Ten Fast and Easy Ways To Decorate Your Bathroom

Written by bprescottFebruary 8, 2012
A decorative bathroom with red and orange tiles

Ten Easy Bathroom Decorating Ideas

Try some of these easy-on-the-budget and easy-to-execute ideas to give your bathroom that finished look that professional designers do so well- the results may surprise you. No, your bathroom probably won't be featured in Architectural Digest, but your family and guests will notice the improvement.

Making a Small Bathroom Feel Larger

Contrasting colors cut up space, so to make a space appear larger, use one color with variations of it to create an open and balanced feeling. Use a light color on the floor because it reflects light and gives the room an airy quality.

Fool the eye by calling attention to the ceiling with a wallpaper border to make the room appear higher and wider. The stencil-cut borders with adhesive on the back are the easiest to install and give a room an almost instant new look.

Borrow the color scheme and style of the room or hall next to the bathroom so they flow easily together. When the bathroom appears to be part of the larger room, it feels more open.

Using Color in Things You Can Change

A small bathroom with white fixtures and walls can be an ideal backdrop for a changeable and colorful decorating scheme. Complete the backdrop by covering the window in a white shade or shutter. Add a dose of color- bright, primary colors or subtle, subdued shades- in a rug, shower curtain, and towels. Presto- your bathroom has a pulled-together look.

Instead of decorating the little kids’ bathroom with kid-specific wallpaper, choose a neutral pattern that will grow with them. Let them choose the towels and decorations that you can change as they grow up.

Adding Old-Fashioned Charm

Give a plain-Jane bathroom some personality with a feeling of old-fashioned charm. Cover the walls with painted beadboard wainscoting and a chair rail and then decorate the room with finds from a flea market. Instead of colored plastic accessories to hold soaps and toothbrushes, start a collection of vintage jars, vases, antique saucers, bowls, and other small dishes. Or use different sizes and shapes of baskets, including a large one to hold towels. Add a large antique mirror or a grouping of small ones for grooming as well as for enhancing the decor. Choose a braided rug to complete the scheme and provide a soft warm floor covering. If you have room for a plant, use a hanging or potted fern, which is sure to appreciate the warm, moist conditions of a bathroom.

Creating a Custom Wallpaper

Wallpaper a small bathroom with photocopies of family pictures, wine labels, or even comic book covers for a very customized bathroom. We saw this done with race ticket stubs from the Kentucky Derby in a Louisville home, and it was very attractive. You make your own wallpaper by using the photocopies, overlapping them slightly, and gluing them on the wall with wallpaper adhesive. For a nautical theme, use old navigation charts. For a musical theme, use old sheet music. You get the idea.

Applying a Decorative Finish to Plain Walls

If you want to liven up ordinary painted walls, you can apply a glaze coat over them, allowing some of the base coat to show through. This glazing process does a remarkable job of adding depth and gives a completely different feel to the room. You'll find special brushes and rollers for applying a decorative finish at paint stores. Before applying this finish on your bathroom walls, practice using them on a scrap piece of drywall or poster board to get a feel for the effect you want to create. Don't be intimidated if you're not artistic; a decorative finish is as unique as the person who applies it. That would be you.

Adding an Etched Glass Window Film

Do you need to cover up an old bathroom window in the bathtub wall for privacy but hate to block the daylight? Instead of using an old plastic curtain, get a decorative window film. The film looks like etched glass and comes in several frosted designs that you'll find at home improvement stores and decorating centers. Installing it is as simple as cleaning the glass, measuring and cutting the film, and then positioning it on the glass, using a squeegee to smooth it in place.

Another way to create privacy in a bathroom window is to hang a stained glass panel inside the window so that it covers the glass. Or replace plain glass with antique ripple glass that provides privacy while letting sunlight inside.

Accentuating the Positive

Take advantage of tile on the walls or on the floor that's in good condition and use it as the basis for your color scheme. If the tile has more than one color, emphasize one you like by choosing towels and rugs in a similar shade. Let the tile colors dominate and use a plain white shower curtain as a backdrop.

Showing Off in the Powder Room

If you have a powder room for guests, consider adding open shelves to display a collection of colorful glassware or any collectible items. Even though most powder rooms are small, they usually have a wall where you can show off something special. Glass shelves make figurines and porcelain appear like they're floating, and heavier wooden shelves are a nice natural way to display shells or stones.

Taking Cues from the Pros

The next time you go shopping, notice how cleverly and creatively retailers display things, and use some of their ideas in your bathroom. Roll towels up and stand the rolls up in a basket or stack them in rolls on a shelf. After your shower curtain is dry, tie it back instead of letting it hang straight. Be on the lookout for some ideas from professionals who make their living from being creative. It's free and it's fun.

Remembering that Less Is Better

Make everything in a small bathroom have an important reason to be there, thus creating a clean, inviting overall appearance. To free up space, get rid of stuff that's not being used or is seldom used. Do you have to have the bathroom scale in the bathroom? How about moving it to the bedroom? How about relocating the clothes hamper to the hall outside the bathroom?

Minimizing what's in the room visually expands the feeling of space.


From ‘Bathroom Remodeling For Dummies’
Copyright © 2003 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.



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