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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Before you head off to college and start buying a variety of bathroom essentials -- shower curtain, bath mat, accessories for in the shower, and storage options for the bathroom, there are a few things you need to know. 

Women holding toothbrush

First, not all college dorm bathrooms are created equal and the type of bathroom you end up with will depend on your university and living style. Most campuses have single gender and co-ed dorm rooms, and it’s usually your preference as to which one you end up assigned to. 

If you end up living in a single gender dorm room, then you will typically have a communal bathroom -- more on that later. A co-ed dorm usually offers a suite style living arrangement, meaning two rooms with two people in each room share a bathroom in the middle of those rooms -- four to a bathroom. 

Older dorms also tend to have communal bathrooms, and unfortunately most freshmen end up in older dorm buildings while upperclassmen enjoy apartment style living. Last, but not least, bigger universities sometimes offer single style living for freshman students. In this situation you would have your own room and bathroom, so decorate at your leisure! 

Back to communal bathrooms -- yes, the dreaded communal bathroom. If this is your style of bathroom then you don’t have many options when it comes to decorating. You can buy a bath mat, shower curtain, and furniture for storage, but these bathrooms come furnished. By furnished we mean the bare basics, plain shower curtain, maybe a mat for inside the shower if you’re lucky, and a few basic racks or shelves to place your things. 

Dorm Bath

If you want, then you can buy your own shower curtain and other homey items -- but be aware that others will be using your things, so you run the risk of losing an item or finding it damaged. Bathrooms that are a part of suite style living offer a bit more flexibility when it comes to decorating. You and your roommates can make an agreement on how you want to share and furnish the place, and as long as you all agree to respect each other's property, then it should be smooth sailing from there. 

Having roommates also helps with affordability and not going over budget. If each of you agrees to buy a couple of things for the bathroom, then you can cover almost everything you need with little cost. But be aware, if you plan to move into an apartment or have your own bathroom the following year, then you may need to buy these things again, as your decor and space options may change. The choice is yours. 

There are some essential items you’ll need for your bathroom to make your life a little bit easier. 

Keep reading and we will discuss: 

  • Bathroom decorating ideas
  • Bathroom essentials 
  • Pro tips to help you make the most of your bathroom at college

Spruce it up With Plants 

Envelope your bathroom in a botanical wonderland and see how your mood improves. Image courtesy of Collective Gen

Ok -- hear us out, who doesn’t want to shower and get ready in the morning surrounded by foliage in a tropical, botanical wonderland. It sounds like a scene out of a movie or a luxurious island vacation. But really, it's such an easy way to decorate your bathroom. All you need is a green thumb (well a partial one) and some plants to go along. 

There are a number of high humidity requiring plants that will do well in a bathroom. Many of these plants are also leafy, tropical type plants that look very beautiful and rightly placed in a bathroom. Since bathrooms are constantly changing in temperature and humidity with different levels of light -- it’s best to stick with easy and resilient plants that can tolerate changing conditions. 

Make sure you choose the right kind of plants though! Some plants do well in sunny humid bathrooms, while others can tolerate less sunlight and temperature fluctuations. Image courtesy of Pinterest

Plants we highly recommend specifically for bathrooms include:

  • Lucky bamboo - requires low light and can fit almost anywhere
  • Aloe vera - doesn’t need to be watered often and does well in low light 
  • Ivy - doesn’t need a lot of light and looks great hanging or wrapped around its pot 
  • Pothos - looks great hanging or trailing out of a pot
  • Spider plants - these are happy almost anywhere
  • Peace lilies - cleans the air and looks beautiful
  • ZZ plants - love diffused light and are happy in bathrooms
  • Snake plant - will be right at home in a humid bathroom

If you’re already an advanced plant parent, then you may consider getting an orchid for your bathroom, they love high humidity and wet conditions. Although they have a reputation for being fussy, orchids are actually pretty easy to care for. They’re epiphytes, which means they actually don’t need soil and are considered air plants. They actually hang onto trees in the wild! If you have a window with good morning light, you may want to consider this lovely plant. 

If you and your roommates each buy a plant for the bathroom, then you’ll have a thriving jungle in no time. You may be thinking how can plants count as decorative elements, but if you look at the image above and remove all of the plants, you’re left with a basic white tile bathroom. A couple plants go a long way! 


Storage options can be a great idea for the bathroom because each person can have their own space for their personal items.

Another idea for your bathroom is to purchase a storage rack. This is a good idea for bathrooms shared between a few people in a dorm or apartment. With a storage rack, each person has a place to keep their items -- and since it’s for the bathroom, you can keep your things in there without having to transport them. 

Since items are mostly wet after using the shower, individual racks can help them air dry naturally. Sometimes, mold and bacteria tends to build up in a shower caddy if it’s not cleaned properly. Also, since your items won’t be taking up all of the floor space, you’ll have more room for other decor items. 

Another easy way to store items in the shower is with a shelf caddy that goes over your shower head. This allows you and your roommate to not only organize your items by shelf, but frees up some space in the shower. You would be surprised how little space exists in the shower to put soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, and other necessities.

Beautiful blue boho medallion shower curtain will liven up your dorm bathroom. 

If you’re lucky enough to escape the communal bathroom and share with only a few people, or just yourself -- then you may have the luxury of decorating with some personal touches. 

Changing the shower curtain can do wonders to liven up the bathroom. Usually, the standard shower curtain that will come with your dorm room is white or clear. This doesn’t help to make the space feel like home. 

Adding something as simple as a shower curtain can help make the place feel more like your own. When we have a plain white shower curtain, we feel distant from our environment. Other simple touches like a bath mat will go a long way too. 

College bathroom floors are typically tile, so one thing to note is that they are slippery! Even in shower shoes with tread, you have to be careful when you come out of the shower. A bath mat can help eliminate the possibility of any accidents or slipping.

