If you live in rented accommodation, there’s always a limit to what you can do to the place, interior design wise, to make it your home. When it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, these are most likely to be integrated, meaning there’s nothing you can do about changing the units, sanitary ware or room layout – they’re the landlord’s responsibility. Being the tenant, you have to work with what you’ve got, making sure you stay within what is allowed under the terms of your rental contract or lease.
In terms of décor, your options will be severely limited since you can’t touch the bath, shower, basin or WC, and you’re unlikely to get permission to paint the walls in a funky colour, or at all. So, what can you do if your bathroom is boring and you want to inject some personality into it?
The trick is to use your imagination and a bit of inventive styling to give your bathroom a makeover. Here are 4 simple minimal cost ideas and tricks that will help transform your rented bathroom into a practical and attractive space that you’ll be happy to have in your home.
1. Choose an accent colour
Chances are that your bathroom will be pretty plain in terms of style and design, with a neutral colour scheme designed to appeal to a wide range of tenants. So, the first thing to do is to add some much needed colour.
Take a careful look at the room, the layout and the amount of natural light available, and decide which colour would accessorise it best. A plain white bathroom suite will give you the most options, though if some colour is already present, say in wall or floor tiles or even an old 1980s avocado bathroom suite, you should take your cue from what there is and choose a shade that will complement it.
Once you know which accent colour you’re going for, it’s time to go shopping. You could include soft furnishings such as fluffy towels and bath mats. Toothbrush holders and soap dishes, shower curtains, even loo seats and brushes can be purchased in an astonishing array of colours and patterns these days.
2. Add wall art and mirrors
You may not be able to change the colour of the wall but you may be allowed to hang up pictures and mirrors in your rented home – obviously check with your landlord first. Choosing a bold, large canvas, painting, print or poster and positioning it prominently over the bath, or in fact any spare wall space, will create a powerful feature in the bathroom that will dramatically transform the vibe.
Mirrors are another excellent way to change the feel of the room. Small bathrooms will feel airy and light with the addition of a mirror, improving levels of light and boost the sense of space. If you don’t have permission to hang an additional mirror, consider placing an oversized mirror on the floor, propped up against the wall, for extra style and drama.
3. Bring the outside inside
Whether your bathroom is on the bijou or cavernous side, there’s always space for a living plant. In fact, pot plants in bathrooms are an excellent combination since many plants love the moisture rich atmosphere. If there’s a window in your bathroom, or at least some natural light, even better.
Whether you go for a collection of tiny succulents on the windowsill, a classic spider plant on the shelf, a pretty orchid in the corner of the bath or a large cheese plant on the floor, it’s amazing how easy it is to warm up the space and give it life, colour and personality, at relatively little cost.
Not sure which plant is right for your particular bathroom? Worried that your bathroom is too small or too dark for any plant to thrive? Don’t worry, it is not rocket science – all the advice you could possibly need can be found here.
4. Be creative with storage
Storage is the big watchword, particularly in bathrooms where there never seems to be enough! Be grateful for whatever cupboards and shelves are available in your rented bathroom, then add your own creative storage solutions to keep the rest of your bathroom bits and bobs in order.
Plain or coloured storage baskets could be placed under the sink or near the bath for easy access to bath towels and loo rolls. A pretty chrome bath rack that fits across the bath tub is handy for soaps and bath essentials (and it helps if the products themselves are attractively packaged too!).
Ladder style towel rails can be a godsend, especially since they can be easily moved around the space. If you choose a ladder with broader treads, they can double up as shelving for storing and displaying your favourite bathroom knick-knacks.
If the bathroom is big enough, you may have space for a freestanding piece of furniture that can dramatically cheer up a dull bathroom. How about placing a pretty vintage dresser in the room, an industrial chic floor-to-ceiling shelving unit or a Victorian dressing table and mirror?