George to the rescue

How to Make Your Small Bathroom Feel Like a Spa

If you don't have the budget for a remodel, a few upgrades can help modernize a dated bathroom.

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A bathroom — when done right — should feel like your own private sanctuary. High-end bathroom remodels can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but you don't have to have a big space or a lot of cash to rehabilitate your bathroom.

If you don't have the budget for a remodel, a few of the upgrades listed below can help modernize a dated bathroom.

1. Replace Your Light Fixtures

On Season 14 of "George to the Rescue," the Oelkers' primary bathroom had light fixtures falling out of the walls and mismatched light bulbs. Renovations had understandably been put on the back burner after Erika Oelkers' husband died from a 9/11 related illness and she had her own bout with cancer (she's now in remission).

George Oliphant and his crew stepped in to give the Oelkers some zen. Replacing harsh overhead overhead lighting with wall sconces is an easy way to add style and create a softer overall effect.

"I might not want to leave here," Erika Oelker said after the renovation reveal. "Lock the door on the way out," she joked.

2. Swap Out Your Shower Heads or Bathtub Faucets

After gutting the Oelkers' bathroom, Andrew from Capstone Plumbing & Heating installed a walk-in shower. If you don't have the funds to install a new shower or bathtub, simply swap out your shower heads or bathtub faucets to improve the look (and hopefully the water pressure) in your bathroom.

The Oelkers' primary bathroom now has a walk-in shower with a shower head and handheld combo. | Photo Credit: George to the Rescue

3. Replace Your Shower Door or Buy a New Shower Curtain

The Oelkers' shower curtain situation was replaced by a glass shower door. For a less pricey option, a shower curtain with a tieback can help your bathroom look more upscale for a fraction of the price.

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4. Hang a New Bathroom Mirror or Medicine Cabinet

Instead of a traditional bathroom mirror, you can opt for something more ornate or colorful to bring some personality to the space.

If you're looking to add extra storage, installing a surface-mount or recessed medicine cabinet is an inexpensive option. Plus, there are medicine cabinets with or without mirrors depending on your preference.

5. Fresh Paint or Wallpaper Can Liven Up the Space

A bright, clean white can help a small bathroom look more open. But if white isn't your style, an accent wall or wallpaper can add a pop of color.

bathroom toilet with potted plant and art hanging over toilet
Designer Liz Kohart opted for a subtle, striped wallpaper inside the Oelkers' primary bathroom. (Andrea Giarraputo)

6. Select a Signature Candle, Diffuser or Room Spray

And finally, perhaps the easiest way to transform your bathroom into a spa-like space is through fragrance.

A candle, diffuser or room spray can instantly impact your mood. Lavender can help you unwind and rest or bergamot cedarwood can inspire balance and harmony. (Be mindful of children and pets when using these types of products.)

Learn additional home hacks and watch more full episodes of George to the Rescue:

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