10 Rental-Friendly Bathroom Updates (that don’t include painting!)

If like me, you’re living in one of the five million rental properties in the UK, you know how creative you have to be to make your house or apartment acceptable, nevermind presentable. In 2017 alone, UK tenants paid a record £50 million in rent, more than double the level of 2007, yet oftentimes renters still have to endure dated or bland interiors - ugly tiles, grubby grouting or an avocado bathroom suite straight out of 1983. How can you make your jaded rental feel a little more like your home without making drastic changes? Here are our 10 simple tips to rejuvenating your rental bathroom to help make your house your own.

Halcyon by R2 Vanity in Midnoght Grey  with Astra vinyl tiles.

Back to basics

Start with a good clean! You would not believe the difference a grout scrub will make. Grab an old toothbrush, a little bleach, and some serious elbow grease and be prepared to reveal bright white grouting to instantly refresh your bathroom tiles. Treat your taps and brassware to a descale too, by soaking a kitchen towel in lemon juice and wrapping around faucets overnight. Soak cotton balls or pads in the lemon solution and push into spaces around the faucet posts and pop the lemon half on the spout of the tap for a mirror reflection in a matter of hours. Finally, give those often overlooked bathroom corners a little attention by wiping walls, skirting boards, window panes and doors with a damp cloth and marvel at your sparkling bathroom.

From the Ground up

Turn your attention to your floors. We often underestimate the effect an unsightly floor can have on a room and tenants landed with a dated or tasteless tile floor know how it can dominate an otherwise neutral space. Once your grout is cleaned, why not look into updating your floors with tile transfers. Waterproof, durable, easy to apply and great value, tile decals are an ideal non-commital way to conceal unsightly floors and backsplashes. Recreate the look of our R2 Halcyon shoot and impart your bathroom with a worldly accent with these stunning astral tile stickers by Quadrostyle.

Get the Look

On the surface

Try a countertop refresh. A yellowing and aged laminate worktop can make even the cleanest bathroom look unkept and dated. An effective alternative is to try contact paper. This wonderfully versatile material is available in an infinite variety of colours and patterns to suit your personal style. We recommend opting for good quality marble effect contact paper to keep it subtle and recreate the look of the real thing. Be sure to be very precise with your cutting and be aware you may need to update this once a year as seams can get grubby. Simply peel off at the end of your tenancy and your landlord will be none the wiser!

Tapped out

If a descale doesn't have the desired effect, an easy way to update your rental bathroom is by swapping out your brassware. Provided you don't attempt to install a mixer tap into a two tap hole basin, this is a reasonably straightforward and temporary change that can just as easily be undone.  For an instant update, add a black or brass finish tap, such as our Hydra or Elate mixer taps or opt for a classic cross-head tap style with the Wessex basin mixer.

Switch gears

Light switch plates, handles, and doorknobs- formally the mundane elements of your room design, have come leaps and bounds in the last five years. Switch plates and other electrical hardware are now available in new contemporary designs and finishes, many with an of-the-moment industrial twist. Making ‘extraordinary items for everyday use’, have a look at brands like Buster & Punch, Dowsing & Reynolds and Swtch that stock switch plates, shelf brackets, light fittings and cords and all manner of household hardware in stunning colours, styles and finishes.

Light it up

Brighten your bathroom in a very literal sense by updating your rental home lighting. If you have vertical fixtures or sconces already, these can easily be swapped for a style more befitting your own personal taste. Industville have a wonderful collection of on-trend bathroom lighting with a traditional and industrial feel. If changing fixtures is not an option, consider removing the current shade (whether glass or fabric) and replacing with a stylish Edison bulb.

Smoke & mirrors

Adding or changing a bathroom mirror can add light and dimension to a room, all the while giving a stylistic element to plain walls and creating a centerpiece in a characterless room. The addition of a wall mirror can also help to conceal flaws such as cracks or paint stains common to rental properties. If you have the option and have an existing power outlet, an illuminated mirror in an interesting shape such as our Eminence sphere or pill mirrors lend a contemporary style to a bathroom. Our Frame collection of circular and rectangular bathroom mirrors feature an illuminated LED band and stunning frame detail in steel grey and white for a minimalist look.

Glaze over

One of the most transformative changes you can make to a rental bathroom - though you will need to seek the permission of your landlord- is to glaze basins, baths, and tiles. It will be a fair investment, so it’s best done if you plan to stay in your letting in the long term. Simply put, once a bathroom has been well cleaned, a professional glazer will spray a fine mist of opaque colour on your tiles, basins, shower enclosure, and bath at a cost of approximately £900. Que a sparkling new-look bathroom in under 24 hours.

Clean Up

From half used shampoo bottles to razors to toilet rolls, we are all aware of how quickly a bathroom can look cluttered. Investing in pretty accessories and textiles in complementary colours instantly make a bathroom look more cohesive. Why not decant some of your shampoos and lotions into glass or brown plastic containers for a clean and presentable bathroom.


Put it Away

Ugly storage really is a thing of the past, and adding some pretty shelving or a storage unit can really help to revive your bathroom space. If you choose to put up shelves, why not opt for floating shelves painted in the same colour as your walls for a clean, spacious look. For your shower enclosure, a concealed fixing system and a sleek chrome finish make our Halo collection an easy space saving solution. Alternatively, a decorative shelf bracket in matte black or brass can transform a storage solution into a style statement. Finally, a cleverly placed shelf can also help to disguise and make use of an unsightly bathroom radiator.

Why not share your bathroom ideas and inspirational interiors via @myroperrhodes on our Instagram page? 

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Kate Hannah O'Brien