Q: I'm renting a mostly cute, older house, and the small bathroom is right off the living room. It's the first thing you see when you walk in the front door. The bathroom tub and tub walls are all this pinkish-beige color, with ugly old sliding-glass shower doors and water stains in the toilet. How can I make this bathroom look better?
A: Can you keep the bathroom door mostly closed? That will certainly help the view from your front door, and it won't cost anything. As a renter, of course, it's not likely you can replace the fixtures or remove the shower doors. But a very quick fix would be to use shower curtains to disguise the tub when the door is open. There are so many fun and colorful fabric shower curtains out there right now, I'm sure you'll find one to match your style.
Because this small bathroom is near your living room, treat it like a powder room. With glass shower doors, your shower curtains can be decorative and don't need to work very hard. But you might need to install a shower curtain rod. If you want a fancier feeling, find or make drapery style curtains out of fabric window treatments or machine washable linenlike fabric for easy care. Another idea is to place a room divider screen in front of the tub when you entertain. For a modern farmhouse theme, find or make room dividers with thin black frames like steel windows.
Shop for special bathroom accessories in thrift stores or estate sales. Hang a big bathroom mirror with a fun frame over the existing mirror, and add artful candlesticks, vases and other accessories. You could also hang a mirror on the outside of the bathroom door to make it look like a window, and frame the doorway with drapery panels.
Instead of standard bathroom rugs or a bath mat, use a small, durable indoor/outdoor area rug. Feel free to trim it to size. Do you have room for a garden stool, antique metal chair or small table? How about some large-scale plants, too?
Have some fun with your bath towels, too. This is such a fresh and inexpensive way to change the look of any bathroom. For a clean, simple look, choose a towel color to match the walls, or, feel free to be creative with just the hand towels.