Before and After: A $280 Project Adds Big Style to a Standard-Issue Rental Bathroom

published Nov 12, 2022
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Before: a beige colored bathroom with a large rectangular mirror over the sink
Credit: Loretta Dzanya

One thing about standard apartments when you first move in? They can be just that: standard, uniform, colorless, and plain. All of those words could all describe Loretta Dzanya’s bathroom. It was in perfectly fine shape with modern finishes, but it lacked personality. It had gray walls, white tiles that she wasn’t opposed to but didn’t help liven things up, and a light-up mirror.

“The before was dull,” Loretta says. “If the electric mirror wasn’t present, the bathroom would’ve had no hope at all. It felt cold and unwelcoming — not in my dream home!”

Credit: Loretta Dzanya

To make the bathroom of her dreams, Loretta used peel-and-stick wallpaper plus a few new accessories — a $280 project that created a total 180 in this bathroom.

Loretta’s black-and-white freeform linear paper is peel-and-stick, and it didn’t come in rolls as most peel-and-stick options do. It came in squares. At first, this presented a challenge for Loretta. “At first, I thought lining them up — that is, the lines themselves — would be a good idea until I noticed that not all the lines would line up,” she recalls. “Once I got past that, I decided to make it as abstract as possible. After all, everything just blurs together. Or at least, this wallpaper is forgiving.”

Credit: Loretta Dzanya

This presents a good lesson in DIY wall treatments: Don’t worry about perfection! If it suits your style, that’s what matters.

Loretta’s other advice when it comes to wallpaper? Look for options made by small, independent artists, and test out a small swatch on the wall first so you know it’s what you want. Loretta is thrilled with the way her vision came to life.

Credit: Loretta Dzanya

“I love how vibrant it is!” she says of her now-personality-packed bathroom. “It really adds on top of the amazing electric mirror that’s in the space! I also love how I combined this somewhat plain black-and-white background with additional pops of color in my towels, the plant pot, and even the rug.”

And best yet, the wallpaper is totally removable, so when it comes times for this apartment to return to standard, it’ll be totally doable and damage-free, ready for the next renter to make their own creative mark.