Almost every other home I see has one, a bathroom that needs some TLC. Everyone knows that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, but they’re also the most expensive rooms to renovate- you can hardly blame someone planning to sell for not wanting to sink too much money into them. While these rooms may be small, they’re important; you should seriously consider your options to avoid a potential buyer from immediately thinking, “PROJECT”. Continue reading for some simple and inexpensive steps and staging ideas to breath new life into a less-than-stellar bathroom.

Deep Clean

UPstaging Toronto. the BREL team

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But it’s common for things are forgotten when it comes to a pre-sale bathroom cleaning. If you’re working with a real estate team that offers complimentary cleaning prior to selling (like the BREL team), you’re off to a good start. In addition to the basics (toilet, sink, tub, grout) you’ll want to address:

  • Your light fixture, ceiling fan, caulking, and walls. Light fixtures collect dust and are often overlooked; when was the last time you inspected your bathroom exhaust fan? Chances are it has some serious dust build-up and could use a good clean.
  • Bathroom walls sweat because of the moisture created in them, leaving streaks on the surface. Give your walls a good scrub and consider re-painting if they don’t come up clean.
  • Re-caulking your tub, sink, or vanity surround can dramatically affect how clean your bathroom appears.

While your bathroom may be in need of an overhaul, clean and tidy go a long way to improving the appearance of any bathroom during the critical open house phase.

UPstaging Toronto. the BREL team


Plumbing fixtures, tile, and electrical work add up quickly, but refreshing what is already in your bathroom doesn’t have to be expensive and can create dramatic results. Consider:

  • Replacing your dated vanity with an all-in-one vanity (plumbing fixtures built-in) can be a great and economical way to revamp a washroom, but painting out your existing vanity might be all you need. If you’re painting the bathroom, a neutral colour, consider painting the vanity a few shades darker. If you’d prefer the bathroom has a moodier look, painting the vanity a few shades lighter (3-4 on your colour sample) is the way to go. Bathrooms are small and should be serene- monochromatic is best.
  • If the tile around the tub or sink is offensive, consider painting it. This may require calling in professionals who will use special paint to make sure it adheres properly, but it is still faster and cheaper than hiring a tradesperson to re-tile.
  • The same is true for your dated tub or sink. While not as ideal as renovating your bathroom, re-painting and sealing porcelain plumbing fixtures is becoming more common and is a great alternative to replacing them, especially if you won’t be the one using the bathroom in a matter of weeks. A bright white tile always looks fresh, and the same is true for your tub or sink – selling is not the time to experiment. 

UPstaging Toronto. the BREL team

Remove What Needs To Go

When trying to re-think any space, it’s always best to strip it back first.

  • Tuck away anything on the counter, floor, behind the door, and in the tub.
  • Replace dark shower curtains with something light and airy .
  • Make sure your bulbs are the same wattage and throw an appropriate amount of light- try bright white and soft yellow to see which one looks best.
  • Remove any built-in storage system around the toilet and consider removing bulky and dated medicine cabinets. Storage is important for living; aesthetics are important for selling.
  • Replace damaged mirrors and bulky medicine cabinets with one large piece of cut mirror. Your local framing/mirror and glass shop should be able to help, and the installation will only require some construction adhesive and fasteners.
  • If your bathroom exhaust fan sounds like an 87 Chevy every time you turn it on, replace it!
  • And while you’re at the hardware store, look into replacing any faucets that have fallen on hard times. 

UPstaging Toronto. the BREL team

After you’ve stripped the bathroom, cleaned it, painted and replaced what was necessary, layering a few soft touches back in will help set the mood:

  • A strategically placed folded hand towel on the counter (especially if you’re not fond of the said counter) and a candle flickering nearby are always lovely.
  • Folded towels on the towel rack and a plush robe hanging from the door sell the idea that yours is a bathroom people can enjoy themselves in. 
  • Appropriately sized and neutral art hanging opposite the mirror over the vanity will add a beautiful sightline and finish it all off.

The BREL team employs the handiest handyman out there who is always happy to help get you started if need be (what has your REALTOR done for you lately?). The ‘forgotten’ bathroom may never be your favourite space, but it need not be your nemesis. Give it a try and see just how far a little TLC goes in your DIY.

Author: Kiel Storms. Read more about him here. 

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