The bathroom is a high traffic room in your house. It gets a lot of use from the whole family; but it also gets a lot of abuse from a build up of steam and dirt, which is a great breeding ground for the dreaded black mould. Taking time out to make-over your bathroom can have a big impact on how you feel about your whole house.
The first question to ask yourself when you come to make over your bathroom is ‘how much do I want to spend?’ The answer is that it doesn’t have to be as much as you think. Spend some time thinking about what you can do with your existing bathroom. The best bathroom makeovers are more about imagination than money. A lot can be achieved with a little imagination, creativity and you time.
The best way to save money on a bathroom makeover is by reusing the existing suite in its existing position. Moving them around is time-consuming and expensive so unless you can really add value – perhaps by creating the space to put in a shower unit – leave everything where it is.
If you can get away with giving the bath a really good clean, you will save yourself a fortune. A bath can be given a real lift just by replacing taps and fittings.
Old fashion – or just charming?
If you are lucky enough to have an old bathroom make the most of it; old bathrooms have charm, so think hard before deciding to remodel. Though some sprucing might be necessary, conserving the gracious look originally intended when built might be the best way to go.
Play up its vintage by bringing in antiques or collectibles of that same generation. Select wall coverings and fabrics appropriate to the room’s age.
Cheap bathroom suites
If the suite really has had its day then replacement is the only option. There are cheap white bathroom suites at DIY stores for a couple of hundred pounds these days but the poor quality may annoy you after you’ve had it for a while.
It might be worth upping the budget for a better quality suite and making a cut somewhere else if you are staying in the property. Check also that the bathroom suite prices include taps and other fittings as some cheap ones do not.
Don’t forget to use the Internet to your advantage too. Many plumbing suppliers use Internet auction sites to dispose of old stock or customer returns and if you can wait for the right moment you can get a quality bathroom suite at a cheap rate.
As these are often at eye level they get noticed straightaway so if they look tired then replace them. If replacement is out of the question, sand down, repaint and replace the handles instead.
Preparation, preparation, preparation
One of the most important parts of doing up your bathroom is the preparation. Spend some time making sure you have thoroughly washed down the all the tiles, walls and woodwork. Get rid of any mould and rub down any areas that will need smoothing before painting.
Work in a logical fashion
Once you have prepared your room get to work on the messy jobs such as cleaning the bath and basins etc and refreshing the wall tiles. You will probably need to wash the room down again after these jobs before you start painting walls and woodwork.
Bringing in colour
If you are planning to put your house on the market in the near future be very careful with colour. What you might consider, fantastic, bold and dramatic, others might see as over the top. So take the safe route and stick to soft, muted, neutral colours and furnishings. However if you are planning on staying and are just looking to refresh the bathroom for your own purposes, you can afford to opt for a more individual design.
Colour can be brought in on the walls, tiles, floor or accessories. However, before you start think about how you are going to use colour. Are there any colourful features in the room that you can’t or don’t want to change? Try to choose a colour that blends in or accentuates this colour. What sort of feel do you want your bathroom to have? Strong, bright colours on the wall can create a feeling warm, intimacy. You can create a dramatic room for relaxing.
However if your bathroom is a family room you might need to think about lighter, more practical colours. If, on the other hand, this is your sanctuary away from the family, you might want to use pale muted colours such as white, beige or gold to create a soothing calming space. With pale walls and fittings you can bring colour in with your accessories. The use of soft towels and candles will complete the feeling of sanctuary and give you your own spa experience at home.
Painting walls and woodwork
Again, good preparation is essential, no matter how tedious it is. Rub down walls and woodwork and taking care over undercoats and primers.If your walls are painted, then you’ll need to clean them down, making sure to remove all scum and scale and then repaint. Use special bathroom paints designed to take regular cleaning and be resistant to mildew etc. All the main brands have a bathroom paint in their ranges.
It’s really not a great idea to wallpaper a bathroom – especially next to a bath or shower. If your wall’s already wallpapered, strip it off and paint or even tile which you can do incredibly cheaply. Plain white tiles that look great, are easy to clean and waterproof your wall.
Check the state of your flooring – is it torn, worn, tatty or mouldy? If you said yes to any of these then you might need to think about replacing it. Ceramic tiled floors are fabulous(if a little chilly underfoot), but can cost the earth. Vinyl floors can be cheap and effective and still look like the real thing. It is worth shopping around and keeping an eye out for sales or end of rolls. Most bathrooms are relatively small and don’t need a huge amount of flooring. More often than not an end of roll is just enough to do your bathroom at a discounted price. Also many of the major DIY shops do a great range of cheap ceramic style veneer flooring that simply clicks together.
Having got your bathroom under control you can now start to bring in a real style and character with clever use of accessorise. Careful choice of storage jars can create a feeling of opulence. Colourful new towels will instantly brighten a room. Think about the feel that you want to bring into your room and plan how you will achieve this.
Lie back and relax
Having done all the hard work now is the time to open that bottle of wine, run a bath full of bubbles, light a candle and lie back and admire what you have achieved. With a little time, thought and hard graft you too can create your perfect bathroom.
Top tip! If you are doing all the work yourself it maybe a very worthwhile investment to buy a plumber’s spanner, which will reach the hard-to-get-at nuts that secure the bath taps.