The 7 Biggest Pet Peeves Home Stagers Have About Your Bathroom

updated Oct 9, 2021
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When I was growing up, my bathroom was absolutely stellar. It was split into two rooms—one for the sink and another for the toilet and tub. And I got to pick the theme! Thirteen-year-old me was more than thrilled to pick a dark safari theme. Black and gold, tiger print, furry fringed curtains. It was a new teenager’s dream.

Of course, only as an adult have I come to discover how very uninformed some of my design choices were. When I visit my parents’ house now, I still love it, of course — secretly I’m still obsessed with moody animal print — but I know if they were ever going to sell, that now-outdated bathroom would need to be completely overhauled.

If you’re planning to sell your house soon, or are even just trying to increase the value for the time being, don’t fall into these typical outdated bathroom traps.

Wallpaper

Think about it — bathrooms are high-humidity environments. I’m hesitant to even put up a framed photo in case moisture seeps in and ruins the artwork. So why would you want to put something that moisture can ruin… all over your walls?

“For the most part, I hate wallpaper in the bathroom,” says Jeremy Porter of The Porter Group with Coldwell Banker in Florida. “With the high humidity, it separates and peels. It’s a waste of money and looks terrible from most buyers’ and renters’ perspectives.

The same thing goes for peel-and-stick tiles, says Kate Zeigler, a Boston-based Realtor. It’s probably best just to avoid anything sticky.

Themes

Sorry, 13-year-old me, but themes are out. Eclectic looks are much more appealing for the current market — so stay away from “coordinating your flip-flop-shaped soap pump to a starfish shower curtain to hand towels with a beach picture on it,” say Amy Monroe and Katie Knitter, co-owners of staging company Becoming Home.

Putting Unnecessary Items on Display

If you’re not going to actually use something, don’t put it on display in your bathroom. That means decorative towels, those seashell-shaped soaps everyone leaves on the countertop, and fake plants. Instead, put out some nice trays and top them with jars full of things you get use out of, like cotton balls and bath salts. That being said, if you’re selling your house, Monroe and Knitter urge people to put away the things they use all the time, like cleaning products, tools, and personal items. “No one wants to see things like a toothbrush or an electric razor plugged into the wall,” they say.

Window Treatments

If you don’t need privacy in the bathroom from an unfortunately placed window, you don’t need window treatments, according to the pros. And if you do need that privacy, opt for something less obtrusive than a curtain and valance, like blinds or a frosted window film. Letting light in is key during a showing.

Rugs

Rugs and rug-like items (like fuzzy toilet seat covers) should only serve a practical purpose. If you’re worried about slipping when you get out of the tub, then get a bathmat—but only one. “People love to have four rugs in their bathroom, one at each bowl of the sink, one in front of the toilet, one in front of the door, one in front of the shower,” Monroe and Knitter say. “Use one larger bath mat by the tub or shower that runs the length of it, not multiple rugs everywhere. The more you break up that floor space, the smaller the room appears. When we’re staging, we won’t put any rugs in a bathroom.”

Medicine Cabinets

Knitter and Monroe note that almost no house currently on the market is selling with a medicine cabinet. People are pulling them out and not replacing them — which is a good thing. “Even if you’re not redoing your bathroom and you’re just trying to increase the look and value of your home to sell, replace that old fashioned medicine cabinet with a nice updated mirror,” they say. “An oval mirror allows you to put side light fixtures next to it, which provide nice lighting. You really look best when light isn’t shining down over your head.”

Towel Bars

Towels hung on a bar almost always look messy, say the experts. Instead, install some hooks, which are a little more practical. Towels you don’t hang can be displayed folded into thirds and stacked in a little pyramid.