Homeowners often think they can only dream of having an ultra-modern bathroom if they fork out tens of thousands of pounds.
But design experts say there are plenty of ways to freshen up even the smallest of bathrooms with the smallest of budgets.
All it takes is a bit of imagination and a few colourful but inexpensive accessories, promises bathroom designer George Holland, of Victorian Plumbing, who says: “After the kitchen, the bathroom is probably the second busiest room in the house, treading a fine line between practical and relaxing.
“If your bathroom’s seen better days, a few budget-friendly updates can make a difference.
“Simple changes such as new towels, replacing the showerhead or even resealing the bath can really freshen up a tired-feeling space.”
And Paul Tarbard, owner of Watertight Bathrooms, adds: “Accessories and soft furnishings really can make all the difference, and brighten up bathrooms new and old.”
Here are their ideas to spruce up a tired-looking bathroom with a small amount of cash:
1. Transform your tiles
Revamp dated walls with peel-and-stick adhesive tiles, which start at around £7.99 for 24.
George says it’s an affordable alternative to retiling the whole wall, explaining that you simply measure the area and cut to size, making sure your tiles are free from soap, dirt and water before starting.
Transforming tiles could also include a refresh of the tile grout, which could be a subtle change that makes a huge difference to the look of the room.
Using a grout reviver pen, which can cost as little as £3, all you do is draw the pen along the grout to see an instant difference.
“You could also try replacing your grout completely,” suggests George. “Dark grout contrasts nicely with white tiles and works especially well if you have an interesting or unique tile pattern.”
2. Splash on a fresh coat of paint
Refreshing any bathroom paintwork can really uplift your space, says George. Opt for mould-resistant paint for walls, and if you’re planning to paint your tiles or radiators, make sure to buy the appropriate paint.
Replacing your bath sealant can make a big difference to how your bathroom looks, too – particularly if the old sealant is mouldy or discoloured.
3. Add a little greenery
Paul says plants always inject a bit of life to a bathroom – with the added bonus that many plants thrive in the humidity of the room.
Shades of green can add depth and contrast to a bathroom’s minimalist colour scheme.
4. Wall-mount a toiletry dispenser
Reduce clutter in your bathroom with a smart-looking wall-mounted shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel dispenser, suggests George. Simply affix to the wall closest to your shower and press a button to dispense.
“As well as looking good, dispensers are also more eco-friendly, as you can buy toiletry refills, rather than a new plastic bottle each time,” he adds.
5. Use a wine rack for matching towels
Instead of forking out for a towel rail, a clever hack is to buy a wine rack and fill it with towels that match your bathroom colour scheme, which can cost as little as £10. Paul suggests to make sure any accessories are in matching colours too.
6. Add a striking shower curtain
A new shower curtain will instantly change the look of your bathroom, promises George. “It’s a great way to experiment with colour and pattern, especially if you match your towels and accessories to them,” he says.
He also suggests replacing curtain hooks with gold or brass ones, for a budget-friendly but effective look.
7. Lighten up
“Changing the lighting can transform a bathroom from dull to wow!” Paul says. New bathroom wall lights can cost from around £30, and new ceiling lights are a similar price, although there’s the cost of having them fitted on top of that.
8. Buy some shiny new taps
Replacing the taps, which can cost from around £19, will give a fresh and unique look to a tired sink or bath, says Paul.
9. Don’t forget the floor
Changing the flooring if it looks tired, maybe to vinyl, Karndean, or even a feature tile, can lift the whole room, explains Paul – although what you pay obviously depends on how big your floor space is, as well as the type of flooring you choose.
But if you’ve already got wooden floorboards, you could try sprucing them up by sanding, priming and painting them.
“White is a great colour for smaller spaces, as it can give the illusion of space,” says George, “but black can be equally as effective. Whatever colour you choose, make sure the paint is suitable for bathrooms and floors, to ensure it’s hard-wearing and long-lasting.”
10. Replace the showerhead
Cheap to buy, starting from as little as £25, and easy to replace with just a few tools, a new shower head can quickly reinvigorate your shower experience.
“Not only will this budget-friendly update look good, but it’ll feel really refreshing too,” adds George.