Staging a Bathroom to Sell: A Complete Guide

When staging a house for sale, it can be easy to focus on big projects such as updating your landscaping, dusting your home, or repainting chipped walls. Oftentimes, this can lead home sellers to neglect focusing on important rooms that tend to increase your home’s value – such as the bathroom. 

Bathrooms are a space we use every day – whether keeping up with your hygiene or having a relaxing spa afternoon. For as much time as we spend in the bathroom, there can be certain aspects that home sellers tend to forget such as cleanliness and proper staging. Forgetting to stage a bathroom can be a make-or-break deal for potential buyers. According to NAR’s Profile of Home Staging, 46% of buyers thought that staging a bathroom was at least somewhat important. Keep reading to learn more about staging a bathroom before you list your home to sell.

A bright bathroom with a tub and wood vanity

Staging a bathroom

While good bathrooms can come in a variety of color palettes and styles, there are some universal truths about what can make a bathroom look unattractive and outdated. Here are 7 tips to consider when staging a bathroom.

1. Provide sufficient lighting

Darkness can make a space feel smaller and less inviting. There are many ways to bring light into your bathroom such as updating your vanity lights with high voltage bulbs and installing a backlit LED mirror. Don’t forget the importance of natural light when staging a bathroom, especially if you live in a place that gets a lot of sun like Fresno, CA or Calgary, AB. If your bathroom has windows, make sure to open the blinds. Creating a lighter space can help draw buyers’ eyes to specific features of your bathroom and make it feel airy. 

2. Consider simple remodels 

A basic shower remodel such as updating your tile or switching out showerhead fixtures is a small investment that can make a big difference. If your vanity is outdated, consider replacing it completely or adding a fresh coat of paint and updating the hardware. If you notice any cracks or gaps around the windows, doors, sink, or shower, freshen up with calk to prevent air, bugs, or water from entering your home. 

3. Go with neutral colors

It’s best to get rid of any bright or clashing colors – including tiling or architecture – so your bathroom appeals to many potential homebuyers as possible. Simple colors such as white, beige, or taupe are safe paint colors and can ease buyers’ minds into thinking that painting is one less thing they will have to change. 

4. Store away personal items and clear off surfaces

When staging a bathroom, less is more. Make sure to hide all personal items such as toothbrushes, razors, shampoos, makeup, or hairbrushes in cabinet drawers. If you have a laundry hamper, remove it from the room to add space. Additionally, take out any seat covers or bath mats so that buyers can focus on the appliances and fixtures. Make sure your countertops are clean and free of clutter for a welcoming space.

5. Add simple touches

Create a spa oasis by including fluffy, white towels, a new bar of soap in a clean dish, and a fresh shower curtain. If your bathroom is small, install a large mirror to give the illusion of a larger room. Small finishes like a plant or vase can help add a splash of color, but make sure you don’t over-accessorize when staging your bathroom or the space will look cluttered and unorganized. 

6. Appeal to the senses

The bathroom can be one of the smelliest rooms in a house so make sure you get rid of any lingering odors and replace them with fresh scents. Before a home tour, light a candle or install an air freshener with relaxing scents such as lavender, rosemary eucalyptus, or florals. This will draw buyers into your bathroom and highlight the space. 

7. Don’t leave your toilet open

You’d be surprised how many online listings keep their lids open when showing off their porcelain throne. Make sure that you keep your toilet closed and clean when preparing your home for sale.

A cozy bathroom with a tub and vanity

Cleaning a bathroom

If your bathroom is old or outdated, there may be potential hazards and indoor allergens that you should take care of before you begin to stage a bathroom. The most common issues homeowners find are mold, mildew, and stained tiling.


Your worst enemy wherever moisture exists is mold, and the slightest scent or sight can cause buyers to turn right back out the door. Simple surface mold can easily be scrubbed away, and taking care of it early on can stop it from spreading throughout your property. 

Any detection of severe mold should be followed by a thorough cleanup and an analysis of your home’s plumbing and exterior for potential leaks. If you suspect mold may be a problem in your property, take no chances and get your home inspected by a professional.

Discolored paint and mildew

Even when discoloration occurs in clean environments, it can make a space appear dirty. If aging or damaged paint is the cause, you can easily repaint it. However, another cause is mildew, which is common in moist environments such as a bathroom. 

You can test for mildew by applying a drop of bleach solution to the surface. If the stain is mildew, it should change colors within a minute or so. A bleach solution can help clean up mildew, and a fresh coat of paint containing mildewcide can keep it from happening again. But beware of applying new paint before killing the mildew or it may come back.

Stained tiling

While it isn’t pleasant, stained tile doesn’t necessarily mean you have to replace your floor. In fact, the stains can often be removed with a little elbow grease. A warm water and vinegar solution can deep clean surfaces, and a water-ammonia solution can eliminate mildew. Rusty spots can be eliminated quickly with an application of kerosene.

Whether you’re hiring a professional or staging on your own, following these simple bathroom staging ideas can help your home stand out online, get buyers through your door, make a lasting impression, and help sell your home faster. 

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