Before and After: A Rental Bathroom Redo that Looks Downright Luxurious

published Feb 15, 2020
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Changing up a rental can be tricky: It involves more permissions than you’d need if you owned, and it can be hard to justify pouring money and time into a space that you don’t own. But just because you don’t own your place doesn’t mean that you can’t spruce it up to make it somewhere you love! In fact, there’s lots you can do for not a lot of money to upgrade your rental space.

Katherine Thewlis is very familiar with the challenges that come with renting. Her half bathroom—a mix of mid-century fixtures and ’90s pastel wallpaper—was something she lived with “out of convenience,” she says, and not because she loved it. “I think, in the end, my husband and I finally realized we deserved something special, even if it was just for the two of us,” Katherine says. Well put!

The fixtures and wallpaper weren’t in great condition, Katherine says, and the floor was “permanently stained.” The lighting was just an exposed fluorescent bulb.

Since the toilet and sink weren’t in bad shape, Katherine kept those; she spray painted the pipes on the sink to give it a bit of a refresher. (It matches a new gold faucet, too!) On the walls, Katherine added new peel-and-stick white tile and a funky pheasant wallpaper that’s a serious upgrade from the old ’90s-style stuff.

New flooring in a graphic black-and-white star pattern looks ultra high-end—you’d never know it was peel-and-stick by looking at it! The new vanity and overhead lights are both from Etsy.

Katherine added a new window valance, too, also from Etsy. Pretty much the only thing that didn’t change, Katherine says, was the towel ring!

Aside from hiring an electrician for the lights, Katherine and her husband did pretty much all the work. It took about eight weeks, but here’s the best part: They were able to get their landlord on board with covering most of the expenses, so most of what they had to contribute was just their time and labor. Serious win! And, says Katherine, “I love everything about it now. There’s nothing I would change!”

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