An Inexpensive Bath Makeover

by Peggy Struwe

I'm asking for help from other readers. I have a small bathroom with sliding doors to the shower/tub. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make this look spruced up without making the bathroom look even smaller? New doors would be nice, but I'm looking for dollar-stretching ideas. Thanks!

There are a number of things you can do with a small bathroom. I will give a number of suggestions and hope that some might give you something you would like to try.

For a glass shower door over the tub, if it is the old fashion kind with two tracks, these are terrible to try to keep clean. You might want to replace it. There are several alternatives to look at when replacing the glass doors.

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  1. My preference is a shower curtain. They are cheap. They can be replaced easily and the whole tub area stays drier, so less problems with mildew. Plastic liners can be replaced for about $2 and the shower rod and clips can be bought for around $10 up to $20 for the fancier ones. Cloth shower curtains can be purchased for $30 to $40 and can be washed as needed. A colorful bedsheet will also make a shower curtain by putting buttonholes along one hem to hang on the clips.
  2. Try a shower door with no tracks on the bottom to hold the water, just a metal bar to slope water back to the tub and guide the doors.
  3. Or try a shower door that has no overhead track, just folds back out of the way.

If you want to keep your shower doors, you might consider a product that is on the market for windshields to shed water. Can't think of the name, but it does work. You clean the doors and shower stall, dry them with a towel and then let them air dry. The product is clear like water and you just coat the surface by rubbing it on with a sponge or cloth. What this does is help the water sheet off, so you don't get water spots, mineral buildup and scum.

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The other thing that really helps is to use a squeegee. The last person to shower should squeegee the walls and glass to remove all the water, then take the towel and go over the chrome and any water in the corners. This makes maintenance easier and stays much cleaner. Reapply the product about every 3 months after a good cleaning.

Another thing you might do is paint the bathroom a real light color in gloss or semi gloss enamel. This takes the cleaning necessary and helps reflect light.

Put a larger mirror over the vanity or sink. This too will make the room brighter and give more illusion of space.

If you have a tall person in the house, they tend to splatter water above the tub enclosure. This needs to be water proofed with a good paint job of gloss or semi gloss enamel with a repeat every year or two. Or find a roll of real vinyl wall paper that you like and is bright and will look good on its side and wallpaper the space from the ceiling to the top of the shower stall. Use vinyl wall paper paste to put it to make it stick well. Then run a bead of silicone caulk at the bottom of the wallpaper above the shower stall to make a water tight seal.

Then add color to the bathroom in several ways. You can do this with towels, wall decorations, a wallpaper border and accessories.

Another trick for keeping a small bathroom clear of clutter and looking bigger is to give each person a basket that will fit under the sink or on a shelf you can put under the sink. The basket is put on the sink for use and everything is used and goes back into the basket and under the sink keeping the sink area clear of clutter.

Another thing I like to do is put a colored wash cloth folded in 4ths on the sink. This can add color to the room, but its main use is to wipe the sink, faucet and any water drops off the mirror. It is a quick way to keep the area spruced up and looking good even with kids using it all the time and it only takes about 15 seconds because there is no clutter.

Put a shelf unit or kitchen wall cabinet over the stool. Good for storage and another place for people to put their baskets. Helps eliminate clutter.

Peggy and her husband have remodeled and redecorated a number of homes and are willing to share their experiences with readers.

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