First Aid for the Bathroom

by Marlene Alexander

If you've ever wanted to douse an outdated bathroom in gasoline and toss in a lighted match, believe me, you're not alone. But there's an easier solution. It won't cure grimy grout or replace the avocado green toilet, but it will help to give your bathroom enough of a face lift to make you feel that there's life in the old room yet.

The decorating gurus always begin with a fresh coat of paint. Nothing will revive a tired room quicker. But don't discount the small touches that can be accomplished with only a few dollars and a modest investment of time. For example, you can give bathroom cabinets a whole new look with just a change of hardware.

The décor accessories you choose should be in colors that make you happy so that every time you walk into the room, you get enjoyment from looking at them. Naturally, you will also want them to coordinate nicely with wall colorings and permanent fixtures. Avoid a cluttered look by limiting the number of things you keep on your countertops and shelves to a minimum. This is especially important if your bathroom is a small one.

Dollar stores get in a variety of attractive candles seasonally. Some are almost too lovely to burn, which is just fine when all you want are great looking accents.

  • "carved" pillar candle, $1.00
  • butterfly tea light candles, package of 4 for $1.00
  • floating flower candles, package of 4 for $1.00
  • oval plate, $1.00

It's easy to add a bit of greenery to an empty corner. All you need is a large terra cotta pot ($1.00), a piece of floral foam ($1.00) and the plastic plant of your choice. Here, we've used three sprays of long green foliage ($1.00 per spray) and let it hang down from the top shelf of an over-the-john shelving unit. Make sure you weigh the pot down with something heavy like a bag of river rocks, so that a slight tug on the plant doesn't bring it crashing down.

Art, as with anything else, is all a matter of individual taste, but believe it or not, you can find some acceptable pictures for $1.00. This floral piece mimics the oil canvas art that's so popular now.

Thinking outside the bird feeder, we've used this small metal one to add a bit of whimsy to the bathroom and make bath cubes easily accessible. $1.00

  • small floral arrangement, $1.00
  • wooden "Towel", $1.00
  • baskets, $1.00 each
  • embroidered fingertip towels, $1.00 each

With a twenty-dollar bill, hope in your heart and the spirit of adventure, you can restore some of your bathroom's former comfort and add immeasurably to your own well-being.

Marlene Alexander is a writer living in Ontario, Canada. For more on dollar store shopping, visit her website at

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