Simple Decor Series: How to Decorate a Small Bathroom on a Budget

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The Simple Decor Series continues today on the subject of bathroom decor.  We will chat about simple and budget-friendly decor to make even a small bathroom feel like cozy and complete, while practical and functional for your family and guests.

In the real estate world, they say kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.  It’s no wonder when we consider the practical functions that these rooms carry for our families on a daily basis.  However, bathrooms are expensive rooms to design, build, and remodel.  When it comes time to actually decorate a small bathroom, I want budget-friendly ideas that are high quality and high impact.

At the same time, bathroom accessories need to be incredibly practical and functional to best serve my family.

In this Simple Decor Series post, let’s chat about how to decorate a small bathroom on a budget.  There are wonderful ways that you can give even a small bathroom a great refresh without changing permanent elements such as tile, vanities, or faucets.

At the same time, you can refresh a bathroom in ways that make this important room even more functional and even helpful for your family.

I recently gave our kids’ bathroom a simple refresh on a budget and I’ll share all of the details with you!

Wooden vanity with concrete countertops, black metal pulls, sturdy black towel bar, and pull-out step all featured over a background of black & white penny tile & white subway tile in shower.

What decor is good in a bathroom?

Let’s start by answering this important question.  What decor do we even use in a small bathroom?  I think almost every decor piece in a bathroom should also be a functional piece.  At the very least, it aids in a clean, uncluttered look and feel of the bathroom space.

To begin, you need to carefully think through how the bathroom is used and who uses it the most on a daily basis.

In our kids’ bathroom, I have two teenage girls and a younger son that are all vying for the space.  All three of them need to be able to use this bathroom for their basic needs as well as getting ready each morning and night.

Since it is a small bathroom, there simply isn’t room for decor that would clutter the space.  Instead, we tried to make careful choices that would help keep the small bathroom feeling fresh and looking uncluttered.

Pro Tip: Treat bathroom decor much as you would kitchen decor in that you choose functional pieces that are also aesthetically pleasing.

What accessories do you put in a bathroom?

I remember our first house when we got married.  In my excitement, I registered for the matching set of allllll the bathroom accessories.  However, over time, I found that just because there are many accessories available for a bathroom, I do not need or use all of them.

Bathroom decor needs to be tailored to your specific space and lifestyle needs.

Here are some basic bathroom accessories to consider, whether they become part of the decor or are used as storage solutions in the space:

  1. Shower curtain
  2. Rug and bath mat
  3. Soap dispenser
  4. Towels
  5. Hooks and rod for towels
  6. Baskets
  7. Wall decor
  8. Mirror
  9. Small plants, flowers, and decor
  10. Candle
Black towel bar screwed into one of the vanity cabinet doors. Simple white towel hangs down in front of image to match the rest of the wood/black/white/concrete them.

Tips to decorate a small bathroom on a budget:

We will look at each one of these with specific examples, ideas, and resources throughout the post.

  1. Use functional accessories as decor.
  2. Purchase quality items.
  3. Use neutral colors and timeless designs.
  4. Think ahead for elements that will be easy to clean and maintain.
  5. Organize and declutter often.

Simple Decor Series: How to Decorate a Small Bathroom on a Budget

How to Decorate a Small Bathroom on a Budget: Tip #1

How do you accessorize a bathroom on a budget?

One of the best ways to create a stylish bathroom that is clean and fresh, even in a small bathroom, is to use functional bathroom accessories as the decor.  You are really getting two for the price of one this way!

At the same time, by purchasing functional accessories that add to the aesthetic of the room, you are creating a cohesive space that looks uncluttered and is easy to keep clean.

Making double duty out of these pretty accessories is a win-win when you decorate a bathroom on a budget!

Here are some easy examples of functional accessories used as decor in our kids’ bathroom space:

Sturdy wicker basket holds rolled-up white towels on vintage wooden stool, complete with decades-old paint spots.

Use a basket for storing towels in plain sight.

For us, this locker basket actually helped with several needs.  First of all, the basket adds to the vintage industrial style of the bathroom aesthetic.

Secondly, the towels help soften the hard lines of the tile and concrete countertops.

Thirdly, we could maximize storage by not taking up a drawer for everyday towels and washcloths.

A woven basket also sits on a stool within easy reach of the shower.  Again, this adds to the aesthetic of the bathroom by bringing in the warm color and texture of the woven basket.  At the same time, the towels are convenient for the kids after their showers.

