Photo: Thinkstock

Stock up on 4-Star Resort Towels
There's a reason some towels look plush after a dozen washes and some are more like furry pancakes: It all comes down to the grams per square meter, or GSM. It's the bath equivalent to thread counts with bedsheets, and anything over 550 is ideal, says Thrifty Chic authors Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell. Not all brands list GSM, though, and when that's the case, go for one that's 100 percent cotton or Supima. Cotton blends are common, but they can flatten out after a few months' use, the authors say. Remember: Quality towels can be pricier, so you may want to start out with two, then build your collection over the years.
Chalkboard walls in bathroom

Photo: Courtesy of Homepolish

Start Each Morning with a Love Note to Yourself
A lipstick "You've got this!" message on the mirror is an upbeat way to rev yourself up for that 8:30 a.m. board meeting. Why not take things a step further (and avoid the smudgy, smeary cleanup afterward)? Home in the Country blogger Jennifer Ross recommends painting the top half of your walls with chalkboard paint, then leaving a jar of white chalk on a shelf or on top of the toilet tank. Guests can leave inspiring quotes or messages, and in white, the chalk dust is hardly noticeable (neon, not so much, Ross learned).
Mason jars

Photo: Claire Richardson/Creating the Vintage Look

Clean Up Your Sink with a Trendy Accessory
Mason jars aren't just for cocktail hour at your cousin's barnyard-glam wedding—they're the key ingredient to creating rustic-inspired soap dispensers, currently the most popular bathroom decorating idea on StumbleUpon. The 10-minute DIY involves nailing a hole into the lid of the jar, then sliding the tube of a soap dispenser through it, writes Ellie Laycock in Creating the Vintage Look. It's an easy way to dress up even the most bargain-bin hand soap.

Photo: Thinkstock

Cover Up the 'Cheap' Giveaway
Builder cabinets—the generic, unpainted-oak kind installed in just about every home in the '80s—are a common money-saver, but the prefabricated look can make your bathroom appear more like something from the set of 2 Broke Girls than the Greyson Manor's on Revenge. A couple coats of dark gray paint—like Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter or Chelsea Gray—is a refined way to cover up that faux-wood look, says interior designer Holly Mathis.
Cheap bathroom floor

Photo: Thinkstock

Try the Faster Fix for Ugly Floors
If you're dreaming of tile but lack the budget (and desire) to spend a weekend getting caked in grout, take a page from Ross: two coats of dark paint—and three of polyurethane, to seal it—perfectly camouflage '60s-ish laminate floors. To keep the paint from scratching, Ross topped it with woven floor-mat tiles from World Market. Since the neutral-toned mats cover most of the ground, you could skip the paint job altogether if you wanted.
Bathroom pattern

Photo: Holly Mathis Interiors

The Smallest Way to Make the Biggest Impact
We all know this (fast, easy, cheap) solution. But trading in your shower curtain for one in a hot-off-the-runway print—like this ikat-meets-chevron style from West Elm, the most-requested bathroom upgrade on Mathis's blog—can give the whole space an edgier, new look. Basically, the less standard-bathroom-curtain, the better; Mathis has also noticed increased demand for white, ruffled ones and monogrammed designs from Etsy. The next step: Swap out the bath mat. Natural rugs, particularly the Dash & Albert striped-cotton version, have been gaining popularity for their simple, clean-lined style, she says. That doesn't mean you have to toss your so-fluffy-it's-like-pillows-for-your-feet version—simply hang it on the bathtub and hide it behind the shower curtain while guests are over.

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