How to create a stylish bathroom on a budget

Get the look of a luxury bathroom for a fraction of the price with this expert guide to redesigning or revamping your bathroom on a budget

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If you are trying to create a new bathroom while keeping a realistic eye on the budget, an online search could give you an idea of costs and layout options. Along with a long list of designs, this will give you information about sizing. Before buying from an online retailer, try to view the items at a showroom, to check the quality of finish.

Before you start choosing your fittings, however, watch this video in which expert renovator Michael Holmes explains the five essential things to remember when renovating or moving a bathroom on an older home.


Related articles: 8 Small but beautiful bathrooms | Choosing the right sized bathroom tiles for a small space | How to make your bathroom feel bigger

There are several ways of getting the look of a luxury bathroom, without paying top-end prices. A cast-iron bath is a brilliant choice for a period bathroom, but can cost upwards of several thousand pounds. A clever alternative would be to go for a high-quality acrylic roll-top, which costs as little as a few hundred pounds, but creates the same classic look.

Basins and bathroom storage

When it comes to basins, a pedestal model or wash-stand, which has legs, is usually less expensive than a vanity unit or cabinet and makes a striking standalone piece. If you need more storage space, add simple shelves to an alcove.

Mix and match

To maximise savings, you may be tempted to mix and match sanitary ware from different brands. This can work where styles are similar, but do check the colours very closely, as not all whites are the same. Th is also goes for adding a pristine new item into an existing, slightly aging suite.

Fixtures and fittings

If you are buying the fittings for your builder to install, before purchasing double check the practical matters, such as changing an old-fashioned high-level cistern over to one that is close coupled, or if the position of bath taps and/ or waste is due to change. Moving taps and waste pipes will involve extra work and expense.

Enhance your shower

Upgrading the shower to a more efficient and powerful model will heighten the sense of luxury, but can be expensive. You may be able to get away with just changing the shower head for a larger, more aerated model. Bathroom Heaven offers a stylish range of discounted fittings.

Choosing bathroom tiles

When it comes to tiling, ceramic and porcelain are highly practical for the bathroom and need no further upkeep once installed, unlike real stone, which they are capable of realistically replicating at a more affordable price. Save money by only tiling areas with a splash risk.

How to replace old or discoloured grout

  • Use a grout rake to gently remove old grout. Start at the top corner of the tile and pull it downwards in a steady, straight motion. Don’t push the tool away from your body, as this could damage the tile and underlying grout.
  • Once you’ve removed the surface layer of grout, use a sawing motion along the grout seam to remove about half the depth of it.
  • Clean the area by wiping a damp towel or sponge over the surface.
  • Once you’ve mixed the new grout – which should closely match the colour of the current one – apply it carefully using a grout float held at a 45-degree angle, rather than flat, to fill all gaps, ensuring you don’t miss any areas.
  • Finally, clean your tiles with a damp sponge to wipe away loose grout and residue before it dries and hardens.

John Forden, essentials buyer at Topps Tiles

Cooke and Lewis pedestal basin and free-standing roll-top bath

Cooke & Lewis pedestal basins, £149, and Victorian acrylic, free-standing roll-top bath, £350, from B&Q


Corian new Purity wash bowls, H14xDia.40cm, available in four colours, POA from Dupont


Catchpole & Rye’s Le Thermo exposed shower, H145cm, is available with a choice of rose sizes, from Dia.20, available in three finished (polished brass shown,) priced £1,900


Victoria Plum Deco bathroom suite with Winchester slipper bath priced £369, the whole set costs from £629

Expert advice

‘Whatever your budget, do not overlook the age of your property. There are many historical periods you can draw from when creating a bathroom, from classic Art Deco to the increasingly popular Edwardian or Victorian styles.

‘The free-standing bath is the cornerstone of a traditional bathroom and is a key area in which to invest. Traditional slipper tubs, which are higher at one end, make for a particularly luxurious bathing experience, while free-standing baths on pedestals or plinths add a further feeling of grandeur.

‘Look out for paintable baths which can be matched to your scheme for a polished, seamless look. To add character, avoid an all white finish; instead, opt for 1920s-inspired monochrome, or more muted shades of greys, greens and blues.’

— Lucy Powell,

All prices and stockists correct at time of publishing.