As far as bathrooms in rental apartments go, we’re pretty lucky. With a palette of white and more white, we were saved from the Pepto-Bismal pink tile and glitter-flecked vanities that I’ve seen in my friends’ apartments. Still, white tile nearly up to the ceiling can make even the most adamant minimalist yearn for a spot of color. My favorite way to liven up the space is with plants.
Photographs by Erin Boyle.
Our bathroom is the sunniest spot in our apartment and we’ve had luck over-wintering a geranium and nurturing a silver spotted philodendron, but our most recent addition has admittedly stolen the show. The delicate button fern thrives in the filtered sunlight and moisture of our tiny bathroom. UPDATE: Our intrepid reader, Emma, pointed out that this plant is actually a maidenhair fern and not a button fern as we originally thought. The maidenhair fern thrives in shadier spots, so we’re going to move her to a darker corner! Suddenly, I’m feeling very grateful for all the dreary weather we’ve been having in Brooklyn lately. If you can’t find one locally, a Button Fern in a 6-inch pot is $18 from Pernell Gerver.
Perched above our bathroom medicine cabinet, the fern weeps sideways and shoots upward, creating a dramatic display against the bright white. Because of its position on a somewhat precariously hung cabinet, I opted to plant it in a lightweight vintage tea tin instead of a much heavier ceramic planter. A large selection of Vintage Tea Tins is available on Etsy.
A small nail and hammer was all I needed to poke drainage holes in the bottom of the tin. Like most ferns, maidenhair ferns like to be kept fairly moist, but without proper drainage they run the risk of getting too saturated.
Before I transferred my fern from its nursery planter to the tea tin, I loosened the soil around the roots. Since a proper potting table didn’t make the cut in our small apartment, I work with a bit of unfolded newspaper on my kitchen table/desk to make cleanup easy.
Like many ferns, maidenhair ferns enjoy shade. You might also consider going for the equally shade and moisture-loving rabbit’s foot fern. We have one in another shady spot that’s doing quite well and we’re thinking of relocating this maidenhair fern to be by its side. A Rabbit’s Foot Fern is $10 from Pernell Gerver.
High above the medicine cabinet, with a vintage snuff jar filled with cotton balls for company, the patina on the tin warms up our otherwise very white bathroom. In case you’re hoping for a little vintage addition to your bathroom, I purchased this tea tin inexpensively at the Brooklyn Flea. For non-locals, Etsy is an excellent source for scoping out similar vintage treasures.
N.B.: This is an update of a post published February 27, 2012.