Bathroom Essentials 

A shower robe will ease the stress of communal bathrooms by keeping your privacy and making showering easier. 

There are a few bathroom essential items that you absolutely need to have in college! Remember, now that you’re sharing a space with someone, you can’t wander around at your leisure. One of the downsides to college is that privacy becomes limited, and showering can be some of the only moments when you’re truly alone -- if you’re lucky. 

If you have a communal bathroom, there are a few essentials that will make showering a breeze:

  • A robe
  • Shower caddy
  • Towels 
  • Shower shoes

If you have a shared bathroom with one roommate, you can probably just leave all your showering items in the bathroom on shelving. You can speak with your roommate regarding whether or not you’re both comfortable using each other’s showering items. 

Despite the lack of privacy with a communal bathroom, there are a few ways to share a bathroom with ease. 

The first is a bathrobe. Sure you can trek to the bathroom in your clothes, bring new ones, and change immediately after showering, but that can get complicated, especially if you’re in a rush. A bathrobe makes things easy because all you need to do is slip into it and away you go. 

Having a bathrobe can also help you avoid some uncomfortable situations. Imagine, you leave for the bathroom when your roommate is out, but you return to find your roommate there with a few friends. This situation would be uncomfortable if you were just wrapped in a towel, but with a bathrobe, at least you are mostly covered. It also gives you a little more peace of mind when walking to and from the bathroom. 

Pro tip: Unless you specifically speak to your roommate before leaving to shower, make sure you take your dorm door keys, leave them a note to let them know you’re in the shower, or send them a quick text.

There is nothing worse than leaving to go shower and coming back to find that your roommate has locked you out of your dorm! Make sure this is on your radar and you can easily prevent this from happening.

For an organized countertop, opt for a set of bathroom accessories that match and provide ease and functionality into your space. This 4-Piece Bath Accessory Set from OCM is a fantastic and affordable option for college students. Image courtesy of OCM.

The next major item is a shower caddy. This is an organizational tool that keeps all of your products and other bathroom items in one place -- all you do is carry it to and from the bathroom. This is almost a requirement for communal bathrooms. If you share a bathroom with four people, this still may come in handy because you all can’t keep your products in the shower at one time. 

Since you can carry it, it also gives you peace of mind that your shower items are safe -- this is if you want to keep it in your room. At some colleges, students will keep their caddies in the bathroom, but be sure to get to know everyone on your floor first, or see an RA to make a bathroom agreement. 

Pro tip: Make sure you get a shower caddy that is made of plastic and has drainage holes in it. You don’t want to have a caddy that has no way to get rid of water, because no matter how hard you try, you’re going to get at least some water in the container.

Towels are an essential item for your bathroom, no matter if you have a communal one or one you share with just a few roommates. We suggest getting at least two sets, that way you can always have clean, fresh towels while one set is due to get washed. Consider getting a set that includes:

  • Wash clothes
  • Hand towels
  • Bath towels

The last necessary item we recommend is a good pair of shower shoes. Athlete’s foot is a real thing and you can’t trust others to wear shower shoes or keep track of who is using the shower. So, the best option is to suck it up and wear a pair of shoes. This will probably be an adjustment since you likely didn’t wear shoes while living at home, but by the end of the semester, it will become like second nature. There are many stylish options out there made from antimicrobial material. 

Pro tip: A decent pair of shower shoes should last you for the year, but make sure you throw them out at the end of the year! 

We’ve also gathered a few helpful hints to make surviving communal bathrooms a bit easier. 

  • First, don’t shower when everyone else is showering. If you hope to have any privacy at all, be sure to shower during the off times. This doesn’t mean you’ll need to shower at 2 or 3 am. After a few weeks of being on campus, you’ll start to learn the popular shower times and you can plan accordingly around those times. Most of the time, students will shower in the morning and avoid the nights, so this is your best bet. 
  • Another helpful tip is keep the bathroom clean! Yes, you will have a maintenance staff responsible for cleaning the bathroom, but be nice to them and keep it relatively clean. Sometimes students will leave food in the bathroom, wrappers, or even get sick without cleaning it up or telling anyone. Don’t be like these people. You will not be responsible for cleaning the bathroom all by yourself, but if you and your hallmates make it a habit of cleaning up after you use the bathroom, then you’ll have no problems. 
  • Don’t take an overly long shower. Do all of your essentials, and then head out. Long showers not only waste a lot of water, but you're hogging the shower that someone else might be waiting to use. This is especially true if it’s a peak time and people are actually waiting in line to shower.  

A robe, while definitely not an essential item, will make you feel a bit classier and give you some coverage for anyone living with roommates. This terry cotton bath robe from Martex is simple with no frills, perfect for anyone looking for a functional and minimal robe. Image courtesy of OCM.

With a few decorative touches you can upgrade your bathroom from cold and uninviting to warm and comfortable. Just as you would personalize your dorm bed room, you should bring your style into the bathroom as well! Plants are a great way to boost mood and bring a positive energy to the space. Decorating with a bold shower curtain and matching bath mat can go a long way and do more for your comfort than you think. 

Getting through your first time sharing a bathroom with multiple people will be a breeze as long as you’re prepared. Yes there will be an adjustment period, but just like everything at college, it will eventually become a routine. Unfortunately, if you end up sharing a communal bathroom, then there’s not much you can do in terms of decorating, unless you’re willing to run the risk of losing an item. Most students save the real decorating for their dorm rooms or when they decide to get a room that includes a bathroom, or they move off campus. 

If you share with only a few people and your roommates want to buy your decor together then you're in luck when it comes to saving a few dollars. Just make sure you can all agree on some pieces! Happy shopping and good luck as you begin sharing a bathroom.