You can have a cozy, well-decorated bathroom without buying gold-plated toothbrush holders, ugly plastic tissue box covers, or strangely shaped stuffed animals designed to hold extra toilet paper. Avoid these tacky accoutrements, and carve out a kitschier potty niche with these cheap ways to decorate a bathroom.
1. TP your Bathroom (sort of)!
Use new toilet paper rolls, which we all know are cheaply purchased in bulk, to create practical décor through shape repetition. One of the effective yet cheap ways to decorate a bathroom is to use necessary items that would already be in the space, thus eliminating the need for decorative add-ons. In the case of new toilet paper rolls, they can be stacked, packed, shoved, squeezed, or heaped into a pleasing form. And white matches almost everything! If you’re having trouble visualizing this, here are some examples:
a. Identify an exposed shelf and stack a lot of toilet paper neatly in repeating rows, rather than hiding it inside a cabinet. The repetition of the soft cylinders, either standing upright or resting on their sides, creates a simple and functional pattern.
b. Find a large basket or basin (wicker, wire, whatever!) and just throw a bunch of new toilet paper rolls into it haphazardly, creating a cheap heap. You can’t get much faster or easier, and this actually looks cool on the floor. If you have a large bathroom, imagine a funky metal washbasin just piled with clean, white, happy geometric forms.
c. Line up a few toilet paper rolls, side by side and place one short fake flower in each (you may need to trim stems). Fake flowers are usually awful, but this idea is kitschy enough to work as long as you don’t overdo the silk flowers. The trick is simple repetition.
Anyone who has seen my previous apartments knows that I have a fondness for metal pails from the gardening section of discount retailers. If you have counter space or room on top of the toilet tank, place a metal pail there and fill it with things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, contact lens solution, and other frequently accessed products. Or, as an alternate idea, roll up hand towels or washcloths and shove them into the pail, once again letting the practical items themselves become the decoration while sitting in their understated yet funky containers. If there are multiple people in the household, you can even fashion his-and-hers pails (or his-and-his, hers-and-hers…whatever your family looks like).
3. A One-Liner?
If you’re tight on cash, there’s no need to buy a “regular” shower curtain. Just buy a basic, solid-colored shower liner of an appropriate color. Some people I know have spent upwards of $40 on a fabric shower curtain when, in fact, their bathroom would have looked lighter, cleaner, and even roomier had they selected something simpler. In my current bathroom, I used a $4 white liner and then had extra money left over to buy fluffier, more colorful towels. When you’re looking for cheap ways to decorate a bathroom, think about what pieces really matter. A printed shower curtain, especially with a design that overpowers a small room, can make the space feel even tighter.
4. The Green Room.
If your bathroom gets decent light, add some greenery. Select plants that are hardy and can handle the unique, occasionally steamy environment. Spider plants do well because they can live practically anywhere. I’ve also kept African violets in bathrooms before. These plants are both cheap ways to decorate a bathroom – they can be purchased for as little as $3. They add life to an environment that often feels sterile.
5. Hitting the Bottle.
I raid dollar stores from time to time for simple items, and I have occasionally come away with some cheap ways to decorate a bathroom. If you make it past the tacky porcelain figurines, you’ll usually find shapely clear glass bottles and other simple containers, often with cork tops, pumps, or easy-screw lids. The most colourful way to use these in a bathroom is to fill them with toiletries, especially liquids like hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, and bubble bath. Of course, depending on shape, they can also hold items like cotton swabs, cotton balls, tampons (yup – I said it), or new packages of disposable contact lenses. Line up these items of a shelf, and once again, let the practical aspects of your bathroom become its visual appeal.