Make Your Bathroom Brighter for Winter

Fewer hours of sunlight paired with more time spent indoors can make your home seem darker in the winter months. The bathroom in particular often suffers because of the generally smaller size. Bring a brighter, warmer feel to your bathroom with a few simple changes to combat the effects of gloomy winter weather. Knowing how to brighten up your bathroom for winter may make it a little easier to crawl out from under those warm blankets in the morning.

Pick a New Color Palette

Color plays a powerful role in the look and feel of a room. A simple color change may be all you need to brighten your bathroom for winter and beyond. Look around your bathroom with a critical eye to spot the elements that seem dark or make the room feel smaller.

A fresh coat of paint gives dingy walls a clean, updated look, but the wall color isn’t the only consideration. The colors of vanities, shower curtains, tile, flooring and even the accessories in your bathroom can make the room feel dark and small. Ditch the outdated or dark elements in favor of lighter, brighter colors.

White is an obvious color choice for creating a bright, open feeling in any room. A white palette makes the bathroom feel clean and pairs well with a variety of color accents, making it a versatile color choice.

White isn’t your only choice, though. Bright, cheerful colors open up the space and make it an inviting place to get ready each day.

Not sure what color to choose to make your bathroom warmer and brighter? Keep these tips in mind:

• Go Bold: Bathrooms are an easy place to explore color. The small space means bold colors can work without feeling too over the top. Consider a bright, bold color like yellow to enliven your bathroom and combat the gray feeling usually associated with winter.

• Choose Your Happy Color: Think about colors that make you happy when choosing your bathroom palette. A light lavender or pink might do the trick. A color that brings about feelings of happiness can counteract the gloominess that takes over in the winter months.

• Complement Yourself: Choosing colors that complement your skin tone can make you feel better when you look in the mirror. Some options include rose, coral, warm gold and brown.

• Infuse Color in Different Ways: Repainting your walls a new color is a simple option, but it’s not the only way to add color to your bathroom. Add colored tiles to the décor, choose a new sink in a bold color or add color through accessories.

Replace or Add Lighting

When considering how to brighten up a room, lighting is an obvious change to make. If your existing lighting comes up short, a new fixture can make a big difference in how your bathroom feels. Install a new fixture with an updated look and additional light bulbs for a quick update. Bright lighting fixtures placed in strategic locations combat the darker winter days.

Assess your current lighting situation. How many fixtures do you have? Where are they located? Do they provide enough lighting to apply makeup and handle other morning prep activities? Note the dark spaces in the room when deciding where to add new fixtures.

Layering light in the bathroom helps disperse it to avoid dark spots and provide ample, bright lighting. If you only have an overhead light, add sconces or pendant lighting over your sink. This provides task lighting for those close-up personal care tasks and prevents the shadows that often come from the overhead lighting. Ideal spacing for fixtures mounted to the side of the mirrors is at least 28 inches apart. Mount the lights about 60 inches from the floor to direct the light to your face. Above-mirror lights work best when they are mounted around 78 inches above the floor.

Add lighting to other areas for additional warmth and brightness. One idea is to install hidden lighting along the base of a raised vanity. This produces a warm glow of light. Lights near your shower or bathtub make it easier to see what you’re doing while you freshen up. Hire a professional electrician to handle any lighting changes to ensure they’re wired correctly and safely.

If you want to add lighting without hiring an electrician, consider adding freestanding lamps or lights. These lights can go on a vanity top or shelf to boost illumination without requiring a hard-wired installation. Candles can add a warm glow, but only use then when you are in the bathroom for safety. Never leave a candle burning when you’re out of the room.

Experiment with different types of light bulbs in all of your lighting fixtures to get a warm glow perfect for the winter months. The best bulbs for bathrooms feature a color temperature between 2700K and 3000K, to let you see colors accurately. Look for incandescent bulbs with a white light listing, such as warm white or cool white bulbs. For CFL or LED lights, choose bulbs with a CRI, or color rendering index, of 90 or higher.

While natural lighting shrinks in the winter months, maximizing the natural light you do get also helps open up the bathroom. Instead of keeping blinds closed for privacy, add tinting or frosting to your windows, so you can throw up the blinds. Adding a skylight to an upper floor bathroom is another way to maximize natural light year round.

Refinish Your Tile

Over time, bathroom tiles start looking dingy and outdated. They might lose their shine or discolor. Grout lines often get dirty and may even start growing mold. Old, grimy tile won’t do much to boost your mood during the dark winter months.

Replacing tile can be a difficult and messy process. It is possible to get new-looking tile without demolishing the old and installing new tiles. Refinishing the tiles is often a faster, cheaper way to make the tiles look new again. The process involves more than simply painting the tiles. Professional tile refinishing uses special equipment and durable bonding agents, primers and top coats to replicate the original look of the tile. The results last longer than tile paint products and gives a clean, glossy look just like new ceramic tile.

Redo Your Tub

An outdated tub makes your entire bathroom look old and tired, but replacing a tub is difficult and expensive. Even if you find an affordable tub model, you need to pay for installation on top of removal and disposal of your old bathtub.