Another benefit is that the towels are super quick and easy to roll up and put away when the laundry is done!

Especially in a kids’ space, I am all about any functional design that helps the simple, mundane, daily tasks run as smoothly as possible.

Pro Tip: In general, only store the amount of towels and essentials that you actually need and use.  This helps create an uncluttered, aesthetically pleasing space that is also functional and well-organized.

Here are some favorite baskets that would be perfect for beautiful bathroom organization and storage:

Vintage locker basket with neatly rolled-up white handtowels sit on the cocrete countertop beside the chrome faucet & sink.

Use a shower curtain for functional needs as well as a decor statement piece.

I am likely in the minority on this, but I actually opted for a shower curtain over a shower door in the kids’ bathroom.

Why?

Well, the thought of constantly trying to clean a shower door after three kids was just unbearable.  Haha!  Instead, we chose a pretty shower curtain that serves the privacy needs as well as helping the bathroom look bright and fresh.

Since it is a small bathroom, I chose a white shower curtain.  In 6 1/2 years, I’ve only replaced it once!  However, since we went with a plain color, we made sure to choose a shower curtain that still added character to the small bathroom with texture and pattern.

Pro Tip:  With a white curtain, I can use it a lot longer by bleaching it.  This keeps it looking fresh and happy without having to replace the shower curtain often.

You could also choose a shower curtain in a color scheme or theme to go with the overall design and decor of the bathroom space.  A shower curtain is a fun opportunity to make a statement without breaking the bank!

Consider shower curtains with:

  • Texture
  • Color
  • Pattern
  • Themed space for kids
Showing the white shower curtain with white bathmat & gray "CLEAN" letters hung neatly over bathtub. A wicker basket of towels sits on a vintage wooden stool besides the tub.

Here are some favorite soft elements for function and beauty in your bathroom:

How to Decorate a Small Bathroom on a Budget: Tip #2

One of the best ways to decorate a small bathroom on a budget is to purchase quality items.  Cheap decor can save money initially.  However, having to frequently replace items can often end up costing more in the long run.

In the kids bathroom, for example, we opted for an expensive hook for the towels.

However, even though it cost more initially, it has already lasted us many years and is in perfect shape.  In fact, this one is so old that it isn’t even available anymore.  I will link some similar items later in the post, though.

While it looks nice hanging in the bathroom, it also allows for everyone’s towels to be neatly hung.

In other words, there is NO reason for anyone to ever leave their wet towel on the floor!!!

Pro Tip: Quality over quantity is a key element for designing and decorating a bathroom space.

Here are some favorite hooks available online for function and a great look too:

Towel hook from Pottery Barn easily holds 4-8 towels at a time. The black metal matches its surrounding perfectly.

How to Decorate a Small Bathroom on a Budget: Tip #3

If you are decorating a bathroom that already exists or even refreshing a bathroom that you’ve already designed, neutral colors can be extremely helpful in creating a calm, clean aesthetic.  

At the same time, you can add seasonal touches or fun accents of colors with a simple bouquet of flowers or cheery hand towel.

If you are designing a bathroom, I can’t emphasize timeless design enough.  

Avoid trendy options for permanent elements, such as tile.  Instead, choose simple pieces that have already stood the test of time.

Pro Tip: Neutral colors and timeless design can keep a bathroom looking fresh over time, even while design trends come and go.

Neatly installed white subway tile form a backsplash behind the two matching sinks. Two pieces of wall art with faux tulips hang on the wall above between two matching galvanized oval mirrors.

How to Decorate a Small Bathroom on a Budget: Tip #4

When you design or decorate a bathroom, consider elements that will be easy to clean and maintain over time.

From a design standpoint, everything in this bathroom was chosen with maintenance in mind. From the solid side toilet to the concrete countertop to the dark grout, each element helps us try and maintain this space on a daily basis with a little more ease.

Don’t get me wrong…3 kids use this bathroom.  It is always imperfect, at best, but I try to remember that is compared to what it COULD be without design and decor choices that help us!

From a decor standpoint, there are simple things I chose very intentionally.  For example, the white shower curtain and white towels were chosen with the ease of throwing in a bleach load from time to time.

The wall art are all things that are easy to wipe down with a damp cloth.

Hooks and towel rods are black so they don’t show smudges and they are heavy duty to withstand a generally busy space!

