Let’s talk master bathrooms. Faucets, fans, fixtures, drains, hooks, tile, countertops, storage, and area rugs – Oh My! There are so many items that go into making a master bathroom. So I’ll start with this one post of 26 master bathroom update ideas that summarizes each item you’ll need to consider if you’re planning a bathroom remodel. Then over the next few weeks, I’ll go into more detail on a few of the items.
As we go through these items to consider in your bathroom update, I’ll post links to the items or similar items. Some of these will be affiliate links. If you decide to purchase, it would be greatly appreciated if you shop through my links. I’ll earn a small fee for referring you, but you won’t pay any more. It’s a small way I keep this blog going so Thank You.
Here we go…
One of the first things you’ll want to decide is the type of finish you prefer throughout the bathroom. Polished chrome, polished nickel, brushed nickel, brushed brass, or black. There are variations on each of these, but these are the most popular finishes today. I’ll go into more detail on each in another post.
I love the shine and sparkle of polish chrome – like jewelry for your bathroom.. Brushed brass and nickel has gone in and out of style over the years, but I feel as though polished chrome has always been a staple. It’s also the least expensive of all the finishes – an added bonus if you’re trying to stick to a budget.
When you start shopping for fixtures – everything from faucets, towel bars, and shower heads – you’ll see there are many different styles. You’ll have the option of choosing very sleek, modern fixtures that are minimalistic with very straight lines to more traditional fixtures with lots of curves.
The faucet pictured about is THIS American Standard Pendleton faucet.
The handles in the shower are referred to as trim. There are two types of trim to consider for your shower: pressure balanced and thermostatic.
If you have a single handle that turns on the water and adjusts the water temperature, this is called a pressure balanced trim. If you have a handle that turns on your water and a separate handle that adjusts the water temperature, this is called a thermostatic.
If you have 2 or 3 shower heads in your shower, you may have thermostatic trims with individual handles that turn on each shower head, and then a separate handle that adjusts the water temperature for all three.
THIS is a similar Kohler Purist volume control and thermostatic valve as pictured above.
Pressure balanced trim systems are less expensive than the thermostatic with all the separate pieces.
Shower heads come in lots shapes in sizes. The rain shower heads are very popular right now. We have THIS American Standard rain shower head. Due the wide design and number of holes from which the water rains out, I feel like this type of shower head creates more steam in the bathroom.
For the second shower head we have THIS Kohler Purist shower head. The head is wider than a standard but not nearly as wide as the rain shower head. It’s like Goldilock’s bed… just right! And it’s really pretty too!
Shower heads are labeled based on the gallons of per minute that flows from them (GPM) – also known as the flow rate. The maximum allowed flow rate has decreased over time. Today, the maximum federally allowed flow rate is 2.5 GPMs. Honestly, I never turn our shower heads on at full volume so a lower flow rate would have been more than sufficient.
Hand-Held Shower Head
It’s a good idea to have a handheld shower head in your shower. I like this THIS Kohler Awaken handheld. The shower head had a long handle, THIS long flexible Kohler hose, and THIS Grohe Relexa elbow that attaches to the wall and holds the shower head.
Note: Do not be surprised when you do order these that they are a light-weight plastic material. They are so beautiful that I would have expected them to be heavy chrome-plated brass, but they are plastic built to last.
If you’re updating your shower fixtures, I recommend you pay attention to the details such as the length and shape of each shower arm. The arm is the pipe that goes from the wall to the shower head.
A longer arm will hold the shower head further away from the wall which should help reduce the wear and tear (i.e. soap scum build up) on the tile beneath the shower head.
We have a shower arm similar to THIS Signature Hardware 10-inch shower arm on our rain shower head and THIS 6-inch Signature Hardware arm on my Purist shower head.
In hindsight, I wish we had gone with a 10 or 12-inch arm on both shower heads.
The right size exhaust fan is the most important item to include in your bathroom. Without it, your updated bathroom could be ruined over time.
Choose a fan based on the size of you room. There are 2 important factors here. The CFMs and the size of the duct. For large rooms, you will want a 6-inch duct. Trust me on this! The 4-inch duct is too small to handle a large space and will not exhaust the humidity.
Also the large the room, the higher you will want the CFMs to be. We have THIS exact Panasonic WhisperChoice exhaust fan with a 6-inch duct.
