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Sprucing Up Our Bathroom on a Budget

Note: This post is sponsored by At Home, but all opinions are my own. Read our disclosure policy here.

Refreshing Our Bathroom on a Budget

Have a space in your home that could use a refresh but don’t have a big budget to do so? I thought it would be fun to show you how I spruced up our upstairs bathroom — in just minutes and on a small budget!

Our upstairs bathroom has been a rather neglected room in our house ever since we moved in about two years ago. It was the bathroom that ended up getting all the rejects — the random towels, the red rug that was castoff from another bathroom, and a white shower curtain that we didn’t need in any other bathroom.

While this bathroom is primarily Kathrynne and Silas’ bathroom, it’s also often used by overnight guests who stay in Kathrynne’s room or by the kids’ friends or adults when we host groups and they are upstairs in our Bonus Room.

Despite it usually having quite a bit of foot traffic, I just hadn’t prioritized doing anything with it. So when At Home contacted me and asked me if I could write a post on refreshing a bedroom or bathroom on a budget, I knew exactly which space I should choose!

At Home’s Bed & Bath Event & Clearance Specials

By the way, At Home is currently running a huge Bed and Bath sale. If you’ve not been into this store before, it is a goldmine of deals.

Not only do they have weekly and monthly specials, but they also have incredible clearance deals. (For instance, right now, our store had over three full aisles’ worth of Christmas decor that was marked down 75% off!!)

One of my favorite things that At Home offers is their weekly Flash Finds. These are often deeply discounted deals for the week and are usually advertised right at the front of the store.

They have so many items that are available as part of the Bed and Bath Event — and many of them are under $30!

Jesse came with me to shop today. Want to know a true confession? We only do fancy restaurant date nights about 1-2 times per year (and usually with gift cards that our parents have given to us for birthdays or Christmas!).

However, we love going on frugal dates where we go grocery shopping and to other stores looking for deals!

I ended up deciding to keep it simple and get new towels, hand towels, and wash cloths. Plus, a rug and shower curtain set.

Before & After Pictures

I’m a little embarrassed to show you these pictures! Since I’m all about keeping it real, here’s the before of the bathroom. Like I said, it was badly neglected!

Speaking of keeping it real, notice that there aren’t any towels on the towel rack? Well, when I went to take the before pictures, the towel rack was completely empty! (I promise that my kids do actually take showers! ;))

Usually, the towel rack has some hodge podge of random towels — and they never match! Again, because this poor bathroom has just always gotten the leftovers.

Just 15 minutes and a few tiny changes later, the bathroom looks so much more inviting.

(And yes, the shower curtain probably needs to be ironed. However, there are two problems. 1) I don’t have an iron. 2) I figured that the steam from the shower would get those wrinkles out quickly!)

P.S. I’m torn on keeping the smaller rug in front of the toilet. Does it look weird there? I can’t decide. I thought about moving it to in front of the sink area instead. Also, I’d love suggestions for other simple ways to spruce up this bathroom.

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  • Sara says:

    If you sign up for their email club you get a 10% off coupon and I just got a 40% off one item coupon for my birthday!

    As far as the rug, I think one slightly larger rug in front of the shower instead of the two small ones would look better. The bathroom looks a decent size and the rugs just look a little too small.

    • Ha! Well, I’m not going to get anything different now that I’ve already paid for these, but thanks for the input! 😉 I’m not a decorator and don’t worry too much about following the “decorating rules” when it comes to sizes of rugs — or, well, pretty much anything else.

      I also wanted to stick with a small budget and stick with things that were part of the sale, so that’s why I went with what I did! I was mostly just wondering if the rug looks out of place in front of the toilet or not.

      And thanks for the tip on the 40% off on your birthday + the email club!

      • Sara says:

        It still looks very nice, the colors are pretty. We have a shower curtain from there too. They have a great selection.

      • Marie says:

        Your restroom looks very inviting😊I would definitely put the rug from the toilet by the sink being a mother of two boys.

        You mentioned Silas uses the bathroom, boys generally aren’t as careful when going to the restroom, if you know what I mean.

        I’m a big fan too of not overdoing the decor, since you’ve already met your budget I’d suggest looking around the house for a wall hanging or two that isn’t being used and place one by the toilet and another over the towel rack to complete your look.