An alternative is to reglaze your current tub. Just like refinishing tile, this process involves several steps to create the look of a new tub without the associated price tag. Custom Tub and Tile uses an eight-layer system to give your tub a durable finish and a fresh, new look.

Reflect Light

Reflective surfaces make light bounce back into the bathroom, making the space feel brighter and larger. Mirrors are a common way to add a reflective surface in a bathroom. If your current mirror is on the small side, consider replacing it with a larger one. You can also add a full-length mirror on another wall to increase the reflective surfaces in the bathroom.

Another option is to add shiny finishes on other items in the bathroom. You have plenty of choices when it comes to shiny surfaces in the bathroom. Consider these options:

Gloss-finish Tiles: Choose glossy tiles for an accent wall to get the reflective quality. When possible, position those glossy tiles behind a lighting sconce or pendant light to get maximum light reflection.

Shiny Metal: Shiny metal surfaces have the same impact in the bathroom. Instead of brushed finishes, choose polished metal on sink fixtures, vanity hardware and other metal surfaces.

Metallic Wallpaper: Many newer wallpaper styles incorporate shiny, metallic designs that provide some light reflection. The wallpaper design adds a fun touch and an updated look while making the space seem brighter. You can wallpaper the entire bathroom or just one wall to create a bold, metallic accent area. Choose a high quality, durable wallpaper that can handle the humidity of a bathroom space if you go this route.

• Shiny Sinks: Install a new glass sink with a fun, reflective surface. Choosing a bold color for your glass sink is another way to pep up your bathroom in time for the winter months.

Incorporate Glass: Any items made from glass tend to have that shiny, reflective quality that brightens up a bathroom. Use glass in accents, drawer pulls, accessories and other items. Lucite is another material that works well for adding a bright look to a bathroom.

Use Translucent Dividers

Instead of solid walls and other opaque dividers, use textured or frosted glass to divide spaces in the bathroom. The glass lets light shine through and makes the space feel more open and bright, while the textured or frosted finish offers privacy. These types of glass dividers work well when you want privacy around a shower, toilet or other area of the bathroom.

If you’re ready for an extensive remodeling project, consider opening up the wall of your ensuite bathroom in favor of a semi-solid wall to maximize light entering the space. Options for dividing the bathroom from the bedroom include glass walls, glass blocks and louvered walls. You can also make the bathroom door larger, using a sliding barn-style door for privacy when the bathroom is in use. The larger doorway lets more light enter the bathroom from the connecting room.

Another option is to install a glass shower door instead of using a shower curtain. The curtain cuts off the room, making it feel smaller and preventing light from entering the shower area. A glass door lets the eye travel to the back wall of the bathroom while giving you more light while you shower or bathe.

Make It Pretty

A fresh look in your bathroom can help rejuvenate the space. Bright, new accessories make the bathroom seem like a completely new room. The type of accessories you use depends on the overall design of the space.

Consider these options for a fresh look:

New Bathroom Accessories: Update your soap dispenser, toothbrush holder and other accessories with a shiny style. A glossy ceramic design reflects light for that extra boost of brightness.

Towels: Bright, colorful towels displayed in the bathroom provides an inexpensive update. New towels offer a fluffy, fresh look that gets you excited to shower. Display the towels on towel bars, towel rings or folded on shelves.

Plants: Since you won’t see many plants outdoors during the winter months, bring the greenery indoors with houseplants in your bathroom. If your bathroom doesn’t have much natural light, choose shade-loving plants or air plants that grow better in those particular conditions. Some options that do well in low-light conditions include lucky bamboo, Phalaenopsis orchid, crotons and Boston ferns. Another option is to use realistic silk plants in the bathroom, so you don’t have to worry about watering and caring for them. A fresh bouquet of flowers in a vase each week brings in a pop of color and a cheerful look.

• Rugs: Colder temperatures outside often mean colder floors in the bathroom, especially if you have tile flooring. Add a thick, warm bath mat outside your tub to soften and warm the floor while adding some color to the space. You can also add a rug in front of the vanity and other areas of the bathroom.

Artwork: Beautiful artwork that fits the style of your bathroom creates a pretty space that makes you feel happy. That beautiful diversion can help you forget about the dismal winter weather outside and make your bathroom feel like a brighter space. Choose artwork made of material that can handle humidity.

• Shower Curtain: Hang a new, bright shower curtain to give your bathroom an instant update. Because shower curtains are so large, avoid a dark design that can shrink the space.

Keep it Clean

No one likes scrubbing the toilet or bathtub, but keeping your bathroom clean and fresh helps create that bright feeling. Soap scum, hairspray and dirt dull the look of surfaces in the bathroom. Get into a regular cleaning routine throughout winter to improve the look of the bathroom. Run your ventilation system if you use chemical cleaners to reduce fumes when you can’t open the windows.

Another similar method of brightening the bathroom is to clear out clutter. This is particularly important in a small bathroom without much space. Get rid of items you don’t use often. Relocate items to other areas when possible. Maximize storage space in the bathroom with organizers. Fewer items lying around creates a clean, open feeling in the bathroom.

Get Started on Your Bathroom Project

Make your bathroom brighter now with the projects and renovations that fit your budget and bathroom space. Contact us for more information on bathtub, tile or sink and vanity projects to get your bathroom in shape for winter.

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