We are edging ever closer to a house purchase but, for the time being, we are still renting. After spending the last 18 years in a rented house I’ve grown super used to the restrictions (and the upsides!) but accepting kitchens and bathrooms has always been a sticking point.
In just one rental house have I had a bathroom I loved. It had a roll top bath, separate free-standing shower with a rain head, and an airing cupboard. All future bathrooms have been measured against that high point!
Here are some of my top tips for making a rental bathroom your own:
* See if you can fit in some kind of freestanding towel rail or furniture element to bring your own style to the place. We have a beautiful white towel rail (which I actually found abandoned on the side of the road when we used to live in North London) which brings character, as does a little french vanity unit that I found in a junk shop. One day, when money is no object, I will have one of these from Tom Raffield. Until then, I keep looking in junk shops for an old ladder, so far, no luck.
* Replace the light bulbs. For some reason rental houses often are stuffed full of halogen bulbs which are expensive to run and usually have a really stark bright white hue. LED bulbs fit existing fittings, come in many tonal shades, so you can choose soft flattering peaceful lighting for your ceiling bulbs, and leave a bright daylight one over the mirror, and are much better for the environment as they last longer and use much less energy. Find a decent selection available from LED Hut. (You’ll save the cost of outlay on your electricity bill)
* Get some white (or neutral) towels and a bathmat. At university M had a load of beach towels and old hand towels in his student house and it can be tempting to not bother investing in bedding and towels for a rented property. However, I would argue that is wrong. Lots of white towels make you feel like you’re in a hotel or holiday cottage and a pile folded on a shelf always makes a bathroom look nicer. They don’t have to be expensive – in our current place we have not only a family bathroom but downstairs cloakroom and guest bedroom with ensuite so I stocked up on white and grey options from Ikea. (Bonus – you can put away the manky bathmat which came with the rental)
* Mask potential dampness with anti-mould paint, use a dehumidifier and burn a scented candle. It is amazing what getting some anti-mould paint can do – worth an excursion to a DIY shop at the beginning of a tenancy. Sugar soap the ceiling, wash with a sponge and then repaint with white anti-mould paint. (£20 is obviously an outlay but a good insurance policy against losing part of your deposit or having to scrub mould off at the end of the tenancy).
Any other suggestions?