Bathroom makeovers can add joy and value to your house

If you can live with the basic layout and structure as it is, you’ll keep the expensive work to a minimum.

While most buyers don’t mind redecorating a house when they move in, not everyone wants to go through the expense of ripping out a perfectly good bathroom if they can help it. Unless you strike lucky, though, chances are you’ll want to give it a revamp at some point.

Maybe you’ve been living in your property for years and one morning, suddenly realised how horrible your bathroom is and now you’d rather spend all day in a soft play centre full of screaming toddlers than 20 minutes alone in your bath staring at your beige tiles and mouldy grout.

First things first: take stock of what really needs ripping out, and what you might be able to save. Maybe your tiles are fine, but you could do with digging out the mouldy grout and re-grouting. Perhaps your bath, sink and toilet are fine, but you could do with replacing the tired linoleum floor and giving it a good paint.

If you can live with the basic layout and structure as it is, you’ll keep the expensive work – tiling, plumbing and electrics – to a minimum. You might find that you want to change the layout, but don’t actually need a plumber do carry out the work.

Basins, baths and showers don’t necessarily have to stay where they are as you can buy flexible extension pipes that you can fit yourself. Unless you’re feeling particularly brave, though, call in an expert.

If you really want to rip it all out and start from scratch, expect to easily spend upwards of £4000 as you’ll need a plumber, tiler and electrician, not to mention materials, paint and a new bathroom suite. If you’re on a tight budget, shop around – most big bathroom stores carry the same lines as each other under different names, and prices can vary wildly. Delivery also adds a premium, so try to buy all three pieces from the same retailer to keep those costs down and ask shops about ex-display items, too.

Look for end-of-line tiles if you’re not hugely fussed about a particular design – ask in your local tile shop when the new season designs are coming in, as that’s when they’ll reduce the prices on their current stock. If you don’t want a big area tiled, pick up some waterproof paint for the walls, and consider (waterproof) laminate flooring.

Go the other way, if you like, and choose tiles that look like wood – they’re a lot nicer than they sound. We did that in our en-suite and it looks great.

If you want extra storage space and find yourself reeling at the price of built-in basin units, you might be able to find a willing (and hopefully able) carpenter who could build something for you from MDF or plywood, and paint it. You can have the basin fitted into it.

Alternatively consider repurposing something you already have, or looking on eBay for a vintage dresser or sideboard, if you have the space. They can look great converted into basin units if you go for a traditional bathroom look or are very good at combining vintage with contemporary. If you’re not, ask an interior designer to help you.

After all that, promise us you won’t go and spoil it with one of those wooden signs that says ‘BATHE’.


Juliette Wills,

Journalist. Broadcaster. Author.

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