Remodel Your Bathroom on a Budget with Help from Designer Shea McGee

Her beautiful new Kohler line has us dreaming of spa-like retreats in our own homes. Pair this collaboration with some of her smart shopping tricks, and you'll have a good-looking loo for a fraction of the cost.

<p>Kohler x Studio McGee</p>

Kohler x Studio McGee

Who doesn’t love Shea McGee’s style? We’ve long been fans of her work, considering she’s a Real Simple Home alumnus. Luckily for the world, she’s releasing a brand new line with Kohler that includes faucets, shower heads, lighting, vanities, and even Ann Sacks tiling, so you can get the Studio McGee vibes in your own home on October 2 when products will be available online. If you’re wondering how to achieve that high-end designer look in your bathroom without breaking the bank, Shea offered her best pro tips and product suggestions from the new collaboration.

Related: These Are the Top Bathroom Trends of 2023, According to Designers

Swap out the large builder-grade mirrors

This is an easy fix most people don’t think too hard about when it comes to bathroom renos. They’re usually so focused on the plumbing (fairly), that the mirror is an afterthought. But you can make a massive difference without dropping a ton of cash just by replacing the large builder-grade mirrors with pieces that have more personality and interest, Shea says.

<p>Kohler x Studio McGee</p>

Kohler x Studio McGee

Opt for vanities with elevated details

Custom cabinetry in a bathroom just isn’t an option for many people, so purchasing a pre-made vanity will yield significant savings. To ensure your pre-made vanity looks like a million bucks though, Shea says to look for something with elevated details. “I designed our vanities to look custom. For example, our Malin vanities have a reeded detail across the top drawers and the Seagrove features flush ring pull hardware. We use both of these details often in our high-end custom homes.”

Pick lighting that feels universal

The fixtures you select to brighten up the loo can also make a major impact without hurting your wallet, but options that are manufactured exclusively for bathrooms can sometimes skew a little… meh. Shea’s solution for a luxury design scheme then? Universal lighting. “Pick lighting that’s bathroom-rated, but reads like a fixture that could be placed anywhere throughout the home,” she suggests.

<p>Ann Sacks x Studio McGee</p>

Ann Sacks x Studio McGee

Choose your stone strategically

Instead of going for a main slab for your countertop, Shea recommends heading to a slab yard and picking up remnants to cut down on spending. Another small but brilliant cost-saving measure she suggests includes working in an interesting border detail or pattern like herringbone with a less expensive tile. “There are a lot of porcelain tiles on the market that look like real stone, but aren’t, like our Ann Sacks collection,” she says.

Work with what you’ve got

Shea’s last bit of advice is quite reassuring. She says, “If it’s possible to work with your existing layout and upgrade all of your bathroom finishes, do it. I see so many people that want to tear down walls and then they’re left with very little budget to make their bathrooms look and feel beautiful.” See? There’s no need for a bathroom update to be so pricey and labor-intensive. If a top-notch designer like Shea McGee says it’s possible, then you should definitely trust her. 

Related: The Best-Kept Secrets of Luxurious Bathrooms

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