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30 Nov 2021

8 reversible changes to improve your rental bathroom

Bathrooms in rented properties can feel uninspiring. Here's how to zhuzh up your rental bathroom and make it feel more like a home.
a rented bathroom

It can be difficult to make a rented property feel like home, especially if you'll only be staying there for a short time. While you can't make major changes to your rental bathroom, there are ways to bring colour and personality to it.

The alterations suggested in this article are intended to be reversible, so that, when you leave, you can easily return the bathroom to how it was before you arrived.

If you're hoping to make more significant changes, make sure you get permission from your landlord or property manager.

If the issue is that your landlord hasn't kept on top of important repair works, find out how to claim against your landlord for disrepair.

1. Get creative with alternative uses for old items

a ladder repurposed as shelving in a bathroom

Old items you no longer need can be repurposed into unique bathroom accessories. You could use a vintage ladder as a freestanding storage shelf, for example.

Wicker baskets can hold towels or other items, or try using interesting cups or mugs to hold toothbrushes.

For more ideas about bathroom units, cabinets and other storage options, check out our best bathroom storage and furniture page.

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2. Put in new lightbulbs

bathroom with bright lighting

Lighting is an essential part of a bathroom and dim bulbs can make the space unwelcoming and less useful.

Change the light bulbs for a different shape or brightness, but keep old ones safe and swap them in when you vacate the property.

Make sure that any lights you buy are functional, energy efficient and provide enough light as well as being aesthetically pleasing.

Find out more about choosing the right light bulbs.

3. Ask your landlord for permission to repaint

woman painting a bathroom wall

If you are going to be living in the property for some time, ask your landlord about alterations they are happy for you to make. They may agree to let you repaint the bathroom walls for a fresh look.

Our tenants rights articles have lots of advice if you need information about what you can do as a tenant.

If you're interested in repainting other rooms alongside your bathroom (and have permission to do so), read our advice on how to paint your living room or bedroom for £100, even if you've never done it before.

4. Change the shower curtain

patterned shower curtain

An old, scummy shower curtain automatically makes a bathroom look depressing. Bold coloured or patterned shower curtains can liven up a drab room. You can always keep the old shower curtain and replace it before you leave.

Consider also buying a bath matt and towels that fit the colourful theme.

5. Create a small wall gallery

bathroom wall art

If you have the available wall space, you could create a small wall gallery of inexpensive prints and designs. Check with your landlord about hanging pictures in the property and be sure not to cause any damage to the walls.

Try using Washi tape to keep pictures on the wall, as it should peel off easily and you can find a colour or style that suits your bathroom. Adhesive picture strips can also hold your art in place damaging the walls.

Alternatively, if you have room, try hanging some string across your window or wall and clip your pictures to it with small pegs.

Browse our bathroom designs pagefor colour and decor inspiration to use in your gallery.

6. Replace easily changeable parts of the bathroom

There are plenty of easily replaced small items in a bathroom, such as a new toilet seat, a freestanding toilet paper holder or even new blinds and door handles.

Make sure you store the original items safely, and put them back before the end of your tenancy.

If you need more storage, consider adding some freestanding bathroom cabinets and units.

7. Put up a new mirror

bathroom mirror

A different shape or size of mirror can help reflect light, making the bathroom appear larger and brighter. This is particularly useful if you only have a small space to work with. Keeping your mirror clean will also make your room look a lot more attractive.

Just remember to put the old mirror back up before you leave.

8. Add life and colour where possible

painted bath surrounded by plants

Adding some plants to your bathroom is a simple way to introduce some colour and life.

As we mentioned before, your landlord may not give you permission to paint the walls, but perhaps they would be more amenable to you painting the side of the bath instead. This can be reversed by painting over it again if necessary.

If you are allowed to replace bathroom furniture and fixtures, consider a new shape or style of bath. We've rated the best baths from a wide range of retailers, assessing them for quality and durability.

We also have advice about landlords rights, if you need to know more about responsibilities or how to handle issues with tenants.

Need advice on renovating a bathroom in a property you own without spending too much money? Find out more about updating a bathroom on a budget.