Not everyone is ready to fork out for a complete transformation so we have designed this guide to provide some easy bathroom makeover ideas.
Ripping out your bathroom and starting from scratch is great if you have the time and the money. It can also prove to be inconvenient because being without the essential items in your bathroom is a pain.
So rather than taking the plunge and renewing everything you could just freshen things up with a mini-makeover. This guide is designed to give you a few ideas. You could employ a few of them or all of them. It depends on how much of a change you require.
So let’s get started…
Redecorate The Walls
The decoration on the walls of your bathroom will have the greatest visual impact. They have the greatest surface area and will be one of the first things you see. So let’s start with them.
If you have painted walls this could be as easy as a quick lick of paint. Ideally, you should use a specialist bathroom paint. This will be formulated to cope with the high levels of moisture. Standard, household emulsion will tend to struggle and could start to peel.
But most bathrooms tend to have tiled surfaces so let’s start with those.
Making The Most Of Your Tiles
If your bathroom is tiled and the tiles have been up a few years, you can start having a few problems.
The tiles themselves might look fine but grout has a nasty habit of discolouring. Grout can also develop mould spots if it has been badly applied or incorrectly specified. There are some remedial treatments you can employ to brighten up your grout. Or you could rake it out and start again. See this article for more details: how do I get my grout white again
If the tile design looks dated then it is possible to paint them. This can have varying results. You will need to use a special primer and paint specifically designed for this job. You could try standard glosses but you might experience problems. So if you’re going to do it, do it properly.
Make sure the tiles are clean and free of any soap residue. They also have to be bone dry. If either of these steps are omitted the paint could start to flake off. A small roller will give a smoother finish than a brush. You want to achieve as smooth and glossy a surface as possible in order to emulate a glazed tile.
A more permanent option would be to cover the tiles with bathroom cladding.
Bathroom Cladding To The Rescue
Bathroom cladding is a very easy product to work with.
It is made from PVC and consists of a series of “planks” that slot together. Bathroom cladding is very easy to cut and very easy to work with. And best of all it can be fitted over your existing tiles. So if your tiles and grout are a bit of an eyesore then you can simply hide them behind these panels.
The area over a bath or inside a shower cubicle is the most problematic for grout because this is the area with the highest moisture levels.
So, you could just fit the bathroom cladding in these areas. There are plain white panels available that will work well in this situation as they will not clash with any other existing colours. Or, you could opt for a contrasting colour to the rest of the room. Of course, you could also re-decorate the whole room.
This will have the added advantage of eliminating any future maintenance. Because once these panels are up they look good for years. As easy bathroom makeover ideas go this is one of the best and the most effective.
Upgrade Your Bath Panel
This is a very easy way to give your bathroom an instant lift.
The plastic bath panels that come with most suites are not the prettiest of items. They are functional and do the job of covering up all of the pipework extremely well. But they are not that great to look at and they are also prone to cracking.
So why not upgrade your bath panel with something more attractive? There are some very nice designs available off the shelf. Many of the wood-effect panels look great and will as a touch of luxury to your design.
You could even think about making your own bath panel – this article has a lot more information.
Fit A Shower Screen
If you have a shower over your bath then you have 3 choices
1. Shower curtain
2. Shower screen
3. A very wet floor
Most people avoid option 3 and go for option 1 as it is the cheapest.
But shower curtains are not the best-looking items in the bathroom. They can also develop mould and start to smell if not kept clean. Shower screens look a lot more modern and are easier to keep clean.
They are relatively easy to fit. You will need a drill and a steady hand. You will also need appropriate fixings. These will depend on the type of wall you are fixing the screen to. If it is a stud wall you will need special hollow wall fixings unless you are lucky and there is a wooden stud right where you need it.
There are various types of screens that are either a one-piece design or a folding design. One-piece screens are cheap and readily available but they are permanently in place and don’t fold right back against the wall. This is because most baths are not as wide as the width of a screen and also the bath taps get in the way. If you buy one of these we recommend a clear one as they will keep the room feeling as open as possible.
Folding screens have 4 or 5 sections and fold back against the wall when not in use. They sometimes have problems stopping water where each panel joins the next where it meets the bath. Unlike 1 piece screens, there is not a continuous sealing strip along the bottom. It is split into sections like the screen itself.
Fit A New Shower Curtain
Drilling through tiles can put people off fitting a screen so you might want to just stick with a shower curtain. Replacing your existing curtain with a new, brightly coloured model is a cheap and easy makeover idea.
