I have rented a home my entire adult life. It started out this way because we were young, and who thinks about buying a house when they’re still in college? And then, it just became easier because we didn’t know where we wanted to eventually live. But now, it’s a choice? I’ve become spoiled by kind landlords and manageable rent prices.
But with a great location and manageable rent, comes really boring interior design. Beige finishes, bland fixtures, and sad lighting. Rental bathrooms are often the worst design offender in any home.
So today, I’m going to run through my best ideas for adding some soul and share my rental bathroom ideas that will get you a space that you’ll love.
First off, with almost zero effort, and only a few bucks (like one take-out meal), you can add a little luxury to your rental bathroom. Small touches that do a lot for your psyche, and make the space feel special.
I love this stuff – it smells like a forest garden, doesn’t linger for an eternity on your hands, and works like a dream with my sensitive skin. Especially if you’ve often got guests or kids in your house, liquid soap is the way to go.
I prefer a bar of soap, mostly because it used to be really hard to find liquid soap that wasn’t completely offensive scent and didn’t strip my hands. Now, I just like the act of using a bar. This melt and pour soap is SO EASY to use: chop a block of it up, put the bowl in the microwave 30 seconds at a time to melt it, then add 1/2oz (~10ml) of fragrance oil and pour it in the mold to harden. Let the bar set up for a few days out of the mold, and voila, you’ve just made your own soap. It’s SO MUCH CHEAPER to do it this way, and I think is even better quality than you can buy in a boutique. One pound of soap base and 1/2oz of fragrance will get you 4 bars, so each bar ends up being less than $3.
I light a candle when I shower, when I’m in there doing my skincare, and when I take a bath. The glow is as important as the scent. While I have a whole set up because I make all of my own candles (for the same reasons as the soap, I can get better quality for less money with little effort), this starter kit from Wooden Wick is really the way to go for beginners.
Nothing beats the sensational scent of eucalyptus in your shower. It’s just a nice little herbaceous hit when the steam and water heat it up. A fresh bunch should last you over a month; I drape it upside-down over the showerhead or the shower curtain rod. I pick this up at the grocery store when they have it, but this farm is a great deal as well.
Little luxuries are great, but sometimes you just need to take it to another level. A bit of paint, some new towels, maybe a new light fixture.
All of these schemes assume you have all white walls, ceilings doors, and cabinetry, and some sort of natural tan or grey floor tile and countertop. Basically, every apartment built in North America between 1998-2015.
I’ve found that most landlords are okay with changing things like lighting & paint color as long as you change it back when you leave. We tend to stay in our homes for 7+ years at a time, so it makes total sense for us to make the effort to make more permanent changes like this.
I’ve designed each of the following schemes to do the following:
I’ve specified bar lights with simple bulbs for each scheme. I think they provide the best light in small bathrooms and give great light for the mirror. If you are blessed to have a medicine cabinet, they’ll also avoid blocking the cabinet door.
This scheme leans into the white and neutral finishes you already have. Sometimes you just have to go with it. Warm Brass complements a warm sand color and is balanced with white accents with a lot of texture. If your walls aren’t already white, I’ve specified a great white to give you a fresh starting point.
And here’s a quick rendering of how that would look:
Again, this scheme uses those white walls and neutral finishes, but this time I would suggest going for it and painting just the ceiling the most beautiful shade of peachy-pink. This will make every skin tone glow and the color will give everything a subtle warmth. The whole room will glow pink simply by painting the ceiling. A simple Hollywood light bar gives some retro flavor and is accented with a vintage look for the soap dish and dispenser. And I love the subtle pattern on these towels!
And here’s how this design will look in real life:
Again, keep those walls white, but what about painting the cabinet a luscious deep water blue? This has lots of vacation vibes, with just a touch of modernity in the light fixture.
And here’s that rendering:
So I think you should just freaking go for it. Paint all the walls black. Keep the cabinets, ceiling and trim white for contrast, then add in lighting and accessories that have a bit of moody sparkle. Seriously, just jump in. IT’S ONLY PAINT!
And here’s how the dark and moody version would look:
I hope this helps you bring a little life back to your soulless rental bathroom. If you ever need help with a personalized solution for your interior, let me know. I’m always here to help.
Add some soul to that rental bathroom of yours and make it a space you love.