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It’s a well-known fact that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, and experts often recommend investing in these areas to increase your home’s value. In part one of our series, professional home stager Red Barrinuevo of Redesign4more gave us his top tips on preparing a kitchen for an open house. This time we’re focusing on bathrooms — from small two-piece powder rooms to expansive, spa-like ensuites, bathrooms play an important role in selling your home, so you’re going to want to make sure it shines.

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1. Clear out your personal hygiene products

As one of the most heavily used rooms in the home, it’s easy for clutter — including personal hygiene products — to accumulate on counters, shelves and bathtubs. “When selling, clear every surface of all your daily care products,” says Barrinuevo. “Leaving these items in sight can distract buyers, as they start to look at your lifestyle instead of the room.”

To help you organize, Barrinuevo suggests providing every member of the household a small tote or wicker basket to store personal items. “Keep the usual toiletries in these baskets (in a separate room) and only take them to the bathroom when needed,” says Barrinuevo. “This will help keep your bathroom clutter-free while your house is on the market.”

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2. Replace shower curtains

Shower curtains are a common spot where mold and mildew can grow, especially along the bottom section that touches your tub. When replacing your shower curtains, Barrinuevo recommends using a neutral colour to achieve a spa-like feel. “Go with a white or neutral fabric and avoid using patterned or themed curtains because they can overwhelm an already small space.”

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Photo: James Bombales

3. Inspect your tile and grout

If the grout in your bath or shower has cracked or begun to fall out, you may want to call in a professional tiler to re-grout. But if it’s in fairly good condition, a little TLC may be all that’s needed. “If your bathroom tiles and grout are in excellent condition and the color works, give them a thorough scrub to remove built-up grease and grime,” says Barrinuevo. “If the grout is in good condition but discolored, grab some protective goggles and gloves and use good old bleach, a toothbrush, or a grout pen to restore its whiteness.”

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Photo: James Bombales

4. Accessorize (and de-accessorize)

Like your mother’s special “guest” towels that never get used, Barrinuevo suggests buying your own set to stage your bathroom. “You can never go wrong with clean, crisp white towels,” says Barrinuevo. “If you have the counter space, add apothecary jars in different shapes and sizes filled with shells, cotton balls, or bath salts to accessorize.” A basket filled with rolled-up towels also makes a bathroom feel warm, inviting and spa-like.

Bath rugs, however, are not so spa-like. “Never use the rugs that fit around the base of the toilet — you know, the ones that come with a matching decorative toilet seat cover,” says Barrinuevo. “It looks dated and it’s not hygienic.”

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5. Make sure it is impeccably clean

Last, but certainly not least, give your bathroom a good wipe down and make sure everything is sparklingly clean, including taps, cabinets and mirrors. “Polish everything that is supposed to be shiny and scrub watermarks, soap scum and any stains in the sink, toilet and tiles,” says Barrinuevo. “Re-caulk the tub if necessary and don’t forget to clean hard to reach areas behind the toilet and under the sink.”

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