Putting a Price on Atmosphere


Bathroom atmosphere is all about what you can’t see. Light – well placed and plenty of it – and fresh air – thanks to well-functioning ventilation systems – put the ‘pow’ in powder rooms and make master baths rule.

Guests and home buyers may not be thinking in those terms, but they certainly know light, bright, fresh baths when they encounter them. A third of 1,025 recent visitors to the ForSaleByOwner.com website agreed that a ‘good design for daily function’ was the single most important characteristic. ‘A clean, fresh environment’ was preferred by 21%; and luxury finishes by 16%.

Guests and househunters are looking for one thing when they enter a bathroom: their own reflection in the mirror, says Randall Whitehead, a lighting designer who owns Randall Whitehead Lighting Solutions, based in San Francisco. “Save the dramatic accent lighting for entertaining,” he says. “Light people

Whether you are preparing your house for guests or for sale, these easy-to-apply tips will enable you to better use light and fresh air so that your baths give a good first impression.

  • If you can, reposition vanity lights so that they flank the mirror, advises Whitehead. Light bars mounted above the mirror cast dark shadows on peoples’ faces, making it difficult to apply makeup or find that stray bit of spinach that might be caught in their teeth. A light on either side cancels out shadows.
  • Repaint with colors that add light to the room instead of soaking it up. Dark matte colors absorb light; light colors in a semi satin finish bounce light around the tiny room.
  • Replace neutral light bulbs with pink-cast bulbs, which flatter most skin tones.
  • Makes sure that metal finishes are smudge-free. Just a little glint of brass or nickel can make the room sparkle.
  • Test the pulling power of the fan: if mirrors don’t defog after a shower in 20 minutes, the fan is too weak to keep the air fresh. >link to ‘blowout” article<
  • If you decide you want an accent light, consider mounting a piece of art above the toilet, then put an accent light shining down on it. This tactic will brighten a typically dark corner without spotlighting the actual toilet.

Remember that your guests and potential buyers see themselves framed in your bathroom. “When people go in the bathroom, and look great when they see themselves in the mirror, it makes them feel positive about the house,” says Whitehead. “They’re seeing themselves in the very best light.”