Curbly Original
Tips to Style A Plain Jane Builder Grade Bathroom

by Jennifer Farley

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

Here's a typical rental bathroom. Builder-grade materials; not offensive, but very plain and basic. It could be worse, of course, but a lot of rental bathrooms are devoid of style and character. But I like to look at this little room as a blank canvas just waiting for some personal touches. If you're a renter living with a plain bathroom like this one, or maybe you're heading off to college where a dull dorm bathroom awaits, here are some easy and affordable styling tips that will brighten your space.

 

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

Start with some color

Much better right? These bathrooms tend to be super neutral. They need a big dose of color! The easiest way to get a color into the bathroom - without painting - is the shower curtain. If you're a pattern person, the kind of person who would cover a house in wall paper or textiles, your shower curtain is how you make your pattern statement.

To make this small room look taller I used a 84-inch shower curtain (that's a bit taller than standard 72-inch height). You can order taller shower curtains that are intended for a shower door opening, but they don't make any wide enough to cover a shower/tub combo. So my trick is to buy two curtain panels and sew them together. When your curtain is pulled back, no one's the wiser. When your curtain is pulled closed, no one should be in your bathroom with you!!!

Note: shower curtains aren't waterproof, so you'll also need to buy two tall shower liners (the cheap ones will do). I make sure the curtains I purchase are back tabbed. I attach the liner via the shower curtain ring to the back tab. Voila, your curtain is functional and waterproof.

I used these sweet little stitched edge curtains from Target.

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

If you choose to make a window curtain and liner curtain work together, you'll need an extra-sturdy curtain rod. Tension rods usually can't hold the weight, so you'll have to use a rod that screws into the wall.

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

Add smart storage

This bathroom needed a little more storage, and the best place to put it was over the toilet. I love wall-mounted shelves over the toilet, but some of you won't be able to get permission to do that, so you can do free standing versions instead. Here's a trick: instead of buying a cabinet made to go over the toilet, use a tiered shelving unit and take off the bottom two drawers. I used an Ikea Lerberg shelf, which, sadly you no longer can get at U.S. IKEA stores.

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

 

 

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

 

The Ikea Hyllis is not tiered, so it would work well if you needed more towel storage. This white, tiered bookshelf from Overstock is great if you need even more storage. Since these are not made to go over toilets, they will not have a hidden bar that goes behind the toilet keeping the shelving unit from falling. Make sure you secure the unit to the wall.

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

Baskets are perfect for storing extra toilet paper, makeup bags, and anything else overflows from the vanity.

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

It's easy to think that small photos or artwork will work well in a small space. Not always true! The reality is that small wall hangings can make a small room feel even smaller. Instead, go big and use the largest frame that will fit naturally in the space. It will fill up a blah wall with something personal while making your bathroom look bigger.

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

Run around your house and grab little storage containers and bowls to use for all those little bathroom items you need to keep on hand. If you need to buy something, skip the bathroom section and head to the kitchen storage section to find little storage bins.

Use the opportunity to upgrade to more stylish bathroom storage. These make-up bags are super cute (from Target).

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

Plants always bring a little color and life to a boring bathroom. Succulents are my favorites, especially for a bathroom that has no natural light.

Use space wisely

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

If you have an awkward space underneath your mirror there are lots of great ways to make it more functional. I headed to Target's office section and got a cute little marble dry-erase board. I like to write little reminders and quotes to keep in mind. It's nice to keep your family values top of mind while you brush your teeth, right?

By the way, my go-to hand towels are these cheap dish towels from Ikea. They wash well and are meant for drying so they're perfect hand towels. Embroider them and add some pom pom trim and you've got a cheap wedding gift!

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

 

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

 

Another way to fill the space between a countertop and bathroom mirror would be to install a small shelf. The shelf above is from Home Depot, and looks very easy to install. I also think a grid organizer like the one above from Target could be a fun way to clip on reminders, quotes, and pictures.

 

Have fun with your bath mat

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

Bathroom floor mats have come a long way in the last ten or fifteen years. In days past, bath mats were always soft and fluffy, but your rarely found inexpensive and stylish ones. I love the look of vintage rugs in the bathroom, but my slightly more messy reality requires one I can easily throw in the wash. That's why I like this rug from Target. 

Resist matching

One way to make bathroom decor look really stylish is to resist the urge to be too matchy. Just because the floor is black and grey doesn't mean you need a black or grey mat. The same is true for the shower curtain. Just because the shower curtain is dark blue doesn't mean the floor mat needs to match. 

Tips for Styling a Plain Builder Grade Bathroom

(On another note the floor is not tile, it's vinyl. This basket weave pattern from Mannington floors is seriously amazing. I think the bathroom floor cost less than $100 including install. Even better, it was installed in less than an hour!)

