A few months back I sent a package to boyfriend's NYC apartment.  I told him to open it, but he said he would wait until I arrived.  When I finally got up there he and I had a bit of work to do. 

We started with the hot water pipe in the bathroom.  I'm sure you all have seen these before?  They're frequently used in NYC apartment buildings and carry the hot water to all of the units.  They get quite hot and you can come close to burning yourself on them.  Plus they're hideous.

With a lot of rope and a little time, we started wrapping it in 5/16" manila rope.  I would definitely suggest wearing gloves for this.  Boyfriend and I only had two golf gloves so we each wore one of those.  It's probably best to have two people but I'm sure you could do it with one.  I wrapped the rope as tight as I could around the pole and boyfriend threaded the remaining rope around the upper portion of the pole with each time around.   

You have to be careful because it makes a huge mess and you can get splinters from the pieces.  It will also get all over you and your clothes.  I thought 150' would be enough rope but apparently not, so I'll have to order some more so we can finish the rest of it.

Here's a close up
 I like it because it's quite aesthetically pleasing, I think the boy likes it because it helps insulate the pipe when it gets hot.  Initially there was a gasoline/car garage smell to the manila rope which must be related to how it's treated, but that went away after a few weeks (during which time I was lucky enough to be in arlington..ha). 
Don't think I came up with this on my own! I had seen this done on an episode of Dear Genevieve and googled it, which brought me to this post.

We also recently solved the tiny bathroom/no vanity/no space/girlfriend wanting to throw things dilemma that had come about.  I would take a towel, put it in the sink and spread out all of my things.  Plus I kept knocking those glass bottle off the windowsill (and was worried they would knock right out the window, which is usually open)

A quick stop at CB2 and we were in business.  Now there is plenty of space for toiletries
(excuse these terrible quality photos)

Speaking of the boy's apartment, did I show you the start to the gallery wall?  Thanks to the amazingness that is video gchat, I was able to help him decide where to hang each piece.