How to Guide: Decorating a Bathroom

The bathroom is probably the one room in everyone’s house that gets the least amount of decorating attention. After all, who wants to spend time, effort, and money on a room that you hope your guests won’t visit? In reality, however, the bathroom is often the one room that everyone does visit at one time or another. Which explains exactly why the bathroom deserves your decorating focus.

If you really do not want to spend a lot of time or money on your bathroom, there are a few simple things that you can do to upgrade it without a lot of cost. Of course, everything depends upon the size of the room; however, one immediate change that is appropriate no matter the size, is a change of bathroom linens.

If your bathroom requires a shower curtain, make sure that you choose one that fits in with the overall style of the room. If the bathroom in question is the one your guests will visit, then avoid the use of plastic outer curtains which look cheap and tend to mold easily. Instead, opt for something a little more upscale in either cloth or tapestry. Use a plastic inside curtain to protect the decorative one. Cloth and tapestry curtains can be purchased for as little as $8; plastic ones for $3 and up.

In choosing a shower curtain, also consider the other bathroom linens that you will use such as curtains (if the room has a window or windows) and towels. Everything should blend together. However, avoid matching linens perfectly by choosing some contrasting colors as well. Linens provide an opportunity for you to add a touch of your own personal style, so take advantage of the chance. Just don’t go overboard.

I generally allow my paint color to drive the color scheme of my entire bathroom. I chose the shower curtain and towels to coordinate with the gold flecked wallpaper of my apartment. Thankfully, I don’t have a window in my bathroom so that is one less problem with which to deal.

I like to add texture whenever I can so I chose a striped tapestry shower curtain with a jacquard print. It has just a touch of gold, but also brings in the white of the porcelain fixtures and a second color for balance; in this case a peachy mauve. As a bonus, mine had a wondeful braid trim at the top of the overlay; making it look much more expensive than it was. I spent a mere $7.

The next thing to consider in your bathroom are towels for the towel rack. If you don’t have a towel rack, consider adding one. There are a variety of styles and colors now available ranging in price from about $5 and up. More often than not, towel rack towels don’t get used on a regular basis, so don’t be afraid to spend a little more cash in this area. Your guests will notice these extra touches and you probably want to leave a good impression.

Some people like to purchase upscale, decorator towels. Sometimes they choose all of the towels in a decorator style; meaning bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth. Others choose plain bath towels and washcloths but upscale the hand towels. I subscribe to that technique myself. I love decorator towels but I refuse to pay $20 to $30 for a single pretty hand towel. Instead, I purchase plain hand towels that match my others and then I decorate them myself.

For my towels, I chose a butter cream yellow that blended with my shower curtain and hand towels in other coordinating colors of mauve and green. I decorated my hand towels with a similar tapestry fabric and then added braid and beading. These cost a lot less than the same types of towels in the department store. I spent less than $15 on all three of mine.

The next step is to add bathroom accessories. The specific type and how many accessories you add will depend on your own personal style and taste as well as available space. Admittedly I tend to go a little overboard in this area for the counter space that I have available. But the truth is that I use everything that I have chosen: Soap pump, toothbrush holder, accessory holder, soap dish, tissue holder, and trash can. I picked out coordinating alabaster accessories with gold trim.

Next, add your remaining accessories. If you have wall space, you may wish to add paintings, prints, or other wall accessories. You may also want to add greenery, flowers, and/or knick-knacks to pull everything together. If your floor is tile, as is mine, you may opt to add throw rugs as well. I personally hate stepping out of the shower on to a cold bathroom floor. But more than that, rugs add texture and a certain warmth to any room.

I have limited wall space in my bathroom but chose to place coordinating prints of orchids done on parchment paper and set in gold frames on opposite walls. I also added a metal wall accessory near the sink where I could hang yet another hand towel.

To complete the linens in my bathroom, I chose two fluffy rugs in the same creamy butter yellow shade as my towels. I don’t as a rule, skimp on bathroom rugs. I have found that the slightly more expensive ones last longer, launder better, and hold their shape and texture until I am ready to make a change. I chose one contour rug for around the toilet and a regular rectangle rug for under the sink. In my small bathroom, that covers most of the floor space, making the room very cozy and colorful.

Pulling out the orchids of my wall prints, I chose orchid plants as accent accessories; putting one on the back of the toilet, one on the sink countertop, and two on the shelf across from the toilet. Granted, it is a bit of overkill for a lot of people, but I’m that kind of knick-knack person so it fits my style.

Flooring is also extremely important when decorating your bathroom. Tile is normal, but some people get creative an use vinyl or even hardwood flooring. Choose something that goes with the style for the rest of your home.

If your bathroom is large enough you may opt to add additional pieces of furniture like cabinets, shelving, or seating. There are now a wide variety of very attractive over the toilet shelf units available which can add much needed shelf and cabinet space. Some people like to put chairs in their bathrooms as well, to provide a place to sit and dry off after a shower or for dressing purposes.

I didn’t want my bathroom to be heavy on one side of the room, so I opted for a small white cabinet that fit perfectly on the wall opposite my toilet. It gives me sufficient extra stoarge space plus counter top for a tissue holder and extra floral décor.

To keep costs down, shop thrift stores and yard sales for bathroom accessories and décor. I generally find at least a half-dozen such sets each year; most complete with everything one could possibly want for just pennies on the dollar. I sometimes purchase those sets that I like and put them away for future redecorating. When you can keep your costs down on such items, you will feel like doing a remodel more often and it’s amazing how such small changes can make the whole room feel new.

If you have enough money and time to spend, then you might want to consider a new paint job or tile, counter top and/or flooring replacements. Add mirrors, new or upgraded lighting, vanities, or other accessories. The key is to make the bathroom comfortable, warm, and soothing. You will find that you will be happy with any changes you make that help fulfill those needs.

Focus your design on your own personal style. If you are like me, you might like long, hot baths in a candlelit bathroom. If the room is pretty and suited specifically to you, you will find that you enjoy those baths even more. Relaxation is important and the bathroom is a good place to start. Take the time to make it your own and you will find that your guests will enjoy it as well.

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