Budget Bathroom Updates (for only 55 bucks)

I made some progress on our bathroom this weekend! I still have some decisions to make for some areas in our place, but I’m pleased with how this room is turning out so far…

First off, you may remember the temporary mirror frame we made to update our boring basic one.

Bathroom updates

Lovely, but I was still faced with a more practical problem: storage and functionality. Having such a small cabinet in our bathroom meant very little easily accessible storage. I decided to make use of some of our vertical space and install a shelf.

Here’s a quick view of the wall before:Bathroom wall before

And after:

Bathroom wall after

A few weekends ago, I scored a $12 Pottery Barn shelf at a local consignment store. It’s a perfect fit!

I now have space to keep a basket with all of Shaun’s toiletries (I clearly can’t see anything in it since I’m too small. I literally took the next photo while standing on the toilet!) and pretty glass jars from Ikea to store cotton pads and Q-tips. I added in a bit of travelling memories too with a little bowl from a friend in China and a photo I took from our hostel in Venice.

Bathroom shelf

For even more storage, we installed a floating shelf above the doorway for extra towels and toilet paper. Plus, it was free. It was left behind in our apartment foyer. (I’m only slightly embarrassed to pick up things left out like that now…)

Above door shelf

I’m loving the Moroccan trellis patterns these days. (I’m clearly not the only one, judging by a quick look on Pinterest!) I would love to add it with a carpet in our living room, but those are so expensive… Especially considering that right now, my puppy would eat it. This little basket from Winners is a great compromise at $6 to hold all my brushes, make up and moisturizers.

Bathroom baskets

Again, here’s what I walked into on moving day…

And here’s how it’s coming along! I added a soft white bathmat from Ikea for $14 too. I’d love a white area rug, but again, not so good with a puppy. This one can easily be thrown in the wash when it gets dirty!


The only thing I’m not entirely sold on is our current shower curtain. I love the dark grey, and liked in our last place, but here it seems… very… metallic. Maybe it’s just the photo? I don’t know. What do you think?

My bathroom is getting close to finished! Well at least up to my standards. I’m sure I’ll tweak it here and there once I’m finished.

Total costs thus far:

Mirror Frame: $8

Wooden baskets: $6 each from Ikea, $12 total

Trellis basket: $6 from Winners (the Canadian equivalent to Marshal’s)

Burken glass jars: $2 each at Ikea, $4 total

Toftbo mat: $13 from Ikea

Floating shelf: free

Pottery Barn shelf: $12 on consignment

Photo and frame: owned

Total: $55. So cheap thus far! I might be feeling a splurge on a faucet or new curtain coming on… Here’s what’s left.

Bathroom To Do List Update:

  • Replace cabinet hardware
  • Build a (removable) mirror frame
  • Replace the faucet
  • Create a storage system for under the sink (It’s a work in progress.)
  • Hang artwork Well… half way. I’d like to add some small-scale black and white photos above my hand towel.
  • Hang extra shelves?
  • Add a small bathroom rug?

Have you made any cheap updates in your bathroom? Would you be embarrassed to pick up something free at your building’s doorstep?


6 thoughts on “Budget Bathroom Updates (for only 55 bucks)

  1. I think maybe the dark colour of the shower curtain is a little overpowering in a small space.

    I’m really struggling with bathroom storage. I have a small, narrow bathroom. I would like to put shelves up but there’s only one wall that could have a shelf and then that would seriously limit walking space when going to the toilet or getting out of the shower. Oh, conundrums.

  2. Hey! I found your blog from the Young House Love forums. I really like it because there aren’t a ton out there for renters. I am moving into an apartment soon that looks very similar to yours (1960s-70s, boxy, builder basic, off-white, vertical blinds, wall to wall carpeting, etc). I’m moving from an older building with beautiful details like wainscoting, hardwood floors, and a built-in china cabinet. My heart hurt when I thought about losing all of those pretty details (I actually cried). Seeing what you have done with your place is really inspirational. Thanks for showing me all I can do to make an ugly rental home.

    P.S. I love the bathroom makeover and I do not care for the shower curtain. It’s too dark and too metallic for my taste. Just my two cents.

    • Thank you so much for your comment Lib! I know how you feel. My last apartment had so much charm… Original hardwood floors, huge windows, even little details like a built in ironing board from years ago! I was so sad to leave it. These ones just push you to be more creative.

      Good to hear some other opinions on the shower curtain. Looks like it might be changed in the near future..!

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