Sinking into a hot bath is a welcome way to relax and escape from the world for a bit. But if you’re also lying in the bubbles dreaming of a new bathroom, then use our expert tips to give your bathroom a makeover without overspending.
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The brand of bathroom you choose and how big an overhaul you’re planning for your space are the main things that will determine how much it costs. Though it’s also possible to give your bathroom a new look without buying a new bathroom suite, bath or shower.
Understandably, you might not be comfortable letting traders into your home at the moment – so below are some tips on the things you can do yourself, as well as a look at costs. See more ideas for updating bathrooms on a budget.
1. How much is a new bathroom?
This very much depends on the quality of the bathroom suite you’ve got your eye on, as well as the amount of redesigning and decorating involved. But it’s the first thing to know when planning changes to your bathroom.
As a very rough guide, you can buy a basic bath, sink and toilet from a DIY store for around £250. A higher-end suite from a specialist bathroom company can cost well into the thousands. This is just the cost of the suite and doesn’t include installation, decorating, tiling or any other costs.
Use our bathroom prices for a guide to the full cost of redoing your whole bathroom. We’ve teamed up with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to give cost breakdowns for different sizes of bathrooms and standard or luxury fittings.
2. Transform your bathroom without buying a new bathroom suite
If your bathroom is in good shape but looking tired or dated, consider these tips to give it a new lease of life. As well as much cheaper than a new suite, they’re quicker too.
- Repaint the walls, or change the wallpaper
- Paint bathroom cabinets or vanity units
- Regrout, paint or replace bathroom tiles
- Improve bathroom lighting and add mirrors to brighten up the room
- Remove built-up limescale from taps, tiles and showers
- Change taps and showers if they are discoloured or damaged
3. You could change your bathroom décor yourself
Painting the walls, woodwork or bathroom cabinets, or other decorating tasks in your bathroom are parts of the project likely to be achievable to do yourself.
You might also feel confident to do a small amount of tiling, rather than hire a professional.
We’d recommend that you only attempt DIY tasks that you feel comfortable that you can complete safely. If you’re not sure, use our Which? Trusted Traders service to find a painter and decorator near you.
4. Keeping your current bathroom layout will cut costs
Moving plumbing or your waste pipe will add to the cost of your project, compared with installing a new bathroom suite and toilet in the same position as your current ones.
If you have your eye on a modern ‘floating’ wall-hung toilet (where the supports and plumbing are hidden behind a structural false wall) think carefully about how this will work best. The false wall will slightly change the shape of your bathroom and they can be more disruptive and complicated to install. Check with your bathroom fitter how this will impact the cost.
See our bathroom ideas for inspiration on transforming your space.
5. Luxury bathroom ideas can be pricier than you think
Statement bathroom suites and luxury touches accessories can transform your bathroom into a blissful sanctuary. But if you’re keeping an eye on costs, consider your priorities and any extra spend they’ll need.
A heavy, luxury bath might need a reinforced floor, while converting your bathroom into a wet room will need waterproofing and might also require new drainage, the Federation of Master Builders advises. You’ll likely need a builder to make these changes, which will add to the cost on top of plumbing-in the bathroom suite.
Stone tiles, underfloor heating, new lighting and designer heated towel rails will also increase the price, as will natural stone baths and glass basins.
If you’re working to a tighter budget, choose where to add a touch of luxury and where not to splash out. Standard fittings, such as acrylic baths and basic electric showers, will keep costs down.
See the best bathroom sinks, taps, toilets, baths and showers to help you find the best bathroom suite for your space.
6. Save water and create a more sustainable bathroom
It might not cut the upfront cost of upgrading your bathroom but factoring in water-saving features could help reduce your bills in future as well as making your home more environmentally friendly.
More than half of homes in England now have water meters so their water bills depend on how much they use.
Dual-flush valves on toilets let you choose whether to use more or less water when you flush. Modern water-efficient toilets can reduce the amount of water used in one flush from 13 litres to 2.5 litres.
Shower timers, water-saving shower-heads and shower-flow regulators are other ways to save water in your bathroom. See our eco shower heads buying guide, which includes tips on saving water in the shower.
To find out how water-efficient new bathroom products are, look out for the Unified Water Label. This tells you products’ water use
Make sure you fix any leaks, including dripping taps, shower heads and cisterns which fill continually. Valves can sometimes fail on old products and, like any equipment, ‘all toilet mechanisms including valves and siphons require correct installation and occasional maintenance’, according to the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA).
Getting a leaky loo fixed isn’t a big job, Tom Reynolds, chief executive of the BMA told us. ‘It’s a really simple repair, minor maintenance’.
Need a plumber? Use Which? Trusted Traders find a reliable plumber near you.