6 Tiny Details That Make or Break How Great Your Bathroom Looks

Bathroom remodels are hard to get just right. There are so many choices—tubs, sinks, and tile, to name a few. But it’s the small things that can make or break a design.

“During a bathroom remodel, both beauty and function matter here, so it’s important to care about both,” says Rob McDowell, a master plumber with All Star Plumbing in Columbia, MO. In this latest installment of our Dream Bathroom Remodeling Guide, we gathered the last little touches you need to make that dream a reality. Here are some things that can make or break how your bathroom remodel turns out. 

1. A luxe shower-head—and where it’s placed

Consider going with a handheld shower-head.
Consider going with a handheld shower-head.HomeDepot.com

Sure, it’s generally behind a curtain or a door, but the shower-head is not to be overlooked. “These days, many people opt for massaging shower-heads and models that can remember your temperature preferences,” says McDowell. Many modern, low-flow shower-head systems are designed to provide the same satisfying feel of a traditional shower-head, and models that detach from the wall are still popular as well.

Another easy tip, whether you get a new shower-head or not: Raise it a foot or so higher, so you can enjoy the warm spray across your whole body.

“When people ask us for the secret to the perfect bathroom, we always recommend raising your shower-head,” says McDowell. “Older homes typically have low shower-heads, so raising yours will bring your bathroom into the present at very little cost.”

Save: A basic shower-head can cost as little as $15 at any home improvement store.

Splurge: Experts we spoke to favor Moen’s Chrome Eco-Performance Handshower Handheld Shower ($296, shown above), since it has a wide head, but conserves water, too.

2. Tile grout

Photo by RenovatePads

Grout is an important detail to decide on after choosing the perfect tile. “This is my personal design preference, but I love a bright white grout in the bathroom,” says Lynn Schrage, bathroom design manager at Kohler. “But I also see a lot of public places choosing black grout with a lighter tile.”

Whatever your choice, make sure it blends well with your tile selection. If you have a patterned tile, select a grout that appears seamless and modern, rather than breaking up the pattern with lines of grout.

3. A toilet that isn’t just an afterthought

Don't forget to research toilets.
Don’t forget to research toilets.Kohler.com

Many homeowners glaze over when it gets to the point where they select the toilet. “Maybe it’s embarrassing to discuss, because let’s face it … it’s hard to make a toilet beautiful,” says Schrage. “That being said, it’s going to see a lot of use, so make sure to choose comfort—elongated bowl, please!—and some style, meaning: not your typical oval.”

Save: A Glacier Bay high-efficiency elongated toilet costs $99.

Splurge: The elongated Kohler’s Memoirs Classic ($1,298, shown above).

4. Sink faucet

Where hot meets cold
Where hot meets coldHomeDepot.com

“Sink faucets are basically statement earrings for your bathroom,” says Schrage. “I love the look of a widespread—at least 8-inch—faucet.” Quite apart from appearing more contemporary, faucets that have some room around them are much easier to clean.

Save: Go for old-school style, with Vintage Widespread Bathroom Faucet with Pop-Up Drain,  ($186).

Splurge: Experts we spoke to love the look of brushed gold, such as Moen’s Align Brushed Gold Two-Handle High Arc Bathroom Faucet ($357).

5. Towel racks

Keep towels in their place.
Keep towels in their place.crateandbarrel.com

You will need a place for those wet towels, and chances are, the place they hang on the wall could be a focal place in your bathroom. “Choose a towel bar that’s wide enough for at least two towels, so about 24 inches,” says Schrage.

Don’t worry if it’s not the same finish as the plumbing. “Just choose something you love, because you’ll be using it more than other accessories in your home,” she adds.

And think about the placement of towel bars and robe hooks before your remodel is complete. Towels should be accessible as you exit the shower.

Save: You can score a black steel towel rack (shown above for $70) to display rolled towels.

Splurge: Pottery Barn’s Hewitt Train Rack in chrome goes for $229.

6. Vanity

Add style and storage with a bathroom vanity.
Add style and storage with a bathroom vanity.Wayfair.com

If you are planning a full bathroom remodel, replace your bathroom vanity(and to clarify, a bathroom vanity isn’t what hangs on a wall, but cabinetry that holds the sink and also has storage). And while you may be tempted to refinish an existing vanity, for upfront savings, once everything else has been replaced, the vanity will feel even more outdated and be lacking storage.

Save: You can snag a classic vanity with a cultured marble top for $149.

Splurge: The Wynkoop 24-inch Single Bathroom Vanity Set shown above goes for $272.