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posted: 4/20/2013 4:00 AM

Inexpensive ways to give your bathroom a spalike feel

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  • Rolled towels and neatly displayed toiletries cost next to nothing but create a high-end feel.

      Rolled towels and neatly displayed toiletries cost next to nothing but create a high-end feel.

  • If you don't have the storage solution you want, try to build it yourself. This re-purposed end table becomes the perfect vanity.

      If you don't have the storage solution you want, try to build it yourself. This re-purposed end table becomes the perfect vanity.
    Kip Dawkins, Artisan Books

By Dan Rafter
CTW Features

Upscale hotels get bathrooms right. The puffy white towels are carefully folded and stacked, toiletries are lined up in a countertop tray -- even the toilet paper is folded into a neat point.

Believe it or not, you can replicate this feeling in your home bathrooms. The secret is -- you guessed it -- organization.

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"The nicest hotel bathrooms feel relaxed and luxurious," says Alejandra Costello, a certified professional organizer in the Washington D.C., area. "You can think more clearly in them. They're not cluttered. You have what you need around you, nothing more, nothing less."

Need to transform your home bathroom from a cluttered mess to a model of organization? Here are some tips.

Minimize it

Costello reminds homeowners of what makes those hotel bathrooms so relaxing: They're not cluttered with open bottles of shampoo, half-used bars of soap or old luffas. Homeowners should only keep what they absolutely need in their home bathrooms. Stow the extra shampoo bottles in a closet, she says.

Another simple trick is to mimic the rolled towels that you find stacked neatly in baskets under a sink or on wall shelves. This is a better option than hanging towels on the backs of bathroom doors, Costello says: Hanging towels make a bathroom look smaller and messier.

Hide it

An organized bathroom starts with the closet, according to Sherry Petersik of Richmond, Va. Along with her husband, John, she co-authors the popular Young House Love blog and recently published "Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love" (Artisan, 2012).

Petersik recommends first removing your bathroom closet door. "For many people, you open the closet door and you can't have your main bathroom door open at the same time. That gives your bathroom a cramped and cluttered feeling," she says.

Once you've removed the door, purchase wicker baskets -- try coordinating for size and color -- and store your bathroom supplies in them. This creates a more open, yet still organized, look for your bathroom, Petersik says.

Build it

Homeowners shouldn't be afraid to get creative when searching for new storage options for their bathroom.

This requires some power tools and skills, but the Petersiks outfitted one of their bathrooms with a DIY vanity they made by combining a bowl sink with an end table they found on the cheap at a department store.

Drill a hole for the sink's drain in the tabletop, and you can hide the plumbing behind the drawers of the end table.

This vanity provides extra storage, too, giving homeowners the opportunity to stow away their toiletries.

Store it

Storage -- on a large and small scale -- is the key to an organized bathroom, according to Annie Traurig, owner of Seattle organizing service Live Simply by Annie. Each item should have its proper place.

Traurig suggests acrylic or glass containers for cotton balls and Q-tips. Soap dishes make a big difference, too.

Designate a separate towel hook for every member of the family so no one has to hang their towels over others. Not only does that not look good, but it also prevents towels from drying properly.

If you have children and you're tired of looking at a bathtub filled with rubber ducks and other toys, Traurig recommends shower curtains with mesh pockets lining the inside. The pockets are perfect for storing bathtub toys until your kids need them again.

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