cost-effective ways to upgrade bathrooms

Poppy Slater
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  • Shower curtains get a bit of a bad rep, thanks largely to memories of skin-sticking plastic. But shower curtain idea and designs have come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and we’re firm believers in the power of their ability to add colour, texture (of the non-plastic kind) and balance to a bathroom idea.

    Shower curtain ideas

    ‘Shower curtains are becoming less about something boring and utilitarian, and an extension of personality and style’ explains Emma Anthony, Textiles Designer for Dunelm. ‘They are a quick and easy way of injecting some fun, pattern and colour into a bathroom. As a less permanent solution, they are a fab investment for renters, or those that like to change things up regularly to create new looks.’

    Whether you’re living in a rental property or you want to upgrade your bathroom on a budget, a new shower curtain is a quick, easy and cost effective way to give your bathroom a new lease of life.

    Take inspiration from our shower curtain ideas and get ready to give your bathroom the simple makeover it’s been waiting for.

    1. Choose a simple white shower curtain in a monochrome scheme

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    Keep your bathroom feeling clean and fresh with a simple white shower curtain. In this monochrome bathroom colour scheme, the pared-back shower curtain blends seamlessly into the scheme, allowing beautiful features like the gold shower fittings to stand out. A touch of greenery adds to the fresh feel and breathes life into the bathroom.

    2. Add subtle softness to an industrial-style bathroom

    BATHROOM WITH BOTANICAL PRINT SHOWER CURTAIN AROUND BATH

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Dan Duchars

    In this bathroom, a subtle floral shower curtain adds softness and balance to the otherwise industrial decor. The rest of the bathroom has a lot of straight lines and rough finishes, from the rectangular basin and the upcycled vanity unit to the wooden floorboards, and the shower curtain does just the trick at providing soft and flowing contrast.

    3. Make a statement with a larger-than-life pattern

    grey bathroom with pink stars

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    “Currently, my favourite looks for shower curtains are those with lush, green tropical prints, which really give a sense of bringing the outdoors in and boost mood,” says Emma Anthony.

    In this bathroom, the bold leafy pattern of the shower curtain works magnificently alongside the grey and pink of the rest of the bathroom. Try it yourself, or choose another bold, larger-than-life pattern – perhaps animal print or geometric shapes.

    One of the best things about shower curtains is that they are easy and relatively affordable to change, so they provide an opportunity to really have fun and go bold. Even if it doesn’t work out (though we’re sure it will!), you can soon replace it!

    4. Keep it traditional with an oval shower curtain rail

    white bathroom with shower curtain rail over freestanding bath

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    Freestanding baths are as popular as ever, and an oval shower curtain rail is the perfect accompaniment. Not only does it ensure that splashes are prevented from every angle, it also works aesthetic wonders!

    Hang a pair of long, white shower curtains, and for a fully authentic period look, choose traditional shower fittings and a clawfoot bathtub.

    5. Add a splash of colour to an all-white bathroom

    White bathroom with corner batha nd bird print shower curtain

    Image credit: Future PLC

    An all-white bathroom can err on the side of clinical, but a colourful shower curtain is the perfect antidote. You can go as bold or as subtle as you wish – this bathroom introduces a subtle splash of green and yellow with a bird and leaf-print shower curtain.

    As this example shows you can fix a shower curtain around a curved bath, to create a small shower enclosure.

    6. Give your bathroom some extra texture

    Textured shower curtain

    Image credit: John Lewis & Partners

    Introducing a different texture to your bathroom can add interest and depth to the space, like the soft, crepey shower curtain in this scene. The stripey design adds a minimalist nautical feel to the bathroom, which is otherwise decorated with neutral tones.

    7. Make it pretty and practical with tiebacks

    white panelled bathroom with shower curtain over freestanding bath

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Don’t assume tiebacks are only usefully for your living room curtains, they can be highly functional – if not more so for shower curtains! In a space where the shower curtains threatens to hang around bringing the decor down a decorative tieback can keep it in place and add a pretty touch.

    A wall-mounted curtain tie back anchors the curtain to avoid it simple hanging and making it feel like an unsightly necessity rather than an attractive attribute to the scheme.

    8. Balance a colour scheme

    Black and white bathroom with metro tiles and yellow window blind

    Image credit: Future PLC

    If your bathroom has a fairly neutral vibe, such as this monochrome suite, you may want only one accent colour in small doses. In this instance the sunshine yellow accent colour is picked up by on the fabric blind material with small decorative touches. To avoid overwhelming the scheme these homeowners have avoided a colourful shower curtain.

    Instead they have incorporated the monochrome theme with a colour-block pattern, that coordinates without feeling too much.

    9. Feel pretty with pastels

    FLOWER SHOWER CURTAIN

    Image credit: John Lewis & Partners

    This whimsical watercolour shower curtain in pretty pastel shades of pink and purple adds a soft, feminine touch to this bathroom, especially when contrasted with the white painted brickwork. Add a pastel-hued bath mat and towels to tie the scheme together and create the bathroom of your dreams.

    Buy now: Ginko Floral Recycled Shower Curtain, £15, John Lewis & Partners

    10. Contrast traditional with modern

    grey geometric shower curtain

    Image credit: Dunelm

    The roll-top freestanding bath with claw feet in this bathroom contrasts playfully with the modern grey and white geometric design of the shower curtain. Playing with contrast between traditional and modern bathroom features is a fantastic way to add an element of fun to your home.

    Buy now: Elements Geo Grey Shower Curtain, £8, Dunelm

    How should I arrange my shower curtain?

    Shower curtains should hang inside of the bath, as this will stop water from splashing out onto your bathroom floor. If you prefer the aesthetic of the curtain hanging on the outside, just wait until it’s dry – and remember to pull it back inside every time you shower.

    Alternatively, look for a shower curtain with a liner on the inside. ‘A great tip to keep your shower curtain looking stylish while remaining practical, is to find one with a lining that can hang inside the bath or shower tray when in use, while the outer layer can still look great and keep dry,’ recommends Emma Anthony.

    ‘Alternatively, try experimenting by layering a simple plain white with a beautiful design – the plain one will offer water protection and can be washed or replaced easily, while the outer one gives the design edge to your bathroom.’

    What can I use instead of a shower curtain?

    If a shower curtain just isn’t doing it for you, then the best alternative is a glass shower screen. They’re more expensive in the short run, but they pay for themselves in the long run, making your bathroom feel bigger and brighter and even adding value to your home!

    Are shower curtains hygienic?

    They are, so long as you take care of them! Over time, shower curtains can become dirty, thanks (or no thanks) to a build-up of soap scum, mould and mildew. But they can be washed and refreshed to give them a new lease of life, and most can even be cleaned in the washing machine – check the care label first though.

    Shower Curtain Ideas – cost-effective ways to upgrade your bathroom

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