Easy Bathroom Accessories

Utilitarian spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms are always easier to accessorize than living/bedroom areas, simply because you’re aiming for function.  But function doesn’t have to equal ugly.  To finish off bathrooms, I select items that serve a purpose, are still pleasing to the eye, but aren’t always found in the bath section.  If you’re looking to add character, here are my favorite additions.

  • Cute towels and hooks:  Go crazy and pick a fun pattern and/or color because towels are so easy to swap out.  Near the shower, single label hooks hold peppy striped Turkish towels for a dose of fun.
  • basement-bathroom-finished-from-door-straightFramed mirrors:  I always ditch the builder standard plate-glass mirror in favor of a framed one.  Pretty mirrors are everywhere, so don’t settle for boring!  Our main bathroom sports a vintage campaign style mirror that came with a dresser set.


Our master bath has a unique round metal framed mirror to offset the rigid lines throughout the room.


Another vintage wooden mirror, that came with our bedroom dresser, is a welcome warm addition to the cool neutrals of the basement bathroom.


Also, to get great, flattering lighting, use sconces instead of overhead lights.  Fewer shadows are cast because the sconces light from each side.

  • Add vertical storage shelves:  Short on floor space?  Go up!  In our main bathroom, we removed a wide vanity to add a smaller vanity plus a floor to ceiling shelf stack.  At 16 inches wide, it doesn’t eat up much of our floor plan, but does offer a great deal of storage.

Main Bathroom Shelving

By widening the basement shower, we narrowed the space between it and the door.  Rather than letting that space go to waste, four floating shelves fill the void, putting it to good use.


  • Glass storage:  Especially in bathrooms that guests often use, I like keeping essentials in plain sight.  No one wants to rummage through cabinets to find cotton balls or soap.  Cylindrical jars keep band aids, soap, cotton balls and cotton swabs handy on a shelf in the main bathroom.

Store Toiletries in Sight

A triple stacked glass container on our master bathroom counter is used daily.

Master Bathroom Toilet

Four black lidded canisters fill a basement bathroom shelf, but keep those items out of limited drawer space.


  • Art, preferably without eyes:  Almost anything goes here, but I always feel strange adding art with eyes.  With moisture concerns, I avoid using anything too expensive or precious.  Vintage, almost ugly oil paintings are great.


Or you can think outside the box and hang something different, like vintage arrows.

Cedar-Tub-Shelf-in-BathroomSimple Instagram photos add a bit of color, too.


Near the toilet, an added outlet (on the same circuit as a GFI outlet, so it’s grounded) is a great spot for a little night light, or perhaps a fancy heated toilet seat.

For easy clean up, I prefer relatively clutterless counters.  Even so, I love to add something pretty, like a small plant or picture frame along with a drinking glass and soap.



  • Trays:  To keep drawers and cabinets free for toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc., I corral toilet paper in a wooden tray or basket.

House-Tour-Four-Years-In-Main-Bath-VanityAgain, keeping necessities in sight avoids awkward searching or running out.


  • Upgrade shampoo, conditioner, and soap bottles:  I know my OCD is showing here, but I really love how sleek and fancy real soap pumps make a space feel.


Also handy when you shop at Costco and don’t want to keep a giant bottle in the shower.


  • Extra towels:  Have extra space?  Free up room in the linen closet by keeping towels in the bathroom.  A great accessory, but guests can easily help themselves.


Of course stylish garbage cans and shower curtains never hurt.

Pressed Baby Clothes = Laundry Art

Our recently remodeled laundry room is almost a square, with cabinets on either side of the door.  This arrangement left a blank wall directly ahead, desperately screaming for something colorful.


I briefly hung a custom flag there, but decided it worked better in the hall, so the wall was empty again.


While getting the Halloween decorations out of our crawl space storage, I also rummaged through bins of the boys’ baby clothes.  I pulled out the baby blue two piece outfit they both came home from the hospital in and another favorite I forced them to wear.  I’m not really one for theme-y decor, but the tiny clothes were far too cute to continue to hide away in storage.  Fortunately, baby clothes are small and fit into a couple of 16 by 20 inch frames I had on hand.