Pro Tip: Think ahead to how and who will use the space.  Be really intentional with design and decor choices to try and make the long-term maintenance more feasible and the daily tidying easier.

What can I put on a plain bathroom wall?

Bathroom walls can feel a little tricky.  First of all, I want to make sure I’ve made space for any functional items, such as hooks and mirrors.

Secondly, anything that hangs in the bathroom should be something that I can easily wipe down to clean.

Thirdly, I avoid anything that looks or feels cluttered.  Less is more is best in a bathroom space!

However, sometimes you have a plain bathroom wall that needs a little touch to make the space feel complete.

In our kids bathroom, we chose two indestructible old road signs that I got at a flea market (budget-friendly!).  Since it is a kids’ space, we added one small sign with cute bathroom reminders.

Between the mirrors, two small wall vases allow a spot for a seasonal accent.  However, they are easy to clean and don’t get in the way, which is really important in a busy bathroom space.

Here are a few favorites for bathroom walls:

 

View of bathroom walking through doorway. White "no left turn sing" & black towel hooks on the wall to the left, with sunshine highlighting wood, concrete, & black and white accents.

How to Decorate a Small Bathroom on a Budget: Tip #5

It may seem that organizing and decluttering should be entirely different topic than how to decorate a small bathroom on a budget.  However, I think it should really be #1.

How a practical space, such as a bathroom, functions is more important than how it looks.  A gorgeous bathroom that is constantly upended isn’t going to feel beautiful at all.

However, no matter the size or style of a bathroom space, it requires consistent organizing and decluttering in order to maintain the highest level of function.

And, therefore, the highest level of cozy and pretty!

Your bathroom space doesn’t have to be large or expensive or on trend or newly remodeled in order to be a space that looks lovely and functions well.

Will you have to be more creative in an old, small bathroom?  Sure.  But it’s worth the effort!

How to organize a small bathroom?

We recently completely reorganized most of the kids’ bathroom.  As they grow and their needs change, it was time to do a big clean out and rethink how we can best organize these spaces for daily use and maintenance.

We invested some time measuring and searching resources.  Then, we invested a little money into organizers that meet specific needs, fit the spaces best, and look nice too.

Pro Tip: Whenever possible, pretty organizers do help motivate us to keep a space tidy.  However, the most important thing is that they function well.  Organizers that don’t actually function well for the need aren’t worth the investment.

Adding acrylic drawers, an acrylic round lazy susan, and an organizer for hair tools were exactly the help we needed.

Of course, after a BIG declutter and clean out!

We have a linen closet in the master bathroom with lots of shelves and clear bins for all of the “extras”.  Finding ways to better utilize that allowed us to take all of the extras out of the kids’ bathroom and only store in there what they actually need and use.

Pro Tip: Maximize storage and function by prioritizing what gets used on a consistent basis.  Bathroom cabinets and drawers that are well-organized and not exploding with clutter add to an overall peaceful and pretty aesthetic for the entire bathroom.  Think outside the box for extra storage for things that are needed but infrequently used.

Plastic carousel & bins hold bathroom essentials neatly under on both sides of sink drain behind one open cabinet door.

You can shop my favorite bathroom organizers, including what we used in our recent overhaul of the kids’ bathroom, HERE on my Amazon Storefront.

Here are a few favorites:

With one cabinet door open, wood organizer is screwed to the backside of the door holding brushes, curlers, & blow dryers out of harm's way.
With cabinet door open, neatly rolled up gray and white pools towels are seen. Hair dryer and other accessories fit in a white holder screwed to the back of the cabinet door.

How can I make my small bathroom beautiful?

First of all and more important than anything else, is to make your bathroom highly functional. 

Then, as you choose the pieces that will help your space function in the best possible ways, make sure these pieces are also good quality and fit the decor aesthetic you hope to achieve.

You don’t need a lot of bathroom decoration.  In fact, you need a LOT LESS than you may think.  At the same time, you can create a beautiful bathroom by choosing beautiful accessories that function well for your specific space and needs.

I hope this post sparks some creative thinking and ideas for your bathroom space.  Whether you are getting ready to remodel or just giving your bathroom a quick and budget-friendly spring refresh, these tips have proven true and extremely helpful for me!  I think they will for you too!

Viewing the right side of the bathroom, we see the concrete countertops with round mirrors above. The pull-out stool in the cabinets is pulled out slightly.

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  

Blessings,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wide angle view of bathroom with blog title for Pinterest tagging.
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