It's curtains for drab baths

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If your bathroom feels drab, but you haven't got the budget or the energy for a major overhaul, we have a suggestion: Invest in a new shower curtain to brighten up the room. We recently found a nice selection in designs ranging from classic to whimsical.

"Changing a shower curtain can add a pop of color where there isn't color and a sense of design where people sometimes don't think to add a sense of design," says Janet Partridge, spokeswoman for the Garnet Hill Catalog. The catalog features an array of interesting shower curtains, including a black-and-white Travel Journal Shower Curtain printed in French from a copywriter's travel journal to Polynesia ($48,, and an Endless Summer shower curtain decorated with blue, orange and green surfboards ($45 at Garnet Hill recommends using a washable polyester or plastic liner with both curtains, which are cotton.

"It's all about creating a mood," Partridge says. "It's being a designer in your own home. You take the focus off what needs to be changed -- the paint, the fixtures, the flooring -- and put it on what's really fantastic."

We found another appealing beach motif at USA Wallpaper; the Cabana Stripe Blue Shower Curtain will give your shower a beach-y feel ($40.80 at usawall

For those who prefer adding a bit of elegance to the bathroom, Pottery Barn's new Jane Paisley curtain comes in vivid pinks, blues or greens and is made of soft cotton drape ($59 at

For the serious student -- or those who want to poke fun at one -- we liked the Chemistry Periodic Table shower curtain from Uncommon Goods ($30 at un "Why waste time mindlessly staring at white tile when you could be refreshing your memory on the atomic number of Rhodium?" the tongue-in-cheek ad for the vinyl shower curtain asks. The curtain is also a fun way to help kids study.

The Gaiam catalog sells an all-natural linen shower curtain made from linen fibers grown without harmful pesticides ($48 at This curtain will hold up to many washings, according to the catalog.

We loved the retro look of Ikea's Ethel Rund shower curtain -- a dozen big orange and brown polka dots on a white background ($5.99 at

If you need a little reminder to get to your yoga class, invest in a Yoga Shower Curtain ($30.95 from The vinyl shower curtain will freshen your memory on how to do your yoga moves with its illustrations of various positions from mountain pose to downward dog. It should come with a warning, though: Do not try these moves in the shower.

Valerie Finholm writes for The Hartford Courant.

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