DIY: Bathroom makeovers on a budget

05 Mar 2019

A bathroom renovation can be something as simple as creating more storage space and fixing that leaking tap, to completely re-plumbing your bathroom and changing amenities.
Our tip? Before you run off and tear your bathroom apart, it is important to consider the variety of simple, cost effective improvements you can make that will help to completely transform the look and feel of the room, at a fraction of the cost and time.

We recommend starting with a simple plan, outlining what features you need from your bathroom to improve the overall functionality of the area. Maybe you need more vanity space? Or maybe it’s time to get rid of that dated bathtub that rarely gets used.

Whatever the project may be, we look at some considerations to take into account and provide a few handy tips and tricks!

First and foremost- Budget
After you have pinpointed exactly what changes are necessary, think about what kind of budget you are working with. Renovating bathrooms can be a costly process, ranging from anywhere between a few thousand to above and beyond $50,000.
Keep in mind that there is (of course) an assortment of online stores that sell a range of bathroom goodies including bath tubs, vanities, mirrors and taps. These are most likely cheaper than purchasing in-store. If buying online, make sure you know exactly what you need as online stores also often feature difficult and inconvenient returns policies!

If your bathroom features a horrible flaking ceiling, it is time to get rid of it for good! Start by getting your hands on:

  • A scraper
  • A fine surface filler product such as Bathroom Fine Surface Filler
  • White ceiling paint such as Dulux Wash and Wear Ceiling for Kitchen and Bathroom
  • A roller and tray
  • And a paintbrush
Then follow these simple steps:
  1. Use the scraper to remove as much of the loose flaking paint as possible.
  2. Once the surface is clean, use the scraper to apply thin layers of the filler on each of the patches. Aim to get the filler as smooth as possible but don’t stress if it is not perfect!
  3. Make sure the surface is dry before gently sanding the surface to smooth out any bumps.
  4. Now it is time for paint! Use the roller to cover the ceiling, only using the paint brush for corners and edges.
What you do with your bathroom walls depends on what you currently have, and what look you want to achieve. If you just want to give your bathroom walls a fresh coat of paint, think “the lighter the better” when it comes to shades, helping to make the room seem larger.

If you have tiled walls and are looking for an inexpensive way to switch things up, look no further than tile paint! This venture will set you back no more than $100 and with a range of brands and colours to choose from, you really can’t go wrong!
What you will need:
  • Masking Tape
  • Tile Paint
  • Tile & Laminate Primer
  • A Paintbrush or Mini Roller
What you will do:
  1. Start by cleaning your tiles before taping around the tiled edge.
  2. Prime with the tile and laminate primer.
  3. Once it has completely dried, lightly sand the tiles with 240 grit sandpaper.
  4. After mixing the tile paint thoroughly, apply your first coat with a paintbrush or mini roller. Let dry overnight.
  5. Lightly sand using 600 grit sandpaper.
  6. Apply your second coat of tile paint.
  7. Let dry for eight hours and voila!
Note: Keep in mind that the tile paint will be dry after eight hours, but is not yet completely knock-proof. For the first week, make sure you protect the tile from scuffs. And if you want to create grout lines, use a grout pen.

When pondering floor choices, remember the above tile painting idea is applicable here too! However, for something a little different consider new ceramic, marble or stone tiles which are excellent choices for bathroom flooring. This is due to their durability and resistance to water.
For those in the cooler regions of WA, a special touch to any bathroom includes subfloor heating coils to help make these hard floor surfaces warmer. Well-sealed hardwood floors also offer natural warmth and act as a foil for the other cold surfaces in a bathroom.

Often people neglect to think about lighting in a bathroom, and choose a single ceiling fixture to light the whole room. Single fixtures rarely create adequate lighting when you’re concentrating in front of the mirror (If you’re a woman who has ever tried applying makeup in a poorly lit bathroom, you’ll understand what we mean!)

Our recommendation involves two lighting options: A main ceiling fixture that provides plentiful lighting, catering to everyday bathroom tasks such as showering, shaving or putting on makeup. Next is lighting at the vanity. We suggest illuminating with light fixtures either side of the mirror, helping to eliminate shadows under the chin, eyes and cheeks. The fixtures should be roughly at eye level, guaranteeing even illumination across the face for grooming.

You could even consider putting your bathroom light on a dimmer switch, allowing absolute control over the room’s lighting, and thus the mood of the room. A perk of dimmers is the conservation of energy, as a light dimmed just 10% will help the bulb last twice as long. Whatever you go for it is important to choose warm LED lights to create a softer, more welcoming environment.

Fixtures and Fittings
The easiest way to save money is to leave all the existing plumbing in the same position, but allow for a quick change of fixtures and fittings which will completely modernise the area.
When it comes to fittings, we suggest concentrating on taps, showerheads and basin spouts. Pick a style and keep it uniform throughout the room. Our pick is fixtures with a brass construction and bright chrome finish.

Try and keep in mind how eco-friendly your fittings and fixtures are. As you are buying water-using products, take a look at how water efficient the product is. The more stars the (WELS) label has, the less water the product uses, helping to save you money, whilst looking after the environment. For example, standard showerheads can use up to 25 litres of water per minute, whilst a WELS three star rated water efficient showerhead can use as little as 6 litres.

For more on plumbing supplies for your bathroom, we suggest visiting your nearest Tradelink Plumbing Centre or their online store at With a vast product range and years of experience, you’re putting your DIY needs into the right hands.

If your bathroom vanity is in relatively good condition, you can make minor improvements to help rejuvenate the unit. Start by stripping and re-painting vanity doors, or completely replacing them with new ones. Then trade in handles and hinges on drawers or cupboard doors for new ones, potentially in keeping with the rest of the bathrooms fixtures, i.e. A bright chrome finish. If space (and budget) allows, consider a popular bathroom feature of a double vanity, including two sinks and mirrors. This vanity choice has become more popular in recent years, allowing more than one person to use the bathroom at a time, with increased storage capacity. Cost effective options are available at IKEA from just $399.00!

There are endless solutions to bathroom storage but it really comes down to how much storage you need, and the size of the space you are working with. Storage is key to removing clutter in your bathroom, helping to achieve that effortlessly chic bathroom space.

To remove clutter start by installing some simple floating shelves which you can then fill with decorative baskets and boxes of toiletries. You can even use the shelf space to store extra towels for guests. Ensure the shelving and displayed items follow your bathroom’s colour scheme to keep everything following a certain style. Another option, which can prove to be more expensive, involves getting a custom-made wardrobe-style unit made up which can help to add warmth and a homely feel to any bathroom. Ensure the unit coordinates with the bathroom, provides plenty of storage and adds an interesting visual.

Happy renovating!


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