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How to make an old bathtub look modern: Simple and effective tips
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How to make an old bathtub look modern: Simple and effective tips

Posted by Rebecca Doody in DIY advice | 1 year ago 6 min read

How long have you had your tub? When was the last time you used it? Discover how to update and modernise your tired looking bath...


How long have you had your tub? When was the last time you used it? If you were lured by the title, then chances are that your entire tub has been sitting idle on your bathroom floor for a while now and to be frank, it is rather difficult to relax and soak yourself in a tub that looks unpleasant to you. Fret not. You don’t have to splurge to get a new tub. 

Harrison freestanding bath

How to make an old bathtub look modern?

With some careful design and planning, you can make any bathtub, whether it's an enamel tub or acrylic tub, look brand new and modern in no time. Let’s take a look at some ways you can achieve this.

Apply a fresh coat of paint

If your bathtub is old, chances are that stains and yellow spots around the tub drain have surfaced over the years. Not only does it make the bathtub aesthetically unpleasant, but having an ugly bathtub also brings down the overall look of the entire bathroom. 

A simple remedy to this is to simply apply a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of your tub. Don’t just use any kind of paint, though. Be sure to get gloss or semi-gloss paint as it gives the bathtub a smoother finish and is easier to clean in the future. 

White paint is a classic and safe choice to give the bathtub a sense of elegance. If you are feeling creative, you are, of course, free to choose other colours. Just make sure that they complement the rest of the bathroom so that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Using stencils is also a great way to give your bathtub a unique look.

Replace the tiles

If you have installed tiles around the tub, consider changing them to new ones. Just like the paint, choose a colour that complements the bathtub and the rest of the bathroom. Replace the old tiles with new ones will instantly make the bathtub seem newer and cleaner. After all, that’s what you’re actually doing. Take out the old, and in with the new. If, however, you want to save some money on retiling, you can also opt for a rustoleum tub and tile refinishing kit or use baking soda and lemon juice to scrub away dirt marks and grime.

Invest in a bathtub liner

Investing in a new bathtub liner is well worth it as it brings a new and modern look to your bathtub at the fraction of the price compared to uninstalling and purchasing a new bathtub. If the inner system of your bathtub is working just fine, then getting a bathtub liner is a good option.

Bathtub liners available in the market today are made of high-quality acrylics that are not prone to scratches or damage easily. The bathtub liners also come in various colours and designs so again, you get to let your creative juices flow with this one.

Do take note that bathtub liners have to be installed by professionals as installing them requires training and expertise. So, be sure to also include the cost of installation if you’re going for this option. 

The Bath Co. Dulwich roll top freestanding bath with chrome claw feet

Resurface your bathtub 

Resurfacing your old tub, especially for porcelain tubs, is like giving it a literal makeover. Perhaps one of the most cost-efficient and popular ways to make a bathtub look modern and brand new is to resurface it. Resurfacing is akin to getting a manicure for your nails. The uneven edges are trimmed and covered with a new layer of acrylic to cover up any scratches or cracks. 

The quality of today’s acrylics is also dependable and durable, and its high-gloss finish gives your bathtub that bit of spark and is also easy to clean and maintain over time. 

Update the old caulk 

If your tub is attached directly to the wall, chances are that caulk is used to seal the gaps between the tub and the wall. Unfortunately, over time, the caulk will start to turn yellow or mouldy due to the residual water vapour in the air after you take a shower. The dirty sight makes using the bathtub a less than ideal experience. 

One simple thing you can do is to remove the old caulk entirely by hand and replace it with new caulk. Do make sure to fully remove the old caulk before applying a new layer to prevent uneven bumps. You can visit your local hardware store and purchase a tube of caulk. Carefully squeeze the caulk along with the gaps and your bathtub and bathroom will now look cleaner and more modern. A simple yet effective method.

Incorporate decorative elements

Get creative and hands-on with a decorative project. If you will, the exterior of your tub can become a canvas for artistic expression. You can simply use a bead board and some hands-on work to cover the old spots on the exterior of the bathtub with something newer and more modern. You can also get a decorate shower head to spruce up the look of your bathroom.

Mode Cooper back to wall freestanding bath 1700 x 800

Use glass partitions instead of curtains

If you have curtains attached to your bathtub to prevent splashing, you can consider changing them into glass panels or removing them entirely. Curtains are great at containing water splashes if you got to admit that they look rather old-fashioned. Not a great look for a modern bathroom if you ask me. 

Removing your curtains will make your bathroom look more spacious and modern but if you want the modern look without having to compromise on the potential water splashes, do consider getting glass panels instead. See-through glass panels can allow more light to pass through, hence making the bathroom feel more spacious. 

The clean and simple look of the glass also complements just about every other feature and element of the bathroom.


If your bathtub has been with you for a while now and is starting to look old, try implementing at least one of the above-mentioned tips to give it a brand new makeover. This only covers the exterior and the aesthetics of the bathtub, though. 

If the technical aspect of your bathtub is faulty, then changing its look will effectively be useless. Nevertheless, you should consult a professional’s help when needed otherwise your bathtub might land in a worse state than it already is in.

Freestanding baths: a growing trend

Why not browse our full range of freestanding baths today, to find your perfect design?

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Author, Rebecca Doody

Posted by Rebecca Doody in DIY advice | 1 year ago

Originally from Somerset, Rebecca is our resident copywriter who takes care of all things product related. Rebecca loves the modern interior style with both neutral and bold influences to create a statement look.

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