From Ohio to Oahu: How I Turned My Apartment Bathroom Into a Tropical Oasis

Island Oasis Apt Bathroom Makeover from Ohio to Oahu Hawaiian Polynesian decor natural The Decor Guru

My inspiration for this makeover was my fantasy bathroom: a relaxing oasis, complete with an outdoor shower, nestled deep on a tropical island. In this getaway, I would be surrounded by lush foliage and warm bamboo. My other goal for the bathroom makeover was to do this as cheaply as possible. This meant using accessories from my closet stash, making over existing items, and using thrift store items. I'm proud to say I spent less than $150 for everything. Read along to see how my bathroom went from Ohio to Oahu in this island-inspired makeover.

I have a confession. Not until recently did I start creating mood boards. In the past, I’d sketch out what I wanted my rooms to look like. I still make drawings, but have found mood boards to be more beneficial. Even if you don’t use the exact items you include on the board, they’re still quite a useful tool.

This was the mood board I created for my bathroom makeover:

Island_Tropical Bathroom Makeover Moodboard MIRROR BAMBOO RIVER ROCKS BASKETS BATH MAT TROPICAL LEAVES CANDLES YELLOW AMBER The Decor GuruI later decided to visualize my tropical bathroom in Hawaii or some other Polynesian location. To create this natural, island vibe, I enlisted natural elements like glass, river rocks, bamboo, rope, and tropical greenery.

apartment rental bathroom makeover before after repurposing thrift store tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor yellow green browns wood bamboo foliage stones glass art retreat oasis relaxation The Decor GuruTo allow more space for decor, I hung floating shelves on the walls. This helps balance the weight of the decor, plus frees up counter space for the essentials.

apartment rental bathroom makeover before after repurposing thrift store tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor yellow green browns wood bamboo foliage stones glass art retreat oasis relaxation The Decor Guru

One way I created this natural effect was with my wall mirror. This plain Jane wall mirror received an extensive makeover by repurposing common cooking utensils: bamboo skewers. I’m always looking for new ways to repurpose these because they’re super cheap and I love bamboo.

Plain Jane Wall Mirror Makeover with Bamboo Skewers hot glue tropical island decor bathroom revamp redecorate The Decor Guruapartment rental bathroom makeover before after repurposing thrift store tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor yellow green browns wood bamboo foliage stones glass art retreat oasis relaxation The Decor Guru

Decorating your bathroom with art or photography is a great way to add personality and beauty.  To create this sea turtle artwork and ensure the patterns were authentic, I researched Hawaiian/Polynesian tattoos and quilts.

apartment rental bathroom makeover before after repurposing thrift store tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor yellow green browns wood bamboo foliage stones glass art retreat oasis relaxation The Decor Guru

On top of the toilet stands an extra roll of TP (a necessity!) and air freshener that I dressed up with scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. This is a cheap and easy way to customize your decor and add some flair to an otherwise boring household item. Sometimes even the small things need a makeover too!

apartment rental bathroom makeover repurposing thrift store tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor air freshener made over wood basket retreat oasis relaxation The Decor Guru

Moving along to the sink, I bought a new soap dispenser. I couldn’t find the one from my mood board but found a similar replacement. The silver bowl holds a bar of soap that my old man uses. It’s actually a dining bowl, but it’s easy to clean up and adds a little polish to the space.

apartment rental bathroom makeover repurposing thrift store tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor kitchen bowl repurposed soap dish dispenser retreat oasis relaxation The Decor Guru

In the corner, I created a faux foliage arrangement with stems and river rocks. Since I have no natural light for plants in my bathroom, faking it was the next best thing. This “vase” is actually a drinking glass. Using drinking glasses is a great repurposing tool plus saves you money.

apartment rental bathroom makeover toiletries tray repurposing thrift store tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor yellow green browns wood bamboo foliage stones glass art retreat oasis relaxation The Decor Guru

I equate hotel rooms with relaxation and retreat, so using a tray to hold my everyday toiletries helps create that vibe here. The tray was one I’d had in my accessories arsenal, so no money was spent. I used trial-size items so the countertop doesn’t feel too congested. (I even snuck in an actual bottle of lotion from a past hotel stay.)

Also inside the tray are a couple glass candy jars that I scored at the thrift store. Since they have lids, they’re perfect for storing cotton balls and cotton swabs. These jars are so much prettier than the plain ones you could buy at the store—and much cheaper too!

apartment rental bathroom makeover toiletries tray repurposing thrift store tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor yellow green browns wood bamboo foliage stones glass art retreat oasis relaxation The Decor Guru

Another thrift store find are these little Tiki guys, which I actually bought long before this bathroom makeover was conceived. They were originally brown and I’d previously spray-painted them white. I think they were actually shot glasses, but they make nice mini-vases and they coordinate wonderfully in my tropical room.

