After perusing umpteen photos of dreamy bathrooms with fancy faucets, gorgeous tile, and of course storage galore, it's pretty easy to hate the old, cramped washroom in your rental (thank you and curse you Pinterest and Instagram).
But you don't have to continue living with awful. Trust us: With your landlord's permission, a few simple changes—no renovation required—will make things better without draining your checking account. And lucky for you, we have no shortage of tricks for adding color, pattern, and even practical storage. Here are 21 decorating ideas for refreshing small bathrooms.
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Paint-Free Bathroom Makeover
If your landlord prohibits painting or if you think the task is too messy, then it's time to get creative with peel and stick vinyl. Options that stand up to moisture and condensation work best in bathrooms.
This vanity update by Brian Patrick Flynn is a fantastic example. The gray leather veneer is actually (surprise!) removable, vinyl wallpaper.
There are other types of peel and stick products available that make bathroom decorating super easy. For instance, you can duplicate the striped bathroom wall shared here using self-adhesive vinyl stripes. A favorite is Tempaper Mini Stripes. It's available in four-inch wide rolls.Continue to 2 of 21 below.
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Install a Temporary Vanity
Can't stand that old oak cabinet in your bathroom? Or maybe you wish your wall-mounted sink had built-in storage? Whatever the case, consider swapping it out with a vanity suited for your taste and needs. When your lease is up, take it with you. Just get your landlord's written consent before installing.
New vanities like the IKEA GODMORGON/BRÅVIKEN that sells for $329 come with a sink and cabinet. Some different options sold at major home improvement stores also include a faucet. One example designed for small spaces is the Maelynn by Home Decorators Collection for $209. This bathroom vanity tutorial by Hej shares how to install.Continue to 3 of 21 below.
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Spruce up Your Bathroom With Plants
Add a punch of pizzazz to a lackluster bathroom by heading out to your local garden center. A few houseplants suited to your bathroom's unique conditions (think natural light and room temperature) will brighten the space with color and texture. See how Homme Maker styled this bathroom three more ways.Continue to 4 of 21 below.
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Refresh an Outdated Bathroom With Paint
When it comes to decorating, paint is a silver bullet for ugly. Here its magical powers turned a beige builder grade bathroom into a chic powder room. But our favorite idea from this transformation from The Makerista has nothing to do with painting. See the lovely round mirror? It was stuck on top of the original one with double stick mounting tape.Continue to 5 of 21 below.
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DIY a Rustic Feature Wall
What to do with that big bare wall? Turn it into a snappy feature with removable peel and stick floor tile. You'll need to use the vinyl stuff that stands up to water and humidity. Home Depot and Lowes offer different options in a wide range of textures, colors, and sizes that resemble real wood and luxurious stone. The Weekender shares how to fake this rustic accent wall.Continue to 6 of 21 below.
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Quick and Reversible Fixes for Ugly Bathroom floors
Disguising an ugly bathroom floor is much easier than you think. Interior designer, Kerra Michele, concealed hers using a water-resistant vinyl floor cloth that she custom cut to fit.
You can also use interlocking rubber floor tiles. They're available in lots of colors, and the type with raised dots resembles ceramic penny round tile. To secure in place, use carpet tape. Find more bathroom ideas by Kerra Michele at Apartment Envy.Continue to 7 of 21 below.
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Modernize an Old Bathroom With Black Fixtures
Add dramatic contrast to a white bathroom with black fixtures and accessories. FYI, installing a new faucet is usually an easy and also reversible update if the new fixtures fit the existing holes in the sink or countertop. See more of this pitch-perfect bathroom by Homepolish.Continue to 8 of 21 below.
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Revive Your Vintage Bathroom
This vintage bathroom redo only cost $200.
While black and white tile has enduring style, the old wallpaper that once graced these walls made the tiny space feel dark and claustrophobic. Removing it all made an uplifting difference. Swapping out the sconces, and updating decorative accessories from the cabinet knobs to shower curtain were the finishing touches that turned this old bathroom into a stylish classic. A Domestic Life created this soup to nuts makeover.Continue to 9 of 21 below.
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Combine Function With Personality
Celebrate your personal story by customizing your bathroom with character building accents.
This space uses a mix of nautical and rough-hewed elements to create a relaxing bathroom retreat that conjures seaside memories. We also love the upcycled wire basket that creates towel storage. IDF Studio designed this soothing space for Ronald McDonald House.Continue to 10 of 21 below.
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How to Decorate Your Pink Bathroom
Since you can't rip it all out, make peace with your pink bathroom by playing it up. Here a marble-inspired mirror, patterned wallpaper, and a painted vanity complement the pink tile. If you want to tone down your bathroom's pink features, add vibrant, contrasting colors like blue and green, which will distract the eye. Bathroom decorated by Red Egg Design Group.Continue to 11 of 21 below.
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Ditch Your Traditional Bath Mat
What's the single bathroom decorating idea we think everyone should crib? Ditch your bath mat for a real rug in vibrant colors. It's a teensy change that will instantly boost a drab space. Peruse more photos of this adorable space designed by Amber Interior Design.Continue to 12 of 21 below.
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Whip up Concealed Storage Under a Wall Mounted Sink
If your bathroom has a wall-mounted sink instead of a vanity cabinet, a lovely sink skirt will create some concealed storage space while hiding exposed pipes. Indigo Ochre designed this gorgeous powder room.Continue to 13 of 21 below.
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Stenciling Is Cheaper Than Wallpaper
When it comes to economics, wallpapering a bathroom usually costs a lot more than painting. But that doesn't mean you have to forfeit pattern to save money.
The blogger behind these decorative walls got that wallpaper look by painting with a stencil from Royal Design Studios. Thrift Diving explains this stencil project's pros and cons.Continue to 14 of 21 below.
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Rethink Your Bathroom Door
A hinged door that swings inward can eliminate the amount of usable space in a teensy bathroom. Swapping it out with a pocket door would be ideal, but that requires tearing out a portion of the wall. Lucky for you, we have two more solutions for this frustrating dilemma.
You can convert your traditional door into a sliding barn style door. DIY kits found at many home improvement stores cost between $150 to $400. It's a good idea to get your landlord onboard with this project before getting started.
You could also flip your bathroom door, so it swings open in the opposite direction. It involves a few tasks including moving the door's hinges to the opposite side of the opening. With the right tools, it's a doable one-day project for experienced do-it-yourselfers. This tiny apartment bathroom by Sweeten packs a few more space saving ideas.Continue to 15 of 21 below.
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How to Fake Wallpaper Without a Stencil
This bright and airy powder room was once a colorful purple disaster. Amazingly, it took only a few simple tweaks, fresh paint and new shades for the sconces, to make it so much better. No, we didn't forget to mention the wallpaper. That's because the graphic wall was painted freehand. Mix and Match Design created this budget bathroom makeover.Continue to 16 of 21 below.
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Add Drama to a Bathroom Using Art
Eye-catching artwork hung on a wall painted a bold shade, will distract the eye away from the ugly in a small bathroom. Bathroom designed by Hillary Thomas Interiors. Continue to 17 of 21 below.
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Turn a Funky Bathroom Into a Boho Oasis
How do you turn a bathroom remodeled during the Eisenhower administration into a bohemian oasis?
Several boho-inspired essentials renewed this Brooklyn bathroom including a macramé toilet paper holder, medallion print shower curtain and of course lovely green houseplants. 6sqft has more photos of this plant-filled apartment.Continue to 18 of 21 below.
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Pick the Perfect Shelves for Your Space
Two insanely simple decorating tricks increased this tiny bathroom's storage space.
Thick floating shelves were swapped out for thin shelving. The latter makes the wall appear less cluttered while creating more room for stuff. Next, updating the wall-mounted medicine cabinet with a much bigger one also created extra storage. Oh So Beautiful Paper updated this 1920s bathroom.Continue to 19 of 21 below.
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Transform Your Bathroom With Art and Grout Paint
Is your brown and beige bathroom stuck in the 1980s? An injection of art and color will bring it up-to-date.
Here, black paint created the backdrop for a gallery wall that plays down the beige tile. To brighten things up the bathroom's brown grout was painted white.Continue to 20 of 21 below.
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Give an Old Bathroom the Gold Treatment
So you don't have a luxurious marble bathroom. You can still make things glamorous with gold accents. Features and fixtures from a glitzy shower rod to a golden faucet, which are both typically a cinch to install and later remove on moving day, are available in a broad range of styles and prices. See the rest of this apartment on Sweeten.Continue to 21 of 21 below.
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The Best DIY Bathroom Ever
This project from Go Haus Go may be the most satisfying DIY bathroom ever.
Here's a breakdown: Black paint and new cabinet knobs renewed the old school vanity. The original medicine cabinet, which was a nasty mess was swapped out for a new one with oomph. But the topper that made this bathroom internet famous is the removable, ostrich print wallpaper.