Tips For Sprucing Up A Plain Store Bought Shower Curtain Rod

Several cheap quick-fix ideas for hiding the true nature of an ugly shower curtain rod.

As a professionally poor, yet innovative Penn State senior, I have dealt with exactly six bathrooms and no fewer than ten drab shower curtain rods over the past four years. Home is where the heart is, however, and there is arguably no degree of dinginess that cannot be altered with a little TLC. Herein we shall discuss a number of cheap, practical options for turning that (sagging? boring? rusty? hideously depressing?) shower curtain rod into an aesthetically pleasant, or at least satisfactory, substitute for costly renovation.

For starters, you need not be an art major to get creative. Remember in high school when the first week's assignments perennially included covering your books? While brown paper bags are not particularly durable bathroom trimmings, contact paper is! Contact paper is a stretchy vinyl or plastic film that comes in a roll much like ordinary plastic wrap. It is far more durable and versatile, however, and comes in a decent array of colors. You can take a multicolored approach, or keeps things simple with a single roll, though you will surely want to wrap the rod tightly in order to avoid air bubbles and crevices for potential mildew. I happen to enjoy the red, but that's just me. This is arguably the most efficient treatment for a temporary residence like a college student's apartment; change as needed.

If contact paper is a turnoff, or otherwise too embarrassing, a simple spay paint job will often do the trick. I have found that ordinary spray paints, particularly the cheaper cans, do not often stick well and have a tendency to produce an undesirably textured coating. Unless you are aiming for a stuccoed look, oddly out of place in a bathroom, I would highly recommend a new wave spray paint specially formulated for plastic adherence, Krylon Fusion being the industry standard. These spray paints bond with plastic surfaces on a molecular level.

A third option is your classic glitter and glue arts-and-crafts project. This is potentially useful for a child's bathroom, as he or she can play an integral role in the shower curtain rod's decoration (i.e. pick out color, apply glue, track sparkly particles all over house). Seriously, though, this is perhaps the most cost-effective option, and doesn't look nearly as tacky as it sounds, but you will want to purchase a quality adhesive with a reputation for being particularly sticky and/or permanent. You might want to do this one outside.

Another solution for a drab bathroom in general, albeit an indirect one, involves the use of a colored bulb. A red or black light bulb, with or without accompanying "normal" lighting, can have a dramatic effect on a room. In this case, distortion is to be a good thing, as that which is undesirable is cast in a shadowy hue that throws off the human visual system. While too dark a bathroom can be dangerous, a tinted light is also easier on the eyes in the middle of the night. These principles are rooted in the visual system's reliance on rod stimulation, which lacks the acuity of the cone system, in dark conditions (NOTE: rods and cones are the two types of eyeball receptor cells).

A fifth option is another indirect solution, one that simply involves anchoring the shower curtain rod as high as possible, as close to the ceiling as it will fit. This draws less attention to the rod itself, which will often be seen as continuation of the ceiling if of the same color. A decent shower curtain with fat rings accompanies this technique effectively.

If you are looking for less of a do-it-yourself take on shower curtain rod sprucing, venture down to your local Wal-Mart-type store and purchase a rod cover in the bed and bath section. This cover is essentially a plastic sheath of some aesthetically pleasant color and texture. It typically features a small slit along its length by which the shower curtain rod can be implanted. These things are pretty cheap and offer a viable, yet lazy way out of an ugliness jam.

Hopefully one of these ideas struck your fancy, or otherwise stimulated your own creative genius. On a closing note, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of the shower curtain itself. Be sure to keep your bathroom's color scheme in mind, or give a white bathroom some character with a gaudier curtain. As far as bathroom curtains are concerned, you truly pay for what you get; don't break the bank, but don't go for a steal, either. After all, a properly chosen shower curtain is far more eye-catching than its rod.

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