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How to Decorate a Bathroom

Whether you have one bathroom or several throughout the house, small decorative accents can make a huge difference in the look and feeling of your space. Many bathrooms are small enough to use bold themes and bright colors without being overwhelming. With the right decor, you can turn any powder room from simple to spa chic in a matter of hours. Try out these tips when decorating your bathroom.

Choose a Bathroom Theme

Before you begin planning the decorative accents that you're going to add to your bathroom, you'll want to choose a design that will pull all the pieces together. Consider these classic bathroom theme ideas to get started.

  • Under the sea - Bright blue tones and colorful fish can create a magical water world in your bathroom.
  • Sand and seashells - Instead of the bold hues of an under the sea theme, consider browns, tans and pastels for a calming spa-like bathroom.
  • Sports - Choose your favorite football, basketball or baseball team, and go to town with fanatic decor.
  • Characters - If you love princesses, superheroes or other beloved characters, consider creating a bathroom theme around them. These themes are ideal for kids' bathrooms
  • Floral - Choose a color scheme or favorite flower to adorn your bathroom with beautiful blooms and greenery.

Paint vs. Wallpaper

Making the decision to use paint or wallpaper is a personal choice that also depends on your bathroom theme, or how frequently you intend to update your bathroom.

  • Wall paint - Bold hues are easy to change if you redecorate often. On the other hand, neutral tones match decorative accents, even when you modify the theme.
  • Wallpaper - Wallpaper creates a patterned addition to your bathroom that can last for years. Warm water and mild detergent makes many types of wallpaper easy to clean. Remember to check the manufacturer's recommendation before cleaning.
  • Combination of paint and paper - Place a paper border along the top edge of a painted wall. Depending on the materials, borders can be easy to remove with the right tools.


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Wall Decor

Regardless of your bathroom's size, you should have space for one or two pieces that work within your theme.

  • Pictures - Large-framed paintings or photographs set the tone of your motif, but make sure they're behind glass to protect the images from humidity created by the shower or bath.
  • Mirror - A decorative mirror over the sink can give your bathroom a custom look.
  • Decals - Themed wall decals can add personality to this space. They're easy to stick on the wall and can be removed at any time.
  • Backsplash - From mosaic to ceramic tiles, a backsplash behind the sink creates an extra touch of style in your space.


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Shower Curtain

If the bathroom you're decorating has a shower or bathtub, you'll want to add a decorative shower curtain that matches your chosen motif.

  • Bold design - A patterned or themed shower curtain can be the focal point of your bathroom decor. In a small space, this comes in handy. When decorating a children's bathroom, choose a curtain with character prints and flashy colors that your little ones will love.
  • Traditional design - A simple, solid-colored curtain is always a solid choice. This option allows you to showcase the art or other wall decor in the bathroom.
  • Length - Make sure the length meets your needs. Some prefer a curtain that hangs down to the floor while others prefer a shorter one that provides just enough coverage.
  • Liners - If you don't want water getting onto the bathroom floor, consider adding a shower liner for extra protection.

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Ornamental towels help set the stage for your decorative style. While there are decorative bath towels available to match your shower curtain, you may also prefer to piece together individual items that complement each other.

  • Bath towels - Having decorative bath towels on towel racks can bring your theme together. Consider sizes and materials that fit your household's needs.
  • Hand towels - Hang matching hand towels on towel racks for a cohesive look.
  • Fingertip towels - Placing fingertip towels beside the sink not only is convenient for guests, but it also helps bring out the theme of your bathroom.
  • Disposable towels - Disposable hand towels are also available in a variety of styles and designs.

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Floor Mats and Toilet Covers

Floor mats protect the floor and help keep you safe from slipping on wet tile. You can find themed or solid color mats in a variety of materials to fit any bathroom style.

  • Bath mat - A washable bath mat provides a slip-resistant space to step when you get out of the tub.
  • Floor mat - If you choose a floor mat that wraps around the base of your toilet, it will help keep your bathroom floor tidy.
  • Toilet cover - Having a matching toilet cover with your mat can add a splash of color to your powder room.


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Bath Vanity Accessories

Once you've chosen your shower curtain, towels and floor mats, you'll need matching bath vanity accessories.

  • Soap dispenser - You can make your bathroom stylish and functional with a decorative soap dish or dispenser.
  • Toothbrusher holder - A matching toothbrush holder is only necessary in the bathroom you use to get ready each day.
  • Stylish cup - A small cup that complements the other accessories is ideal for a quick drink before bed.
  • Hand towels - Protect fingertip towels or disposable hand towels from a wet sink by using a durable container.
  • Small storage container - Use another storage container to keep cotton swabs, cotton balls or other toiletries nearby.
  • Facial tissues - A tissue box cover will ensure a box of tissues even fits your bathroom theme.
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Waste Bin and Hamper

Keep your bathroom clean and tidy with convenient receptacles. You can find stylish models that fit your motif or classic designs that will work in any space.

  • Hamper - Store dirty towels in a hamper that fits your theme. Aside from a traditional wicker or bag design, consider one with a metal finish that can withstand daily use.
  • Waste basket - Set a small bath wastebasket beside the sink for used tissues, cotton swabs and other bathroom waste. You can choose a small, simple bin or an elaborate container with a lid. 

Finishing Touches

Once you've finished all the major components, complete your bathroom setup with a few elegant or fun decorative accents.

  • If you have a tropical or outdoor theme in your space, use a large vase or hurricane jar to display seashells, pine cones or colorful stones.
  • Flowers can add an extra pop to your bathroom. Place a bud vase on the vanity with silk or fresh-cut flowers.
  • Place figurines or other knick-knacks on shelves to fit your sports or characters themes.