There are some fantastic designs available that will instantly give your room a loft. Some will even become a talking point. They are large items so they can completely change the feel of a room very easily.
The curtain in the photo is from Amazon – as an associate, we receive a commission on any qualifying purchases.
To see more of their curtains click here
Upgrade Your Bathroom Taps
You might not have the budget to install a complete new bathroom suite but you could give it a bit of a makeover. One of the cheapest ways of doing this is by swapping the taps over.
If your bath is in good condition there is no real need to replace it. Basins and toilets are made from porcelain so do not really deteriorate that much over time – even with constant use. So they are usually fine as they are. You are left with the taps as the only things to replace.
Older style taps could be replaced with something more up-to-date. In the past, taps had rubber washers that took several turns of the tap head to operate. Modern taps have ceramic valves that only require a quarter turn. The overall look has changed as well, with the current trend being for sleeker, more minimalist designs.
Changing the taps on a basin is quite easy because access is relatively open underneath. Bath taps are more problematic.
It is possible to replace bath taps in situ but it can be tricky especially if the tap end of the bath is against a wall. It’s a much easier task if the taps are at the open end of the bath as shown in the top photo.
You could always just change the tap heads if access underneath is not possible. There are kits available that will swap your old tap heads and valves for newer, modern designs. You need to buy the heads and valves as a kit because new heads will not necessarily fit your old valves. The cross-head design is available on Amazon – click here to see more tap reviver kits
Swap Your Basin For A Vanity Unit
This is probably a more straightforward project than you might think.
All of the pipework will be in roughly the same place for a basin & pedestal as for a vanity unit. Flexible tap connectors and push-fit pipe-work have made the job even easier for the average DIYer.
Check the height of your basin before buying a vanity unit. The vanity unit needs to be at least as tall as the previous basin to cover any visible damage when it is removed.
There are many different types, sizes and styles of vanity units so you will always have plenty of choices. We have a separate article on vanity units here
The one thing all vanity units have in common is that they will give extra storage space. This is vital in bathrooms as it is amazing how much clutter can accumulate. Full-depth vanity units offer the most storage space. This means the cupboard underneath the sink is as deep as the vanity basin.
Semi-recessed vanity units are where the basin projects out from the cupboard. These have a smaller volume but still offer useful storage. This type of vanity unit is ideal in a cloakroom or small bathroom where space is at a premium.
There are under-sink cabinets available if you are not confident tackling any plumbing. These simply slot straight under your existing basin to provide instant storage. The example shown is available from Amazon. Click on the photo to find out more or click here for further information.
Add A Bathroom Cabinet
If you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty with plumbing then you could add some vital extra storage space by fitting a bathroom cabinet.
This is another product line that comes in all shapes and sizes (and price points). Go for the biggest one that will fit comfortably on your wall. You can never have too much storage space as this article on bathroom storage demonstrates.
Choose one that has mirror doors – preferably without frames around them. This will maximise the mirror size and will help make your room feel larger.
There are cabinets that have built-in lights and shaver points. Some have de-mister pads built into the mirrors to prevent them from steaming up. You will need to get someone qualified to sort out the electrics for these options. But this is relatively easy – especially if you are re-decorating.
You will need to drill the wall for the fixings and again the exact type of fixing will depend on the wall construction.
Replace The Radiator With A Heated Towel Rail
Standard panel radiators are not the most attractive items. So why not swap it out for a heated towel rail?
This is a very straightforward job if you can get hold of a towel rail that can make use of the same pipework. The important measurement will be the distance between the centres of the pipe entry points. If these are the same as your existing radiator you will be able to swap them over without the need to alter any plumbing.
The other important consideration to keep in mind is the heat output. Panel radiators will produce a lot more heat than a similarly sized towel rail as they have a bigger surface area. So try and fit the tallest towel rail that will fit comfortably in the space. Your supplier should be able to advise you on the relative heat outputs.
This is not designed as a definitive guide to the process – there are plenty of videos online that will give you more detailed avice. Obviously, you need to have some DIY skills to undertake this work so if you are in doubt call in a professional.
These are obviously not the only options available to you if you are looking for easy bathroom makeover ideas.
New flooring, blinds or replacement bathrooms accessories can all help lift a dated design. But the ones we have listed will have the greatest impact on the overall look of the room.