I've lived in a lot of New York City studio apartments; all have featured ugly, depressing bathrooms: dingy white, psych ward–y, and too small for standard-size bath mats, with lighting that makes everyone look like Charles Manson.
I counter such bleakness with chic, attractively packaged hand soap.
The splurge is definitely cheaper than a better apartment, and it shows everyone your values are in the right place. Plus, when I finish a bottle, I move it to the kitchen sink and fill the dispenser with dish soap—it is probably the only crafty, domestic thing I do, but it's very satisfying.
--Cat Marnell, beauty assistant
A few gorgeous soaps to consider:
Hermès Eau d'Orange Verte Hand and Body Wash, $50, hermes.com
Claus Porto Voga Liquid Soap, $19,
La Compagnie de Provence Savon de Marseilles Extra Pur Figue, $20,
Natural Soap, $8.00, amazon.com