Renovation for Renters: 10 Ideas for the Bathroom

Renovation for Renters: 10 Ideas for the Bathroom

Julia Brenner
Oct 28, 2011

Most of us who rent can only daydream about bathroom renovations like installing low-flow toilets and bamboo flooring, or swapping out our 80's-style chipped ceramic sink for one that looks like it was plucked from a Zen garden. However, there are lots of ways to make a rental bathroom brighter, greener, and more modern. Here are 10 tips to help move your rental bathroom out of The Flinstones and into The Jetsons.

1. Add a free-standing storage unit. Along with providing a storage solution, a free-standing unit is a nice opportunity to play up the aesthetic of your space. A vintage shelf could work to add character, whereas a chrome and glass unit lends a sleek, modern touch.
2. Install a low-flow shower head. Replacing an older shower head with a more energy efficient model is a relatively easy DIY project that can be done for under $50. You might be able to write the cost of the upgrade off of your rent, or if not, you can always take the shower head with you when you move (just save the old one to put back).
3. Re-caulk. Old caulking around toilets and bathtubs can become pretty grimy and even moldy. If you have a landlord that either won't fix this issue or is dragging their feet, why not re-caulk yourself? We recently featured some less toxic options to traditional caulk and just think, a few hours of manual labor will result in a much cleaner and brighter bathroom for you to enjoy for months or years.
4. Upgrade your toilet seat. Some landlords replace toilet seats before a new tenant moves in. And some don't. If your toilet seat is noticeably old or dingy, upgrading with a new version will help modernize your space. There are also eco-friendly options, and since toilet seats are portable, you can always take yours with you when you move!
5. Hang a beautiful non-toxic shower curtain and liner. You know that "shower curtain smell" of a new shower curtain? It turns out the smell is caused by chemicals (VOCs) that are potentially harmful for people to breathe. I know, not cool. Not cool at all. However, there are lots of beautiful non-toxic curtains to choose from. A shower curtain is a major component in any bathroom, so splurging on one that is visually appealing and non-toxic is a quick way to improve the look and feel of your bathroom.
6. Install a doorway fan. Ideally, an exhaust fan is the best option and is strongly recommended for all bathrooms, but that upgrade largely depends on your landlord's willingness to install one. If possible, you might want to talk to the property owner about installing an exhaust fan since it would benefit their property by protecting against mold and mildew. However, if an exhaust fan is not an option, consider installing a doorway fan as an alternative. This type of fan works to remove humidity from the bathroom and is less cumbersome than a tabletop or clip-on fan.
7. Decorate with temporary wall coverings. We recently covered this in our 10 Ideas for the Kitchen post, and the same concept can be applied to the bathroom. If you're not looking to repaint, temporary wall coverings such as tile tattoos or decals can add some serious decorative charm to your bathroom.
8. Cover your floor with an eco-friendly bath mat or rug. Is anyone else sporting an old, off-white-with-gray-speckles linoleum floor in their bathroom? I certainly hope not, but you may very well have one that's equally unappealing. Cover up that outdated floor with a stylish, eco-friendly bath mat.
9. Install a unique towel rack or mounted shelving unit. Adding a well-designed towel rack or shelf will add some personal style and functionality to your bathroom. If you have the OK to hang pictures in your rental, you are likely able to mount a towel rack or shelf, as long as you don't have tiled walls and are willing to patch up the holes when you move.
10. Hang a mirror. Many older bathrooms come with medicine cabinets, and the attached mirrors on these cabinets are often not in the best shape. Hanging an additional mirror (or even bringing in a full-length mirror if room allows) will help update the look of your bathroom and also help you on a functional level, as in, you'll be able to clearly see yourself and not have to squint past the warbles and nicks of old glass.

Related Articles:

10 Ways to Green the Bathroom on a Budget

Top 10 Bathroom Tips for Renters

General Info For Tiny Bathroom in Need of Eco-Renovation

Slow Home Space Planning & Organization: The Bathroom

(Images: as linked)

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