Buying & Selling

Staging a Bathroom to Sell: 5 Easy Steps

You’ve invested a lot of time and effort (and probably a little money) into getting your home ready to sell – and you know that staging is a big part of creating a buyer experience that leads to solid offers. Good staging helps potential buyers see your space as their space – and that’s when they make the emotional investment that leads to a sale.

Like most people, you probably concentrated your staging around the main living areas of the house, like the living room, dining room and kitchen – and those are, without a doubt, important. You do not, however, want to overlook the value of staging your bathroom when it comes to landing a sale for top dollar.

Why Is Staging the Bathroom So Critical?

Bathrooms are intensely personal spaces, and people spend a lot of time in them. While they can be the most challenging room in the house to properly stage for showing, doing so is an absolute essential. 

You want potential buyers to feel comfortable in your home and picture themselves living there – because that’s what drives their decision to make a bid (or not) after a showing. If the rest of your house has been depersonalized and cleaned to showroom quality, there’s no faster way to break a buyer’s vision of their future than to let them walk into a bathroom that’s clearly “lived in.” Buyers tend to feel best about a bathroom when it looks virtually new and unused.

Where do you get started? How do you make staging a bathroom possible when you still have to live in the house until it sells? Here are some tips:

1. Get Rid of All the Clutter

This is a little harder than it sounds because bathrooms tend to be repositories for a lot of stuff that we need to use all the time – including shampoo bottles, soap and grooming items. Yet, all of that has to go – or be hidden.

This means:

  • Get rid of any shower caddies
  • Make sure toothbrushes are tucked away
  • Get rid of hooks and hanging robes
  • Tuck the trash bin under the sink or remove it
  • Take down small shelves used for hair accessories

One quick and easy trick for decluttering is to purchase a few small plastic bins or wicker baskets that can be used to hold shampoo bottles, hand towels, hair accessories, makeup and the like. When a showing is about to happen, those can be quickly tucked into a cabinet (or in a closet in another room) where they’re safely out of sight.

2. Neutralize the Color Scheme

As much as possible, you want to create a bright, neutral color scheme for your bathroom. That not only helps the room look bigger, but it also emphasizes its cleanliness and makes it easier for people to picture themselves in the space. (If you have colored tile somewhere in your bathroom and you don’t want to go to the expense of replacing it, do your best to minimize the impact by making everything else as muted as possible.)

A fresh coat of paint on the walls won’t exactly hurt your staging efforts and can instantly transform a slightly dingy bathroom into something that looks almost new. Your cabinets, too, may need a new coat of paint if they’re starting to look worn.

Swap out the colored shower curtain for something clean and bright and buy some neutral towels that you can hang on the towel bars for showings.

3. Deep Clean Everything

When we say “deep clean” we mean go really deep. Be prepared to go way past the usual wipedown stage and sanitize the entire bathroom as if it were part of a luxury hotel and you’re prepping for the next guest. (Obviously, your potential buyers know that the bathroom has been used before, but it shouldn’t look, smell or feel used.)

Go through the entire bathroom and look for any stains on the mirrors, the cabinets, the shower or walls. Descale the showerhead and faucets so that they shine like new. Polish the hardware on your cabinets and drawers. Make sure that there are no unpleasant odors, especially mildew, lingering around.

4. Depersonalize the Decor

You also need to depersonalize your decor. If you haven’t already removed any personal touches from your bathroom when you decluttered, now is the time to do it. 

That means taking down any photos and artwork that shows your personality and getting rid of any tchotchkes. That cute sign over the toilet that reminds people to wash their hands: Get rid of it. Those charming little figurines that have graced your cabinet for years: They have to go. 

If you want to leave any decorative elements in your bathroom at all, think small green plants, apothecary jars or a single (somewhat bland) piece of art that pulls the color scheme of the room together.

5. One Final Step to Take

Okay, here’s the real test: Grab your phone, turn on the camera and stand just outside the open door of your bathroom and take some photos. Now, step back and look at them. Ask yourself, if you were about to rent a place on Airbnb, would this look good to you? If you can’t honestly say you’d feel comfortable walking into a strange bathroom that looks like yours, you’re not quite done. Go back and fix anything that struck you as out of place, old or too personal.

Selling your home is a big adventure – but all of your hard work will pay off in the end if you stay focused on your goals!