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How To Beautify your Bath on a Budget
by Kathleen Wilson

Description: Tips for decorating your bathroom on a budget.

Whenever we think of decorating the home, an often overlooked space is the bath. Since it is utilitarian in nature, we sometimes forget the need for a pampering space to ease the stress of the day. Bathroom dťcor need not entail expensive remodeling in order to spoil you with a personal space.

Here are some great ideas that you can implement in a weekend to turn your sallow bath into a sparkling spa!

1. Choose a theme. This room needs direction like any other, and lends itself to almost any theme, from nautical, to natural, to fantasy. If yours is a master bath, use the same theme for the bedroom it adjoins. Some ideas? Nature, rustic cabin, fantasy under the sea, classic, country antique, or simply a wonderful combination of colors and textures.

2. PAINT! This is a great space to utilize bold colors, rich finishes, or fun combinations of color. The space is usually small, lacking architecture, and in need of some charm and paint is the fastest and least expensive way to achieve that. Try calming colors such as blues, blue greens, and plums. Paint the ceiling a darker hue to visually bring it down...all but the largest baths seem to have that towering ceiling effect that leaves us all...well, cold. If your ceiling is really high, bring the ceiling color down onto the walls about 6 inches. Add stamped patterns randomly to the wall within your theme. Leaves, fleur de lis, and geometric shapes are all classic elements that can blend with most themes. Congrats, the biggest change has now been done with color! And donít just think of the walls. Your cabinets and even your countertops can be painted. And yes, event those ugly ceramic tiles! Use a primer made for non pourous surfaces such as KILZ, then paint and seal with polyurethane. This would be a great place to create faux stone or marble counters! Hate your vinyl flooring? You can either paint it as suggested with the primer, or use stick on vinyl tiles to lay right over the present flooring. Many nice patterns can be found at your local home improvement store for less than $1 a square foot. (And since most of our bathroom spaces are small, it wonít take much!)

3. Add fabric. You might think that those towels hanging o the shower rod are enough, but if you really want to give yourself a pampering space, you need to add details. Sew ribbon or coordinating fabric onto the edges of your towels, sew up a decorative print shower curtain to hang over your vinyl liner, or even create an inexpensive set of throw rugs by edging terry towels on all four sides with fabric strips. Make sure you have extra towels rolled in a nearby basket or on a shelf. Hang a hook on the back of the door to hold your fluffiest robe to slip on after your bath or shower. If you have a large cold looking mirror, hang a swag of fabric over the top of the mirror, and allow the fabric to drape down the sides and even puddle on the counter if you like. This really softens the whole room and adds a sense of upscale ďspaĒ feeling to the space.

4. Add personality. This is the accessory phase for the bath. Donít be afraid to add a small table lamp to the counter, to hang pictures on the walls, or to display beautiful glassware or china. Bringing beauty to this space is regenerating, and donít we all need more of that? Add some potpourri for scent and bring in baskets as storage to add wonderful texture and style. If you are worried about moisture, just pick up some inexpensive picture frames and insert calendar and catalog pictures one will know, and if they are damaged by moisture itís no loss, they were free! If you have natural light in your bath, be sure to add a plant or two. Nothing breathes life like natural greenery.

5. Add pampering accessories! Things like bath bubbles, fluffy towels, and candles not only add the pampering feeling you are trying to achieve, they offer visual comfort with color and texture as well. Psychologically, we all crave that long soak with a good book, and even if we are only in the bathroom for 10 minutes to whip on some make up, just seeing those items displayed promises wonderful baths to come! If you enjoy listening to music, bring in a cd player to permanently leave on a shelf. Just be sure itís not in a place where it could be knocked or pulled into water. Pick up some clear glass jars from Walmart for just a couple of dollars, and visit the dollar shop to fill them with cotton balls, cotton swabs, Epsom salts, and bubble bath. (Hint: Baby shampoo makes great bubble bath, and is gently on the skin. You can also pick it up at the dollar shop for...well, a dollar!)

If you have room, bring in a chair and cover with fabric. This makes a great place to wait for the bath to fill, paint your nails, or even apply your make up. It also makes the room feel more like...well, a room, instead of just a utilitarian space.

There is your step by step bathroom makeover, if you have wanted to redo your bath but didnít know where to start, just take it 1-2-3-4-5! One weekend, just a few dollars, and a little imagination and you can have many long, restful, rejuvenating hours in your own personal spa space.

Kathleen Wilson is an author, national columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator, a free online newsletter for do-it-yourself decorators. For more free ideas visit her website at

Related articles:

Decorating a Kid-Friendly Bathroom
5 Ways to Budget Bathrooms
Bathroom Decor

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