By Alix O’Neill

Stylish bathrooms on a budget

Looking for an inexpensive yet spa-like haven? Our experts show you how to make a splash without draining your finances.

When it comes to giving your interiors a design overhaul, it can be easy to neglect the bathroom. But this practical space deserves as much TLC as the rest of the home – more so if it’s in frequent use by the whole family. Our bathrooms should be a place of sanctuary, says Tina Riley of Leamington-based kitchen and bathroom supplier Modern Homes. “Increasingly, our clients are interested in spa-inspired bathrooms that offer an escape from their busy lives.”

Set the scene

Riley cites natural woods and tiles in unusual shapes – think fish scales, leaves, triangles, circles, teardrops and even stars – as among the hottest bathroom trends for 2019. Meanwhile, Heritage Bathrooms’ Charlie Williams nods to mixed metallics, botanicals, colour layering and bold, black bathrooms as the looks du jour.

But how can you keep up to date with the latest trends on a budget? Our experts share their secrets to serious bathroom style without the hefty price tag…

Charlie Williams, Heritage Bathrooms

“To revive an existing bathroom suite without an entire refit, simply switch your bathroom accessories and smaller fittings. Consider adding new, modern taps to a basin as a simple way of giving your bathroom an on-trend update. Gilded framed mirrors are another beautiful way of introducing a touch of regency styling to your space. Remember, it’s all about the detail, so consider a vintage soap holder or some traditional candles as a way of subtly blending design styles."

Adam Chard, VictoriaPlum.com

There are ways you can cut costs if you’re prepared to do a bit of work. First, you could try dismantling your old bathroom yourself. If you are relatively DIY savvy and know how to turn off the stopcock, it’s fairly straightforward to rip out a bathroom suite, and you can save on hiring a skip by disposing of the waste yourself. Shop with reputable online bathroom retailers that offer regular sales promotions and clearance prices.

If you can’t stretch to a full bathroom upgrade, a new set of taps and accessories can breathe new life into your space. You’d also be amazed at how a simple lick of paint can transform a dull space. If tiles will add too much to your budget, why not consider wall panels and vinyl flooring instead? Both are more cost-effective and, if you’re confident enough, can be fitted yourself.

Naomi Nunn, soak.com

“Relatively subtle changes can have a big impact on the look and feel of a bathroom, yet make only a small financial dent.”

One of the major trends over the past 12 months has been monochrome and there is no sign of that slowing down as we move through 2019. If anything, it’s becoming more popular and we’re seeing it featured in a range of styles, including industrialist and minimalist. Even those looking to create busy spaces in their bathroom are turning to monochrome, attracted by its simple effectiveness.

Adding matte black accessories, such as mirrors, towel handles and taps, to a predominately white bathroom can provide a winning formula for a low investment. What’s great about this trend is that most people already have white bathrooms, so it’s merely a case of adding accessories or replacing individual elements.

Renovating a bathroom on a budget can be as simple as bringing the outdoor in by adding a touch of greenery. Leafy plants are proving the order of the day, whether that be a fig tree, Monstera or rubber plants – it is very much a case of the bigger the better when it comes to green in the bathroom.

A slightly more complex task of replacing the tiling for a stylish new pattern can also make the world of difference to the look of a space.

Finally, the use of radiators in any bathroom renovation is underestimated. Don’t see your radiator as a functional necessity – use it as an opportunity to change the feel of your room with innovative new designs.”

Margaret Talbot, VitrA

“Before embarking on a new look for your bathroom, list what’s wrong with it. If the prime problem is clutter, consider adding towel rails, robe hooks and accessories. One fast way to give a new modern look and add storage space at the same time is to change an old pedestal basin for a vanity with a built-in basin, a cupboard below and a matching mirror above. This can easily be done for well under £1,000 if you shop around.

“Choose wall-hung furniture for an extra feeling of space and light. If you have an over-bath shower with a curtain, think about replacing the bath with a shower bath, which has an integral screen – much smarter than clingy curtains and far better at keeping water off the floor. Complete the look with a smart new mixer shower. If your bathroom is dark and dingy, new lighting will brighten things up, but remember – plug-in lights are not allowed for safety reasons. Choose safe LED light fittings recommended for bathroom use and have them fitted by a qualified electrician.”