Ditch the ugly light fixtures for your dream bathroom

Editor’s Note: Welcome to CNN’s Open House, an interactive, online tour of iReporters’ houses that showcases incredible decor. Space by space, we’ll feature beautiful design moments and learn from decorators’ experience. Want to show off your decorating skills? Submit your photos to our iReport assignment!

Story highlights

Bathroom light fixtures should be attractive, their beams flattering

Flowers in the bathroom are a refreshing decor trick

Want a lot of bang for your buck? Update with paint

Is your pantry immaculately organized? Contribute to the next Open House iReport assignment!

CNN  — 

If there’s a villain in the world of bathroom decor, it’s the standard, builder-grade light fixture: Brass settings just a little too shiny, milky-dull sconces, rows of painfully bright round bulbs that could outbeam the sun.

The decorators who contributed to this week’s CNN Open House assignment say those unimaginative trappings are what’s holding you back from having the bathroom of your dreams. Well, that and all those cluttered toiletries.

We asked decor enthusiasts for tips on how to customize the space where you shower, brush your teeth and get ready to greet the day, every day. Here are their secrets to success:

Lighting is key

Pay attention to lighting and paint color. You’ll want something flattering so that you don’t cringe every time you look in the mirror. Katie Hawkins-Gaar, CNN iReport senior producer, Oakdale Onward

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    We custom made our light fixture out of clearance aisle outdoor lights and leftover bead board. I love that it isn’t a typical boring bathroom light fixture with bell-shaped, frosted glass light bulb covers. – Kate Connor, Chic on a Shoestring

    I love my red barn light from Barn Electric. People forget about bathroom lighting, which is usually ugly and boring. Adding this light gave it color and personality, plus it was on sale for $30! – Jill Chappell, “The Situation Room” producer, CNN

    Paint is your friend

    The old vanity looked worn out. Since I couldn’t afford a new one, I used oil-based high gloss black paint and changed the knobs. This immediately gave it a great, updated look. Total cost, $15. Plus, I ripped out the old mirror and added one from Ikea I purchased for $29 and spray-painted it glossy white. – Jill Chappell, “The Situation Room” producer, CNN

    We purchased a fairly inexpensive vanity that provided just enough closed storage for a boy’s bathroom. Then, I painted it a fun mint green to give it a more custom look. Painting cabinetry and changing hardware is an easy way to add personality to your basic bathroom. – Emily Clark, Emily A. Clark: Design simplified

    A place for everything

    We put a shelf over the door that holds baskets full of medicine and other bathroom essentials. I also used an Ikea nightstand next to the sink for extra storage since it fit the space perfectly. – Katie Hawkins-Gaar, CNN iReport senior producer, Oakdale Onward

    Even if you don’t have the space to hide some items, you can display them in attractive ways. Invest in some glass canisters to store cotton balls, cotton swabs, makeup sponges, et cetera. – Chelsea McDonnough, TwoTwentyOne

    I love my vanity stool even though it’s not technically a made-for-a-bathroom item. It’s actually an ottoman with storage inside it. The extra storage is great for holding makeup and toiletry bags when I’m not traveling. – Jennifer Elwell, Tales of a Peanut

    Bring on the fluff

    Light and bright with lots of white, fluffy towels and minimal clutter … can give your bathroom a spa-like feel. – Kate Connor, Chic on a Shoestring

    I love the inexpensive coat rack we use to hang bath towels instead of your regular towel rack. I used to constantly fold and fidget with the bath and hand towels in an attempt to get them to look perfect for our guests. Now swapping out the towels is a breeze because there’s no fancy folding involved. Plus, the towels seem to dry faster since they aren’t being folded in half and put on a rack. – Chelsea McDonnough, TwoTwentyOne

    Nature is nurturing

    People spend a ton of time in their bathrooms, but often neglect decorating these important spaces like they do the rest of their rooms. Special touches like fresh flowers, family photos or artwork can really make your bathroom a beautiful oasis in your home. – Tiffani Stutzman, Tiffani Stutzman Design

    The most bang for my buck? The little potted plant on the back of the toilet. Confession time: It’s fake! I wanted some green in the bathroom but don’t have a very green thumb, especially in low-light spaces. I love real greenery elsewhere in my house but a faux plant was the right choice for me for this space. – Jennifer Bridgman

    That rug really tied the room together

    I love a plush, elegant rug in a bathroom, instead of a traditional bath mat. They are much softer, so it’s more comfortable to stand on while getting ready. Rugs can also make your bathroom look stylish and luxurious since they are available in every size, color and pattern imaginable! – Tiffani Stutzman, Tiffani Stutzman Design

    Avoid at all costs

    Fuzzy toilet covers are never a good thing, in my book. – Emily Clark, Emily A. Clark: Design simplified

    Are you inspired by this edition of Open House? The featured designers will take your questions in the comments below.