        But in all honesty it looks great as is😊

  • Melody says:

    I like your new shower curtain!
    I don’t care for a bath mat in front of the toilet. Yuck. But what about moving it in front of the sink?
    If you want to add a little more to the space, one or two pictures would be nice. In my kids bathroom I have a “wash, brush, floss, and don’t forget to flush” sign (I printed it out in colors to match the bathroom). In our main floor bathroom I have a couple of framed photographs (of architecture- not us!) from our trip to Italy. A few framed photos of flowers from one of your trips might be nice in your bathroom.

    • That’s what I was debating — whether to keep it in front of the toilet or move it to the sink area. And I’m torn on that.

      Jesse said we should get some pictures for the walls. But then that would mean I’d have to figure out how to hang them or to see if I can get a friend to come hang them for me (I’ve never, ever hung one photo on any wall of any home we’ve ever lived in. Can you believe that?? Yes, I know, I probably shouldn’t even admit that! But in case you wonder why our walls are so bare, that’s why! :))

      • Heather says:

        I prefer bath mats in front of the sink instead of the toilet.

        I agree with the artwork on the walls though. How about have your kids take photos or draw artwork and let them decide where and how to hang it?

        • NanaMama says:

          I have a friend with black and white photos of her grandkids (as wee people) in the bathroom. Inexpensive and you could paint various frames navy blue.

      • Alexis says:

        Beware of pictures in a bathroom. The high humidity that comes from multiple showers a day discolored the pictures we had in our bathroom and the frames swelled and eventually we took them out. So if you feel like having picture just don’t soend a ton of money on them! Or make sure your ventilation fan works!! Just thought I would warn you 🙂

      • Sarah says:

        You need to get some command strips! I don’t think I’ve used a nail to hang a picture in years. They remove easily, stick well and allow you to hang something without committing!

      • Jodi W says:

        Two words for hanging artwork anywhere: Command Strips. Seriously. No holes in the walls. You just put it up where you want it (use a level to get it straight), push on it for 30 seconds and you’re done. If you want to move it later, it’s easy peasy to take down and put elsewhere. I never use nails any more. Command Strips are the answer!

      • Michele says:

        I also struggled with hanging (relatively small – maybe up to 11″ x 14″) pictures until I started using the velcro Command strips to hang them. It makes them easy to hang, easy to move, and leaves no holes in your walls. As a bonus, my pictures are not falling off the walls like lots of other things now that we are getting earthquakes here in Kansas. Can’t say the same for some that were hung by an “expert” with picture hangers!

      • Ashley says:

        Use the Velcro command strips for hanging pictures! Very forgiving (repositionable). Wonderful for a gallery wall or just regular pics. Make sure to get the right weight grade for the pic. You can do it! Lol

    • Tanya says:

      I was just going to suggest that!! I agree no rug by the toilet. Especially if you have boys!!

    • Nicole says:

      I never hung anything on walls for the longest time – but you can hang small light weight canvases on thumb tacks! I just eyeball it, haha, nothing scientific! Love the addition of color in the room – nice work! 😊

    • Mireille says:

      It looks really nice. I would move the little ribbon front of the sink, but that is it. You can always find some cheap prints to put up at some point. Love the shower curtain.

  • Jen says:

    I know it’s a small room, but I still think some artwork on the walls makes it feel more homey and lived-in. Love the teal/aqua color scheme, it’s my favorite!

  • Ramona N says:

    I would move the rug from in front of the toilet to in front of the sink. And some type of whimsical bathroom artwork would be a finishing touch. Shop around, even in thrift stores for that.

  • Kimberly says:

    I would nix the rug by the sink. The shower curtain is beautiful! We just remodeled one of our bathrooms, and something that really gave the room that little something extra, was a few fake plants. Target has really cute ones. Unfortunately, I have the opposite of a green thumb, so real plants are out of the question for us 🙂

    • Lana says:

      I have an encouraging ‘words’ canvas in our master bath. It starts with ENJOY TODAY. It was cheap enough to hat I wasn’t worried about the humidity but it has held up for three years and still looks great. It makes me happy every morning.

    • M says:

      Complete agreement about the yuck factor with a rug by the toilet!
      I would add another towel bar so there’s room to hang more towels when extra people are there.
      Also in agreement with some artwork. Put your daughter in charge!
      It’s a great change so far.

    • I don’t have much of a green thumb, either… though I have managed to keep succulents alive for over 7 months (I think??) which is a massive victory for me!

  • Barbara says:

    You can put the shower curtain in the dryer with a damp towel, and a lot of the wrinkles will disappear.

