Before and after: a £100 upcycled unit is the star of the show in this bathroom

This bargain Ebay find has transformed the space

Bathroom makeover: close up shot of vanity unit in bathroom. Deep wood vanity unit with oval sink plumbed in and round mirror above
(Image credit: Darren Chung © Future)

If you're struggling to add that extra 'something' to your bathroom makeover, the answer could lie in a cheap and sustainable solution – using old furniture to add character and warmth, as one interior designer has done.

When Dani Ellis of Rosehaven Studio took on her house renovation, she wanted to keep her bathroom timeless, but with a bit of an edge – which is where her burgeoning Ebay habit came in. 

Using a £100 Art Deco unit she sourced on the second hand site, she created a vanity unit that's a stunning centrepiece for her new space. 

The before

Bathroom makeover: before picture showing rectangular panelled bath, stone floor, old-fashioned floral tiles tiled halfway up the wall, and patterned red wallpaper above the tiles

(Image credit: Darren Chung © Future)

'The house had been empty for about six months before we bought it, and it showed – there were plants growing inside, mould, and the whole thing needed replumbing,' says Dani. 'But I knew I wanted a project and I completely fell in love with it.'

The bathroom was just one of the rooms that needed updating, with its old-fashioned tiles and red wallpaper. 'To be honest, this was the one room I really struggled with,' Dani adds. 'If I had unlimited funds, I might have gone for patterned tiles and a Crittall-style shower screen, but it needed to be timeless – I wanted to go against being too on trend.'

The process

Bathroom makeover: bathroom with large format beige wall tiles to halfway up the wall, large format grey floor tiles, white upper half of the walls and a purple ceiling with spotlights. A white freestanding bath sits under a window

(Image credit: Darren Chung © Future)

'To create a more classic, spa-like space, I went for big square concrete-style tiles on the walls and floor,' says Dani. 'It's neutral but not boring, thanks to the burgundy ceiling. When I got the paint out, the tradespeople thought I was insane – it was a bit of a running joke for the whole build whenever I came up with an idea.

'I knew I needed something to give the space a bit of an edge, which is where the unit came in. It's an Art Deco oak unit with the original handles, which I bought off Ebay for £100 – I felt it went perfectly with the house, as it's a 1930s build. I got my plumber to mount the sink on top of it and plumb underneath.'

The after

Bathroom makeover: shot of vanity unit in bathroom. Deep wood vanity unit with oval sink plumbed in and round mirror above, framed by two pendant lights suspended from a purple-painted ceiling

(Image credit: Darren Chung © Future)

The finished vanity unit is the real focal point of the room. 'I love having something completely unique, so the unit was a real find – it's a stunning piece of furniture,' says Dani. To make even more of a feature of the space, she hung a statement round mirror above and framed it with two pendant lights, perfect for task and mood lighting depending on the time of day.

Painting the ceiling in Farrow & Ball's Brinjal was also a good call. 'When you're lying in the bath in the dark, it's lovely to look up at an enveloping rich colour rather than white,' says Dani. 'I wanted all-out dark in here to start with, but picking the colour out on ceiling and in bits throughout the room really works.'

Ellen Finch
Former deputy editor

Formerly deputy editor of Real Homes magazine, Ellen has been lucky enough to spend most of her working life speaking to real people and writing about real homes, from extended Victorian terraces to modest apartments. She's recently bought her own home and has a special interest in sustainable living and clever storage.