Bathrooms and kitchens are the hardest elements of a rented property to truly make your own. Whereas with bedrooms and living rooms, walls can be repainted, cushions can be scattered and prints can reign supreme, the bathroom and kitchen already have their main fixtures installed, and they are pretty much impossible to change.
That's right - unless your landlord is an undercover millionaire who has finally come to their senses and realised that yes, subway tiles are crucial to the wellbeing of the tenant, chances are you'll have to do with your mouldy corners, dodgy plastering and weird as fuck plastic toilet seat (why are these a thing??). Landlords are famously tight, so unless it's broken, it ain't changing (and realistically, even then it probably won't change either. We had to wait MONTHS for a shower screen to be put up in our bathroom, which led to water leaking through the floorboards and staining all of our freshly painted walls downstairs. Bloody nightmare.)
But fear not, young one - all hope is not lost. Whilst you won't be able to rip out that 70s coloured tub or tear down the shower which is as about as effective at cleaning you as Theresa May is at letting her hair down with the gals, you can still introduce some temporary elements which will make the room feel more your own. I've been really enjoying creating content centered around the home lately, so I thought in the spirit of celebrating shitty rented bathrooms, I would show you ours.
Disclaimer: in the grand scheme of things, we have been extremely lucky with our bathroom. There are no wacky tiles, we have lots of space and, well, everything just about works. However, it has taken us nearly a year to inject some proper personality into the room. Next month will make our one year housiversary (not a thing, made it up), and only on Saturday did we put up the mirror and pick up a washing basket that wasn't totally hideous beyond comprehension. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that decorating isn't something that happens overnight, so even if you start with something as neutral as ours, it might take a little while before all the little touches add up to make it home.
P.S. It's probably worth adding that this is as cliché as blogger bathrooms come, so if you're not into gold, wood, and an unnecessary amount of white, then you may wish to avert your eyes now. You have been warned.
Use your mirror as a focal point
Some of you may be living in homes where the bathroom mirror is already up, in which case abandon ship because you're doomed already (just kidding). If, however, you are in the position to choose a mirror of your own, make it the focal point of the room. If needs be, pick up something small and cheap to pop up in the meantime whilst you make your decision. I know we may have been pushing it a little waiting nearly a year to make our choice (and by our, I obviously mean mine *lol*), but now the mirror is up, it has completely transformed the dynamic of the room. Positioned on the right wall as you walk in, the contract of the black frame against the all-white immediately catches the eye, and the reflection of the tiles opposite give the illusion of even more space. We live in an old Victorian house which means we're lucky enough to enjoy beautifully high ceilings, but sometimes this can make a room feel empty so we were sure to choose something with a little more height. The shelf was an added bonus; I figured I could display some hideously overpriced hand products on there, but I also loved it just because it made the mirror look a little bit different. In a sea of round frames and cabinets, be an industrial shelf (and yes, you can quote me on that).
Storage is everything (well, more than you think, at least)
Something I didn't appreciate when we first started buying pieces for the house was how much storage can change the appearance of a bathroom. Think about it: all you're really able to contribute is the mirror (if that), storage and decorations, so you better make those three things good. I 100% stumbled across this gold wire unit by accident, when it was kindly gifted to me by the lovely people at Next. I hadn't planned on keeping it in the bathroom, but as soon as I placed it in the corner, I realised how much we needed some storage. Not even necessarily as a place to put things either, but rather to inject some personality, create some purpose and to make the room feel more full. When I uploaded an Insta-Story of the bathroom last week I received SO many questions about the unit, but unfortunately, as I said, I was sent it last year so it's no longer stocked. I have, however, pulled together a few different alternatives, all of which I've included in the round-up below. In terms of the baskets I've used, both were from Next and both came in seperate sets of two. I've mismatched them to create a little more contrast and interest, but also so things don't look too uniform. I'm one of those annoying people that will spend ages meticulously curating something to look effortless and accidental, and my interiors are no different. I want it to look cared for, but lived and loved in.
