6 Times to Splurge in Your Bathroom Remodel — Designers Say You Won't Regret These Choices

This is where to spend your money when re-doing your bathroom, according to designers

A bathroom with plaster walls and two round mirrors
(Image credit: David Mitchell. Design: Timothy Godbold)

Piecing together your dream bathroom involves a lot of key decisions. At times, you need to find the best budget alternatives; and at other times, it's good to go all out. Every bathroom should have a wonderful mix of utilitarian elements mixed with ones that feel like a treat — that lend themselves well to these pampering spaces.

To help you figure out which splurges are totally worth it, we asked top designers for help. These modern bathroom fixtures, will extend the value of your investment, make a lasting impression, and leave you with an inspirational space.

1. Bathroom wallpaper

A bathroom with wallpaper

(Image credit: Studio Ganz)

No, bathroom wallpaper isn't an impractical purchase; in fact, it is a wonderful element that can make a big or small bathroom look instantly more welcoming, charming and less stark. One way to choose the right one for your space is by deciding on the mood you want to create. For an indoor-outdoor feel, consider greens, blues, and nature-inspired prints. Darker ones will create a warm and calming mood.

However, there's a practical reason that you might want to spend more in this area, too. 'If wallpaper is part of your design vision, invest in a really good vinyl,' says San Francisco-based designer Sondra Ganz, founder of Studio Ganz. 'I would never put a “paper" wallpaper in a bathroom ever. It just takes one accident or a few extra misty showers to ruin everything. Many good wallpaper brands can work with you to find a vinyl in their collection that is close to what you’re looking for. If you work with an experienced interior designer, they can often work with their vendors to have patterns printed for you.'

2. Or Bespoke plasterwork

A bathroom with bespoke plasterwork

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors)

If you're looking for something even more bespoke and luxe than wallpapers, then wall moldings and plasterwork are a great bet. When remodeling a bathroom, identify a focal wall that will act as a canvas for your creativity.

'Bespoke plasterwork is one of the most luxurious details I’ve had the pleasure of incorporating into projects,' says Marie Flanigan, founder of Marie Flanigan Interiors. 'Often, we’ll opt for floral motifs, creating branches flowers, and blooms that move across the walls and ceilings.'

3. Luxury shower system

A shower with chrime fixtures

(Image credit: Donna DuFresne Interior Design)

A walk in shower with automated controls will make you feel like you're in a high-end hotel. Give yourself that gift of an indulgent shower.

'Investing in a premium shower system can greatly enhance your daily bathing experience and add significant value to your bathroom,' says Richard Misso, creative director at The Stylesmiths. 'These systems offer advanced features such as multiple shower heads, rainfall shower heads, body jets, and adjustable settings. These features provide a more luxurious and customizable shower experience compared to standard shower setups.'

'Plus, high-quality shower systems are built with durable materials that are designed to last,' says Richard. 'They are less prone to corrosion, leaks, and wear and tear, ensuring that your investment pays off in the long run. These also have sleek and stylish designs that can elevate the overall look of your bathroom. They can serve as a focal point and contribute to a more sophisticated and upscale bathroom ambiance. Many luxury shower systems come with convenient features such as thermostatic controls, digital displays, and programmable settings for water temperature and flow. These features enhance usability and make your showering experience more enjoyable.'

4. Hardware

A bathroom with sculptural taps

(Image credit: David Mitchell. Design: Timothy Godbold)

'Your plumbing fixtures are really the jewelry of your bathroom…they should support your design narrative,' says Richard. 'Polished Chrome with crystal handles is a great option. Cordinate all the extra details for an extra “wow”. The simple finish upgrade can instantly bring glamor and sophistication into the interior. I also love utilizing knurled handles and specialty colors depending on the style and design.'

Bathroom trends also point towards more sculptural shapes in taps. Think elongated spouts, surprising material choices, and experimentation with bold finishes.

5. Shower bench

A bathroom with a built in shower seat

(Image credit: Donna DuFresne Interior Design)

Whether a built in shower bench or a shower stool, this little addition can go a long way in creating a luxury bathroom that is a breeze to spend time in.

'This is such a thoughtful essential if you can plan ahead,' says Sondra. 'Make sure the ledge is installed with structural blocking to support enough weight. There are many companies that offer buy-out products for simplicity. If you missed the boat or don’t have the luxury of a shower bench, look for outdoor-grade stools that you can use instead (just don’t place solid bases on top of natural stone).'

6. Heated floors

A bathroom with heated flooring

(Image credit: The Stylesmiths)

When you want to make a bathroom cozier, a feature many designers love is heated floors.

'Installing heated bathroom flooring can be a luxurious addition that adds comfort and warmth, especially during colder months,' says Richard. 'Radiant floor heating systems can be installed underneath tiles or other flooring materials, providing gentle, even heat throughout the space. This upgrade can make stepping out of the shower a more pleasant experience and can contribute to overall energy efficiency in your home.'

'We can especially appreciate that feature here in San Francisco,' says Sondra. 'Having another heat source like flooring that doesn’t require air vents can be really beneficial in very small spaces. I have never had a client regret this choice.'

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Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.