The $100 Decorating Challenge: Guest Bath

Posted by on August 21, 2014

Guest bath before

Recently I was collecting towels from the guest bathroom to launder them, and I looked around the room. The tub was still sporting its Valentine’s Day shower curtain and valance (shock! horror!) and it just seemed … jumbled with accessories. Cheerful colors, but it felt disjointed.

Ah ha! It was suffering an identity crisis.

The guest bathroom has evolved over the years culminating with new Italian porcelain flooring that I had installed last November. But I hadn’t updated other elements of the room to flow with the feel of the more sophisticated, spa-like floor.

I’ve known for a while that I’ve wanted to update the shower curtain. The “everyday” ensemble that is usually in place from March to October is one I made nearly 20 years ago. But it never really fit this tub and shower enclosure which is a foot taller than the standard 72-inch shower curtain. So I was determined to find drapery panels that I could use as a shower curtain, since they would be longer and would still conceal the basic vinyl shower liner.

On a recent trip to Target I found “the one” – a design and color that inspired a more tranquil, spa-like feel. Done and done. I gave myself $100 out of the house kitty and embarked on a “$100 Decorating Challenge.” The drapes took nearly half the budget, but their style (and importance in the room) was well worth it.

I replaced nearly every decorative element in the room. After a thorough cleaning and decluttering (most of the accessories went bye-bye), I purchased the new drapes/shower curtain, plus a shower rod, accent paint, bath products, wastebasket, wash cloths, tub mat and rug. I ended up spending $109—a $10 clearance rug was the perfect texture and color and I just couldn’t pass it up, even though it put me over budget. (The tax deduction for the items I donated to Goodwill as part of the decluttering will more than cover the overage.)

Other items such as the towels, artwork, candles and accessories were brought in from other rooms. Here’s the after photo!

Guest bath after

I love it and I hope my guests will, too. Here’s a tour of the room ….

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In addition to the drapery panels ($24.99 each, Target), the shower curtain rod was updated to a brushed nickel finish ($12.99 Home Goods) to coordinate with the grommets in the panels. I also hung the rod just outside the tiled enclosure and found it gives a more polished look to the tub area. The wall color stayed the same, although I will probably update it within the year.

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The vinyl liner remained, but a fluffy new tub mat ($9.99, Bed Bath and Beyond) will feel cushy stepping out of the shower.

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Guests will enjoy new luxe body wash (and a basket of amenities I stashed under the sink).

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The area over the toilet was a confused mess of decorative shelves and knick-knacks. I removed the small shelves, painted the shelf a shade called “Twig” ($4.99, Target) and added simple white tealights from my inventory. Then I hung a poster I found in France in 1993, that had been hanging in the garage. The artwork adds just the right drama and color.

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Across the room, I re-used the existing brushed nickel frames (and hung them more securely and straight!), replacing the images with pages from an old Paris calendar with dramatic black mats from another room. The white bath towels I already had on hand, while the hand towels are borrowed from the master bath.

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The tired orange rug (that didn’t wash well the last time I laundered it) has been replaced by a super soft rug ($10, Home Goods) in a shade I’d call “Malted.” It’s not white, it’s not tan – it’s like the lightest whisper of the hue in the shower curtain.

Vanity top: before

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One of my favorite transformations is the vanity top.

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The colors for the accessories were chosen from the Paris calendar prints. Alstromeria in tall, slender vases frame the sink and are a lovely addition when I have overnight guests.

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When I was cleaning out the linen closet, I found a bunch of fancy soaps that I’ve received as gifts or picked up over the years. Unwrapped and piled into an apothecary jar, they are the perfect accessory for a spa-like bath. The jar also brings much needed height, whereas in the “before” photo, there was no variety in the height of the vanity accessories.

With the jar, I’ve grouped a Himalayan salt candle and whimsical porcelain dish to use a jewelry tray.

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New, fluffy white wash cloths ($2.00 each, Home Goods) sit in a pretty silver and mother-of-pearl bowl from the kitchen, while a silver-framed greeting directs guests to bath necessities.

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I’m glad this art glass soap dispenser fits with the new decor. It’s possibly my favorite thing from the “old” guest bath.

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One thing absent: tissues! I could not find a suitable tissue box cover, so I’m keeping the tissues under the sink. (Anyone who visits my house is now on notice!) If I find the right box cover at a good price, I’ll add it later. But for now, I like the look of the candles on the shelf!

My goal for this room was to create a tranquil yet functional space for overnight guests to feel like they’re in a hotel. I think I achieved that. This is the new “everyday” look, although I’m already thinking how to add a bit of holiday color for the Christmas season. What can I say? I’m incorrigible on that count.

So how about you?? Is there a room in your house that could use a $100 makeover? I hope these changes will inspire you to create a look that is uniquely you, reusing what you can and shopping smart! Please post your challenge room and results on the Facebook page!