Ridiculously expensive soap
Here's how I know that my best friend Ellena is a keeper. A couple of weeks before my birthday, we were perusing the plethora of overpriced smelly things in Liberty when I mentioned one of my #HomeGoalz was to be the proud shower-offer of an Aesop hand soap. We all know them, we've all see them, and we all appreciate that they're expensive. Aesop hand soap is the bathroom equivalent of a Gucci Marmont crossbody - it's the bloggers brag, and it will be shown at all times. Anyway, what do I open on my birthday? None other than the bougie soap itself. I can confirm that this Resurrection scent is delightfully citrusy and fills the room whenver you wash with it, but more than actually doing its job (boring, right?), it just looks fucking good. And hey, maybe not every member of your family will recognise it, and maybe not all of your friends will appreciate that it's a one-pump-per-person arrangement, but the ones who get it, will get it. Heck, they might even Instagram it. And whose to blame them? You're an adult now with fancy as fuck hand soap, so who cares what the rest of your bathroom looks like.
Stick a few plants in (this tip applies to every room - just furiously place indoor plants everywhere and accept that they will inevitably die from thirst and neglect in about a month's time), roll up your towels in a basket to look like a fancy hotel, and use a toothbrush holder as hairband storage. Mini wooden crates and slim gold trays are also great for displaying perfumes (FYI you're not supposed to store perfumes in direct sunlight, but whose got time for practical advice? Not this girl).
Hanging shelves can fill up wall space
We have a very particular problem with our rented bathroom - it has too much space. I know a lot of you will be screaming through your screens right now, but hold your horses. I'm not begrudging the room we have, because it's beautifully light, open, and inviting. I am, however, begrudging the vast expanse of never-ending white wall, which once the mirror is up, becomes ever harder to fill. I'm not the type of homemaker who loves their walls to be bursting with collages, prints and family pictures, but a little bit more than nothing is the desirable end-goal. I'd debated a floating wooden shelf but there wasn't a space that it could seamlessly fit into, so I ended up grabbing two of these mini-floating guys and popping them either side of the window. The unfinished wood plays into the natural tones and materials of the whole room, whilst their placement on the wall opposite the door adds a little height and makes the first glimpse that little bit more interesting. The plus point? Each of these shelves was under a tenner and can be put up by just whacking a nail into the wall, so they're the definition of cheap and cheerful.
Don't scrimp on the washing basket
For the past year, I've had to sit on the toilet and stare across the room at the ugliest washing basket known the mankind. It wasn't overtly offensive (it was a round, grey, wicker number, with weird fabric around the brim and the B&M £14.99 tag still dangling from the side), but insidiously so, in the kind of way where each element - from its colour to its material - were all just a bit shit, resulting in what can only be described as the greatest tragedy of modern humanity.
If I have any tip for you, it's this: don't scrimp on a washing basket. Yes, it's tempting to grab a cheapy from your local Sainsos and be done with it, but trust me, you have to look at those things every single day of your life, so for your own sanity, make it bearable. Because washing baskets are so underwhelming in purpose, I instinctively opted for underwhelming in design, foolishly thinking something simple and low-key would fade into the background of the bathroom. That didn't quite work out, and I've been haunted by my mistake ever since. When I decided enough was enough and the whole room needed updating, this Habitat number was the first to come in. Now it's my favourite item in the bathroom, proving that washing baskets don't all have to be weapons of torture. Learn from the error of my ways - choose wisely.
Buy stuff to put your other stuff on
Tiny milking stool? Check. Non-waterproof, difficult to access floor basket? Check. A candle - the only thing that shouldn't be on the floor? Check, check and check. One easy way to make a rented bathroom your own is to buy seemingly ridiculous, non-practical decoration pieces, or to take something which should be simple in function, and turn it into something all the more difficult. A leaning towel ladder would fall into this category, for example. All jokes aside, small decorations are what come together to truly resonate your personal style, so don't hold back on those little bits and bobs like toothbrush holders and bath mats. Although they seem minor for the odd £10 here and there, these personal elements are what you'll lean back in the bath and appreciate once the whole thing has come together.