Bathroom Decorating Trends That Homebuyers Hate

It’s one of the most common clichés of the real estate industry: Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.

But this common platitude has basis in reality. A study done by Remodeling Magazine found that overall, bathroom remodels had a 70% return on investment, which is higher than most other rooms — including kitchens. Some other good news? A bathroom remodel of any size is significantly cheaper than a kitchen remodel.

However, not all changes you make in this space are good ones. In fact, some projects are actually turn-offs for potential homebuyers, and they may have the opposite effect on whether or not they choose to put in an offer … and for how much.

So whether you’re planning to sell your house in the near future or you’re just sick of your olive green commode from the ’70s and want to upgrade your home for your own sanity, read on for the bathroom design elements that you’re better off avoiding.

1. All white everything

Light bathroom with two sinks and big mirror
White tile is impossible to keep clean. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

White bathrooms (and kitchens) have been trending for a while now, but experts say they may be on their way out. The reason? Basic practicality.

White bathrooms may look fantastic the minute you finish cleaning them, but the rest of the time they’re difficult to keep clean. For most busy families, a white bathroom just isn’t a practical option, and homebuyers are taking notice. Plus, they can look a little boring.

Thankfully, a white bathroom is easy to update without too much effort. Consider painting the walls a darker hue or even adding some pretty patterned towels, a bright hued shower curtain, or other vibrant accessories. It will make the room look less stark and will help potential buyers picture themselves living in the space.

2. Double sinks

Double sink in restaurant
Two sinks aren’t always better than one | Constantinopris/Getty Images

This one is slightly controversial. On one hand, double sinks offer you and your housemate the ability to get ready at the same time. But how often is that actually happening?

Over time, many home owners realize that double sinks sound good in theory, but in reality, they’d rather have the extra counter space than the option to brush their teeth simultaneously. Double vanities are also larger and cut into floor space, meaning you have less room to maneuver overall.

The bottom line: If you already have double sinks, don’t bother ripping them out. But if you plan on doing a remodel, consider skipping them.

3. Wood floors

contemporary wood bathroom with plants
Wood floors are pretty yet impractical. | Dit26978/Getty Images

Hardwood is the flooring of choice for most homeowners, and that trend has been continuing into bathrooms. But sadly, wood and water don’t mix.

Excess moisture can cause wood to warp and crack, making it an impractical choice for the bathroom. It may be pretty — but you won’t be smiling in a few years when you need to shell out the cash to replace it. Instead, stick with moisture-resistant tile or even linoleum as a more functional choice.

4. Minimalist details

White and grey exclusive big washroom with fancy bath
Even the bathroom can look too sparse. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

Thanks in part to Marie Kondo, minimalism is in and clutter is out. When it comes to the bathroom, however, home experts recommend that you don’t take that trend too far.

Everyone has stuff they need to store in the bathroom. Toothbrushes, blow dryers, lotions, extra toilet paper — you can stash it all away neatly, but first you need to make sure the storage space exists. That means adequate cabinet space and shelving with baskets makes a whole lot of sense. So go ahead and ignore photos of those highly stylized minimalist bathrooms; they may look good, but they aren’t practical for most people.

5. Bold colors

Three white hand towels on a white basin with hot and cold faucets
Bold colors in the bathroom don’t have universal appeal.| WichitS/Getty Images

Stark white is bland and impractical, but that doesn’t mean you should go for neon orange walls, either.

Everyone’s taste is different. When you’re choosing paint colors, try to infuse a bit of personality without overdoing it. So if you’re into blue, go with a muted sky blue rather than dark navy or bright jewel tones. Experts recommend soft taupe, ash gray, and seafoam green as colors that appeal to the biggest audience.

Alternatively, do what you want with the paint, but be prepared to change it when you want to put your home on the market. And no matter what color you paint the walls, always avoid funky colored toilets and bathtubs.

6. Gigantic bathtubs

Big white bathtub in a middle of minimalist bathroom
Gain floorspace when you skip the oversized tub. | WichitS/Getty Images

Think about it: On a daily basis, are you more likely to take a shower or a bath? Those huge jetted tubs may look luxurious, but from a usability standpoint, they don’t make a whole lot of sense for most people.

Marketwatch found that savvy homeowners are skipping the tubs in their bathroom remodels and are instead opting for larger showers with upgrades such as extra shower heads and bench seating. “People really like the bigger showers. They like that there’s elbow room,” said Coldwell Banker Gundaker real estate Susie Johnson.

As long as you have at least one bathtub in your home (especially if you’re targeting selling to a family with children), skip the soaking tub and enjoy the extra square footage instead.

7. Medicine cabinets

medicine cabinet
Cluttered medicine cabinets are a bathroom no-no. | MargotCavin/Getty Images

Medicine cabinets are out — open shelving is in.

Modern buyers are looking to display their beauty products rather than keep them hidden away behind closed doors, so open shelves are slowly starting to replace dated medicine cabinets. If you’re planning a remodel, go for oversized framed mirrors over the sink with shelving on the side, and skip that bulky medicine cabinet.