How to find the perfect shower curtain

Last fall when we unveiled our 9-months-in-the-making master bathroom renovation, some of you were less than enthusiastic about our shower curtain choice.

This (sorta) Old Life: Dark master bath renovation shower curtain

Totally get that. I was less than enthusiastic, too.

Instead of waiting for the right shower curtain, though, we went with that one. The renovation had gone on so long, and was so much hard work. We just wanted to be done with it.

This (sorta) Old Life: Bathroom tile collage

And, it’s not like I hadn’t tried to find the right shower curtain. I think I brought home 8 different ones. I’m not sure because I lost count, and I didn’t take pictures of any of them. I was feeling worn out by the sheer effort it was requiring just to hang them up–only to see that they were wrong–and then take them down again and fold them up neatly in their packaging so that I could return them.

Honestly, I was feeling not only tired, but pretty…icky, I guess, about the whole thing. So much time and energy, and for what? A shower curtain? And because I didn’t want to put up a plain white one.

When Cane said the birds worked, I believed him.

I wanted to believe him.

This (sorta) Old LIfe: Dark master bath renovation

Except, I really didn’t.

Which is why, even though I was “done” with the shower curtain, I kept looking at them. Sometime back in late October, I bought 3 more. And as soon as I hung up one of them, I knew it was the right one.

This (sorta) Old Life: Master bathroom

As we wrote in our UnDesigned home manifesto, “While we love to find perfect, responsible solutions to design needs at thrift stores, the truth is that we sometimes find the most functional and economical solution at Target. (And we take it.)”

Yes, I was thinking of our shower curtain when I wrote those words, because I found it at Target. I don’t remember the price, but it was far less than the bird shower curtain that we used for all of about 6 weeks. Just long enough that I’d gotten rid of the packaging for the birds and would have felt dishonest trying to return them.

This (sorta) Old Life: Master bathroom

However. Considering that the true cost of the shower curtain is that of both the bird curtain AND the white one, and that the bird shower curtain was clean and almost-new, I knew the white shower curtain was neither a functional nor economical choice.

That’s probably why it’s taken so long to share updated pictures. (That, and I kept thinking I would iron the dang curtain so it would look better in pictures, and it’s taken me this long to admit that I’m never going to iron the shower curtain, pictures be damned.)

This (sorta) Old Life: Master bathroom with tile and shower curtain

I’m sharing them now just to say this:

If you do the same kind of things, please know you’re not alone.

In the field of all possible home renovation mistakes, this error is pretty small potatoes. Yours probably are, too.

The white shower curtain was, in many ways, a totally frivolous purchase–but I’m glad I made it, nonetheless. We worked really (really really) hard on our shower. We love the tile work. (And so wish we could take photos that would convey the room’s real-life warmth and coziness.) The original shower curtain detracted from fully enjoying the fruits of all that hard labor.

This (sorta) Old Life: Master bathroom

And for the record, yes, I know this is the epitome of a first-world problem. That, more than anything, is why I feel sheepish about this whole episode (the energy, the error, the waste). But I’m looking for the larger lessons in it, and I think it’s these:

We need to know when our mistakes are worth anguishing over and when they are not. We all need to give ourselves permission to fix our mistakes, even if it means we can’t live perfectly by our values. Life is short; we need to learn our lessons, pledge to do better next time, and move on.

So, I’m moving on!

We’ve made only one other small change since we originally shared the bathroom. While these sunflowers made a fun prop for our share-the-final-project photos, we can’t keep the counter decked out in sunflowers year-round.

This (sorta) Old Life: Master bathroom and sunflowers

And, we needed to store some things there. When Jules (hostess of the weekly William Morris party, to which we’ll be linking this post), wrote about putting her perfume bottles on a mirrored tray, I knew I wanted a tray for the top of the vanity to corral the items I’d like to store there.

This time, I did wait for just the right thing. I almost took a few not-quite-right things, but (I think because I was feeling so burned by the shower curtain debacle–and, um, yes, I am making fun of myself now) I didn’t. And that’s why I was happy to pounce when I found this at our local Salvation Army:

This (sorta) Old Life: ceramic tray for vanity

It’s not at all pretty like Jules’s tray, but how could we not love the 70s grooviness in all those colors? We think it fits  right in with our funky bathroom.

This (sorta) Old Life: ceramic tray for vanity

And with that, our Tale of Two Shower Curtains has come to an end.

This (sorta) Old Life: shower curtain

I would sum up our shower curtain buying how-to thus:

1. Look at (and, if necessary) try lots of shower curtains.

2. Have faith that the right one will appear.

3. Wait until you find one that you know is the right choice. (If you find yourself still cruising the bath sections of various stores, you haven’t found the right one.) You can always just use a liner until this happens.

How about you?

Ever made a mistake you had to fix? Ever compromise your ideals in working on your home? How do you decide what to let go? We’d love to hear about your experiences and hope you’ll share them in the comments.