\ 10 Tips for Transforming a Rental Bath on a Budget – Paltux

10 Tips for Transforming a Rental Bath on a Budget

The challenges of the bathroom in my familys rented house in Northern California ran the gamut from fusty glass lampshades and a heavy wrought-iron curtain rail to limp, musty curtains and a bold green-and-white striped shower curtain. The solution was pretty straightforward: Strip the place down to its bare elements, make everything white, and add layers of texture to prevent the room from feeling sterile. Heres my 10-step action plan.

Photography by Matthew Williams for Remodelista.

1. Swap out (or doctor) the light fixtures.

I initially tried to find better-looking shades than the glass ones that were in place above the mirror, but in the end, I opted for no shades and silver-tipped bulbs: Theyre not only visually pleasing but also they provide better light.

Above: An ornate wooden mirror originally hung over the sink. I replaced it with the Molger Mirror in birch from Ikea. (The Molger Mirror is no longer available at Ikea but a similar style is the brands Nissedal Mirror.) Its frame, which I painted white, doubles as a handy shelf for small objects since theres little room on the pedestal sink.

2. Hang as much as possible.

Built-in towel bars work well for larger towels, but I also keep out hand towels on a hanger. Its a practical storage solution and a way to add texture.

Above: A Fog Linen Wire Hanger on the towel bar.

3. Introduce warm elements.

All-white walls and tiles can feel a bit clinical; I added my wooden stool and rush mat to introduce texture and warmth to the space. Ilove the feeling of standing barefoot on straw first thing in themorning, and in winter its so much nicer than cold tiles.

Above: Two of my favorite objects in the bath: a vintage Danish stool that I picked up years ago for $10, and a straw mat from a recent trip to Seville.

4. Utilize every bit of space.

Any handle or knob is fair game for storage in my book. I like keeping my jewelry on hand.

Above: Necklaces and wrist ties hang on the medicine cabinet knob.

5. Display well.

I put out only the good-looking bottles, and I typically decant (or hide) anything with packaging thats not appealing. I think of the shelves in my cabinet as a series of vignettes that I am constantly changing.

Above: One of the nice details that my period bathroom came with: an inset, glass-paneled cabinet.

6. Declutter.

The smaller the space, the more that things need room to breathe.

Above: A stack of washcloths sits on the toilet.

7. Be creative with storage.

I stow toilet paper in a Japanese fishermans basket, and all the extra stuff goes into a leather-handled market basket picked up in a French supermarket, both shown below.

Above: Straw baskets above the cabinet make up for lack of deep shelves. They look tidy because none of their contents peek over the edge.

8. Ditch the plastic.

There was no good reason to keep the cheap plastic shower rings, so I swapped in my own leather ties.

Above: Our shower curtain hangs from homemade rings.

9. Remove anything that doesnt look good.

After removing the ugly curtains and rod on my bathroom window (and putting them in storage), I usedRound Wooden Thumbtacksfound on Etsyto pin upa piece of unhemmed linen as a privacy screen. I also added a white linen roller blind.

Above: The showerhead was replaced by our landlord and is a local hardware store plumbing aisle findproof that you can get decent hardware without going high-end.

10. Accent with white.

I replaced the loud shower curtain with a plain, thick, white cotton one, and our towels and linens are all whitethis keeps the look clean and fresh.

Above: The bathroom pared down.

For more bathroom inspiration, see our posts on Shower Curtainsand Clothes Hangers. Considering a remodel? Read10 Essential Tips for Designing the Bathroom.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on October 10, 2014.