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5 Expensive Bathroom Upgrades You Can Totally Skip

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Sarah Crowley)

There’s so much to consider when taking on a big renovation—especially one as crucial as a bathroom or a kitchen. In fact, if someone could figure out a way to ensure a project of that magnitude could be completed on time, on budget, and with no errors, they’d probably win a Nobel Peace Prize.

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Still, if you’re in a position to remodel your bathroom, there are a few things you can do to ensure you walk away with as little regrets as possible—and it all starts with the materials and fixtures you choose. Though it’s easy to get all heart-eyes over all those luxury upgrades available, here are a few experts say you should skip.

Whirlpool tub

“During my 20s I moved into an apartment in NYC that happened to have a whirlpool tub. I pictured myself soaking in it every night after work,” says Decorist Elite Designer Briana Nix. Reality was cold—the tub pooled with water after every shower, leaving dark, moldy areas that were extremely difficult to clean, she says. “I ended up being completely turned off by the idea of a bath and stuck to showers instead.” That might have been for the best. As it turns out, studies show whirlpool bathtubs tend to harbor large amounts of bacterial and potential pathogens. Yuck!

Name-brand hardware

“Don’t splurge on towel racks and cabinet pulls just because they are from a designer line,” says Nix. But… but… what about those sleek brass pulls? “IKEA has clean, modern options and no one will ever know the difference!”

Expensive bath towels

Of course, if you buy expensive bath towels, you’ll probably wind up using them. But there’s no reason to spend the extra money, says Nix. Stores like Bed Bath & Beyond have a huge selection of reasonably priced towels that are soft and cozy—and don’t feel any different than expensive ones. Plus, you probably already have the secret ingredient for soft, absorbent towels hiding in your pantry. Simply wash scratchy varieties with a half-cup of vinegar for soft, touchable towels.

Heated floors

The vision of stepping onto a warm floor after a shower on a chilly morning is magical, for sure. But heated floors are a luxury that will more than likely require new or re-routed plumbing, says Nix. That means more construction, more mess, and more money. You’re better off placing a super soft, plush bath mat under your feet and buying a big bath sheet for extra comfort post-shower.

Full body shower sprays

“Installing one of these won’t really add any value—unless your hot water heater will provide enough warm water for your entire shower time,” says Nix. “You should also take into account how strong your water pressure is.” Bottom line: A spa-like shower might be more trouble than it’s worth.