How to stage a bathroom - expert advice to sell your home by making a big design splash

Selling your home isn't always easy, but these bathroom staging ideas are sure to help you create an enviable space that buyers can't resist

Modern bath and llarge mirror doors on wardrobes in a redesigned en suite bathroom
(Image credit: Darren Cheung)

Any estate agent - or stager - will tell you that staging a home is the single best way to sell a property quickly. If a cluttered mess is the first thing to meet your eye when you view a home, it's unlikely you'll be able to visualise its full potential. Yet, while some rooms are relatively easy to stage, staging a small yet functional space like a modern bathroom can come with some difficulty.

Once you stop to think about it, there are some understandable reasons for this. Bathrooms lack the furniture and softer decor of other rooms, making it difficult to elevate the design without a complete restoration. They also serve a predominantly practical purpose. It's the place we go to wash and brush out teeth, which also means it's typically full of products in plastic bottles. You might feel overwhelmed just thinking about how you can introduce visual appeal to such a busy space.

Luckily, when it comes to bathroom staging ideas, we've got you covered. If you're selling up and hoping to improve the look and feel of your bathroom, these experts are on hand to offer some advice. What's more, it won't be a costly process either - with just a few small and inexpensive steps, you'll have a showroom worthy bathroom in no time. 

Two wash basins side by side on a bespoke washstand of walnut wood

(Image credit: Darren Cheung)

Should you stage a bathroom? 

A badly designed and cluttered space is instantly off-putting to a buyer, and this is no less true for bathroom. There's a reason showrooms embrace simple designs and neutral color schemes - they appeal to the greatest number of people and allow your creative imagination to run loose. This is why staging is so important. 

Although kitchens, family rooms and bedrooms tend to be the areas people prioritise when it comes to staging, Paloma Harrington, founder of the Home Staging Association UK & Ireland, says this is a common mistake. 

'Staging a bathroom before putting your house on the market is not to be underestimated,' she says. 'Every room should make a statement when it comes to wowing a potential buyer - and that goes for bathrooms too!'

Making a lasting impression on a potential buyer is key for a successful sale, and a well staged home will ensure your property stands out. And, according to Paloma, bathrooms stand out a lot more to other people than we care to think. 

'They are a space in the property that are great part of our daily lives and one in which we spend a lot of time which means buyers pay more attention to the them than you think,' she explains. 

Black and white bathroom with Moorish patterned floor tiles and bateau bath and shower cubicle

(Image credit: Rei Moon)

What should I display when staging a bathroom? 

Knowing what items to display when you're staging a bathroom can be tricky, especially because design is subjective - the decorative elements loved by one person might be hated by another. 

According to Maura Mackey of Maura Mackey Design, you should keep items on display to a minimum. 'When staging a bathroom for sale, it's important to remove any personal toiletries to declutter the space,' she explains. 'You don’t want the potential buyer to imagine you using this space.'

This is especially true of any hygiene items, such as deodorant, medication, or cleaning products. 'Clear out all of them - these really don't need to be on show,' say Maura. 'Only leave one or two items under the sink in a basket such as shower gels and shampoo. Do not leave the bin or toilet brush on show and if you have kids, store away any training potties.' 

She also recommends removing used towels and replacing them with fresh ones that are neatly presented in the best way to hang bathroom towels. It's also worth removing any personal décor, too. This includes any photos or artwork, and even decorative touches like shells. Just because you love the coastal theme in your bathroom, it doesn't mean everyone will! 

That said, you shouldn't leave display cabinets or shelving entirely empty. 'Use accessories to bring life and style to the space as bare shelves can be off-putting,' Paloma explains. 'Make sure they are accessorised accordingly. Faux white orchids and glass jars for cotton balls are always a good option.' 

Bathroom with geometric tiled floor, green painted brick wall, roll top bath and walk in shower,

(Image credit: James Merrell)

What features should you emphasise? 

As our bathrooms generally tend to be places we don't show off, it's hard to know what features to emphasise to potential buyers. Unless you have a steam room or a jacuzzi, it can seem like your bathroom offers nothing of interest. 

Fortunately, director of home staging company Little Barn Door, Natalie Evans, has some tips when it comes to emphasising those important features. 'When staging bathrooms, the key is to draw attention to the quality finishes and space,' she explains. 'Buyers will be looking for a bathroom that not only ticks practical boxes - shower, bath, toilet and sink - but one with a fresh feel with quality features. This may be as simple as the shine on a tap, the sparkle in a tile or fresh air from an open window.'

With this in mind, think about the small yet worthy features of your bathroom that you regularly overlook. Do you have a matt black bathroom brassware or a geometric backsplash behind the sink? Give them a little extra TLC during your next clean to draw the eye. 

'Unlike in other rooms of the house, less is definitely less within a bathroom,' Natalie continues. 'By shifting the focus on enhancing the appearance of the practical bathroom interior, rather than overwhelming the space with accessories, you will be sure to boost its appeal.'

A traditional style bathroom with slipper bath, two basins and dark grey tiling. Home of Sue and Matt, a renovated Victorian house in London.

(Image credit: Future)

How important is cleanliness? 

That last point leads nicely onto the subject of cleanliness. It might seem like a given, but cleaning your bathroom from top to bottom really is vital for a staging. This is especially important given the room in question. People want a bathroom to be hygienic, so give a little more attention to polishing up your surfaces before anyone comes in to view it. 

As Natalie explains: 'Bathrooms are one of the highest value rooms in your home. Keeping them well presented and clean for both your marketing photography and in person viewings is key.' 

During a deep clean, focus on removing limescale, shower mould and soap smears because, as Natalie suggests, this will help showcase the value of quality fittings, features and finishes. Have a tidy up while you're at it, keeping in mind the best ways to organize your bathroom.  'A clean bathroom gives reassurance that a property has been well looked after and therefore a safe investment,' she says. 

Bathroom with black and white geometric pattern floor tiles, shower area, white wall tiles and pedestal basin.

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Can you embrace a bold design when staging a bathroom? 

If you have a bold or unique design in your bathroom, you might be worrying that it will deter potential buyers if it's not to their taste. While nobody's expecting you to completely renovate your bathroom, there are a few simple steps you can take to help tone down a unique interior to make it more universally appealing. 

'Bold design schemes have become very popular in bathrooms and cloakrooms, but are not always to everyone’s taste,' Natalie says. 'I always recommend removing small novelty items or accessories, adding only white towels as these will work with any design scheme, will help lighten a space and keep the room looking fresh.' 

If bright colors are the concern, you might want to consider repainting. 'Make sure you choose a neutral, consistent color palette which will spruce up the overall look whilst also making your bathroom look fresher and new,' says Paloma. 'Investing in paint is not necessarily costly and could result in faster sales.' 

In her book, Happy Home Sale, Natalie also advises adding a complimentary hint of a bold design scheme into the leading room before the bathroom, such as a flower or patterned accessory. 'This will ease the viewer into any bold decor before it becomes a striking distraction,' she explains. 

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.