After almost 18 months of being in the house, we are finally almost finished with the renovation! The bathroom was one of the last rooms to be done, (except our bedroom which is next on the list!). Mainly because we have taken a while to decide what to do with it. Our plans with the house have changed, we bought the house with the intention to stay in it for at least 5-6 years. Since living in it we have realised that we need something bigger and we are also wanting to relocate to a quieter, more remote location. Because of this, we are now trying to finish the house to the best possible standard for as little cost as we can.
My original plan with the bathroom was to knock the wall through into the adjacent room (the office) to have a huge bathroom, walk in shower, free standing bath, the lot but as we’ve decided we will move in the near future, I’m saving those design ideas and more importantly saving the money to do the next house! This means we will have to live with the small bathroom for now, but at least it is no longer a dated, pastel green small bathroom, right?! I’ve surprised myself how cost effectively I have managed to revamp the bathroom, and more importantly how pleased I am with the outcome. So, seen as I have had loads of questions of where I got certain things from, I thought I would share how I have done it.
Firstly, bathroom suites/ bathroom fitters are ridiculously priced for a bathroom that probably 14782 other people have. Buy everything separately and get a local tradesman, family member to fit it or if you’re a bit more DIY savvy than me – do it yourself! This way you can literally save yourself thousands, get the exact design you want and have a room that is unique to your house, rather than a showroom replica. Secondly, utilise what you have. If there are aspects of the original bathroom that you like or don’t mind. Keep them and see if you can up-cycle them in some way.
My first piece of advice would be to make a plan. Create a mood board of the style you want to go for, decide what is important to you, how much space do you have, what are your needs for revamping this room and most importantly what is your budget. I knew that I really wanted to go for the subway-style tiling with a contrasting grout but rather than completely replace, we kept the existing cream tiles and unpicked all of the old grout. We then re-grouted with a charcoal grey grout and resealed for a more contrasted look. A few tiles had to be replaced due to cracks but in total we saved hundreds by saving the original tiles and I got the look I wanted. A family friend/local handy man did this for us as well as the painting.
The walls were a pastel green colour, which is not my thing. I waned to go dark with the bathroom to give a spa like/relaxing feel. I think a lot of people are scared to go so dark in a bathroom, but yeah don’t be. We had so much charcoal grey paint left over from the dining room so again decided to use what we already had to cut costs and reduce waste. The paint was the perfect match to the grout. The radiator was old, yellow-ing and dated but rather than replace we sanded it and painted matte white, we also used this matte white for the skirting boards and door. Simple things like matte paint rather than gloss make such a big difference in giving a new and modern finish. Altogether, for the grouting and painting, labour and materials, we spent £350.
We replaced the god-awful cream/silver/glittery lino that was down (some seriously questionable choices by the previous owners!) and we were sensible with our choices to keep costs down. I originally wanted the Parquet Karndean tiles but as we were doing it on the cheap we went for the Parquet style cushioned floor instead. The same final outcome, for less. This cost £110 including fitting, my cousin fit this (@brt.flooring on insta!) so, the fitting didn’t cost much, family rates and all that!
In terms of bathroom furniture, we kept everything and just revamped. We ripped off the original white plastic bath panel (thank god!) and had a new one built using pallet wood which was then sanded and stained. Again, we got a local joiner to create and fit this and he also boxed in all the pipes around the toilet in the same wood as well as the sink to hide the visible pipes. We have a pallet wood feature wall in the front room, it’s a really cost-effective and easy way to achieve the modern- rustic look. Whilst the work was being done and we had no bath panel, I found I kept storing things under the bath. I came up with the idea to create a hidden door within the bath panel to allow us to still use under the bath as storage. As the bathroom is so small, storage space is tight, so this created the perfect place for us to hide all of things you don’t want on show! He also made us the bath caddy to match, bath caddy’s have become a hugely popular bathroom accessory recently. Pop a plant and a candle on them and they instantly make your bathroom look more stylish. All in all, the wood work cost us £200.
We replaced the dated leaf patterned window glass with an opal white opaque glass in the bottom panel and clear in the top panel to allow for light. This cost £100 for the glass which is a huge saving on replacing the entire window, (my dad fit this for us for free). The frosted glass also meant we didn’t need to fork out for shutters or a blind.
New light fitting and pull cord. – the initial plan with the lighting was to get rid of the pull cord as it is a dated design and put in spot lights with a standard light switch outside. However, this would have been a big and pricey job. Therefore, we opted to keep the light pull but swap for a more modern chrome design to tie in with the colours of the taps/shower etc. We got a new and quite dramatic light fitting to give a stand out effect (and steer the eye away from the pull cord!) some people doubted my decision on this, but I think it’s important for bathrooms to have a focal point. The light and pull cord came to £60 from Wayfair.
Furnishings/accessories – my favourite bit! I got rid of all the random mismatched towels we had collected over the years and replaced with simple high quality off-white towels. I don’t think towels are something to scrimp on because you can really tell in the quality. I got these organic linen blend towels from H&M, I paid £130 for 6 bath sheets and 3 hand towels.
One thing I hate is having a million plastic bottles of scattered along the side of the bath. I got these brown opaque bottles from amazon for £40 for four and emptied our shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and hand soap into them. They come in various different shapes and sizes and my favourite bit is that they look exactly like the Aesop bottles, so nobody will ever know it’s not! Goodbye, awful brightly coloured plastic bottles.
Plants. Or fake plants, I should say! All of which I already had from other rooms and just re-homed but originally from IKEA for next to nothing.
I’m sure all mums will agree with me on this one, the overload of brightly coloured bath toys just ruin the style of our bathroom. Stop killing my vibe with your paw patrol figures, Tobes! I had a huge clear out and only kept a handful of them, how many toys does one child need for a twenty-minute bath seriously?! And hid them out of sight in a braided jute basket, £8.99 from H&M.
The wooden ladder style towel rack again is something I already owned. I bought this from a vintage store I stumbled across once in a little village, I can’t remember exactly where but I do know it cost me around £40 because I remember thinking it was a bargain and I bought it before we even owned a house, knowing it would look great somewhere one day! I do this a lot. I like to have individual quirky pieces nobody else has, so if I spot something cool in a vintage or antiques shop I buy it. Whether I need it or not. T’other half hates my impulse buys! But you know, I hate his snoring, so swings and roundabouts! The same with the mirror, this I found in a garden centre for £30 and it’s been living on the fireplace for about a year, it looks so much better in its newly found home.
All in all, the bathroom renovation cost us just over a thousand pound, coming to a total of £1,118.99, which I personally think is amazing compared to some of the £6k bathrooms I was originally looking at! Kitchens and bathrooms are the main focal points people look at when buying a house, because they are the most expensive rooms to do. I’m now happy that my bathroom adds a unique selling point to the house and exudes the same personality and style as the rest of the house.