5 smart ways to invest a windfall

Did Uncle Sam come through with a generous tax refund this year? Put it to good use by making a splash in your bathroom with one of these quick improvements.

Faucet

The undisputed star of the bathroom, a faucet gives the room its focus. (Sorry, tub.) Its shape and finish should reflect the room’s style, so don’t shop until you’ve identified the overall look you’re going for—traditional, contemporary or transitional. Before plunking down your cash on a new bathroom faucet, test out the handles to make sure their functionality fits your lifestyle, and check to see if the model works with your sink configuration. Good news: All of Delta’s single-hole faucets come with a 4-inch baseplate that can cover up existing holes you don’t need.

Light Fixtures

Lighting pulls double duty: style maker and workhorse. With so few furnishings in the bathroom, fixtures have a big impact on the room’s design. But lighting is also key to functionality. Want to tweeze your brows? You’ll need a bright overhead or mirror light. Ready to step into a bubbly tub? Cue the wall sconces.

Towels and Accessories

This easy upgrade doesn’t require tools or talent, just time—to shop. But rather than replacing everything with the same-old colors and patterns, think about reinventing the room with a different look. If your bathroom has always been a shrine to neutrals, go big and bold with coral-colored towels and a vivid shower curtain.  

Organizers

Every morning when you look around the disaster known as your bathroom, do you wish a team of housekeeping elves would appear? But who needs elves when you can kick out the clutter with organizational bathroom accessories like pullout wire basket drawers in the closet, trays and dividers that keep shelves neat, towel bars that complement the faucet and his ‘n’ her robe hooks? When everything from toothpaste to towels has a place to live, your bath will look pulled together and roomier.

Vanity Counter

Now’s the time to bring your vanity into the 21st century and replace that yellow Formica-crowned unit with a granite- or marble-topped cabinet that has lots of storage. Brushing your teeth might just become a highlight of your night!