  • LucI says:

    Decorating and home maintenance are a constant “work in progress.” I love the change a few items made to bring the room together. Kudos!

    • dottie' Wolfe says:

      The bathroom looks nice! I personally dont like a rug in front of the toilet. I like to clean the toilet and floor around it quite often since I have 5 males living in the house and alot more visiting . I was constantly moving the rug and washing it from people who miss. Then the rug falls apart or doesnt match anymore because it is washed more frequently then the other. So, I opt for putting it in front of the sink or returning it. Please keep in mind that if you value your bathroom floor, and its vinyl,
      you have to let it breath once in a while from the rubber on the back of the rugs or your floor while turn yellow where the are placed.
      Cant wait to see your next project.

  • Deb says:

    You didn’t get a matching toilet seat cover! Or a crocheted cover for the extra toilet paper. Those would really add the perfect finishing touch!


    A rug in front of the toilet will have to be washed A LOT, then it will fade and not match the other one. For that reason, I would move it to the sink. We only have one rug in each of our bathrooms though. I don’t really care about my bathrooms. We have “cultured marble” and wallpaper, but that would be a HUGE remodel, so it is still there and like I always say, the “ugly stuff lasts forever,” the wallpaper is in great condition and the “marble” is bulletproof!

  • Sally says:

    If you do not want to hang a picture. A flower wreath or fabric wall hanging would look great. Big or small depending on which wall. Even a wooden plaque with a cute saying.

  • Linda DuBay says:

    Best way to hang is with a product called Monkey Hooks. That’s all I use and I am not handy and even our contractor said he uses them. Does virtually no damage and sooooooo easy. If I can do it, anyone can.

  • D says:

    Wow. A little bit goes a long way! It looks so much better. My husband loves a mat in front of the sink to stand on. I think that would be better than in front of the toilet, although there is no pic of the sink. Great job!

  • Heather S. says:

    Looks pretty!
    I say keep the rug in front of the toilet(nice for feet when tile is cold!) and maybe get one more rug for in front of the sink to complete the look! 😉
    Also, if you like wreaths a real simple one could work over the towel rack…Maybe something that pulls some of the colors from your shower curtain …Target and Pier One always a have nice selection!
    Have fun decorating!

  • Janice says:

    Amen to what Deb said about the rug needing to be washed a lot. Also, it’s nice to stand on something soft while you do your hair and makeup in the mirror. 🙂

  • September says:

    The bath mat in front of the toilet is gross… we bought a house once that had a carpeted bathroom and you don’t even want to know what we found when we pulled it up. Toilets should be surrounded by only hard surfaces that can be bleached frequently.

  • Teresa L Williams says:

    Personally, I like a mat in front of the toilet. I hate cold tiles on my toes. I wash my mats all at the same time, and they stay the same shade as each other.

  • Tosha Kelly says:

    What is the quality of their towels? How do they hold up wash after wash? We are in the midst of a kid’s bathroom complete remodel (hubby took it down to studs!), and I’m almost ready to start buying for when the boys can move back in. I need towels that can withstand the abuse of a teen boy for several years.

    • Deb says:

      I buy towels at Sam’s. $7 for nice big towels and they always have them so if you need to replace one, it is really easy. Not a huge choice of colors is the only drawback. I get our sheets there too.

  • Lea says:

    I love your new shower curtain!

    We have a rug in front of the toilet and have no issues (but we are a ‘closed lid toilet’ family) but we also wash the bath rugs regularly. Never had problems with fading.

    I’m with the other reader who said one larger rug would look better but if you’re not so concerned about that, I’d go with where you want warmer feet!

    I’ve never heard of At Home before! Thanks for sharing,

  • Jennifer says:

    I love the way it turned out! That shower curtain is gorgeous! I agree it would look more finished with some art on the walls, butI can understand your reluctance because I also feel very inadequate when it comes to hanging pictures. Maybe you could do a vinyl decal? I’ve seen some really pretty ones on Etsy and Amazon. But, I don’t know if the humidity would be an issue :/

  • Sarah says:

    That is cool that the shower curtain and the mats came in a coordinated kit. Makes it so simple. And I love the colors.

    We’ve switched to hotel style bathmats so that they can easily be washed each week, but it helps we don’t have a bunch of people showering every day.

  • Priscilla says:

    I would not put a rug in front of the toilet. Since boys need to aim, you never know which direction pee will fall. 😉

  • Donna says:

    In lieu of art on the walls, this is what we did instead:
    used an old iron wine rack (picked it up for $1 at a garage sale) and re-used a piece of wood (painted it a blue color so it matched with the towels).

