Rental Bathroom Makeover: Before, During, After

Well, now we know the drawback of real-time blogging: sometimes real-time is way too slow. I’ll save the nitty-gritty details behind the delay for another post – instead, let’s check out our newly redecorated bathroom.

Bathroom Door and Antique Rug | Project Palermo

Unfortunately the bathroom is still small and awkward – nothin’ I could do about that – so it’s impossible to get an all-inclusive pulled-back shot.  I’ll include a lot of photos – let me know if anything is unclear.

Antique Rug in the Bathroom | Project Palermo

New cabinet bar pulls from Home Depot and an antique rug from Humboldt House. HH actually had the rug in their shop bathroom. It’s beat-up, which I love because it’s not precious: aside from, like, setting it ablaze, there’s nothing we can do it that hasn’t already been done.

Bathroom Antique Brass Towel Hook | Project Palermo

Antique brass hook from eBay; hand towel from West Elm. I sewed on the hang loop, thus exhausting my sewing tolerance for the year.

Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

The soap pump top, door hooks, medicine cabinet knob and doorknob plates all got spray painted oil-rubbed bronze. The radiator cover and toilet paper holder were painted white.  I’ll do a follow-up post about some of this hardware.

Bathroom | Project Palermo

The one electrical outlet in the bathroom is hidden by the mirror.  The cords you see lead to the electric toothbrush in the medicine cabinet and my hairdryer in the basket below. I considered reworking our medicine cabinet to house the hairdryer as well, but… nope. It’s fine as-is. I don’t mind the dangling cord and if it were even one second more time-consuming to blow dry my stupid hair everyday I’d always leave the house looking like a ragamuffin.

Medicine Cabinet | Project Palermo

Aren’t Jarrod’s pills appealing? Makes me want to take one of each. Also makes me think Jarrod might have a pill problem. [Confidential to Jarrod: we need to talk.]

Extra Long Shower Curtain | Project Palermo

Aside from the paint (Benjamin Moore “Soot” color-matched by Behr), the biggest change is our new extra-long shower curtain. 98 inches. Count ’em!  (You can’t.  Just trust me.)  It’s so long and our bathroom is so small that it’s hard to photograph the full length.

Extra Long Shower Curtain | Project Palermo

The shower curtain is custom-made because we’re fancy like that.  Actually, it’s custom-made for lack of any acceptable option available for purchase.  I’ll return with details: it involves a grommet kit.  Spoiler alert: grommet kits are super fun. I want to put grommets in everything now.

Shower Curtain with Brass Grommets and Rod | Project Palermo

There was a lot of hemming and hawing and hand-wringing regarding this shower curtain rod.  Those were dark days.

Brass Shower Curtain Rod and Hanging Plants | Project Palermo

Speaking of dark: people have asked if the wall color makes the bathroom feel darker or smaller. Yes, a bit darker; no, not smaller.  It is small, but the color and the length of the shower curtain now make it feel grander, for lack of a better word. Also, those wall tiles now look lighter: virtually white, instead of the odd-off-white color they really are.  I didn’t anticipate this optical illusion – it’s the best unforeseen perk of the makeover.

Rental Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

Long-time readers of this blog might remember that I redecorated this bathroom shortly after we moved in.  In fact, it was featured on WordPress Freshly Pressed and remains my busiest blog traffic day.  I was pretty proud of it back then but think this recent go-round makes the most of the space.

Bathroom Before
Bathroom 2011

Bathroom | Project Palermo

Check out my original bathroom makeover post for details about moving and covering the medicine cabinet.

One more round of comparison photos, for fun:

Bathroom Before

Bathroom 2011

Rental Bathroom Vanity | Project Palermo

That’s it! I’ll return with a couple of posts about bathroom plants and antique hardware.

23 thoughts on “Rental Bathroom Makeover: Before, During, After

  1. the non-precious rug-blaze danger may be highest on my monthly pill-popping gasoline-bath day, marti, which you may not have thought of…

  2. It’s gorgeous! I love the plants hanging from the shower, but what do you do with them when you actually shower? Can they just stay there?

    1. Thanks, Chelsey! Yep, they just stay there. They like the humidity and they’re hung high enough that they don’t get in the way.

  3. I have been enjoying your site and I was wondering if you’ve ever thought about having a guest blogger? I’d be very interested in writing occasional design posts for you, and just linking it back to my site. Which I would post on my page and then always link back to your site as well.
    If you have interest let me know. I think it could be a lot of fun.
    Rhiannon Gillis

  4. Hi! I just found you and your blog through pinterest/apartment therapy. I haven’t had much time to look around yet, but I like what I see so far :)

    I have a question, if you don’t mind answering. I am in the process of remodeling a really small bathroom, and we have a window in our shower, it looks very similar to yours as far as I can tell. The old owners were rather old, and they had it covered with I can only describe as a waterproof-shower-curtain-liner-curtain. So with that, the wood never got wet, but we decided against keeping it for obvious reasons. We tried caulking with waterproof caulk, and then painting over it with latex semi-gloss, but the minute it got wet everything started peeling. Did you paint your window..and if so…what paint did you use? Thanks!

    1. Lindsey: thanks for checking out my site! When we moved in to our apartment there was a shower curtain liner hung over our window, so I know what you’re talking about. Our curtain didn’t really do a great job of shielding the wood frame from water, so I took it down immediately. The wood had already been painted white, so I don’t know what was used originally, but when I’ve repainted it I use Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel. I haven’t had any problems with peeling. Seems like you should start with a really good primer before painting. Good luck!

  5. Hi, love the bathroom makeover! Was wondering what you used for the hand towel loop Was it a specific type of ribbon? Thanks!!

  6. Beautiful! Impressive use of a small space.

    I’m looking forward to your post about ideal bathroom plants!

  7. This is really well done. Your bird towel hook is second-to-none! Thanks so much for sharing.

    P.S. Katie (above), I believe you can get rods like this at Home Depot. I picked up a couple about a year ago; they sell them as hanging rods for your closet. You can cut them (with a handsaw) to any size you want. Yup, cut the metal! :)

  8. Years later here and hello from Seattle rental land….but do you recall where your mirror is from? Beautiful bath and blog. Good luck on the house hunting! My dream…

  9. can you tell me more about your custom shower curtain you had made. Im interested in where you found the fabric and also if you made if yourself or had someone do it for you. Any details would be great, as I am interested in doing the same with my shower.

    1. Hi, Carly! I bought a pair of window curtains from IKEA. I paid a tailor to sew them together and hem them to my desired length, and then I installed the grommets myself with a brass grommet kit I bought on Amazon. I hope this helps!

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