Design Hacks for Decorating a Bathroom

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on May 7, 2020

Some rooms just lend themselves to interior design — living rooms, bedrooms, entryways, dining rooms, and even outdoor spaces. However there’s one room in the house that’s first and foremost all about function, which might reduce a natural focus on design: We’re talking about the bathroom. 

While it might not be top of mind when it comes to decor, a bathroom makeover can be a real mood booster, says Havenly senior designer Dani Mulhearn. “It’s also a great opportunity to showcase a lot of personality, or go more bold than other spaces in your home,” she says. We asked Dani a few quick-fire questions about how to decorate a bathroom. Her stylish responses don’t disappoint.

“100 percent yes! I feel like bathrooms are always one of the last spaces in a home to be considered when it comes to designing and decorating, but these spaces are an extension of your style and home aesthetic! It’s an opportunity to showcase a lot of personality in a small space. Think about utilizing a bold print you’ve been eyeing in a wallpaper application, or a fun accent tile in your shower or flooring. Or, make it that relaxing spa oasis that you can retreat to at the end of a long week for some self-care time (which, let’s be honest, we could all use a retreat during times like this).”

“Hardware swaps are a must, such as towel bars, towel rings, and knobs and handles on vanities. Also think about painting your vanity a new color to help give the space a quick refresh. Lighting and mirrors are another easy change. Think of these as the “jewelry” and statement pieces, and have some fun with different styles to make the space really pop. In a small space like a bathroom, upgrading these fixtures goes a long way.”

Here are a few other tips from Dani on how to decorate a bathroom practically and affordably: 

Chic storage. “Store linens in baskets, which you can also use for waste bins. You can even store practical items like extra toilet paper rolls in a lidded basket. Canisters are a good choice to store items you use on a daily basis, like cotton rounds or Q-tips.”

Vanity decor. “Set these items directly on your vanity or shelving in the bathroom. You can group items together and place them on a tray for easy removal when cleaning the space!”

Soft surfaces. “For linens, shower curtains and bath mats, opt for simple, clean and classic. You can also upgrade your space by simply swapping out these soft surfaces with some fun, patterned options.”

Cheeky artwork. “My husband and I have a really ironic sense of humor — there’s no better way to showcase our personalities than with some fun artwork like this (it’s still chic and sophisticated!). I’m also into this not-so-subtle sign, and this adorable llama.”

“Floating shelves with fun baskets to help store toiletries would be a good choice. Also, don’t be afraid to add some greenery to give the space a fresh and inviting vibe! Candles and reed diffusers help set the mood for a relaxing bath. And remember, wallpaper applications can go a long way in a smaller bathroom or a powder room.”

Anthropology Bathtub Caddy

“That’s easy: blankets, pillows, tapestries and other items that are not conducive to humid environments or could end up soaking up moisture, resulting in mold and mildew. No, thank you! Also, any electric decor, like a plug-in light or sign, are also smart to avoid with the possibility of being exposed to moisture and water.”

Black And White Home Inspiration Bathroom

“There are some similarities between how I decorate bathrooms compared with other rooms in the house, but I usually approach bathrooms by focusing mainly on the decorative details rather than the overall scheme. These spaces don’t usually need any investment furniture pieces, so you can have much more fun picking out the little finishing touches — like lighting and vanity hardware — that can make a big difference.”

Bathroom tips and tricks from Havenly designer Ann F.

Ready to go bold in the bathroom? Try our interior design style quiz

Words by Sara Watson