6 Inexpensive Items That Add Instant Polish to a Bathroom, According to Designers

published Feb 2, 2023
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Credit: Lula Poggi

If your current bathroom just isn’t speaking to you, but you’re not looking to spend a ton of time — or cash — on a revamp, don’t worry. So many small ways and finishing touches will allow you to easily jazz up your bath on a budget. Below, interior designers share their favorite affordable items that are guaranteed to add major polish to any bathroom. You won’t understand how you ever lived without ’em before!

Display flowers in a pretty vase

Incorporating a touch of nature into your bathroom is a wonderful way to spruce up your space, particularly if you’ll be hosting company. “If guests are coming, flowers instantly add color and brighten the space,” notes designer Anne Hammett of Anne Pearson Design. “They can also smell nice, too.” Don’t stop there; build the foundation of this finishing touch with an artful vase. “You can never go wrong with fresh flowers, but for me the vase makes the statement,” says designer Lauren Ashley of Lauren Ashley Experiences. “I personally love Urban Outfitters for their unique vases.” This figure shape design is perfect for a bathroom and will add a cheeky (ha!) touch to your getting ready space.

Buy: Female Form Vase, $24.00 $12.00 from Urban Outfitters

Credit: Target

Light a calming candle

Designer Annie Delaporte offers another way to make your bathroom smell nice and fragrant before guests arrive. “I always love to add a candle in a pretty or fun container to a bathroom to make it look (and smell) amazing,” she says. Of course, candles are soothing even when no one is coming by — light one and then spend a luxurious evening unwinding in the tub. A lavender scent will contribute to a spa-like atmosphere in no time. As an added bonus, when you burn through the vessel, you can repurpose it and use it to store makeup brushes; it’s a win-win.

Buy: Project 62 Glass Jar Lavender and Eucalyptus Candle, Starts at $5.00 from Target

Deck the walls

It’s time you give your bathroom walls some love, too! “A wallpaper has the power to add a striking character to your bathroom,” explains designer Nishtha Sadana of NISH. “A piece of wallpaper (peel-and-stick) running across the perimeter of the bathroom above the tile wainscoting will drastically transform the vibe of your space,” she adds. Artwork can up the ante of patterned (or painted) walls, too. “Adding artwork on the bare walls of your bathroom is a great way to style affordably,” Sadana says. Consider printing out digital downloads from Etsy to save some major cash on stylish pieces. When considering patterns and colorways, why not take the opportunity to go bold? Bathrooms are wonderful spaces for taking risks with color, given that they’re small, and you don’t have to worry about sourcing matching furniture pieces.

Buy: Clementine Leaping Cheetah Vinyl Peel and Stick Wallpaper Roll, $49.87 from The Home Depot.

Elevate your countertops with chic storage

Corral toothbrushes, bars of soap, cotton balls, and other essentials in style. “One way to style a bathroom and also keep things neat are matching resin containers,” says designer Allison Garcy. “They can be at all price points, but this set from HomeGoods is quite a bargain.” No more having to stare at unsightly soap bottle labels that totally ruin the aesthetic of your room.

Buy: Matcha Countertop Collection, Starts at $7.99 from HomeGoods

Credit: Amazon

Stash essentials in a cute basket

Whether your bathroom is large or small, you can truly never have too many storage options within the space. That’s where baskets come into play. “There are so many types,” comments designer Ashley Darryl. “You can choose different materials for the type of bathroom and how formal or informal it is. Whether you opt for a wire material, a woven jute, or something else entirely is your call. “I love to store rolled hand towels, extra toilet paper rolls, bundles of fun face masks, or even tub necessities such as bath salts and loofahs in mine,” Darryl shares.

Buy: Spectrum Diversified Twist Storage Handles, $17.99 $11.11 from Amazon.

Credit: Amazon

Update everyday fixtures

Give your bathroom a bit of character by swapping out builder grade fixtures for pieces that are full of charm. “Choose a unique fixture that brings a little oomph and whimsy to your space,” says designer Daniella Villamil. A whimsical, leaf-shaped wall hook is great for hanging towels in a nature-inspired bathroom.

Buy: Coastiva Brass Leaf Decorative Wall Hook, $29.97 $19.97 from Amazon.