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  • Writer's pictureDesigner James Treble

Affordable Bathroom Renovation

Bathrooms, like kitchens, have the power to really make or break the appeal of a property, and a total renovation may be quite expensive. However, I would like to inspire you to achieve a new looking bathroom without spending a fortune.

First of all, how can it look the best with doing the least! If the tiles are in good condition, keeping the vanity, the tap-ware and the shower screen will save you a lot of money. In fact, if your tiles don't go up to the ceiling, by simply changing the wall colour, the blinds and updating the styling in the room, it can look new and feel fresh.

Here are a few suggestions to inspire you towards an affordable bathroom re-styling:

  • Consider changing window curtains with blinds as this immediately adds a sleek and modern look. Plantation shutters will cost a little more but provide a resort feel and as the windows are usually small, it's an expense worth considering.

  • Change a small wall mirror with a wider mirrored cabinet, and you'll also add valuable storage.

  • Choose a colour that contrasts the floor and wall tiles, and use this for a new bathmat and a matching towels' set. A muted but contrasting colour will add elegance to the rest of the room.

  • Finally add a few details like a pot-plant, one small towel and a soap dispenser, all in a natural earthy tones, modern greys' or a vibrant colour you like. These can easily be changed in accordance with the seasons or your mood.

  • Repaint the yellowed walls and ceilings: white is fresh and clean, but why not opt for a strong colour that contrasts or hints to a colour off your floor. Sometimes a mid-tone or dark ceiling, especially in a powder room, can totally transform a space.

these images courtesy of Pinterest

But let's assume you are ready to renovate instead of just re-style the bathroom. If the tiles are good to keep, changing the vanity, the tap-ware, the wall cabinet or the shower screen will definitely give you the feel of a new room. These changes will require some spending and possibly a professional to install, but the improvement to the room will be amazing. Depending on the size of your bathroom and your budget, search for options in Bathroom Showrooms and lifestyle magazine. You will find that frameless shower screens are very elegant; black tap-ware is a striking statement; off the floor vanities are beautiful, increasing the feeling of space, and backlit mirrors add the WOW FACTOR...

Here some Cosmetic Renovation points:

  • A new shower screen is essential to achieve a new looking bathroom. Better than white, the stainless finish has a modern appeal; frameless glass however is the most elegant of any look. Replacing that old looking frosted glass with clear will increase the size of the room.

  • A new vanity will give you the chance to add storage to this room and finally hide all the necessary but cluttering items we use every day.

  • Changing the tap-ware will add an unmissable new bling, and for a refined look all taps in the room must match: basin, bath, shower... You can have a tap-set in the shower (so not to change the plumbing inside the wall) but a mixer on the vanity, as long as their finish is the same.

  • The mirror should be a statement: very large, maybe beveled and unframed for example, or add an elegant and striking frame in washed timber for a coastal feel. The round mirror will contrast and soften all the straight lines in the room.

  • Instead of just having over-head lighting, if you can, consider installing lights at the side of the mirror as this frontal brightness will disguise any tired look on your face and will improve the mood for a good start of the day. These sometimes come as part of a new mirror.

  • Adding Louvers to your window will add an expensive resort look as well as great functionality, if these fit in your budget and with your taste.

Extra tips:

  • Declutter and keep the bathroom extra-clean as heavy odours and grotty corners will defy any renovation treatment you may choose to add.

  • Avoid small mirrors as these seem to shrink the room and are not functional. The mirror's size should always be wider than the sink and no wider than the vanity, unless it goes from corner to corner.

  • Avoid shower curtains if you can as these often add a cheap and frumpy feel.

  • An off-the-floor vanity adds to the feeling of a larger floor area while making the cleaning easier.

  • If you have room, add art on the wall and includes some plants; these will freshen up the look and reinforce your chosen accents of colour.

  • Repainting the wall tiles is a practical solution to affordably eliminate an ugly and dated decor, this can be done DIY, or by professionals with appropriate and durable materials, which may save you time and result in a superior finish.

  • Creating a feature wall in the bathroom [by painting tiles or adding new tiles on top] will achieve an interesing contrast and possibly a wow factor.

  • Adding a thin floor on top of your existing one is an affordable way to achieve a new look, but you'll have a small step to deal with at the door. There are now available thin porcelain tiles which are perfect for this, creating a dramatic transformation at a fraction of the cost of replacing the floor.

these images courtesy of Cherie Barber and The Living Room

There are many choices and ultimately you must choose the look you prefer, being one which suits the rest of your home and one you can afford. As renovations in the bathroom can be pricey and take time, choose carefully and do your homework to avoid wasting money, and remember when choosing any fixed finish, select a look and style you can live with for a while.

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.


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