My best friend Nicola asked me to transform her grotty, unfinished bathroom into a spa-style sanctuary on a budget of just £1,051. There was no flooring, a faulty bath, a wonky shower and dangling spotlights. The bathroom had been on their list of things to finish in their house for years but, like most busy families, when they had their second child, life took over. The family bathroom slipped further down their long ‘to-do’ list.

‘Our old bathroom made me feel stressed. It had been left unfinished for six years and it felt dingy to wash in there,’ says Nicola. ‘There was no storage so all our stuff was on show, making the bathroom feel even smaller. The bath was scratched inside. I’m not being over-dramatic saying a proper bathroom would change our lives.’

Making over a small bathroom for less than £1,000

The makeover

Nic’s husband tackled the project over several weekends. He started by ripped out the old suite, which was too big for the space. He then plastered the walls and ceiling, and tiled. He fitted the new flooring and installed a towel radiator. I painted the walls white and finished off the look of the room with inexpensive accessories. Now it’s finished, Nicola loves having a bath without piles of clutter surrounding her.

Small bathroom design ideas

  • As it’s a small, dark space, we stuck to plain white wall tiles and then painted the rest of the room in a fresh, bright white shade.
  • A wall mirror reflects natural light from the window into the room.
  • We looked for designer touches, like waterfall mixer taps, to give the budget suite a hotel-chic feel.
  • It’s easy to add lots of character to a small space with patterned floor tiling. The one we picked has a 3D-effect, which tricks the eye into thinking the floor space is larger than it really is.

Ideas to steal

  • Grey grout is perfect for hiding the mould that will inevitably build up in a bathroom.
  • To stick framed prints to the walls and introduce colour, use command strips rather than a nail, which might have damaged the tiles.
  • Rather than replace her window, Nicola painted the sash window frames and replaced the rusty catch to make it look as good as new.
White tiles and paint make a dark bathroom feel brighter

The costs and shopping list

  • Harmony white 600mm vanity unit, £229.97
  • Energise 1500mm P-shaped bath with shower panel, £224.97
  • Clean waterfall bath mixer and basin filler tap pack, £99.97
  • Haugesund 990 x 500 grey designer towel rail, £39.97
  • Serenity concealed shower valve and shower head, £119.97, and slider rail kit, £22.97, all Bathroom Takeaway
  • Pebble light pull, £12.40, New House Textiles
  • Saltrod Mirror, £45, Ikea
  • Towels, from £7.99 for a hand towel and bath mat, £12.99, both H&M
  • Hanging vase, £3, Toilet brush, £5, Soap dispenser, £3, all Flying Tiger
  • Walls painted in Pure Brilliant white soft sheen paint, £17 for 2.5ltrs, Dulux
  • Illusion feature grey tiles 33 x 33 cm, £3.55 each and White gloss 15 cm x 15 cm wall tiles, 30p each, both Tons of Tiles 
House plants and framed prints bring colour to a white bathroom

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