10 ways to cut the cost of your bathroom

Revamping your bathroom, but don't have the cash to splash? Use our expert advice to achieve a stylish new bathroom on a budget


Remodelling or creating a new bathroom and worrying about the costs? These tips will help you stick to your budget and maybe even save some money in the process. Just think of all the luxury toiletries you can spend your savings on instead!

1. Consider your priorities

Take time to think about how you use your bathroom on a daily basis. If you only enjoy a soak in the bath once in a blue moon, do you need one at all? Or, if you usually have showers but love to unwind in the bath at the weekend, why not combine the two with a spacious shower-bath and save on the cost of a separate shower? Or, you could create a walk-in wet room instead. 

If you do use both, consider an L-shaped shower-bath. 'It’s the best of both worlds without needing a separate shower tray and cubicle.’ says Rob Tyson, interiors advisor for Victorian Plumbing.

2. Less (spend) is more (save)

Be economical with bathroom materials by creating focal points in specific places. ‘Tile some feature areas and leave the rest painted,’ says experienced renovator Jason Orme. ‘Focus on the splash zones around the bath, shower and behind the basin to maximise impact.’ 

3. Mix and match to save cash

Shop around for the best deals, putting your suite together from different suppliers and clearance sections. ‘Stay with white ceramic and you can mix and match pieces from multiple sources,’ says self builder and renovator Michael Holmes.

Consider what you use the most, and spend the most money on that. You're likely to use basin taps a lot more than bath taps, and floor tiles will need to take more wear and tear than wall tiles. So spend where it counts for a bathroom that will last.

4. Use visual tricks to up the luxe factor

If you don't want to knock walls down but you want to make your bathroom appear bigger, use visual tricks to give the illusion of more space. Choosing the right size tiles is one way to do this. ‘Large-format wall tiles in neutral shades can make the room look larger and more luxurious,’ says Sian O’Neill, of Topps Tiles.

‘Using the same tiles on the walls as you do on the floor can also create a seamless look. A well-placed wall-to-wall mirror can give the illusion of more space,’ adds Michael Holmes. ‘But avoid having it somewhere where you need tap and socket holes cut out, to keep costs down.’

small bathroom with freestanding bath and stylish screen

Patterned floor tiles from The Baked Tile Company create a focal point in this bathroom

(Image: © The Baked Tile Company)

5. Keep your layout as it is

Don’t reposition anything that doesn’t really need to be moved as it will add to plumbing costs. Moving the toilet would involve relocating both the toilet drain/vent and waste water systems, and also supplying water to its new spot. This can prove to be very costly.

6. Go faux to cut back on spend

It can be hard to tell the difference between natural materials like stone and wood, and their imitation counterparts. Opting for porcelain or ceramic tiles that look like stone, marble or wood will offer you the same aesthetic as the real thing but at a fraction of the price. Effect tiles are also lower maintenance as they don’t need sealing to protect them from water damage.

7. Simplify the scheme with easy-fix sanitaryware

‘Bathroom products have trended towards hiding as much of the plumbing behind walls as possible, and sleeking up the overall scheme by sinking shower trays into the floor structure, for example, which has implications for waste positions,’ says Jason Orme. ‘All this can create extra work for your installer – making the project expensive. More mainstream products will require little additional structural work.’

grey and white modern bathroom

Wall-hung units can help make a small space feel bigger by keeping the floor clear. Denver units, all Soak.com

8. Light up the room to enhance space (cheaply)

‘Bright bathroom lighting can make a room feel spacious and fresh,’ says Michael Holmes. ‘You can switch a single central ceiling pendant for a multi-lamp fitting without having to alter the wiring. But make sure fittings are IP rated so they are safe to use in wet areas.’

Check out suppliers’ clearance areas to see if they have any one-off lights that would suit your scheme for a fraction of the normal price

grey toned bathroom with grey freestanding bath and small gallery wall

(Image: © Victoria Plum)

9. Planning makes perfect 

Attention to detail when planning your space means you’ll get it right first time, which can save you money correcting mistakes later. Make use of free online planning tools, or work with a company that offers a free design service. 3D plans are a great way to see whether your choice of products will fit. Talk to your plumber or fitter before you buy, too, as they’ll be able to tell you if what you want is suited to your space.

10. Save water

Once you're in, there are lots of specially designed taps available that can reduce water usage by half compared to regular taps, saving on your water bills. And fitting a flow restrictor to your shower will limit the amount of water you use without compromising its performance.

A Bristan shower flow restrictor from Victorian Plumbing costs £7.95, and limits the fall of water to six litres per minute. Other water-saving gadgets include the Hippo, which is popped into the toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water used in a flush by up to three litres.

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