After ironing the clothes flat, I carefully laid the clothes face down on the glass.  For a bit more color, I backed the clothes with a piece of green mat board before securing the bulging backs in place.


They’re certainly not perfect, but I adore the little details.


Itty bitty pockets!  Mini arms that can’t reach the head!


As usual, I’ve fallen victim to the ‘if you give a mouse a cookie’ syndrome, and am planning more art.  Near the garage door, I snagged a 20 by 30 inch American Bison screen print from Wolf Jaw Press.


A frame is still to come.  Oddly enough, the cello sleeve and tape aren’t cutting it, but he sure is a handsome fella.


In the guest room, I’m still on the hunt for a pair (matching or not) of proportionately sized dressers to flank the bed.  Until then, I’m propping a random, rotating display of art on the dresser.


Poor, poor blank room.  Still, I’m happy to give things time to naturally come together.


Same goes for the theater room, though I do have a single piece of art to go directly ahead.


Tom Selleck, one of Ben’s favorite cowboy actors and the handsome guy he is, will greet our tv watchers.tom-selleck-print

Just as soon as I make a walnut frame, thanks to the odd, custom size.  I’ve also been dreaming of the beautiful art from Linton Art.  I especially love the gigantic, detailed, graphic look of the Locust Tree to fill the large, empty walls of the theater room.

It’d be a simple, yet striking contrast against the deep green walls.  Any artful additions going on in your home?

The Progression of Our Entry

As with many remodels, some rooms take priority and are finished first and quickly.  Others are a slow but steady progression toward an end goal.  Our entry has certainly fallen into the latter category, with small changes taking place over the last four years.  In such a small space, why can’t progress go quicker?  First, let’s look at the space the day we got the keys.New-House-Entry April 13 2012It was as dark as it looks, heavy on the wood tones, red curtains, and stained beige marble floors.  The Tiffany style light was too ornate as were the corbels supporting an arch dividing the entry and living rooms.  Soon after, we pulled off the curtains, tore out the arch, built a slim entry shelf, and put in a new light fixture.West-Elm-Mobile-Light-in-Entry-from-Family-RoomOy, I don’t know if I’d say the space looked better, but it was going places.  The big blank wall with a heavy knock down texture just loomed, all peach and boring.  Knowing we’d need a giant piece of art to cover it, we decided to add a painted tongue and groove accent wall.  Not only does it add a good kind of texture, but the simple white is a great backdrop for a pair of vintage Longhorns.Tongue-and-Groove-Entry-Wall-from-Living-RoomJust painting over the peach walls with a warm gray made a huge difference, somewhat updating the orange oak railings.  Still, the old front door and too tall window above weren’t cutting it.Finished-T-and-G-Plank-Entry-Wall-with-ConsoleThen, a big game, ehhh, room changer happened when we swapped the front door.  Replacing the standard door and sidelight combo with an 8 foot tall by 6 foot wide full glass door floods the entry and stairs with natural light.  A shorter, transom style window above is better proportioned.Replace a Front DoorMore recently, while we had access to the underside of the posts from the unfinished basement, we built a sleek stair railing.  Ahh, the transformation was nearly complete.Lingering-To-Do-Entry-TileTwo weekends ago, while discussing what tools Ben could clean up and put away, I mentioned the entry tile could be a quick project to tackle.  He said it wasn’t on his priority list and I carried on with painting the basement bathroom.  That was, until I heard an awful lot of hammering and went to check it out.  Turns out, Ben had started tearing out the old tile.  After I finished painting, I grabbed a hammer and gleefully broke up tile with him.  By carefully scraping, we were able to reuse the Hardie board and were left with this:entry-without-tileLast Saturday, Ben laid new slate tile in a staggered brick pattern and grouted on Sunday.  Baseboards are finally in and waiting caulking, filling, and painting to complete the look.entry-slate-tile-from-top-of-stairs

entry-slate-tile-from-top-of-stairs-2Other than painting the baseboards, I’m ready to call the entry complete.entry-slate-tile-toward-plank-wallWith or without the Halloween decorations.  The bats have made another appearance, along with a barbed wire ‘wreath’ wrapped with twinkle lights.entry-halloween-2016That concludes the entry transformation, at least I think it does.  You know, until I change my mind and want to add something.