TIPS FOR STYLING A PLAIN BUILDER GRADE BATHROOM

Some other tips

There are many more things you can do to make a boring bathroom better. Here are some to consider:

 

  • Hang a Huge Gallery Wall 
  • Add Dark paint or removable wall paper.
  • Add hanging plants (if you have the correct lighting)
  • Install a metal shelf above the fiberglass tub/shower for more storage, like this one. Hanging it higher than your tub and showerhead so the towels don't get wet. 
  • Add a cute stool for sitting (especially if you are a parent who has to help with baths) or a storage basket for easily accessible towels.
  • Add new hardware to your cabinet
  • Swap in a new mirror. I love this mirror from Ikea because the frame of the mirror can serve as the shelf! 
TIPS FOR STYLING A PLAIN BUILDER GRADE BATHROOM
Pin It: Style a Builder Grade Bathroom

Now go out and make that boring bathroom stylish!

If you liked the idea of plants check out this Roundup of bathroom friendly plants.

 

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Curbly Original
Make a DIY Bathroom Rug in 1 Hour or Less

by Holly Wade

Make a DIY Bathroom Rug in 1 Hour or Less

Having a cushy rug under your feet is the coziest thing I can imagine, and it's nice to be greeted with a fluffy bathroom rug as soon as you get out of the shower or as you stand at the sink to brush your teeth. It just adds to the relaxing feeling of a well-designed bathroom! In order to bring that coziness into your home, you can make your own bathroom rug in just one hour or less using a simple technique for weaving yarn through netting. 

 This is one of those projects that's easy to work on in front of the TV because after a few pieces it begins to feel like a mindless activity. Just let your hands do the work and before you know it, you'll have a new bathroom rug!

Make a DIY Bathroom Rug in 1 Hour or Less

 Materials:

  • Latch hook rug base
  • Fluffy yarn
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Step

Cut the latch hook rug base to your desired size. In this case, I made a 16x24 inch rug. 

Make a DIY Bathroom Rug in 1 Hour or Less

Step

Wrap the end of a piece of yarn in tape. This will make it easy to thread through each opening in the rug base.

Make a DIY Bathroom Rug in 1 Hour or Less

Step

It's easiest when the yarn is cut into 24-inch-long pieces. Starting in one corner of the rug base, push the tape wrapped yarn up through one square of the rug base. Weave over 1-2 squares and continue an under-over weave pattern all the way across the base, pulling the yarn up between stitches to create this plush look. 

Continue this weaving step until the entire base is woven, continuing with multiple pieces of yarn as needed. 

Step

On the bottom of the rug, tape down the loose yarn so prevent it from fraying or coming undone. 

Make a DIY Bathroom Rug in 1 Hour or Less

Homemade rugs don't have to be incredibly difficult! Although this rug may not be as long-lasting as one you purchase from a store, it's nice to have a homemade touch in every room of the house, and this plush yarn will feel so comfortable under your bare feet!

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10 Gorgeous Southwest-Inspired Area Rugs That Will Bring Character and Color to Any Space

by Faith Provencher
Shopping Guide: 10 Gorgeous Southwestern Rugs
Urban Outfitters - 10 Southwestern Rugs for Any Space

We've been talking about southwestern-inspired home décor the last couple of days here at Curbly, as the popular trend continues to grow. And with good reason - the geometric shapes and unique color schemes make a big impact on a room. Here are ten of our favorite southwestern rugs that you can buy for your own home.

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10 IKEA Products I Couldn't Live Without

by Faith Towers
10 IKEA Products I Couldn't Live Without
IKEA Tejn

When I really sat down and thought about all the IKEA products in my house, I realized that I had accumulated way more than I thought. And I also realized that many of them are indispensable in our daily lives. So today I thought I'd share ten of my favorites, so that maybe you'll discover something new. I mean... who knew that IKEA sells milk frothers?!    

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Curbly Original
Say Hello to the New (New) Curbly Studio

by Alicia Lacy

Say Hello to the New (New) Curbly Studio
Not so long ago – 16 months to be exact – we revealed our old, new studio space. It was a beautiful, sun-filled room that offered us a space to be creative and a way to separate our work life from our home life. It was quiet and peaceful, blocks from our house, and a stone's throw from our children's schools. But when the building changed ownership and major renovations loomed, it was impossible for us to remain. That was more than a little...

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Roundup: 8 Trendy Fall Pieces For The Home

by Lidy Dipert

 

Roundup: 8 Trendy Fall Pieces For The Home

Fall is upon us and what better way to get ready for the season than to add these 8 must-have pieces for fall! It's that time of year where we want our homes to begin feeling more cozy and intimate while remaining modern and current. Try introducing some (or all) of these pieces into your home this season for that perfect autumn touch! 

