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Bathroom make-over: Everybody uses it, but it is often the last room on the list for renovations

What's the second busiest room in the home? Look no further than your bathroom, which sees all the family at least a couple of times a day - and often looks as it has been through the wars as a result!

Little wonder, then, that for many people, a bathroom makeover is high on the DIY list. Bathrooms see a lot of wear and tear and their users, meanwhile, see it day in, day out.

So how to go about getting a new look for your bathroom? Many people start by perusing the glossy mags and end up with a plan that would put the blueprint for the Channel Tunnel to shame, that comes with a price tag to match.

But while those mags are great for inspiration, you needn't cough up a fortune to give the bathroom a new look.

In fact it's quite possible to turn your old bathroom into a brand new one for far less than a grand, providing you don't mind shopping around and don't insist on branded goods.

Remember, though, that you do need to find a good, trustworthy builder to carry out the work (assuming you aren't going to do it yourself). Get at least three quotes and make sure absolutely everything is included in the quote before the builder starts.

Word of mouth recommendation remains the most effective way of finding somebody to do the job, but if that isn’t available, ask around the neighbourhood, and see who else is having work done, or try someone who did the other building work last time you had a go at the house!.

Bathroom sweet

For a more substantial project, consider a new bathroom suite - especially recommended for those who are tiring of that avocado bath, sink and toilet combo. There are all manner of colours and styles to choose from and if you shop around, it's possible to get all three for a reasonable price.

Wall to wall

As with any other room in the house, it's possible to introduce some striking changes with a few pots of paint or other wall treatments. Ceramic tiles are one way to do it; a half-tiled wall provides a wonderfully easy-to-clean surface and looks stylish as well.

One other option is wood panelling, which offers a great feeling of warmth. As with tiling, it's common to half-panel the walls - the panelling can then be stained or painted to your taste.

An alternative, if your budget doesn't run to tiles or panels, is to paint, using emulsion, which stands up well to a moist atmosphere.

Meanwhile, don't forget the finishing touches. Stencils are a great way of jazzing up the bathroom walls - perhaps using a seaside motif to brighten key areas.

Back to the floor

Carpet adds a touch of luxury on the floor, and man-made fibres on a rubber backing reduce the risk of rot. Again, though, ceramic tiles are excellent if there's a lot of splashing to clear up.

An alternative to those pricey tiles is some form of wood laminate or natural floorboards. If your boards aren't up to it, try a product similar to Laminate Loc's Floormaster 1600 Loc, which is ideal for the bathroom as it's simple to put together, water resistant and easily cleaned. Try your local DIY store for supplies.

Finishing touches

New suites, wall and floor coverings are among the most ambitious projects you can embark on for a change in the look of your bathroom.

But if you don't have the time or the money, there are also plenty of quick and easy fixes that can be completed within an hour or two.

Shower curtain:

Got a shower? Get a new shower curtain. This is a very easy and quick way to brighten up your bathroom. Curtains start at ridiculously low prices and come in all styles and colours.

Wall mirror:

These are great for adding depth to a bathroom and come in all styles and sizes. They'll need some DIY expertise if you're going to do the job without calling in the experts.

Toilet seat:

A fun and simple fix for the toilet is a new seat. These are available in all manner of funky designs and are easily installed.


If you have curtains in your bathroom, you can instantly give it a different feel by installing blinds. These come in a range of styles and prices, and are good for brightening the bathroom.

Duckboards and rugs:

And finally, don't forget something for your floor. If you've opted for a modern tiled or laminate floor, a duckboard can look great. Too austere? Try a cotton rug for warmth.

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