Basement Bathroom: Almost Finished

The last basement puzzle piece is nearly finished.  Starting from scratch after demo, we framed new walls and have checked rooms off one by one.  A newly finished theater/hangout room, guest bedroom,  small mud nook, and laundry room are all finished minus some accessorizing.

Only ten months after tearing everything apart, the bathroom is just about finished, too.


We built the custom vanity  with a combo of storage options.  Drawers for small items, a cabinet for large/ugly things, an open shelf for toilet paper and/or towels, and a gap at the bottom to keep it from feeling too heavy.


As soon as the paint cures, sconces and a wood mirror will go up.



By far the most involved room, the bathroom has taken many weekends over the last few months to get put together, with the shower taking up the bulk of the time.  Forming the shower pan, coating the walls with red guard, tiling the floor, walls, and ceiling isn’t a quick process and requires a lot of dry time.

It’s all worth it for the finished product.


Caulking the tile seams still has to happen before the shower is usable, but that’s a small step in the scheme of things.


A soap nook above the shower control is convenient, but out of sight from the door to keep ugly bottles hidden.


Tiling the shower ceiling is a new thing for us, but really elevates the look while keeping the moisture inside.  A sleek shower head extends from the ceiling for a modern look.


Next to the shower, behind the door in the old closet space, we built four shelves to hold any bathroom necessities or accessories.


It’s a far cry from the orange and yellow beginnings, that no matter how much scrubbing, never felt clean.




And now I can tackle the fun part of adding art and accessories.

Railroad Spike Coat Rack

Our entry isn’t huge, roughly eight by four and a half feet, but it is very nice to have a separate designated space.  With the door slightly off-center, there’s a sliver of wall with a box shelf to keep keys, sunglasses, and other necessities close by with a stool tucked below.  Across, there’s a half wall, where the living room floor starts.  It’s an awkward little wall, with the stairs going up that turns into a strange polygon.


Though we have an entry closet at the top of the stairs, and our newly added mud nook right inside the garage door at the base of the stairs, those are areas mainly used by our family.

Build in a mini mudroom: https://ourhumbleabodeblog.com/2016/04/01/mud-nook/

I wanted a quick and easy drop spot for our guests to hang coats, purses, and backpacks close to the front door.  After a day visiting Ben’s dad at the ranch, I found some great items to turn into a unique coat rack.  I also came home with an old horseshoe and another turtle shell to hang above the art in the dining room.  Such a treasure trove of goodies!


Anyway, back to the coat rack.  To start, I snagged a board of live edge wood along with a bunch of railroad spikes.


After discussing my idea with Ben, he helped me make my idea a reality.  While I thoroughly looked at the board, I settled on the most character filled three feet and cut it to size.  At three feet wide, I wanted to space 5 spikes six inches apart, leaving six inches on either end.  Following the shape of the wood, I marked five dots while Ben used a steel cutting chop saw to cut the spikes to three inches.


I didn’t want any visible attachment, so Ben drilled 3/4 inch holes, then used a rubber mallet to pound the spikes in.


Who says you can’t jam a square peg in a round hole?


The result is seamless, simple, and rustic-just the way I like it.


Hanging was as easy as two screws through the wood, into the floor joist.


Turning that little sliver into usable space should come in very handy this winter season, especially.


Style wise, the simplicity blends seamlessly with the adjacent living room.


The best part is that it took about 30 minutes, start to finish to make and hang.  I’m wondering if it’d be too much to make another to use as a towel rack.