Is Your Bathroom is Outdated? 7 Signs That Point to “Yes”

March 23rd, 2021

Modern house hunters are a savvy bunch, and if they can spot tiny cosmetic concerns like chipped tiles or dirty grout, they’ll definitely zero in on rooms that are outdated and in need of a major remodel. This could hurt your chances of finding motivated buyers and impact your asking price when it’s time to list your home for sale.

The problem is that once you’ve lived in a home for a while, you stop seeing the eyesores that others spot immediately. Even if you remodeled the bathrooms when you moved in, once you’ve lived in a home for a significant amount of time the style could be outdated by the time you’re ready to sell. 

Below are seven of the most common signs that your bathroom is outdated.

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1. The Whole Kit and Caboodle is Original to the House

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There’s nothing like original fixtures to lend to historic house authenticity...but you don’t necessarily want the kitchen, bathroom, and other living spaces to date back to the year the house was built, especially if it’s an older home. This applies not only to finishes and fixtures, but to floor plans from a bygone era that simply don’t account for modern living considerations.

Even if the home is newer construction, you’ll want to pay attention to whether finishes and fixtures are high-end or if the builders ordered cheap items in bulk and then left it up to buyers to upgrade (or not) during the building process. While timeless materials like marble countertops might look good in any decade, cheaper materials are likely to have a much shorter shelf life, so to speak, in terms of both function and aesthetics.

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2. The Color Palette Recalls The Nostalgia Of Yesteryear

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If you saw a palette in avocado, burnt orange, and chocolatey brown, you’d guess your bathroom was last decorated during The Brady Bunch era, whereas pastel blues, greens, and pinks might remind you of The Golden Girls or Miami Vice. 

Color trends change faster than anything else in design, so it’s important to keep a close eye on the hues that fill your bathroom. If they instantly remind you of your high school days, it might be time to consider upgrades that speak to more modern styles and sensibilities.

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3. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

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Although there’s a certain luxury to stepping out of a bath or shower and onto a plush rug, wall-to-wall carpeting is now considered to be a major no-no in a bathroom. So why do you still find it in some homes? In the ‘50s, carpeting, which was once considered a luxury, became more accessible and affordable for the average homeowner, and as a result, it was added to every room in the home, including bathrooms.

Today, homeowners are cognizant of the potential risks of allowing water to sit on materials that don’t dry out quickly – particularly the high potential for mold growth. Although it’s relatively rare to find homes that still feature carpeting in bathrooms, it’s not unheard of. It will, however, date the bathroom, so it’s best to replace it either as a precursor to listing a home, or simply for your own peace of mind.

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4. Bad Lighting

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In modern homes, lighting schemes are more about style and ambience than in the past when they were purely about function. In older homes, you’re likely to get a single overhead light that’s meant to provide illumination for the entire space.

If you’re still dealing with a dome light, or worse, a fluorescent light box in the bathroom, it’s time to illuminate your bathroom  using updated lighting techniques. Modern bathrooms typically feature task lighting over the vanity and recessed overhead lighting with a dimmer switch, which can be turned all the way up for applying makeup or kept low when you’re lounging in your soaker tub. Ambient lighting via wall sconces or backlit elements is also an option to explore.

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5. Limited Storage

Blog Space 1070's Pink Bathroom (Storage)

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There was a time, not so very long ago, when people simply had a lot less stuff, especially when it came to toiletries. As a result, older bathroom designs simply didn’t call for the amount of storage that we expect (and need) today. 

If you’re struggling to find enough cabinet and counter space to store sundry small appliances, cosmetics, toiletries, towels, and more, it’s time to upgrade and add more closed storage that will allow you to eliminate clutter and have a designated place for everything that you need.

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6. Drips Are Driving You Insane

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Whether you swear that you hear dripping down below when you’re sitting on the toilet or that leaky faucet keeps you up at night with a steady drip, drip, drip, no matter how much you tighten the bolts- leaky plumbing is a telltale sign that your bathroom space could use an update. 

When fixtures leak, consider not only swapping in more trend-appropriate metals, but upgrading to water-efficient fixtures like a low-flow toilet, an aerated showerhead, or a touchless, motion-sensor activated faucet to curb water waste and reduce utility costs.

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7. Persistent Mold or Water Damage

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Bathtub Mold

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This is the kind of problem that develops over time. If you have a persistent mold problem that you just can’t seem to kick or you’re dealing with blistering or peeling paint, chances are that the issue has been developing for years. 

Not only is it a good idea to eliminate damaged materials that could compromise the integrity of your home (and your health), but you’ll also need to install exhaust ventilation to eliminate humidity- which is likely the root cause of such issues. Don’t forget to choose specialized paint or vinyl wallpaper that is resistant to moisture (and easy to clean) in place of standard wallcoverings.

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An outdated bathroom could compromise the utility of this critical space in your home and might also give prospective buyers clues to how well the home has been maintained. If you’re dealing with original components, an era-specific color palette, limited lighting and storage, and issues like leaks or mold, consider working with professionals to install timeless upgrades that not only bring your bathroom into the modern era, but also increase utility and home value simultaneously.

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