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Tuesday’s Resourceful Little Idea

April 19, 2011

Transforming an Identikit New-Build Bathroom on a Shoe String

We live in a new build development, as do many of our friends, and we see more and more of these developments going up every day. And even though the developers claim that they are all different, and indeed there is variety when it comes to layout, then when you get inside and take a closer look they’re all the same. Take the bathrooms for example. Always white suites these days, thank God, none of those avocado or peach ensemble that were so popular in 1981. Always simple and understated, nothing fancy, but…but, they’re lacking, these bathrooms. They’re the epitome of bland, dull, functional design. Just begging to be jazzed up by the owners, if they ever get round to it.

So, here are some quick and easy, and relatively cheap, ways of transforming your new-build bathroom:

1. Put all bottles and potions, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, toothbrushes and toothpaste, etc away in cupboards, preferably behind closed doors, but if that can’t be done, then on a shelf, not on the side of the bath and sink. Let’s face it, most bathrooms in the UK are pretty small, and cluttering them up with bottles and potions just makes them seem smaller. Same goes for cleaning products.

2. Change the taps by buying nicer ones secondhand off Ebay. It transformed my bathroom when I replaced the cheap modern bath taps with a traditional set of bath-taps complete with phone-style shower. Adding old, vintage taps to a modern bathroom adds a hint of shabby chic to an otherwise bland landscape.

3. Replace any cupboard knobs with pretty little crystal or ceramic ones. You can find these on Ebay, Amazon, Anthropologie (but pricey here) and hardware stores. I bought some pale pink cut glass ones from Ebay for my cupboard under the sink.

4. Replace the plastic toilet seat with a wooden one, this will help the bathroom look less cheap. These can be bought from a large range of suppliers, with prices ranging from reasonable to absurd.

5. Don’t be conservative when it comes to the walls, paint them, wallpaper them, and hang framed art on them. I find the bathroom an ideal place to hang framed pictures that the boy has drawn. You can stock up on picture frames at Ikea or scour charity shops for old picture frames that you can paint. I wanted stripes on two of the walls in my bathroom, but couldn’t be bothered with the faff (and cost) of wallpapering them, so instead I painted white on white stripes, using masking tape to mark out the stripes all down the wall after having painted the walls white, and then putting two more coats of white silk emulsion over the wall. This gave a very subtle striped effect, with the areas that received four coats of paint standing out from those that only got two.

5. Look into replacing your flooring, especially if it is rather bland vinyl, or worse, something like the horrible orange speckled sandy coloured vinyl like the one that was here when we first moved in. Buying enough vinyl floor covering for a small bathroom won’t cost too much. Obviously you could spend a fortune laying a proper floor of wood, stone or slate, but I’m focusing on the quick-fix, affordable solutions that won’t break the bank.

6. If you like to read in the bath, consider putting a bookshelf up somewhere. I have seen a few bookshelves above bathroom doors, flush with the door frame, and it always looks good.

7. Hang an interesting mirror as a focal point. New mirrors can seem eye-wateringly expensive, so have a look on Ebay and in charity shops.

8. If you have some room, add real furniture like a comfy chair, with cushions, or a small chest of drawers.

9. Add splashes of colour to an otherwise white room.

If you have any other tips or ideas for transforming bathrooms, or want to share your bathroom decorating adventures, I would love to hear from you!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2011 12:54 pm

    love the idea of a over the door bookshelf – would the pages get a bit damp with all the steam from baths and showers though?

    • October 30, 2011 1:38 pm

      Miss P, I guess it depends on how often people have steamy showers and baths in your bathroom, and whether or not there is ventilation and you can regularly open a window to let all the steam out. I have a lot of framed drawings in my bathroom and none of them show any sigh on being affected by the steam, but then it never stays steamy for long. My sister has lots of books in her bathroom and they haven’t gone all damp and wrinkly yet! Go for it I say!

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