12 July 2012

Creating A Guest-Ready Bathroom


This is our bathroom. 

{Have I mentioned before that we have only one??}

This room has to function as a master bath, kid's bath, and also as a guest bath.

Because of it's multiple identities, this room presents quite a few challenges. 
Especially when I'm trying to get it ready for visitors. 

We have friends coming from out of town in a week, so I've been determined to whip this room into better shape before they get here. Just because a single bathroom is a challenge doesn't mean it's impossible to get it ready for guests. 

The first thing I do to make a bathroom guest ready is to clean it like there's no tomorrow. 

Wait, that's not right.
If there was no tomorrow the last thing I'd do with my final hours on earth is clean a bathroom.

I clean the bathroom like it's 1999. 

I guess that's kind of the same idea. 

I clean the crap out of the bathroom. 
There, that's better. And a perfect pun.  

I make sure that when someone first walks into the bathroom they are going to be immediately assailed by the almost overwhelming smell of chemicals. 
I want their first thought to be "Dang this place is clean."

Next, I get rid of all the unsightly stuff. 

I start with the towels. I get rid of all the mismatched ones and replace them all with the same color. 
I like white because it looks the cleanest. 
I hide any eyesores like the laundry basket full of dirty towels. 
And where ever I can, I replace something that has to be there but that's blah-looking for something more attractive. 
In this case it was the plastic trashcan. 

I had a large vase stored in the basement that was the perfect shape to use as a waste basket. 
I lined it with a paper bag and stuck it in the spot where the old one used to be. 

Much better. 

Next I make sure that the bathroom is stocked with everything someone will need when they use it, like plenty of soap and a place to dry their hands. 

In the past I've always just hung up an extra hand towel that I've allocated just for guests and then forbid anyone else to touch it. But I know my 7 year old doesn't pay any attention to that rule, so inevitably, by the time a visitor gets to the towel it has already been used and probably doesn't leave them feeling like their hands are all that clean. 

And seriously, is there anything grosser than going to someone's house and having to use some damp, dingy hand towel that you know has been used twenty times before you got to it??
Or, even worse, when after washing your hands you look around and there's not even a hand towel, just someone's wet bath towel, and you're forced to either use the towel {cringing the whole time while you inevitably wonder which part of your host's body this corner helped to dry} or you're left to shake your hands over the sink and finish drying them on your jeans. 

Both those scenarios totally suck. 

And I didn't want to put my friends in a position to have to walk out of the bathroom with wet hand prints on their jeans. 
So this time around I got a box of Kleenex disposable hand towels, that way everyone gets their own fresh towel every time and nothing about my bathroom will make anyone want to gag. (Except maybe the pink toilet.)

The box is designed so that it can sit on top of the towel bar like this:

It works great and is pretty clever in my opinion, but things always look nicer out of the packaging so I decided to make my own holder for the towels. 

As you can see by the pictures of my bathroom, we have zero counter space in there so there wasn't a spot to just set out a basket filled with them. I needed something to hang from the towel bar, and I thought it'd be cute if the holder itself looked almost like a little hand towel. 

I came up with this:

I started with one of those flour sack kitchen towels:

I spread it out to it's full size

 cut it in half, 

and then folded it in half, bringing the two short ends together. 

The center part, right between those two vertical fold lines, was what I wanted to use,
so I cut off both areas on either side of that. 

I laid a hand towel on top of it to see how long it needed to be, that way I'd know how much to cut off the top. 

I'm lucky enough to have a sewing machine that does embroidery so I used it for all the lettering.

If I didn't have one that did this though, I could have easily done the same thing by hand just by writing out the words with a pen and then hand sewing over them with embroidery thread. 

But as it happens, I was able to just type in what I wanted it to say and then sit back while my sewing machine did all the work for me. 

At this point I could have just folded it in half, added the ribbon at the top and sewed up the sides and the hand towels could have been pulled from the opening at the top, but I thought it would look cuter if there was a slit in the front for them to be pulled from. 

So after folding the fabric in half the way it was going to be once it was sewn up,  I again laid one of the hand towels on top and figured out the placement for the second opening. 
I wanted it to be low enough that the tops of the towels would show through it. 

Then I cut out an opening wide enough for the towels to easily fit through. 

I rolled the rough edges towards the back and sewed all the way around the opening to finish it off. 

I also hemmed both short ends of the fabric.

I have some black and white zebra print ribbon that I used as the ties to hang this on the towel bar.

I folded the fabric for the towel holder in half wrong side out, then folded the ribbon in half (right side out) and laid the folded end of the ribbon on top of each top corner of the fabric. 

Then I sewed both sides closed. 

I didn't have to sew either of the short sides since I'd used the folded end as the bottom and I wanted to keep the larger opening at the top in addition to the small one that I'd put in the front. 
It's easier to actually fill the bag from the top. 

Here it is turned right side out and finished:

I think it looks super cute!

And now my guests won't have to go through some shudder-inducing experience with a wet, nasty towel. 

The very last thing that I do when I'm getting my bathroom ready for guests is to make sure there are some things in there to make it look pretty. 

Some greenery is always an easy option so yesterday 
I did a quick project to add some to this bathroom:

I used a branch I cut from a {fake} plant,

a glass bottle, 

and this zebra printed paper, that I ripped out of the back of one of my kids' books.
{The story didn't have the most exciting ending anyway.}

I cut a strip of paper to fit in the bottom half of the bottle, rolled it up and dropped it inside. 

Super easy, and it adds some pattern to an unexpected place.

Plus it looks great with the ribbon on the hand towel holder. 

And now my bathroom is all ready for guests!

Join the 14 million people who have already joined the Clean Hands campaign by using Kleenex Hand Towels, and click here for savings and more!    

I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective.        


  1. What an adorable DIY project! Who would have thought of DIYing a hand towel holder and then take it up another notch and monogram them? Girl, you always surprise me with the most creative projects! I think your bathroom looks great, it's very inviting and charming!


  2. That is some serious sewing work (coming from a non-sewer), I'm suer impressed! I'm also staling your line "cleaning the crap out of the bathroom":)


  3. What a fabulous idea! Your bathroom looks so neat with personal touch!

  4. I love all your clever fixes, that hand towel pouch is amazing! I love how your bathroom reflects your style!

    xo Mary Jo

  5. Excellent creative touches to your bathroom!

  6. This is fab!! Great ideas and diys. Love all of it.