It's surprising what a difference a nice bathroom makes. Unfortunately, many renters (like myself), have to work with whatever setup our leased homes offer. Usually this is a very standard, neutral, easy-to-clean but very boring space, with minimal function — certainly nothing special. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do to make a bathroom slightly more useful for your needs, and even slightly more stylish.
Try these ideas in your rental bathroom:
Use a curved shower curtain rod
If your shower curtain is tension-mounted, swap it out for a curved rod like the above from Gary & Chelsey's Musical & Mod Apartment in Queens. Though it doesn't seem like it would make much of a difference, the curve makes the shower seem a little bit bigger. The curve also holds the shower curtain liner a bit further away from your body so it doesn't graze you every time you move.
Or, double up your shower curtain rods
Speaking of shower curtain liners, doubling up your rods (like this idea from IKEA) or using a double-rod gives you more space to hang towels. You could also use one rod for the curtain and one for the curtain liner, to make swapping out the liner a little easier. While we're still talking about shower curtains, spend the extra dollars on a design you really like. It's the easiest way to bring color and pattern into the bathroom.
If you have a stall shower without a tub, try a tiny table in the corner
A teak stool (like the tiny one in this very aspirational shower by Scott Joyce Design) gives you a little extra space for toiletries, while offering a convenient place to rest your foot if shaving your legs is part of your shower routine. (Extra points if you add a grip bar that attaches with suction, to help keep your balance.) If you have a tub and shower combo, you can add an inelegantly-named foot rest that attaches with suction
Consider a shower head that has a filter
If you have hard water, it might take a toll on your hair and skin. A shower head with a filter helps tremendously. Since we're talking about utilitarian shower accessories, I also recommend a hair catcher for your drain. It's a necessity for those with long, luxurious locks (or thick hair).
Expand your storage with racks
Consider all the places to add temporary storage, such as against the wall, behind cabinet doors, or behind the bathroom door. In Lauren and Breeze's New Orleans home, owning didn't stop them from adding a quick and functional storage ladder.
Or, hang a towel rack over the toilet to maximize space in super-small bathrooms, as seen in this Brooklyn Heights home.
Add a plant or two (if you have space)
Adding a little bit of greenery goes far in making a bathroom feel more like a spa. Orchids, bromeliads and snake plants thrive in the humid environment of the bathroom. Even if adding a spider plant doesn't make your bathroom look like a spa, it'll at least help clean the air. It's always nice to look at a plant, isn't it?
Adjust your lighting
My bathroom came complete with a series of lights that had 80 watt bulbs, which was like walking into the sun every morning. Instead, I replaced the bulbs with 40 watt ones, which still produce enough light together so I can groom with confidence, but not so much that I see every pore. You can also use shades, like this bathroom by Justin Krzyston.