THIS is a similar Panasonic WhisperChoice fan on Amazon.
There are a few different styles of shower drains. I’ll get into them in detail in a later post. What I found to be most important when choosing a shower drain is to choose a high quality material that will last 20+ years.
Some shower drains are made of stainless steel. You’ll find 304 stainless which is the most economical. THIS 316 marine grade stainless steel drain is even better and I like that it has a removable basket that catches the hair.
The best material for a shower drain is brass. Brass is deemed to last the longest. It’s a heavy duty, durable material. Our plumber chose our brass shower drain so I do not know the exact model, but THIS Newport Brass drain on Amazon is similar.
Take note of how many shampoo bottles and soap dishes you keep in the shower and then plan to install enough shelves to hold them all. This could be done with a built-in bench, niches built into the wall, or corner shelves like those pictured below.
You could choose a vanity light in the same metal as your other fixtures or choose one that coordinates.
The exact light pictured above is not longer available, but THIS polished chrome 3-light vanity light is very similar.
Towel Bars & Toilet Paper Holder
One 18-inch chrome towel bar hangs by the sink. We used to have a longer one on the opposite wall that held our larger towels after we showered; but every few weeks it would fall off the wall because of the constant tugging on it. A bookcase is now on the wall where the long towel bar used to be.
Replacing the long towel bar with robe hooks seems like a more practical option. In another post, I’ll explain the agony I put myself through choosing just the right polished chrome hooks. Yes, believe it or not, it will take an entire post to explain.
In the end, THESE Moen robe hooks are the ones we chose. I love them!
There are so many beautiful stones available today and the one you choose will set the tone for your entire bathroom. Choose from granite, quartz, quartzite, marble, or Corian.
Our countertop is Calcutta Gold quartz. The background is white, but not stark white and has just a few subtle light gray and gold veins running through it.
There are several things you’ll have to consider when purchasing a countertop (backsplash – milled or not, edge type, overhang, sink size & shape, number of faucet holes) so I’ll get into this more in its own detailed post.
Even is you have a stained wood vanity cabinet, you can choose to paint it any color. Ours was stained cherry and repainted it with Naval by Sherwinn Williams.
Choose cabinet hardware that coordinates with the other metals in your bathroom. Or, if you choose to mix metals here’s the key: You can mix brushed nickel and brushed brass. You can mix polished chrome and polished brass. But the metals will not feel cohesive if you mix a polished metal and a brushed metal.
I really like THESE Amerdeco polished chrome knobs
and THESE Amerdeco polished chrome handles.
When I was ready to buy a shower curtain, the search was on for one that repelled water well enough so that I did not need a separate curtain line. THIS Kate Spade navy blue & white shower curtain worked perfectly.
We have this curtain hanging in the doorway of a walk-in shower. If you’re planning to use this curtain on a tub/shower, you may need the liner.
Shower Curtain Hooks
I have gone through at least four sets of metal shower curtain hooks ranging in price from low to high that have rusted from the bathroom humidity. So I switched to white plastic shower curtain hooks and have been perfectly happy with them.
THESE white plastic shower curtain hooks are similar to the ones pictured above.
Storage & Area Rugs
Consider adding additional storage to your bathroom for items such towels, soaps, shampoos, cleaning supplies, etc. We added a bookcase and a hope chest bench and painted both white.
I love white chenille area rugs in the bathroom. They are so soft, durable, and you can bleach them when they get dirty and they come out looking like new.
THESE white chenille rugs are similar to the one Elle area rugs I picked up at HomeGoods.
The wall tile pictured here is a Nova porcelain subway tile that resembles marble. I love Carrara marble! This Nova tile has a white background, but not stark white. It’s a more of a very light warm gray with dark shades of gray running through it.
If you’re looking for a tile that resembles marble, choose one that has subtle shades in the background – as if it’s been blurred.
THIS is a similar subway tile by WalkerZenger called Field.
Shower Floor Tile
The shower floor tile pictured is also the Nova tile in a hexagon pattern.
I hope this post helps if you’re planning a bathroom update. Here are a few more items you may want to consider…
Reed Johnson says
Awesome article! I was just writing the trendiest bathroom updates recently. The showerhead upgrades are very underrated yet easy and satisfying to do!
Vicki Blazejowski says
Thank you Reed. Yes, the shower heads were an easy, cost effective upgrade that felt like luxury in the bathroom.