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Before & After: A Rental Bathroom Gone Wild

by Garrett Fleming

Before & After: A Rental Bathroom Gone Wild, Design*Sponge

Apartment hacks are always on my radar because they’re typically pretty easy on your pocketbook. What makes them really interesting, though, is how they highlight the cleverness and problem-solving abilities of lessees. Anh Luu, for example, has used wallpaper and a few tricks herself to make the bathroom in her Los Angeles rental sing.

The catalyst for the facelift was the room’s dated design. At first, she was admittedly stumped by the space’s black flooring, black countertop and stark paint job, none of which she found particularly inspired. Unable to change them, Anh went about brainstorming ways to make the three blend into an overall design, effectively covering them up in plain sight. Enter the Bali-inspired tropical print above. It’s so in-your-face, the unstylish elements of the room seem to disappear. Scroll down to see how she did it, and enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Anh Luu

Image above: The bathroom’s look was inspired by Bali and can be summed up in these three words from Anh: “Modern jungle-icious paradise.”

Before & After: A Rental Bathroom Gone Wild, Design*Sponge

Anh Luu runs a Christian faith and lifestyle blog called Girl & the Word.

Before & After: A Rental Bathroom Gone Wild, Design*Sponge

The most challenging part of the project for Anh was finding a way to work around elements of her rental that she can’t change, such as the overpowering tile, light and countertops. The bold wallpaper is a wonderful distraction from these components.

Before & After: A Rental Bathroom Gone Wild, Design*Sponge

Anh says the value of an attractive bathroom should never be overlooked: “Since this was a space that would set the tone for my mornings and nights, I needed it to feel more relaxing and zen.”

Before & After: A Rental Bathroom Gone Wild, Design*Sponge

Once the wallpaper was up, the real design challenge began. Anh says, “It was interesting to decorate against such a busy background without making the bathroom look too noisy. I finally realized that wooden accents worked best with the tropical wallpaper, so I installed wooden shelves and added a bamboo rack and a bamboo bath mat.”

Before & After: A Rental Bathroom Gone Wild, Design*Sponge

Balinese architecture is always in harmony with nature. “As a result, the island is full of homes and hotels that complement their habitat rather than fight against it. I wanted my bathroom to have that kind of feral and relaxed feel,” Anh explains.

Before & After: A Rental Bathroom Gone Wild, Design*Sponge

Anh uses live plants to amplify the 2D greenery that covers her walls, giving the space added depth.

Before & After: A Rental Bathroom Gone Wild, Design*Sponge

This area of her rental in particular is special to Anh as she did all of the work herself.


Wallpaper – A New Wall Decor
Wooden shelves – del Huston Designs
Macrame plant hanger – Mkono
Clothing rack – Fox Run
Swivel mirror – Deco Brothers

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