Brighten up your bathroom on a budget

If you’re not feeling flush enough to spend a lot of money on your bathroom, there are plenty of ways to brighten up that smallest room with the smallest amount of cash, say bathroom design experts.

All it takes is a bit of imagination and a few colourful but inexpensive accessories, promises bathroom designer George Holland, of Victorian Plumbing. He says: “After the kitchen, the bathroom is probably the second busiest room in the house, treading a fine line between practical and relaxing. If your bathroom’s seen better days, a few budget-friendly DIY updates can make a difference.

“Simple changes such as new towels, replacing the showerhead or even resealing the bath can really freshen up a tired-feeling space.”

And Paul Tarbard, owner of Watertight Bathrooms, adds: “Accessories and soft furnishings really can make all the difference, and brighten up bathrooms new and old.”

Here are their ideas to spruce up a tired-looking bathroom on a budget.

1. Transform your tiles

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Revamp dated walls with peel-and-stick adhesive tiles. It’s an affordable alternative to retiling the whole wall, says Mr Holland, explaining that you simply measure the area and cut to size, making sure your tiles are free from soap, dirt and water before starting.

2. Splash on a fresh coat of paint
Refreshing any bathroom paintwork can really uplift your space, says Mr Holland. Opt for mould-resistant paint for walls, and if you’re planning to paint your tiles or radiators, make sure you buy the appropriate paint.

3. Add a little greenery

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Mr Tarbard says plants always inject a bit of life to a bathroom – with the added bonus that many plants thrive in the humidity of the room.

4. Wall-mount a toiletry dispenser
Reduce the clutter in your bathroom with a smart-looking wall-mounted shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel dispenser. Simply affix to the wall closest to your shower and press a button to dispense. As well as looking good, dispensers are also more eco-friendly, as you can buy toiletry refills, rather than a new plastic bottle each time.

5. Use a wine rack for matching towels

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Instead of forking out for a heated towel rail, simply buy a wine rack and fill it with towels that match your bathroom colour scheme, suggests Mr Tarbard. Make sure any accessories are in matching colours too.

6. Add a striking shower curtain
A new shower curtain will instantly change the look of your bathroom, promises Mr Holland. “It’s a great way to experiment with colour and pattern, especially if you match your towels and accessories to them,” he says. He also suggests replacing curtain hooks with gold or brass ones, for a budget-friendly but effective look.

7. Lighten up
“Changing the lighting can transform a bathroom from dull to wow!” Mr Tarbard says. New bathroom wall lights can cost from around $60, and new ceiling lights are a similar price, although there’s the cost of having them fitted on top of that.

8. Do your own sink and bath repairs
If there are unsightly chips or scratches in your bath, sink or shower tray, just buy a scratch and chip repair kit from a DIY shop. “Compared to replacing the full unit, it’s a cost-effective way to get that brand-new feeling back to your bathroom,” explains Mr Holland.

9. Buy some shiny new taps

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Replacing the taps will give a fresh and unique look to a tired sink or bath, says Mr Tarbard.

10. Add a shaver point
Mr Tarbard says putting a good shaver point in the bathroom “screams quality” – and you can use it to charge your electric toothbrush too.

11. Don’t forget the floor
Changing the flooring if it looks tired, maybe to vinyl, Karndean, or even a feature tile, can lift the whole room, says Mr Tarbard – although what you pay obviously depends on how big your floor space is, as well as the type of flooring you choose.

But if you’ve already got wooden floorboards, why not try sprucing them up by sanding, priming and painting them. “White is a great colour for smaller spaces, as it can give the illusion of space,” says Mr Holland, “but black can be equally as effective. Whatever colour you choose, make sure the paint is suitable for bathrooms and floors, to ensure it’s hard-wearing and long-lasting.”

12. Replace the showerhead
Cheap to buy and easy to replace with just a few tools, a new showerhead can quickly reinvigorate your shower experience. “Not only will this budget-friendly update look good, but it’ll feel really refreshing too,” says Mr Holland.

13. Refresh tile grout

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It’s a subtle improvement, but you may find you’re surprised at how much difference refreshing the grout between your bathroom tiles can make, especially if the grout lines are faded and discoloured. Using a grout reviver pen, all you do is draw the pen along the grout to see an instant difference. “You could also try replacing your grout completely,” suggests Mr Holland. “Dark grout contrasts nicely with white tiles and works especially well if you have an interesting or unique tile pattern.”

14. Reseal your bath
Replacing your bath sealant can make a big difference to how your bathroom looks, too – particularly if the old sealant is mouldy or discoloured, says Mr Holland. All you need is the sealant, a cartridge gun and a Stanley knife to slice through the old sealant before removing.

When did you last renovate your bathroom? Will you be trying any of these tips to spruce up your bathroom?

– With PA

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Written by Lisa Salmon


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