DIY Affordable Rental-Friendly Bathroom Makeover

Before & After our bathroom upgrades

Bathrooms are often the most neglected rooms in rentals, and can be downright grimy and uncomfortable. But with so many affordable and transformative rental friendly solutions like contact paper, peel and stick vinyl flooring, removable wallpaper, and more on the market, there's no reason you can't give your rental bathroom an overhaul and make it feel like home!

We recently gave our bathroom a facelift and will be sharing all of the rental-friendly upgrades we made as well as providing some additional design tips and inspiration.

Before beginning any ambitious DIY projects in your bathroom, be sure to hold on to anything you change or upgrade and store it so you can replace it when you move out and get your security deposit back!

The Most Transformative Upgrades

Peel & Stick Vinyl Floor Tiles - $40

While there wasn't anything wrong with our tile, we wanted something more bright and modern to liven up the space, especially because we don't have any windows or natural light in our bathroom. While we decided to go with these peel & stick vinyl tiles from FloorPops, there are a multitude of temporary floor options such as click-in faux wood flooring, contact paper or moisture-friendly area rugs to give your old floor a makeover.

For only $40, the tiles completely transformed our bathroom from "blah" into a bright and modern oasis. Installation took around an hour and was mostly headache free, besides a few tricky areas like around the base of the toilet. While we can't recommend it enough, especially in rentals with extremely dated and unpleasant floors, it's important to note that some peel & stick tiles can cause damage or leave behind residue, so be sure to exercise caution and / or consult with your landlord about any upgrades. One way to circumvent any possible damage would be to use removable 3M adhesives rather than peeling off the paper on the back of the tiles or going with a click-in flooring option that doesn't rely on adhesives.

Peel & Stick Subway Tile Backsplash - $60

After adding this peel & stick subway tile backsplash to our kitchen, we decided it'd be perfect for dressing up our bathroom. Removable wallpapers are also a great way to add some fun patterns or pops of color to your bathroom if you can't paint the walls in your rental (or don't want to go through the hassle). Exercise caution with peel & stick backsplashes as well, as they can take paint off the wall. Alternative 3M adhesives can be used here as well to avoid any possible damage!

Walnut Wall Shelves - $40

The space above the toilet is a great place to add storage or a piece of art. While over the toilet shelving units are popular, we thought one would cramp the space and make the bathroom feel smaller. Instead, we opted for these walnut wall shelves from Target and decorated them with plants, pictures and bathroom accessories.

Bamboo Towel Tower - $65

Because apartments can be tight and often lack storage, adding a towel tower is an efficient way to maximize your space. We styled ours with a trailing plant, added a storage basket for toilet paper and concealed toiletries in the lower cabinet.

Rainfall Shower Head - $40

A nice shower head goes a long way. We removed ours and updated it with this combination rain shower head in just a few minutes - no tools required!

Other Ideas

You can easily give your vanity and counter a complete makeover with contact paper. Faux wood contact paper is perfect for updating your outdated orange-y oak colored vanity and bringing it into the 21st century. You can also switch out the hardware for something more modern and give the counters a facelift with marble contact paper. Lastly, if your mirror is removable, switch it out for something more stylish!

Small Upgrades, Big Impact

There are tons of small ways to spruce up your bathroom in addition to the larger DIY projects and purchases above.

-Bath mat or rug

-Plants & greenery

-Decorative wastebaskets

-Soap dispenser

-Shower curtain

-Hamper for towels

-Towel warmer


-Vanity knobs

-Light bulbs and light fixture

-Towel rack / toilet paper holder

Replacing or purchasing any of the above items are also fantastic ways to add some style to your space without breaking the bank. We're especially huge fans of adding plants & greenery to just about every space imaginable. Snake plants, ZZ plants, pothos and many others can tolerate low-light conditions and are perfect additions to bathrooms with less than ideal lighting situations. If you have a brown-thumb, there are plenty of amazing faux plant options as well! Shower curtains are also an inexpensive way to give your room an entirely new look and help tie everything together.

Have you updated your bathroom recently? Have any questions about our bathroom upgrades? Share with us below!

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