The Decor Guru apartment rental bathroom makeover thrift store tiki shot glasses repurposed vases tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor retreat oasis relaxation

Although they aren’t the same pattern, these glass votives tie in well with the glass jars. They can be found at IKEA (Flest). I have flameless tea lights inside because of the close proximity to the wall and the shelf above.

The Decor Guru apartment rental bathroom makeover glass votive candles tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor retreat oasis relaxation

To counter-balance all the decor, I chose a simple shower curtain (Thai Sheer from Kohl’s). It’s solid, yet there is a ribbed texture that adds visual interest. I love its crispness and semi-sheer quality. Since the bathroom wasn’t equipped with a light over the shower, the semi-sheerness of the fabric allows a decent amount of light while showering.

The Decor Guru apartment rental bathroom makeover Thai Sheer white shower curtain tropical island Hawaiian Polynesian decor retreat oasis relaxation

For the bathmat, I ended up buying this round mat in Espresso at World Market. I really like that it’s not your typical bathmat shape and has a bit of detail in the edging. I’ve decided not to go the bamboo placemat route again after my failed DIY attempt. A fabric bathmat is just more practical—I tried using a bamboo soap dish (IKEA’s Dragan) and mold grew under it very quickly.

apartment rental bathroom makeover World Market bathmat round  island Hawaiian Polynesian decor yellow green browns wood bamboo foliage stones glass art retreat oasis relaxation The Decor Guru

For towels, I decided to stick with neutrals and bought some new ones from IKEA (Frajen). Using neutral towels is great because they can easily be reused if you change your room’s color scheme down the road… which we all know I am likely to do.

That’s it! I’m glad the process is finally done and that I’m finally pleased with the results. Although, if I could somehow lengthen my bathtub to accommodate bubble baths, it would be perfect.

Do you believe decor has the power to take you to another place? Have you made over a bathroom lately? Share your story!

Thanks for visiting! Let’s stay connected!

Linked to:

Nap Time Creations: Tasteful Tuesdays

House on the Way: Twirl & Take a Bow

A Bowl Full of Lemons: One Project At A Time

Sugar Bee Crafts: Take-A-Look Tuesday

Ladybug Blessings: Handmade Tuesdays

A Stroll Thru Life: Inspire Me Tuesday

Coastal Charm: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

We Like To Learn As We Go: What I Learned Wednesday

Ginger Snap Crafts: Wow Me Wednesday

Sew Much Ado: We Did It Wednesday!

The Thrifty Home: Penny Pinching Party

Someday Crafts: Whatever Goes Wednesday

Polkadots On Parade: Wow Me Wednesday

The Shabby Creek Cottage: Transformation Thursday

The Crafty Blog Stalker: Blog Stalking Thursday

Saving For Six: Think Tank Thursday

Domesblissity: Thriving on Thursdays

Living Well, Spending Less: Thrifty Thursday

One Artsy Mama: Shine On Friday

Simply Sweet Home: Friday Favorites

504 Main by Holly Lefevre: Tickled Pink

The Pin Junkie: Friday Link Party

My Romantic Home: Show and Tell Friday

A Stylish Interior: Stylish Friday Finds

Tidy Mom: I’m Lovin’ It

Craft Dictator: Craft Frenzy Friday

A Peek Into My Paradise: T.G.I.F. Link Party

Happy Hour Projects: Happy Hour Friday

Craftionary: Friday Link Party

Sew-Licious Home Decor: Saturday SHOWlicious Craft Showcase

Be Different… Act Normal: Show & Tell Saturday

It’s Overflowing: Share Your Creativity

C.R.A.F.T.: Monday Funday

Sew Can Do: Craftastic Monday

Jembellish: A Round Tuit

11 Comments on From Ohio to Oahu: How I Turned My Apartment Bathroom Into a Tropical Oasis

  1. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life // 09/10/2013 at 7:26 AM // Reply

    You bathroom looks fabulous. I love it and you definitely achieved your tropical island feel and atmosphere you wanted. Beautiful redo. Thanks so much for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  2. I think you nailed it. It looks even better than the moodboard. Great job!

  3. Your bathroom makeover makes me think of a tropical spa. Wonderful job!

  4. love the subtle touches of tropical life! That mirror truly adds extra charm hung that way! Linking back from Stylish Interior

  5. Hi Angela! I just bought a new home and trying to find decorating inspiration. I love this retreat you have made in the bathroom. Covering up the air freshner is such a simple but effective way to make it look more spa/hotel like. I love the other ideas you have and together it looks really good. Pinning for inspiration. Will try doing a mood board too!

  6. Great transformation! Thank you for sharing at our TGIF Link Party at A Peek Into My Paradise. I hope you will be back to link up another awesome post this week!
    Cathy @ http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 347 other followers

%d bloggers like this: