In my dream bathroom, there’s a huge tub for soaking in, a vanity with a plush seat to lounge on as I do my hair and makeup, and an inconspicuous mini-fridge stocked with tiny bottles of champagne for lingering baths and “Oh look, it’s 5 o’clock” moments.
In my actual bathroom, the tub doesn’t even have a drain plug (and I wouldn’t bathe in it anyway because it’s pretty grungy). The only way to put on makeup involves leaning at a near 90-degree angle over the sink. And even if I could find room for a mini-fridge, the only outlets are located high up on the wall above the sink in a horribly inconvenient spot, and are much too valuable to give up.
So it’s not exactly the bathroom of my dreams. But since I have to make do with it for the time being, I’ve made some little changes to make it as spa-like and relaxing as possible.
Ready for an upgrade of your own? Here are some easy (and budget-friendly!) ways to make over your own not-so-dream-worthy bathroom.
$40: Get Painting
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—a little bit of paint can go a really long way in transforming a room. Decide what kind of mood you want in your bathroom, and choose your color from there. Looking for something that will energize you in the morning? Try a bright color to give the room a pop (my parents have an obnoxiously red powder room that always gets compliments). If you want the room to be calm and spa-like, try a muted blue or green.
If parts of your bathroom seem like they would be too difficult to paint, try just covering one wall in a stunning color. Even this little change can make a big difference.
$40: Make it Rain
Okay, so actually “making it rain” takes about $1,000 in all singles, but for much less money, you can insta-upgrade your shower with a fancy showerhead. Forty bucks will get you a nice one, and you’ll wonder how you ever survived without getting a head massage every time you shower. Make sure to buy one that says “eco-friendly,” though—we’re going for quality of shower, not quantity of water.
$30: Get a Pretty Shower Curtain
When it comes to your shower curtain, you can either have a boring solid neutral one that blends into the rest of the bathroom, or you can hang something funky and bright that makes you smile every time you see it. Target is, hands down, the best place to look for a variety of shower curtains. The pop of color in this one makes me infinitely happy (too bad the boyfriend would never go for it—did I mention he’s not allowed in my dream bathroom?).
Alternatively, upgrade your own monotone shower curtain by turning it into a DIY color-blocked curtain. To get crafty and make your own, check out the directions here!
$25: Get a Seriously Comfy Bath Mat
Do you have a memory foam bath mat? If yes, skip this step. If no, get thee to Bed, Bath & Beyond immediately, because you are missing out! Not only does the memory foam absorb water and dry quickly, every time you set foot on it, you’ll feel like you’re walking on Cloud 9. And if you have pets, trust me––they will happily curl up on it for hours.
$10: Breathe in Luxury
Candles are a great way to add a touch of luxury and ambiance to any little bathroom (and, if you choose the right candle, make it smell delicious in the process). Clear off part of a shelf or windowsill, or find a place to hang this $5 shelf from IKEA, then pick out a few of your favorite scented candles. I’m partial to the amazingly serene lavender scent of this simple Glade one.
If you’re not a candle person (or are seriously afraid of burning your house down with fire), you can find a pretty diffuser to place in the bathroom instead.
$0: De-Clutter and Organize
A small space filled with clutter is anything but relaxing, and few places seem to amass stuff quite the way the bathroom does. (For example, I have no less than five almost-but-not-quite-empty bottles of shampoo under my sink right now.) So grab a trash bag and get to work. Go through your makeup bag, medicine cabinet, and drawers, and toss anything that’s expired, unusable, or just plain unnecessary (I’m looking at you, purple sparkly eye shadow and basically empty bottles of shampoo).
Once you’ve cleared out the clutter, make sure everything is stored in the best place possible. If it’s something you don’t use at least once a week, consider finding it a new storage home—outside of the bathroom. For the things you do like to have around, get creative with how you store them. (Check out these makeup storage ideas to get you started.)
So, it still may not be your dream bathroom. But these steps can be the perfect way to give your bathroom just the touch of luxury it needs to tide you over until your budget gets a little bigger.