Bathroom on a budget

Weekend Quick Fix: How to update your bathroom on a shoestring budget (without replacing the suite)

If your bathroom’s looking a bit lacklustre but your budget won’t stretch to a complete refurb, here are a few quick and easy pocket-friendly ideas to make you want to sing in the shower.

Designer-look radiator
Amazing paint transformation.
Designer-look radiator
Hammerite Smooth Black Metal paint.

Create a designer-look radiator for under £20

That chrome radiator might’ve looked great when it was first plumbed in, but now its shiny sheen is starting to look a bit dated. Rather than rip it out and start again, it’s amazing how a lick of paint can transform it.

Emma Rodgers (@livedin365 on Instagram) did just that in her Manchester semi as she didn’t want to be wasteful and blow her tight budget. She used Hammerite Smooth Black Metal paint so now it ties in with other radiators downstairs, and looks much more expensive than it is.

Although you can get paint specifically designed for radiators, any gloss, satin or eggshell that’s meant for wood or metal will do – which opens up more colour options. Why not make it a stand out feature with on trend blush pink, copper or a bold yellow?

Check out this guide »

Mirrored feature wall
A mirrored wall is a great way to add individuality and bounce light around the room.
Mirrored feature wall
The 1930s mirrors were all picked up at charity shops.

Make a mirrored feature wall

Charity shops, car boot sales and vintage fairs are all great sources for second hand mirrors that will add character to your bathroom for just a few pounds.

That’s what Hannah Phillipson did in her Newcastle terrace. The 1930s mirrors were all picked up at charity shops over the years and tie in well with the traditional Victorian style bath, brass fittings and old chair covered in grain sack.

Ladder shelving

Add ladder shelving

Why not copy Rachel Bradshaw (@rachel_bradshaw_70 on Instagram) who updated the bathroom of her 1950s house in Cheshire with stylish ladder shelving from John Lewis?

The dark walls painted in Sooty Lashes by Valspar create a great backdrop for pops of yellow though accessories and the wall mounted plates from Tiger and Asda make a quirky addition too.

Great sources for budget ladder shelving:

Vertical stripe highlight
Go for a vertical stripe to highlight an angled wall.
Vertical stripe highlight
Cloud decorations made from wood-effect adhesive vinyl.

Paint a stripe for an instant colour pop

Whether you go for a vertical stripe to highlight an angled wall, like Nicola and David Rasores-Parry have done with a spot of lime green, or opt for a horizontal stripe, this is a quick makeover job that won’t cost much. Use leftover paint and it’s free! David also made mini cloud decorations from wood-effect adhesive vinyl.

Get the full tour of their Chester home here or follow them on Instagram @violet_campbell.

Wood panelling
Half wall or just one feature wall will save money.
Wood panelling
Panelling works well to break up a room.

Install panelling

Panelling works so well to break up a room and allow a two tone look, as in Gemma Weston’s home – a three storey converted pub in Liverpool (@woolton_interiors).

Moisture resistant MDF cladding is relatively inexpensive  – paint it a rich solid colour for impact or lay it horizontally with a colour wash to create a beachy vibe. Opting for a half wall or just one feature wall will save money too.

Love the floor? Stamford ceramic floor tiles from Topps Tiles are similar. Try the Duke black 1695 double ended roll top bath from Victorian Plumbing if you like this style.

Funky blinds
Link up the colours with a statement blind
Funky blinds
Flamingo print fabric by Matthew Williamson

Add a funky blind

Shutters cost a fortune, so opt for a quirky blind instead. If you’ve painted your bath or radiator in a cool colour, now’s the time to tie everything together and link up the colours with a statement blind.

Joanne Marshall chose a flamingo print fabric by Matthew Williamson for her Roman blind in the bathroom of her Victorian townhouse in Leeds, but there are loads of other options. Blinds 2 Go has a great selection of 100% waterproof roller blinds, including some Orla Kiely designs, if you’re worried about splashes. I particularly love the splash linear stem in cool grey.


We’d love to hear what you think of these ideas. What’s your favourite? Have you managed to create a bathroom on a tight budget? Let us know in the comments below.