6 Affordable Bathroom Updates

From Real Simple

So...what have you guys been up to this week? Not much to report over here, aside from countless viewings of that video of the three-year-old sobbing hysterically over Justin Bieber. And to think, only a week ago, we were asking ourselves, "Who the hell is Justin Bieber?" Right, well, perhaps the question we should be asking is, "What can Justin Bieber do to help my ugly bathroom?" The answer is: Absolutely nothing. Which is why we're going to rely on the expertise of Martha and her minions to show us how to spruce up the "second office" without breaking the bank.

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Somewhere, deep in the cavernous maw of your kitchen cabinets, is a collection of mismatched bowls and other service wares. And if they are as pretty as the ones pictured here, then it's practically a crime to keep them on the bench and out of the game. If you can't find use for them in the kitchen, consider using them as handy organizers for your toiletries.
Good for: Bathrooms with lots of counter space.

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Pedestal sinks are quite nice to look at, but if space is at an all-time low, you may want to consider this option: Get a low cart to hide your beautifying valuables, and keep it under cover with a sink skirt. Even if you're unskilled around a sewing machine, Martha has a how-to that uses velcro instead.
Good for: Um, small bathrooms with pedestal sinks and people who can't or don't want to sew.

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Outdated bathroom? Or how about outdated bathroom in a rented apartment that allows you to paint the walls? Or maybe you like the retro bathroom, but just want to give it a little update without ruining the whole look. In that case, pore over some color combinations that are centered around your bathroom's existing tile work and carve out a weekend to paint the walls.
Good for: Me. Laure told me once that my bathroom looked exactly like her Grandma Muriel's bathroom, circa 1973, right down to the cramped shower with the mustardy-yellow tiles.

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Skip the bathroom shelves section at Bed Bath and Beyond and head over to the kitchen section. You'll find sleeker alternatives to bathroom storage like this one, along with a nifty bar for S-hooks to hold anything from towels to back scrubbers.
Good for: Loft bathrooms where the industrial look won't be too out of place, bathrooms that need both shelves and hooks.

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At first glance, we thought this was a bad idea: A hanging fruit basket in your bathroom instead of one of those ugly shower caddies. But after some research on how rust-resistant these are, it doesn't seem so bad after all. You can get these pretty much anywhere.
Good for: People who hate shower caddies and have low-ceiling bathrooms to hang these.

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No room for a towel rack? Install hooks instead. Probably handier, too: Instead of just having one clean towel next to the shower, you can have multiple just waiting in line.
Good for: Shared bathrooms, people who don't like to tuck the hand towel on top of the bath towel on the rack, bathroom walls that aren't fully tiled.

There's a lot more tips over at Real Simple (these were our favorites), so check 'em out--it's probably a more productive way to spend a few minutes than watching this.

(Images: Real Simple)

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