New Year, New Look: 15 Ways to Revitalize Your Bathroom (That Don’t Involve a Paint Brush)

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Looking for fresh ideas for revitalizing the same old bathrooms you have in your home in this new year? This year, it’s all about taking old ideas and translating them in an accessible (read: easy, affordable and quick) way to give your bathroom a fun, fresh look without a ton of work. We’ve got 15 ideas to try out (one at a time or combined with others!).

1. Layer bath mats

Why stick to just one bathmat? Layer a few in different textures, colors or patterns to give a soft, comforting feel underfoot but always give off a cozy bohemian feel. You can change the look by rotating which layers go on top, as well, keeping your bathmats lasting longer and the look always changing.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

2. Spa-up your toiletries display

Treat yourself like you’re walking into a posh spa or fancy lotions and potions store by adding a lovely tray or maybe even a raised wooden board to your countertop to place your everyday items you need to get ready. Consider placing them in beautiful bottles. And if you don’t have countertop room install a small shelf or place a tray on the edge of a bathtub.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

3. Make your mirror stand-out

Add a frame. Hang a garland on the top. Do something that will work with the way you need your bathroom to function but make it look like you’ve got more than just a standard grade mirror.

4. Gallery a wall

Spend a few weeks collecting as much affordable vintage art as you can to fill an entire wall in your bathroom, from ceiling to floor. Together, all the affordable pieces will make one serious look. And if you don’t want to put that many nails in the wall, use renter-friendly hanging methods.

(Image credit: Leanne Bertram)

5. Splurge on towels

Towels aren’t just functional things to dry you off — done right they’re like soft pieces of art that get to hang in your bathroom. You don’t need a full set to make a difference; splurge on one or two towels that you hang for yourself or guests that feature a really bold color, pattern or texture.

6. Make a DIY garland for your shower curtain

You could upgrade your shower curtain, or you could DIY an add-on that would make an interesting addition to your room. DIY garlands have been all the rage lately and they come in all types and styles, from fringe made out of tissue to those made out of textiles and yarn. You might want to choose materials that are moist friendly.

  • Special Occasion Decor: 10 DIY Floral Garlands
(Image credit: Nicole Crowder)

7. Change the shape or height of your shower curtain rod

You might not need a new shower curtain as much as you just need a curtain rod adjustment. Those with super tiny showers and bathtubs might benefit from a curving rod that gives the illusion of more space, where some folks might find that raising the height of their shower curtain looks dramatic and makes the ceiling feel taller. Or you might find that even replacing your cheap rod with one made from a little bit nicer of a material adds to the feel of the whole space.

8. Do something with that icky rental light fixture

With landlord permission, work on disguising that overhead light fixture (or bathroom heating vent!) with something a little more decorative and interesting.

(Image credit: Sherrie and Oliver)

9. Add your own lighting

Add in additional lighting from more fancier fixtures like wall sconces (even consider long-arm, adjustable lights that you can use like task lights while you’re getting ready) to table lamps (if there’s space on counters) or even string lights if you want to bring a festive feel to the space.

(Image credit: Duffy Stone)

10. Add plants

If you’ve got natural light, really go nuts with plants this year. In the shower. Outside the shower. Hanging from the ceiling. Living in the corners. It’ll be easier to water them being so close to a water source, but also going overboard like that will make stepping into your bathroom like transporting to an exotic resort on a tropical island with an outdoor shower (okay it’ll be close to this but not exactly).

11. Contact paper your cabinets

Just like you can use versatile contact paper in your kitchen to get tired cabinets a boost, so can you update your bathroom’s storage areas (as long as you test it first to make sure it won’t damage the original material when you go to remove it).

  • 6 Clever Ways to Customize Kitchen Cabinets With Contact Paper
(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

12. Update your towel rod

Just updating the current rod you have in there can be a great way to make a space look nicer, but why stick to the same model you’ve always had? If you’ve had a bar, why not for for a nice round hanger? Or why not some wall hooks? Shake up how you hang towels, from body to hand.

  • Make This Copper & Wood Bath Shelf in 20 Minutes

13. Go monochrome and embrace beige

If you rent, you might find yourself with a bathroom bathed in beige. Embrace it, instead of fighting it. Go for bathroom accessories that are also neutral colors, but get textural and natural with materials to complement and add interest. It’ll come off as clean and spacious, even if it doesn’t wow with boldness.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

14. Upgrade hardware

With permission from your landlord, you can update a cabinet’s handles, your showerhead, your door’s knobs or even faucets. These can have a huge impact on updating the look. Just keep track of changes you make if you have to put things back the way you found them.

15. Get it super clean

Like, use all the tricks in the book to make your floor and tile grout look like the day it was installed. Shine your stainless steel with abandon. Wash the walls if you can’t paint. Cut the grime on the door, door knobs and light switches. Don’t forget the baseboards. Use scrubbing power and the best cleaning tips to clean spots and stains you didn’t think were powerful. It’ll feel like an almost brand new space!