can be unpleasantly cold on a chilly morning. Kiss the shivers goodbye with these 10 simple-to-sumptuous ideas for keeping your bathroom cozy without turning up the thermostat.

  • 01 of 10

    Pre-Warm Your Towels

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    There are several ways you can enjoy warm towels in the bathroom. For example, you can throw your bath towels in the clothes dryer or store them on a hot radiator for 20 minutes before using. But a more practical method is to invest in a towel warmer, says NYC architect, John Mochelle. As a bonus, a towel warmer can also perform double duty as a room heater. Towel warmers are available in two types: freestanding models that plug directly into an electrical outlet and wall-mounted versions (shown here) that you will need to hard-wire into your electrical system. 

  • 02 of 10

    Pre-Heat Your Bathroom

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     Deirdre Sullivan

    Invest in a small and portable electric heater. You can plug it into a GFCI outlet inside the bathroom, or plug it in outside the bathroom and point it in for 15 minutes before you shower. 

    For your safety, do not buy or use a space heater that is not recognized by a testing laboratory says the U.S. Department of Energy. An excellent way to check is to look for a UL certified label. Also, never leave a portable heater unattended. Models that shut off automatically can help you rest easy.

    If your home has a programmable thermostat and you have it set to a low nighttime temperature, program it to bring up the home temperature a full 15 to 30 minutes before you get up. That way, the bathroom will be warmed up by the time you make your way for your morning shower.

  • 03 of 10

    Warm Up a Bathroom With Plants

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    Andy Baxter, the interior design and garden expert behind U.K. based internet Gardener, says plants can make your bathroom warmer. "It's all about how plants release moisture into the air, which increases the humidity, which helps to make the room appear warmer."

  • 04 of 10

    Blame Your Exhaust Fan

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    Real estate agent Joel Moss of Warburg Realty offers this piece of solid advice. When you are showering, make sure your exhaust fan is turned off. Leaving it on pulls all the heated air and warm steam out of the bathroom. He also suggests keeping the door closed to prevent the warm air from escaping.

    You can turn on the fan after you are leaving the bathroom after you are done showering in order to remove moisture that can cause mold and mildew. But this added moisture is not such a problem during winter months when it is quickly absorbed into the home's very dry air.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Seal Windows and Unblock Heat Vents

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    "There is no point in filling up a bucket of water with holes in it, so do not try to heat a bathroom with drafty gaps in the windows," says NYC Architect John Mochelle.

    You can seal any window with inexpensive silicone caulk made for weatherizing. Your goal is to fill any gaps or holes around window frames. 

    Also, make sure nothing is blocking the heating source in your bathroom. "For example, if your hamper is directly in front of a heat vent, move it," adds Mochelle.

  • 06 of 10

    Install a Heated Bathroom Floor

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    If you plan on renovating your bathroom, you can heat things up next winter with radiant floor heating. There are several styles of radiant floor heating, but the easiest to install during remodeling are electric mats that are embedded in a thin layer of thin-set mortar over which the flooring tiles are laid. They are linked to a wall thermostat that allows you to control the heat.

    "For many of my clients, heated bathroom floors have increased their quality of life in winter," says Katie Anderson, an interior design consultant based in San Francisco, California.

  • 07 of 10

    Change Your Color Scheme

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    Do you have a cold bathroom color scheme? According to California based interior designer John Linden, the wrong palette can leave you feeling cold. 

    "One easy fix is to incorporate warmer colors into your bathroom. Too often, people decorate their bathrooms in cool colors like white or baby blue. That's great if you have a heated bathroom. But when your bathroom is cold, the cool colors will make it feel a lot colder. Some reds, yellows, and pinks can help you warm it up a little," according to Linden.

  • 08 of 10

    Add Warm Lighting

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    Besides changing your bathroom color scheme, there is another way you can create the illusion of warmth says Katie Anderson, an interior design consultant.

    Combining warm colors like red and orange with warm lighting can create some visual heat. "Bathrooms feel better and more heated with bulbs that emit K2500 and CRI 90 or higher," says Anderson.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Cover Your Cold Bathroom Floor

    Bathroom rug

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    NYC architect, John Mochelle points out that no one likes walking on icy bathroom floors. But if you cannot afford to install radiant heating, he suggests piling on the bathroom mats or rugs.

    "The thicker, the better. In my bathroom, during winter I cover my entire bathroom floor with plush, washable rugs," he says.

  • 10 of 10

    Stay Warmer in the Shower

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    A large shower head will help you stay toasty while you are bathing. 

    "Their oversized heads are designed to immerse you fully with water, like getting caught in a heavy downpour," says John Mochelle an NYC architect. 

    "The trick is to install them directly overhead and not an angle," adds Mochelle. That way, your entire body gets covered with hot water instead of just your front or backside."