1. Natural Wood Textures

Bring the great outdoors inside your home by introducing natural wood...

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Roundup: 8 Unbelievable Dorm Room Makeovers

by DIY Maven

Dorm Room Makeovers feature image

 

It's almost time. Back to school, or college as the case may be. You can tell by the scent of #2 pencils in the air and Bed Bath & Beyond ads for dorm room doo-dads. It's no wonder BB & B and Target and such push dorm room decor this time of year. Back in 2012, the National Retail Federation estimated that dorm room

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Curbly Original
Shopping Guide: Three Dorm Designs To Steal This Semester

by Jennifer Farley

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

The fall semester is about to begin and Curbly has you covered. Here are three stylish and shoppable designs that you can steal for your dorm.

Dorm Room Design #1

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester
Pin & Shop This Dorm Room Design from Ikea & World Market

The above moodboard is a combo from World Market and Ikea.

If there was ever a one stop shop for college, Ikea is your store. There is no better store for storage items which is what you need the most for your home away from home.

 

Is this dorm design too feminine? Switch the rug out with this one and you have a more masculine look.

 

The Highlights:

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

The Kvistbro basket can serve as storage for extra blankets, books, or whatever... and also serve as a coffee table.

Ikea bedspreads are great (and inexpensive) for layering your bed. They are perfect light weight bedding option and can transition to a sofa blanket when needed.

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

 

These colorful Lixhult cabinets are new from Ikea and the options are endless. They come without legs and smaller sizes. They are completely stackable...think awesome locker unit. This could be a great side table or put two together and it can be your t.v. storage.

The Knoppart sofa is inexpensive and its comfort level could be increased by loading it up with some pillows or one large lumbar pillow. If you like to sew (or your mom does) the slip cover would be simple to DIY.

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

There is not a more perfect college shelving unit than Ikea's Ivar system. It's hackable, paintable, and adds a ton of storage. You can add inexpensive interior drawers and shelves or even add interior cabinets and dresser drawers. I love the hooks you can hang on the side for towels or jackets. Take the bottom shelf out and make it your desk, mini fridge, or trunk. It can store books, clothes, food, or really anything. It's inexpensive, expandable, and can totally transition with you out of college.

This shelving unit can do everything but take your tests.

Here are some ideas to make the Ivar Shelving Unit a desk.

 

Dorm Room Design #2

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester
Pin & Shop This Dorm Room Design from Target and H&M

This dorm room comes from Target and H&M Home.

 

The Highlights:

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

This bathroom storage system from Threshold is pretty creative. You can use it to store your towels or you can hang baskets to hold all your bathroom toiletries. This is completely DIY-able.

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Target's over the door storage mirror is a great solution for your jewelry.

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

H&M Home bedding is my favorite. It feels a little more grown up to me but yet fun and colorful. Their pillows are always unique and inexpensive.

I always check H&M Home for affordable storage and decor. I also love these cute paper baskets.

 

Dorm Room Design #3

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester
Pin and Shop this Dorm Room Design from Walmart

All the items in the above moodboard are from Walmart.

I have lived in two small towns where the closest Target was at least an hour away and the closest Ikea was 5 hours away! When I lived there I was jealous of all the stylish design board on Pinterest that showcased stores only in bigger towns or cities. Because of this, I decided to do a design moodboard for those who more than likely have a Walmart in their town...and no else.

 

The Highlights:

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Ever since Better Homes and Garden came to Walmart, there have been more really great bedding options. Sometimes a unique piece of furniture like Walmart's Mainstays white bookcase, can help style a space (like a dorm room) that can be very boring in architecture. is really unique but very usable...and of course, very affordable.

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

We all know you college kids need your sleep and you can with these affordable blackout curtains. They come in 20 colors and even have tall sized (95 inch) options. I am not a huge fan of pocket panels but grab some clips to hang them, and you are good to go.

These wicker-look, plastic drawers by Sterilite are so versatile. They can serve as beside table or add a stained wood top and it can be your t.v. table for a light weight television.

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Walmart wins the day on affordable storage totes, baskets and lighting because they are so inexpensive.

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

 

Walmart actually had my favorite seating options like this Paxson Linen futon. Most of Walmart's best options are online, but the good news is they have free shipping to their stores. Ship it to your store and check it out before you load it because they'll do returns right there if you don't like it.

These striped rugs are so simple but since they come in so many colors they go with so much.

Don't have room to travel with bigger items? Ship them to the store in your college town and pick them up when you get there.

 

Shopping Guide: Three Dorm room Designs to Steal This Semester

Have you moved out of the dorms and started renting an apartment? Check out these apartment updates you can do without asking your landlord.

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