When we first moved into the house we’re renting right now, I shared how I gave our rental guest bathroom a makeover. Michael and I have rented a lot in the 14 years we’ve lived together (7 properties in all). Through this process, I’ve learned some simple tips/tricks for decorating rental spaces.
When it comes to giving a rental bathroom a makeover, you have a handful of thing to contend with. Firstly, bathrooms in rental houses typically have outdated or lower-quality cabinets, vanities, showers, flooring, etc. When you’re renting, there isn’t much you can do about these things, so you have to work around it. Nextly, when it’s a rental property, the other thing you contend with is the fact that it’s a rental. When it’s not your own home, you don’t want to invest a ton of money in the space.
All that being said, I’m going to share with you some simple ways to upgrade a bathroom space that doesn’t cost a lot of money or require any big renovation projects.
The bathroom I wanted to give a facelift to was our upstairs bathroom. Like bathrooms in most rental properties, it has just a standard vanity, clip-on mirror, and limited storage. Here’s how I tackled each issue.
The biggest problem for this bathroom was definitely the lack of storage. When we first moved in, I hung some of the cheap bracket shelving you can get at any hardware store. While these shelves did the trick, they were kind of an eyesore. The problem is nice shelves are expensive, and I didn’t want to make that investment on a home I didn’t own. Instead, I decided to upgrade the shelves I already had by using Marble Contact Paper. I bought two big rolls off Amazon for $20, and simply covered the two shelves. While these are still bracket-style shelves, they look instantly refreshed and more polished with the marble cover.
You can’t exactly tell from these pictures, but the next thing I did was give the walls a fresh coat of paint. A coat of paint can give a space a fresh look- even if you’re just painting the same color. Daily wear and tear on a space, especially one as well-used as a bathroom, can leave your walls looking dingy.
Now, different rental properties have different rules for painting. Some will let you paint whatever color you want and some will allow you to paint as long as it’s a neutral color. Others don’t allow new paint colors – in this case, I suggest you ask your landlord was the paint brand/color is, so you can do a fresh coat of the paint that already exists.
Pretty much every rental property will always have an ugly mirror in the bathroom. It’s like a rental home requirement. I’d say every rental house we’ve had has had the same ugly, clip-on mirror. Updating the mirror makes an immediate upgrade to any bathroom and it’s a very easy fix. These clip-on mirrors are just screwed in with a few plastic clips and you can easily unscrew them off the wall. After you unscrew it, just wrap the mirror in some bubble wrap and store it in the attic or basement. Before you move out you can just quickly screw it back up.
In its place, I picked up a simple mirror from Home Goods. You can usually find them for a good deal if you have your eyes open. I have always been able to find one in the clearance area. I got this new one for $20!
The last thing I did was just update some of the decor to make the bathroom feel a little more loved instead of just a mish-mash of toiletries and baskets.
Shower Curtain: I had this shower curtain I had bought about a year ago that I really liked, but I had gotten a big hair dye stain on it (oops). It looked pretty bad. But, shower curtains are expensive and I wasn’t in a rush to spend $50+ on another one. Instead, I figured I could whip up a quick DIY to update this curtain in a way that would hide my stain. I made up a bunch of yarn tassels (see how here) with some yarn I had in my attic and simply secured them onto the curtain in a row. This not only hid the stain but also gave the curtain a little fun pizzazz! Cost: $0
Bathroom Mat: I updated to a new Bathroom Mat. While I really liked the one we had before that was from Urban Outfitters, it wasn’t functional as a bathroom mat because it had zero absorption. I repurposed it in our kitchen. Cost: $12
Shelving Decor: I kept it really simple with the decor, upgrading things I already had in my home to save money. I had this pretty white frame and just used PicMonkey.com to create a cute quote art and printed it out at Staples (costs about $0.20). Then I bought a spider plant at Home Depot and planted it in this extra planter I had (it’s from Ocean State Job Lot and I bought it originally for about $5). Cost: $6
That’s about it. This entire refresh only cost me about $65. While it’s not a complete makeover, it made the bathroom feel a lot more loved, fresh, and clean, and I’m pretty pleased with what my $65 got me. If you want a little more inspiration, you can check out our rental guest bathroom a makeover.