By Laney Clancy
If you want to give your bathroom a new look but don’t know where to start, focus on these 6 essentials and you’ll soon have a washroom wake-up that won’t wreck the budget.
1. Fixtures as a foundation
New fixtures (vanity/sink, toilet, shower, bathtub) can completely transform a bathroom; everything from the shape to the colour of a fixture can set the look of the whole room. Use fixtures as a foundation for your style. You can then embellish with other touches and accessories.
Budget tip: Save on labour costs by using the existing plumbing infrastructure; install your new toilet, shower and/or basin in the same position as the original fixtures.
2. Turn it on with taps
Taps make great style accents and changing your taps can be an affordable way to update the look of your bathroom. The change needs to be like for like, for example if you have a mixer (hot and cold through one outlet) it’s easier to replace it with another mixer, or 2 outlets for 2 outlets, (starting from $40 for a set of handles).
If you want to go for a completely different tap type, the work gets a little trickier, so you may need the expertise of a plumber.
Budget tip: Buy quality taps with a warranty of 5 years or more. These may not be the cheapest option initially, but will save you money in the long term because cheap taps leak and/or look worn much sooner.
3. Styling with showers
Shower screens and cubicles can have a big impact on the look of a bathroom. If you have a poky bathroom, consider a frameless clear or translucent cubicle to open up the space. If you must stick with a shower curtain, a new one needn’t look cheap, plastic or tacky: there are great options available, including custom made curtains.
Budget tip: Shower style isn’t just about look; feel different with a change of showerhead from as little as $40. Shower rails, catering for height differences and people who prefer a handheld rose, can also provide versatility on a budget.
4. Bang for your bath
Bathtubs can be tricky to change on a budget because re-tiling may be required if you go from built-in to freestanding. If you are in the market for a new tub, however, consider that cast iron lasts longer and is easier to clean and plumb than acrylic. If the bath is in good condition, consider resurfacing it for around $600 instead of paying to replace it and re-tile.
Budget tip: Use White Knight Tub ’n’ Tile paint for a quick and easy makeover.
5. Tiling on trend
Tiling is one of the most important areas to get right in a bathroom, and not just from an aesthetic point of view. The waterproof barrier must be sound or else water will seep into other parts of the house.
Knock on your tiles. If 10% or more sound hollow, it means they are no longer adhered properly and unfortunately you’ll need to replace them all. If the tiles are in good condition and all you need is a change of colour, I recommend White Knight Tub ’n’ Tile paint, which is a fraction of the cost of re-tiling.
Tiling is very easy to get wrong because preparation, tiling and waterproofing is a complex process so unless you are skilled, dedicate as much of the budget as you can to a professional.
Budget tip: Where floor tiles are structurally in good condition, you can employ a professional to tile straight over the existing ones, which is far less costly than removing the old ones first.
6. Fashionable flush
Wall hung toilets with concealed cisterns are expensive to install and maintain. A close-coupled toilet with its back to the wall gives similarly a clean look without the hefty price tag.
Budget tip: If you can’t replace the entire toilet, consider switching the seat from just $60.
There are countless ways to give your bathroom space a revamp without needing to commit to entire renovation. By not cutting corners and using a little creativity, you can save money while bringing some ‘wow’ factor to what can be a dull or unattractive space.
Which area is your priority at the moment?
Laney Clancy is the marketing and finance manager at Pipe Perfection Plumbers and is married to Darren (specialist plumber and founder of the business). For more bathroom inspiration and home maintenance tips, check out the Pipe Perfection blog.