There’s all kinds of advice out there about how to update the look and feel of your bathroom on a limited budget. From “repaint your walls” and “replace your shower curtain” to more innovative ideas like adding a tile backsplash, there are plenty of little ways to freshen up your bathroom to keep it looking on trend, even if you don’t have the budget for a major remodel. But one big thing that might be making your bathroom look dated is often overlooked: your bathroom faucet.
Bathroom Faucets Are Like The Backs Of Your Hands
While there’s plenty you can do to revitalize an aging bathroom (like bleaching your grout or recaulking problem areas), only attentive care over the life of your bathroom faucet can keep it from showing it’s age. And while you can close your shower curtain on aging bath and shower fixtures, bathroom faucets are always front and center. Discolored, hard water stained, or simply cheap looking bathroom faucets are all sure giveaways that your bathroom isn’t in the best condition. On the other hand, putting in a brand new, quality bathroom faucet like this Porter Centerset from Delta can trick the eye into making your whole bathroom look younger and newer than it is.
How Does YOUR Bathroom Faucet Look?
If your bathroom faucet is starting to show signs of age, or if you spent less than, say, $40 on it initially, it’s probably safe to say that it isn’t looking as good as it could. But even if your bathroom faucet isn’t in obviously bad condition, it still might not be doing anything good for your bathroom. Even when well cared for, clear acrylic knobs can look outdated, and average, standard centerset faucets look, well, average and standard. In short, an ordinary or older bathroom faucet just doesn’t do anything to enhance your bathroom, and can even drag it down, while even something as simple as this $100 Avalon Faucet can totally revitalize your whole counter space.
Price Makes A Big Difference
It’s true that you can always find a better deal on almost anything. Heck, I’m personally a huge bargain hunter. But when it comes to bathroom sinks, you should pay attention to the undiscounted price. Now, I’m not saying you have to go crazy – designer faucets are a whole different topic, and anything anywhere near the thousand dollar range and you’re either paying for a designer name or sophisticated electronics. What I’m talking about is how big a difference there is in material quality, finish quality, and even durability between a $20 faucet and a $200 one. $20-50 faucets are cheap but look cheap and don’t last long, but even hitting the $100 mark you can find bathroom faucets with a solid brass construction and beautiful finish, like this Serrano faucet from Price Pfister. So, if you can, try to find an extra $20 more than you might have planned to put toward a new bathroom faucet. It can make a huge difference in the way your bathroom will look.
Ditch Your Centerset
Most standard bathroom vanity tops are cut with three faucet holes, with about 4 inches between the outermost holes. The most typical bathroom faucets are called centerset faucets, which are built with 1 or 2 handles and a faucet attached to a single base that covers all three holes in the counter. Because this is the most typical or expected setup, one of the biggest things you can do to change the look and feel of your bathroom is swap from a centerset faucet to a 4 inch wideset faucet like this Eva Faucet from Moen. Rather than installing as a single piece, one handle installs into each hole, and the spigot into the one in the center, giving your counter a more elegant, open finish without having to alter your existing setup or do any major (read: expensive) construction.
Coordinate Your Finishes
Another great thing about replacing an older bathroom faucet with a more modern one is that new bathroom faucets are available in a much wider variety of finishes than your old standard stand-by chrome. All by itself, a bathroom faucet with a high quality finish adds polish and sophistication to your bathroom. But many companies offer whole lines of bathroom accessories – like towel bars, toilet paper holders, and drawer pulls – in finishes designed to match their faucets, from a simple satin nickel to something like the radiant Tuscan bronze of this Santiago Faucet. Combined with your standard new coat of paint and new shower curtain, you can completely change the look and feel of your bathroom, with your new bathroom faucet as the centerpiece.
You Can Do It…Yourself?
It would be one thing if you had to pay a contractor, in addition to the price of the bathroom faucet itself, to get all these positive benefits. But with a set of standard household tools and an empty afternoon, it’s entirely possible to replace your bathroom faucet all by yourself. Even swapping from a centerset to a widespread faucet like this Leland faucet, what is a big visual change, comes down to cleaning up the edges where the base of your old faucet was, and then simply inserting the handles and spout of the new faucet into the holes and tightening. If you can unscrew the cap on a bottle, you have the ability to replace your bathroom faucet, period. Even if you’re uncomfortable with the idea, there are plenty of resources online (read: youtube) that can walk you through it step by step, as well as instructions from the manufacturer.
So if your bathroom faucet is looking a little worse for the wear, you’re wishing you’d spent a little more money on it when you got it, or you’re just tired of the way it looks, spending even as little as $60 can completely change the way you see your bathroom. What kind of bathroom faucet do you have, and why are you thinking of replacing it? How much are you planning on spending on a new faucet, and would you be willing to pay more for a designer brand? Let me know in the comments!
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