In a recent interview with a selection of the UK’s top interior design bloggers, we asked “which home improvements make the greatest impact?”

We found that many identified their bathroom as an area for improvement, with Carole King from Heart Home Magazine saying:

“A new kitchen and bathroom without a doubt. They are probably the most used rooms in the house and new decor and appliances impact on our daily lives immensely.”

Bathrooms on a budget: Hands-on case study

With this in mind we want to show that a bathroom on a budget can feel fresh and bright, with a hygienic and contemporary look and prove that creating your very own haven of peace and tranquility needn’t cost an arm and a leg.

In association with family-budgeting.co.uk we carried out a bathroom makeover project, costing less than £600!

With the Family Budgeting bathroom it was clear that the original state of the bathroom has restricted everyday to use to the odd, quick shower. At the end of the day, who in their right mind would want to spend any longer in a bathroom they simply couldn’t relax in?

VictoriaPlum.com reviewed the Family Budgeting bathroom and chose to refresh the following items, which shows that a bathroom makeover doesn’t cost an average of £3,000:

  • Toilet - from £59.99
  • Basin taps - from £15.99
  • Bath taps - from £15.99
  • Side bath panel - from £25.99
  • End bath panel - from £19.99
  • Bath screen - from £59.99
  • Mirror cabinet - from £49.99
  • Shower mixer kit - from - £119.99
  • Flooring and wall tiles - from £200.00

Total - from £569.92

The old bathroom before the makeover

The Family Budgeting bathroom was clearly a tired looking bathroom and everything in it, apart from the basin and the bath, had seen better days.

Much of the bathroom was outdated and in need of a refresh as you can see in the short video and images below.

Details about the issues with the old bathroom

The toilet was installed on a raised piece of cork, the taps were old fashioned, the shower system was left wanting and finally the lino and tiles needed refreshing to create that hygienic, clean look.

Planning a design for your makeover

When consulting on this project, we recognised it was important to know exactly what we needed to replace or keep.

For a budget conscious makeover we had to ensure we would save money by keeping the more expensive items such as the bath and basin, whilst updating the toilet, taps, shower, furniture, tiles and accessories.

In a different situation we may have been able to keep the toilet too, but unfortunately this toilet was too short and had to be sat on cork. If we were going to replace the flooring we had to do the job right.

We discussed some design ideas and inspiration with Becky at Family Budgeting and created a bathroom mood board, which helped to bring all of our ideas together:

More articles to help you create a bathroom on a budget:

Once you know the look you are trying to achieve, from creating your mood board, you can start choosing your products.

If you need help with designing your bathroom, at VictoriaPlum.com you can get help and inspiration from our buying guidesinspirational style guides and latest design trends. You can also find lots of ideas from our latest bathroom inspiration posts.

With our expert knowledge of products we were able to consult on which products were needed for this bathroom makeover project.

Selected products

The first item picked was the Odessa white 2 door mirror cabinet, which includes 3 storage shelves behind the 2 stylish mirror doors, making it a perfect choice to sit above the basin.

Next were the white wooden bath panels, and the Curved single bath screen. The bath panels are actually solid MDF to give that quality and expensive look at an affordable price. Instead of replacing the original curtain a clean and hygienic bathroom must have a bath screen, which is undoubtedly a simple but very effective option.

Choosing the design of shower valve and riser kit is a lot easier than actually fitting the replacement. The Quadra valve and slider rail kit was the perfect option. The sleek, contemporary and stylish look that has great reviews for its performance also convinced us that this quality and affordable shower kit was the right product for this project.

The Milo close coupled toilet was chosen for this project, which was undoubtedly the next step up from the original worn out toilet, and offered a simple and clean look for just £59. A bargain and a perfect match for the rest of the bathroom. Unfortunately the toilet used in this project is no longer available, but the alternative in the latest style is the Energy close coupled toilet, and just for a little more at £71.99, it includes a slimline cistern that adds a clean, stylish designer look and a soft close seat.

The finishing touches for the bathroom included the Matrix bath mixer taps and matching basin taps. These are a very popular contemporary tap that fit with any bath or basin. Buying matching taps helps you to carry your theme throughout the bathroom and these gorgeous bath and basin taps are available for a combined price of just £110.

Bathroom installation for the makeover

The first job in a bathroom makeover involves clearing all surfaces such as removing the tiles, cleaning the wall surfaces and lifting up any old flooring.

The Family Budgeting bathroom makeover did not go as smoothly as planned, because a huge amount of wall and artexed plaster came down with the tiles. This exposed the brick and wooden slats behind the shower, which called for re-plastering and set the job back a couple of days.

Bathroom Connections interviewed about their involvement and challenges

In your project it’s likely you can anticipate a similar issue occurring by first removing a couple of tiles and hopefully you will begin to see early on how much will be affected.

Therefore, it is always worth checking your budget first before going straight into removing all your tiles, because depending on the size of the job it can prove to be quite costly. Fortunately, in our situation the bathroom was relatively average in size and it came in at a cost of about £300.

The plasterer was obviously experienced and efficient because he installed an aquapanel on top of the old slats where the shower valve sits, and re-plastered very quickly, allowing the makeover project to continue at a quick pace.

It’s important to have people who have time to commit to the job and are prompt and tidy, as this will make a huge difference in the efficiency and quality of the work that is carried out. Also, having products from a great company that are delivered quickly and are straightforward to install makes a real difference too.

The bathroom fitters then came and put on the bath panels, changed the taps, put up the cupboards and fixed the shower and the shower riser rail. The bathroom fitters installed everything in a very timely fashion, commenting that they love to work with VictoriaPlum.com products as the build quality helped for a speedy installation.

Handy hint: Discover how much your bathroom installation cost works out at.

Revealing the finished makeover

After a few days of ups and downs, the makeover was finished.

By selecting clean, neutral colours, we were able to create a fresh and inviting bathroom, without having to completely replace all the contents, and for a budget of less than £600!

The final result shows that the toilet is now installed on the clean and neutral tiles, with the old cork base now, thankfully, a thing of the past.

The new taps and back-splash tiling has given the basin a fresh lease of life and the glossy brick style tiles around the bath give a clean and eclectic feel, combining both traditional and modern looks. Along with the stylish new shower system, this undoubtedly adds that extra touch of class and luxury.

The bathroom makeover is finally finished off with the robust wooden bath panels and a mirror cabinet that offers both style and convenience, but importantly when combined with the bath screen they both add a feeling of greater light and space.

Things to remember

  1. Set a budget – If you know your budget then you can plan your bathroom around what you can afford.

  2. Leave room for setbacks – You never know what might be hiding behind those old tiles, so make sure you leave budget for any unexpected surprises.

  3. Create a mood board – If you plan your bathroom first, it can help you to shop more effectively, but also remember creating a feeling of more and light space is essential for smaller bathrooms.

  4. Only replace what you need to – If your main fixtures such as the bath and toilet are in good condition, just work around them. This gives you more money for the tiles and furniture.

  5. More expensive doesn’t mean more stylish – You can create a stunning bathroom on a small budget if you choose the right pieces, so shop around and find those bargains.

For more great inspiration when it comes to bathrooms on a budget, check out our bathroom ideas section.