Bathrooms are very expensive rooms to renovate as specialist tradesmen are needed, such as electricians, plumbers, and tilers. This project shows how to renovate for less.

This 1970s bathroom with dated and damaged avocado suite and wood-effect paneled walls needed a complete overhaul.

The room had a big airing cupboard just behind the door, which housed the boiler and a small shelved cupboard above the bath. Badly fitted blue-green lino covered the floor, but the biggest drawback was the lack of a shower.

Thrifty Tips for Bathroom Renovation

When alerted about the low budget for this renovation, the builder advised to:

  • Keep the paneling as removing it might reveal damaged walls, the property being quite old, replace the bathroom fittings using the existing plumbing
  • Build a shower cubicle rather than buy a shower surround
  • Remove the lino and see if it was possible to restore the floorboards.

A white suite with modern taps was purchased for half its price from a DIY store during a sale, while the builder sourced all the other materials. If there are no sales at the time of renovation, it’s worth asking the builder if he can buy the suite and fittings from a warehouse that sells to the trade as their prices are very competitive.

The lino was taken off then the white suite was fitted. The paneled box that contained the toilet cistern was removed. A shower cubicle was built using marine plywood and was tiled internally in plain (and cheap) white tiles. Its door, electric shower system, and tray were purchased from a builder’s warehouse.

DIY Skills Can Save Money

When the builder left, the homeowner primed the paneling on the walls and painted in with dedicated bathroom paint in a cool blue shade, including the cupboard above the bath, the airing cupboard housing the boiler, and the external side of the shower cubicle facing the door. As the floorboards were stained and in bad state, they were repaired and painted with white gloss. If floorboards are in good condition, they can be stained, which is a cheaper and quicker process.

Wooden shelves were added above the toilet to accommodate toiletries while easy-to-apply white mosaic tiles were attached with special grout above the sink.

A light fitting with pine surround was chosen to match the wooden shelves above the toilet, the wooden toilet seat, and the wooden bathroom surround. Blue and white gingham curtains completed the makeover.

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