The challenges of the bathroom in my family’s 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. Here’s 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: They’re not only visually pleasing but also they provide better light.
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. It’s a practical storage solution and a way to add texture.
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. I love the feeling of standing barefoot on straw first thing in the morning, and in winter it’s so much nicer than cold tiles.
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.
5. Display well.
I put out only the good-looking bottles, and I typically decant (or hide) anything with packaging that’s not appealing. I think of the shelves in my cabinet as a series of vignettes that I am constantly changing.
The smaller the space, the more that things need room to breathe.
7. Be creative with storage.
I stow toilet paper in a Japanese fisherman’s basket, and all the extra stuff goes into a leather-handled market basket picked up in a French supermarket, both shown below.
8. Ditch the plastic.
There was no good reason to keep the cheap plastic shower rings, so I swapped in my own leather ties.
9. Remove anything that doesn’t look good.
After removing the ugly curtains and rod on my bathroom window (and putting them in storage), I used Round Wooden Thumbtacks found on Etsy to pin up a piece of unhemmed linen as a privacy screen. I also added a white linen roller blind.
10. Accent with white.
I replaced the loud shower curtain with a plain, thick, white cotton one, and our towels and linens are all white—this keeps the look clean and fresh.
Considering a full remodel? Read 10 Essential Tips for Designing the Bathroom. And read on in Expert Advice:
- Expert Advice: The New Kitchenette: 11 Tips for an Efficient Small Kitchen
- Expert Advice: 12 Tips for Making a Small Bedroom Look Bigger
- Linen Logic: 20 Tips for Taking Care of Your Bedding
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on October 10, 2014.