Is Your Bathroom a Hideous Tribute to the 80s or 90s? How to Bring it Back to the Future

It seems like old trends from the 80’s and 90’s are making their way back into fashion, but the same can’t be said about home décor. There are some things better left in the past and outdated home décor can really drag the entire look of the house down. The floral patterns and obsession with pastels that marked the 1980s is one trend that you may still be stuck with in your bathroom. The 1990s didn’t fare much better with light colored wood, painted cabinets, overuse of earth tones and glass block. If you’re dealing with any of these fashion nightmares in your powder room, here are a few ways you can put your bathroom through a time warp to the modern era and bring it back to the future (not in a Michael J. Fox way.)

Strip Off the Wallpaper

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If you’re tired of the old floral wallpaper then go rent a steamer and push up your sleeves. Remove the wallpaper by scoring it with a scoring tool and then run the steamer over the surface. Once the wallpaper is gone, check the condition of the walls. If they look okay, then you can add the fresh color of paint of your choice. If they’re a little rough, consider covering them with wainscoting or modern textured wallpaper. Once the wallpaper is gone, you might want to add a tiled backsplash near the sink, or choose other materials to add some texture and a modern vibe to the room.

Freshen up the Wood Cabinets

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If you’ve got wooden cabinets that are 20+ years older, the color has likely faded, leaving the vanity looking a little lack-luster. Wood cabinets are very easy to update, and you don’t even have to stain them. Give them a fresh scrubbing and then bring them forward a few decades with modern hardware. This is an easy and affordable change that you can make in a few hours—find knobs and handles that add some interest or color to the room. You’ll be surprised at how much better the cabinets look when they get a little touch of the 21st better than hardware that is just plain old.

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Treatments for Glass Block

Glass block has a modern touch that can work in your new bathroom, but you’ll need to make a few changes. If pastels dominate the room, then replace them with cool tones like silver cream. Eliminate the floral touches because they don’t blend very well with the glass. If you couple it with the right colors, the glass block can actually work to your advantage when you’re creating a contemporary look for the bathroom.

Hope for Pastel Counters

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If you have the misfortune of living in a home with pastel counters, there is hope. Bathroom counters are small, so buying a slab of marble is more usually more affordable than you think. If you’re just replacing the countertop of the vanity, this is a job you can easily do yourself. You can find plenty of tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest that will give you step by step instructions for this project. You’ll be amazed at how transformed the bathroom will look once you ditch those old boring pastels.

Lose the Hollywood Lighting

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Light bars with round globe bulbs were all the rage as the 1980s drifted into the 1990s. Now is the time to lose those lights and replace them with something more modern. A chandelier is an elegant choice if you have the space for it. Wall sconces with elegant curved shades are attractive and modern, or you can install an overhead light bar with bell-shaped globes that direct the light down. Softer lighting with updated fixtures will do wonder for the age of your bathroom, plus you won’t have to be overwhelmed by the unflattering stage lights when you look in the mirror anymore.You don’t have to go through another week with a dated bathroom. You can easily change the pastel walls, strip off the floral nightmares and even replace the light countertops you’re currently living with.

Some older styles can work with a modern bathroom once you update the surrounding colors and hardware. Before you know it, you can be enjoying a powder room that’s a source of pride rather than embarrassment. Information for this article was provided by the Hamilton plumbers of the Plugged Piper Drain Service.


This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, women's interests, and the home niches. Dixie lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters who are the inspiration for her writing. Digg

2 Responses to “Is Your Bathroom a Hideous Tribute to the 80s or 90s? How to Bring it Back to the Future”

  1. FurnaceNo Gravatar 11. Jul, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    Hello Dixie,

    What will be the ideal color of the walls if the floors are dark? I heard dark wood makes the area look smaller, and honestly changing the wood is not an option due to budget.


    • Dixie SomersNo Gravatar 14. Jul, 2014 at 8:27 am #

      It’s true that dark colors can make the space look smaller, but you can use lighter, neutral colors for the walls to open up the space. The color will depend on your style and preference, but try to stay light so that you don’t box the room in. You can also use mirrors on opposing walls to make the bathroom appear larger than it actually is. Hopefully this helps, thanks for reading!