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Category:  Decorating

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How to Decorate your Bathroom on a Budget

By Nikki Willhite

Summer is a great time to decorate the bathroom. It's the time of year when we do a lot of home improvement projects.

Before you even begin to think about decorating touches, you need to spend the money making sure the bathroom is in good shape. Make sure that there are no water leaks, and that your caulking is tight.

Water damage can end up costing you thousands of dollars. It can seep clear through to the foundation of your home. It will rot out the wood and lead to insect infestation. If you have to crawl under the house and check for water damage, or spray for insects, this is the time to do it while the weather is good. Then you can begin decorating.

Bathrooms are one of the easiest and least expensive rooms to decorate in a home. They are, however, often one of the most neglected. For many of us, decorating a bathroom begins and ends with going to Walmart to pick out a new shower curtain!

Perhaps we neglect making our bathrooms more pleasant because they are rooms that are not usually seen by other people. Sometimes we forget how important we are. A small amount of money goes a long way in the bathroom.

You face several challenges when decorating a bathroom. Most bathrooms are very sterile, and lack character. The mirrors are plain, the light fixtures ordinary, the counters mundane. Very few of us are lucky enough to have bathrooms with black marble counters, gold plated faucets, or a whirling Jacuzzi in the corner. A lot of our decorating money may need to be spent of disguising problems, rather than beautifying.

Here are some tips to give character and personality to your room on a budget

In bathrooms with windows, fabric can make a big impact. Don't skimp on the fabric, and the room will look better. Use it on the windows, and also for the shower curtain. You can buy a very inexpensive white shower liner, and then use your own fabric to make an outside curtain for the tub area. Sheets are wonderful, and there are some great prints to work with.

If you don't have a bathtub, use the fabric in other ways. If you have a sink without a cupboard under it, get some Velcro and glue it around the bottom of the sink. Then gather your fabric, attach Velcro to the top of it, and put it around the bottom of the sink. (This will also give you out-of-sight storage).

Get some Modge Podge and stiffen your fabric. Then cut out pieces and decoupage to plastic or glass containers (If you stiffen it before you cut it, the edges won't fray).

Cover your trash cans, Kleenex boxes and as many other items that you can.

If you've used fabric, take one of the more subtle colors out of it and paint your walls. You won't need much paint. On the downside, you will probably have to paint the ceiling, which isn't fun.

You can bring a lot of character into the room by swapping out the light fixture with something interesting. Keep an eye out at garage sales, thrift stores, or salvage lots. In such a small room, an interesting light fixture will make a big statement.

The mirror is another item you want to emphasize in the room. If you have a small plain mirror, consider replacing it with something more interesting. I would leave a large mirror alone, because they are costly. Depending on the mirror, you may be able to frame it. Or you can etch the glass around the edges. Just be careful with a large mirror. I've worked around large mirrors (just hanging ivy), and it is very easy to hit the mirror with the hammer- instead of the wall.

Wallpaper in a bathroom is beautiful. Just be aware that the moisture may cause the paper to peel or bubble. Get it on securely, and make sure the room is well ventilated.

You can make a huge impact in the room by getting rid of dark wood and old hardware on cupboards. Use paint and replace the knobs. There are many painting techniques, but shiny white always looks great.

Live plants thrive in a bathroom that has light. They are always a good decorating choice.

Use scented candles and potpourri to make your bathroom pleasant. Dried flowers work well also. I have some dried Eucalyptus leaves tied up with a ribbon. They are very fragrant.

Use practical items as accessories to save both space and money. Towels can be displayed in large baskets, and colorful bottles of shampoos, lotions, bubble bath, etc. look good grouped together.

Here are some things you don't want to do

Avoid bath mats that looks like mini-shag rugs from the 60's.
Do not put on a colored seat to call attention to the toilet.
Do not use colors or fabrics you don't like just because they match the color of the fixtures. Find something you really like that will blend.
Don't neglect painting the inside of a dark cupboard because you think no one will see it. Opening the cabinet door to shiny white, clean storage will be worth the effort.
Don't get too cute with themes. Unless it has sentimental meaning to you, it won't be long before you tire of it. Try and think long term and traditional for the most savings.


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