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My Renter-Friendly Bathroom Makeover

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

I loooove doing bathroom makeovers. With some clever renter-friendly “renovation” techniques, you can completely change the mood of your space! The difference can be seriously dramatic.

Today I’m sharing the bathroom transformation I did in my own rental apartment, including the exact products and prices I used. I hope you’ll find some inspiration from my experience to redecorate your own bathroom!

I did a total makeover consisting of five elements: Floor, Hardware and Fixtures, Textiles, Shelving, and Plants. Even applying one or two of these in your space can still make a huge improvement! These techniques are all renter-friendly, but they still apply for homeowners too. If you find them useful, we’ve also got a free cheat sheet you can download with lots of similar tips.

Tired of your drab bathroom tile? You can use temporary vinyl decals to totally change up the feel of the space! They aren’t cheap, but if you’ve got the budget I highly recommend them.


  • Really fun patterns

  • Quick to install

  • Totally renter-friendly (no residue when removed)

  • Improves the mood of your bathroom like you would NOT believe


  • Somewhat expensive

  • Will slowly peel over time

  • Can’t be scrubbed too aggressively

For my bathroom, I used the Inky Bud tiles from Mirth Studio. The exact cost was $452.30, including an initial sample (always a good idea) and a fee for custom-sized tiles. Due to the custom order, it took a few weeks for them to arrive.

Installation was done in less than three hours. It takes some effort to line up them perfectly, but they can easily be peeled back and reapplied. Some continual maintenance is required — I’ve had to trim peeling corners with a box cutter and replace a few that came up entirely. So all in all, it’s a bit of an investment… but as you can see it looks pretty awesome!

Nothing changes up a room like a fresh coat of paint. I replaced the original yellowish beige with Simply White by Benjamin Moore. It’s a classic! As a nice warm white, it’s perfect here in the PNW. One gallon of paint cost me $30 (I already had paintbrushes, drop cloths, a ladder, etc.). It took me about 4 hours to paint the whole room.

Hardware and Fixtures

Let’s be real: most rental apartments have pretty dated handles, fixtures, etc. But believe it or not, it’s easy and pretty cheap to replace them! This is a great renter hack that most people don’t even consider. I switched out the hardware in a few different places:

I got cabinet pulls from Wayfair because the previous hardware was ugly and didn’t match the cabinet style at all. It’s a little tedious to screw/unscrew every one, but it took 45 minutes max. And as you can see, it made a huge difference! Cost: $88.56.

I booted the standard brushed silver towel bars in favor of matte black towel hooks. The hooks take up less space and have a MUCH more modern look. It took about one hour to swap these, plus another hour to patch up and paint over the holes from the old rack. Cost: $14.23.

This was just like the towel hook change, but with a new TP roll holder. This was super fast to change out. Cost: $10.98.

I’ll be honest… this one scared me a little. Replacing a bathroom faucet seems like a big task! But actually, this was one of the easiest changes in the project, taking no more than 30 minutes to complete. Once again, I chose a tap in matte black that matched the other new hardware. Cost: $43.99.

I HATED the previous light fixture. So 2005! This 4-bulb retro vanity looks so much better — I love the raw brass look and the natural patina it gets as it ages. Installation took about an hour. Cost: $190.

Changing out the fabric items in your bathroom is a quick and easy way to redecorate. Plus, there are options for absolutely any price point.

Shower curtain

My shower curtain was several years old from a previous home… so it was time for a change. I picked the Tassled Antioch Shower Curtain from Anthropologie (in charcoal, which is sadly not available at the time of writing) because that color matched perfectly with the new floor tiles. Cost: $118.


I got the Joie Shag Runner from Urban Outfitters (in cream). It’s basically a plush rug for the bathroom, but it’s also machine washable. Cost: $39.

Getting rid of the old towel bar got me some space for a shelving unit. I found this one on Facebook Marketplace – which, by the way, is my secret weapon for secondhand shopping – for $20. I have no idea where it’s from originally, but there are definitely similar options out there from the usual online retailers.

As the last step for my “new” bathroom, I wanted to liven the place up with some greenery. There are lots of good apartment-friendly plants to choose from (in fact, we’ve got a blog post all about that), but for this project, I got a few new faux plants from The Sill: Pothos in Balboa pot (cream) and Pilea in Hyde pot (blush, which is really more of an orange sherbert). Total cost: $169.

Wrapping Up

So that’s the project! I am SO happy with how everything turned out. It’s a much more contemporary look, and the room is without a doubt more soothing, comforting, and refreshing than before.

The total cost was $1,176.06. This is obviously a lot for many renters, but really not unreasonable for a COMPLETE overhaul of the space! You can, of course, pick and choose some of these elements and still get a huge effect. Also, keep in mind that everything except the paint and floor tiles can be taken with you to your next place — so about $700 of the total expense is potentially reusable.

Ready to get started?

If you’re looking to make design improvements like these in your home, we’ve got you covered. Download our free cheat sheet of quick, inexpensive improvements you can make TODAY.

Also, let us know what you think about this project on Instagram! We’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and questions.


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