Before we even moved into the new house, the half bath in the hallway was my least favorite room of all. Every time I opened the door, I would close it back behind me immediately, as I disliked almost everything about it. For weeks, I was trying to figure out ways to disguise the dated speckled granite countertop, how to make the sink and its waterfall faucet disappear and whether brown, beige or gray would be the appropriate color to camouflage the textured walls. Since spending a dime on even the smallest renovation was out of the question, for an entire month I just couldn’t figure out what needed to be done. But yesterday, in just one afternoon, I transformed this dated half bath into something I now love.
All I did was to bring a few items from around the house into this hallway half bath, but not just anything. Having the following 6 elements in mind, helped achieve the result that I was going for:
1. A sophisticated feel:
The first step was to add art, lots of art! This was not so much about creating a gallery wall – like the ones we’re used to see lately with matching frames or identical mats or similar art – but more about creating an eclectic collection of unmatched pieces, something like an art gallery concept. If you want to achieve such a result, combine interesting pieces, large and/or small, cover as much wall surface as possible, hang the pieces close to each other – about 1½ to 2 inches – but most importantly hang them low – start at eye level and continue downwards. Combine art from an artist that you love (a replica or – why not?- a signed and numbered print), a gem from the thrift store or even a drawing from your child. Modern, abstract, whatever your style is, it all works together!
2. The unexpected:
While several framed art pieces are certainly unexpected in a tiny bathroom, a few of more items that I brought into the space add more interest: the pewter pitcher, for example, would normally be found on a dining room buffet or between a living room vignette, but certainly not as a plant watering can in a half bath.
The Sottish terrier hook is not an anticipated item for a bathroom, either, as it is more of an entryway or a bedroom accessory. Most bathrooms would have a towel bar by the sink or a dated towel holder, usually those circular ones. I’m happy that this bathroom had none of that, and that my scottie (that I brought from the previous house) found a perfect place.
3. A couple of new, well chosen, stylish items:
Gathering too many mismatched items in one room can easily give a neglected and old feel to the space. To avoid a “flea market” look, add a couple of items that would be found today in your favorite catalogue or your favorite store. In the case of this half bath, the towel hook is from Anthropologie and although the specific item is no longer for sale, many similar ones are available on the company’s site. Another new item is the Turkish towel which gives a modern and stylish look and adds a fresh and clean tone to the bathroom.
4. Something from nature:
Nowadays, it seems that every bathroom must have at least one orchid standing gracefully on the counter! If keeping an orchid alive seems too difficult of a task for you, do not be tempted to switch to an artificial one. Instead, add a small green house plant – here is a list with some options. If your space does not get any natural light, consider one of these plants.
5. Essentials in pretty containers:
Every guest bath must have some essentials which should be visible and at easy reach for the visitors. The list includes extra toilet paper rolls, more guest towels as well as a container to gather the used ones, and soap. Place each and every one of these items in a pretty container that matches the room’s décor. For this half bath, I brought in wicker baskets that add warmth and texture.
6. Most importantly, choose things you love:
What I did to this half bath is what I try to do with every other room of the house, which is to decorate it with items I love. Every single addition is a favorite piece that came from another part of the house – that is what transformed the space so dramatically.
At first, I was hesitant on “wasting” some of my best framed artwork in this dated half bath while many of our walls (in the dining room, entryway, even the living room) are still empty. However, the result was well-worth it: a sophisticated look that transformed the space instantly. This half bath is extremely small so the walls were filled relatively quickly with just four large pieces (tip: since I had no more framed pieces to “spare”, I focused on hanging them all only on the one wall that was visible when opening the door, so as to create a wow effect).
Also, I initially intended to use the Scottish terrier hook by the kitchen sink, just because I spend a big part of my day in the kitchen. But the hook turned out to be a great accessory for this half bath and, by now, I have found another fine spot to hang my kitchen towels.
I have to admit though, that if the space had been recently renovated with a sink, tile and a countertop of my taste, I would probably not had to worry too much about it. It was the condition of this guest bath that made me look for ways to disguise what I didn’t like.
Of course, the dated sink and countertop are still here but they don’t draw attention anymore, as the bathroom has so many more interesting things to focus on! The art pieces and the accessories now dominate the space.
In addition to all of that, I have to mention that I already had all these items in the house and that I did not spend a single dime to decorate this bathroom!