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Nothing beats relaxing in a large bathtub with candles, wine and a good book. While it’s a scene most apartment dwellers only see in the movies, many renters aspire to create a similar experience in their own bathrooms.

Unfortunately, most apartments bathrooms aren’t exactly the lavish quarters you see in Architectural Digest. They’re generally meant to be functional and lack features that make them stand out.

But even if you’re working with a relatively blank (and small) canvas, there are still plenty of ways you can make an apartment bathroom feel luxurious without spending luxury prices. While you might not be installing marble flooring or a jetted bathtub, small changes can make a large impact on your bathroom’s comfort and design.

We’ve put together a list of tips and inexpensive ways to personalize and make your apartment bathroom feel like a relaxing sanctuary, no matter what its size.

How To Make Your Bathroom Feel More Luxe

  1. Clean your bathroom with green, all-natural products. There’s nothing luxurious about the smell of bleach or chemicals. Make your bathroom feel more homey and look out for your health by cleaning with essential oils. Not only can essential oils disinfect your bathroom, they smell great and can provide mental benefits as well. Mix orange essential oil with vinegar for an uplifting, clean scent. This article explains how to make your own natural bathroom cleaner and which essential oils work best for different purposes. Don’t want to go the DIY route? Method and Seventh Generation make great non-toxic cleaning products with essential oils that offer many of the same benefits. 
    natural cleaning products
    Cleaning your apartment with all-natural products is better for your health and will make your apartment smell much better than using chemicals. [Image: Sherry Strong]
  2. Keep the bathroom smelling fresh with natural scents. On the topic of essential oils, skip the toxic plug-ins and aerosol sprays and get a diffuser. It can be something as simple as this reed diffuser or something that plugs in and diffuses essential oils, like this chic light-up diffuser. Diffusers can help mask offensive smells while providing aromatherapy benefits and purifying the air. Throw some epsom salts in your bathtub and diffuse lavender or eucalyptus essential oil for a calming aromatherapy experience that will help you relax and unwind after a long day.
    diffuser amazon aromatherapy
    A diffuser can make your bathroom smell amazing and provide aromatherapy benefits. [Image: Amazon]
  3. Paint the walls (check with management first). If management allows it, get rid of the drab yellows and terrible taupes. This will make a huge difference in making your bathroom feel bigger, more comfortable and more elegant. Choose clean neutrals like gray to add sophistication, or use a soft blue tone to brighten up the space. This post features 23 paint colors that interior designs recommend for small bathrooms.
    bathroom paint colors
    From bright blues to cool neutrals, a new paint color can transform your bathroom and make it much more calming and comfortable. [Image: Elle Decor]
  4. Display your Instagrammable bath products on your vanity or shelves. Cute, colorful product packaging can go a long way in brightening up your bathroom. Use mason jars to organize small bathroom items like hair ties, pins, cotton swabs and even toothbrushes for a clean Pinterest-worthy look. Mason jars can even be used to hold hand soap or dispense tissues, and they can be mounted if you’re short on space. The possibilities are endless — check out some of these creative ideas for using mason jars in your bathroom.
    mason jar uses bathroom
    Mason jars have endless uses in a bathroom, providing a stylish way to store toiletries and other items. [Image: One Good Thing]
  5. Replace your old light fixture. A dingy, dirty, generic light fixture screams anything but luxury. There are plenty of inexpensive yet trendy light fixtures that will go a long way in making your apartment more cozy. Not only will this greatly improve the aesthetic of your small bathroom, it should also brighten things up so you can more easily see while grooming and getting ready. Consider this trendy bronze wall sconce, cool industrial lighting or something simple, gold and stylish.
    bronze wall sconce bathroom
    A trendy light fixture can add much-needed light and style to an apartment bathroom. [Image: Amazon]
  6. Consider a smart dimmable light system like Philips Hue. This can make your bathroom feel more cozy, and it’s easier to relax in an evening bath if bright lights aren’t in your eyes. Plus, if you wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, you can adjust the brightness right from your phone and avoid being jarred awake by a bright light. For a fun change, consider Hue’s colored lights. Offering over 16 million colors, these colorful bulbs can help turn your bathroom into a warm oasis.
    bathroom colored lighbulbs
    Colored lightbulbs are a great way to add color and ambiance to your bathroom. [Image: Kiplinger’s]
  7. Add plants. As we’ve written before, houseplants make every room better and offer a multitude of health benefits. And if there’s any room where you want to add color and freshen up the air, it’s the bathroom. Plants can also help calm you down and improve your mood, helping to create a spa-like experience. Certain plants do better than others in humid, dimly lit bathrooms, so consider plants that survive well in these conditions like aloe vera, spider plants and orchids. This article outlines other plants that do well in bathrooms and explains what to consider when choosing plants for your bathroom.
    Bathroom fern by sink
    Plants have enormous health benefits and purify the air, making them perfect for brightening up a bathroom. [Image: The Spruce]
  8. Get a new showerhead. Be sure to check with your apartment management before messing around with plumbing, but if you’ve got the go-ahead, you can find a shower head that offers a relaxing, massage like experience without spending a ton of money. Many modern showerheads offer features like adjustable streams and even water filtering for a truly deluxe experience. This bronze showerhead offers five settings and adds a touch of sophistication to your shower.
    brass shower head
    A new shower head, especially a rainfall one, can help make your ordinary shower feel like a high-end spa. [Image: The Home Depot]
  9. Add more mirrors. Mirrors make any room feel bigger and more airy. Consider an over-the-door mirror or an accent mirror for one of the walls to help the room feel less stuffy. A small, sleek makeup mirror for the vanity can also make your space feel more elegant and decadent.
    bathroom door mirror
    An over-the-door mirror can make your bathroom feel much larger. [Image: Amazon]
  10. Hang photos or artwork. Hanging photos, colorful artwork or funny sayings can brighten up the room and make it feel more welcoming to guests. We love these unique bathroom wall art ideas from Etsy.
    bathroom wall decor
    Wall décor can add life to your bathroom and make it feel more homey. [Image: Etsy]
  11. Use a shower curtain to add color and visual interest. Your shower curtain doesn’t need to make a huge statement, but it should be clean-looking and add some texture. This geometric shower curtain from CB2 fits the bill, as does this curtain from West Elm.
    shower curtain geometric
    A bright shower curtain can add texture and color to a generic apartment bathroom. [Image: CB2]
  12. Add some warmth with your bathroom rug. A rug will make the bathroom floor feel more cozy than a typical flat mat and can add some much-needed color and texture. Use your rug to add a touch of bright color to a drab bathroom, or keep it classy and neutral with this soft diamond rug.
    textured bath rug
    A stylish bath rug can add texture to your bathroom while making it feel more cozy. [Image: West Elm]
  13. Accessories are key. From a fancy toilet paper holder and soap dish to upscale light switchplates, an elegant bath caddy and even a stylish trash can, the small details can make all of the difference when decorating an apartment bathroom. None of these needs to be very expensive, but choosing something that sets your space apart can help elevate your bathroom and transform it into a place where you can relax and unwind.
    trendy bathroom trash can
    Even a trendy trash bin can go a long way in making your apartment feel luxurious. [Image: CB2]

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