bathroom reno

Brian Gluckstein on tackling a bathroom reno in one weekend

The design pro shares six tips for a quick and effective mini-makeover

Catch Brian Gluckstein on Cityline, where he is a guest expert, and shop his GlucksteinHome collection of furniture and decor at Hudson’s Bay and GlucksteinElements collection of fixtures and finishes at Home Depot. Follow him @briangluckstein on Instagram for more.


A bathroom remodel can boost your home’s value while improving the esthetics and functionality for a happier space. It also happens to be one of my favourite rooms to design, since I know people love spending time there. Here are my guidelines for an effective mini-makeover that can have a powerful and much-needed impact.

Set your budget and stick to it

In addition to setting a financial budget, you should also set a budget for the time your project will take. Be realistic with your expectations, especially if you’re doing most of the work yourself. This will help you understand how involved the process will be.

bathroom reno
GlucksteinElements Beaumont vanity, Westbury pivot mirror, and Lowell sconces and the GlucksteinHome Cabana beach towel and Wild basket © A Plus Creative

Begin with the vanity

Start planning your bathroom update by choosing the vanity. As likely the biggest piece of furniture in the space, it can help set the tone for the rest of the design. Whether you’re looking to go more modern with light oak drawers and matte black hardware or transitional with a classic dresser-inspired piece paired with polished nickel hardware, pick something you love and have it connect with each decision you make.

Next up is the walls   

Wrap your room in a beautiful new hue that sparks joy, whether that’s a soothing neutral colour or a bright, bold option. Since paint is relatively easy and affordable to change, there’s an opportunity to have some fun here. Purchase tester pots to see how the colour reads in your room rather than under the fluorescent lighting in the store. If you want to add texture to the walls, consider a wallcovering made from vinyl which will stand up to the room’s humidity and high traffic.

Hang a statement mirror

Go beyond builder basic with your mirror and opt for something exciting with a graphic matte black mirror, modern round version or a pivoting option that tilts up or down to the right height, improving the functionality of your space. Like art, I consider mirrors to be the finishing touches of a space that add an alluring quality to the room.

bathroom reno
GlucksteinElements Somerset vanity, Burke mirror, and Dorset sconces and GlucksteinHome Perfect towels and Spa bath accessories © A Plus Creative

Swap out lighting

Updating the lighting alone can have a profound impact on the space. I love using sconces on either side of the mirror above the vanity, or horizontally above the mirror, creating a focal point and soft glow that draws your eye in. Tie the lighting’s metal into the hardware on your vanity or frame of your mirror, or create contrast by mixing finishes for a more eclectic look.

Know when to hire a professional

Even for the most enthusiastic of DIYers, there are some things you shouldn’t do on your own. Hire someone who is both licensed and insured to handle the electrical work for lighting or the plumbing work for changing out a vanity. Beyond sheer peace of mind, a professional can handle certain tasks more efficiently and will yield better results.

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