    I actually put toilet paper in mine instead of towels but it could potentially hold towels, too. My sister actually repurposed Ikea’s spice rack for her bathroom:

    She said that if you have a narrow space, you can put it above the toilet or put two next to each other to make a wider shelf. She also puts one above the toilet paper roll and on there, she has baby wipes, poo-pouri

    • Holli says:

      Your bathroom looks great! If you are reluctant to put up pictures, could you buy a shorter narrow bookcase or dresser and put some decorative pictures on top or inside the bookcase on an clear easel type of stand (Hallmark uses a lot of these in their displays, and our store lets you buy them). Another idea is that Wall Words and Etsy sell lots of vinyl decals that would be easy to put up. Also, If you buy a stud finder, you could find the studs and puts nails there to hang a narrow picture ledge shelf, where you could constantly change the artwork, and not have to worry about putting lots of additional holes in the walls.

    • Thank you so much for these suggestions!

  • Kc says:

    Looks great but I agree, no rug in front of the toilet

  • Amy says:

    No rug in front of the toilet and the rug in front of the shower is too small. The proportion is wrong so it looks strange.
    I also like to put decorative towels on the rack, and my kids put their bath towels on hooks. It helps them dry quicker too and doesn’t looks as messy.

    • Ha! Thanks for your honesty! I wasn’t asking about that and I don’t think it looks strange at all… but that’s just me! And that’s why I don’t have a home decor blog! 😉

      • Amy says:

        My rule is always go bigger than you think you need- wall pictures, mirrors, rugs, etc. It fills empty space better.
        Kids bathrooms are where I go all out I my house, because it’s mostly a private space.
        My 12 year old son has burnt orange walls in his bathroom with navy accents in a nautical theme with pictures I have taken from our travels. My daughters have a bright yellow bathroom and I bought some of the wall decor from At Home!

        • It sounds like you and I are probably very different. I like empty/open spaces and don’t like all the space to be filled. In fact, if all the space is filled (or most is filled), it feels very crowded/chaotic/busy to me. I’ve found that I function so much better in a home where there is a lot of breathing room. I love that we are all different and our homes can reflect that!

          • Amy says:

            When I was trying to fall asleep last night, I counted in my head how many pictures/art we have on the wall and it’s over 60 on our house! It sounds like a lot but it’s really just 2-3 items per room plus a gallery wall in our hallway. We do have 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. I love photography and have some photos I have taken and a lot of professional photos of our 3 kids. I don’t like clutter but like things “decorated”, my husband likes things on the walls even more than me

  • Letty says:

    I think your “before” pictures were just fine because your bathroom was clean and in good condition! You have a very nice house. I do love your new shower curtain! It is very pretty!

    I like shopping for small wall hangings at At Home, TJ Maxx, Ross, and even Hobby Lobby. Hobby Lobby often has 50% off sales for wall decor.

    Personally, I like putting a rug in front of the sink, the shower, and the toilet. I get cold feet too easy! However since it is your bathroom you get to do whatever works for you!

  • Melissa says:

    I love the update. If it were my bathroom I’d give myself a small $10 or less budget and go to Dollar Tree and find some nice wall art or small mirrors and maybe create a little vase decor item for the counter or a small basket to put wash clothes in. The sky’s the limit for creativity at the DT

  • Susan says:

    Nice redo! I would definitely move the rug away from the toilet as so many others have said. Too many germs by toilets!!!

  • Mary says:

    Love the teal and the shower curtain is beautiful! How about some free bathroom printables in some thrift store or dollar store frames hung with command hooks? I’ve used these printables in My laundry room and they’re great!


  • Kathleen Dunton says:

    I think it looks great!! I can’t wait to decorate my new home when we find one. I will be taking all the things I have learned from you on being thrifty when I get to start on that journey. As far as the rugs, I have raised 3 boys, none of them are sharp shooters. 😉 . Taking that into consideration, if it were me, I would move the rug to the sink area. Love what you do, and am thankful for your calling!!

  • Susan says:

    I still can’t get over the fact that “Money Saving Mom” does not own an iron! What is that even like???

    • We haven’t owned one for quite some time, actually! 🙂 We do have a steamer that I occasionally use… and then we just make sure to buy clothes that don’t need to be ironed and we hang things up as soon as they come out of the dryer!

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