It’s the little upgrades that make a rental apartment feel more like a home. I say this as a person who recently moved and is now spending every waking moment decorating the tiniest apartment in lower Manhattan. The bedroom? Done. The kitchen? Can wait. But when it came to the bathroom, my first course of action was clicking through every shower upgrade story ever published on this site. And then my focus broadened—to the sink, to the walls, to the floors. Every surface is a chance for the thoughtful consideration of accoutrements. Your wall treatments, plumbing, and not-quite-a-claw-foot bathtub might not be those of your dreams. That's fine, we're going to work together to jazz them up with a few deceptive accessories. Just easy, realistic bathroom upgrades to surprise and delight all who may enter. Whether or not you’re moving, here’s how to do it:
Get a new shower (without getting a new shower)
Switch your showerhead for one that does a little more than just getting you wet. This one from Raindrops filters out everything you don’t want in your shower water (chlorine, metals, and calcium), and in turn, protects your skin from dryness (to a degree, it’s not a miracle-worker), as well as brassiness in dyed hair. And then channel your inner Marie Kondo by de-cluttering your bathtub rim with a hanging shower caddy. It can hold your mildly excessive collection of Dr. Bronner’s body washes. The hardware is durable and sleek, allowing whatever product you sit on top to take center stage like a museum store objet.
Hang some linen
Linen is nice. It reminds me of the Mediterranean, summer, and the inner workings of Nancy Meyers’ mind. Hang some in your bathroom to be reminded of these pleasantries as you shower. This guy from Restoration Hardware is a cool, unexpected shower curtain that looks grownup, but not old. For anything else that requires hanging, you’ll need a towel rack. This ladder foots the bill, and since it leans against the wall instead of attaching to it, it’s rental apartment-friendly.
Replace your bath mat with a cleaner one
Take a cue from very nice hotels and swap your bath mat for these Parachute Tub Mats—they’re h enough to feel like a luxury post-shower, but thin enough to throw into the wash as often as you wash your towels. (And while you’re at Parachute, buy these waffle slippers, so your clean feet never need to touch the ground—it’s the full Ritz experience in your very own bathroom.) If you’re ready to commit to a bath mat that truly lasts forever, there’s also Shore. The squishy, made-to-order bath mats are constructed with mold-repellent silicone and are easy to clean (just give it a wipe down every now and then). Stepping on one each morning is like walking on an extra thick yoga mat.
Add more marble
One can never have too much marble. Start with this bathroom accessory set that looks Jonathan Adler-worthy, but in reality is from Bed Bath & Beyond. And then continue your natural-stone shopping with these marble hooks—to hang bathrobes, towels, anything you want.
Hide your dirty things
This laundry basket from Hay will store your dirty clothes beautifully. Pair it with a chic trash can. Its flip top provides a desperately needed visual barrier between you and the used cotton pads, tissues, and hair balls that regularly populate your bathroom trash.
Remember your bathroom is still a bathroom
If you are a person who happens to poop, you will need a Squatty Potty. In my expert opinion, it’s a non-negotiable. But as much as they’re how-did-I-ever-live-without-one life changing, they also loudly announce to houseguests, "Here’s where I get comfortable and watch Instagram stories for an embarrassing amount of time." Miraculously, this version looks like a very chic coffee table and not like a stool for toilets. Because it’s clear, your guests may not even notice it until they sit down and get to business. And when they do, they’ll be grateful. God bless.
Photo via ITG