One of the most expensive rooms to renovate in your house is the bathroom. Costs can quickly escalate with multiple trades required to complete the job. An obvious way to reduce costs for this is to do a DIY bathroom job with some clever shopping for the items.
Our previous property was a modern townhouse that had a simple 'developer style' bathroom. The townhouse had two bathrooms however the bathroom closest to the master bedroom had a bath only. We knew we wanted to add a shower to this bathroom and took the opportunity to refresh the design. Starting the process we knew we didn’t have a lot of money to do the work so had to figure out how we could do it ourselves to help keep our new bathroom costs as low as possible.
The bathroom before:
The first decision was to keep the layout of the bathroom the same. This meant we could utilise the existing plumbing and reduce any additional costs. As it was the only bath in the property I decided to keep it and add a shower above it. For plumbing the shower, it meant that I could tap off the existing hot and cold water supply from the bath.
Much like kitchens, you can elevate your bathroom design by spending wisely. In this space we chose to splurge a little on taps and fixings but we then save by pairing them with cheaper materials for the tiles and ceramics.
At the time of designing the space I was in the middle of a love affair with all things Crittall and so I decided to go for a Crittall-style shower screen.
To go with the theme I decided all the fixtures and fittings would be matt black. I also added a small but powerful cast iron radiator which was the most expensive single item at £275 but it was so worth it as it finishes off the space perfectly.
I concentrated my budget on the pieces that help define the bathroom space as a whole which meant I could get away with purchasing a more basic bath, sink and tiles.
Clever DIY techniques
Choosing and installing wall tiles or flooring is often a big cost of any bathroom project and costs can quickly escalate. I am big fan of grid tiling and have used it in my kitchen designs plus, it fit perfectly with the Crittall theme I was going for. Grid tiling meant I could use relatively cheap white tiles to push the budget further too.
Crittall is a design classic that balances an industrial look with elegance but it can therefore be pretty expensive. Many of the shower screens you'll find will easily cost several hundreds of pounds but by doing a lot of research I found one online for £199.
I knew there was going to be a lot of tiles as part of the design and found a lovely matt white square tile from wallsandfloors.co.uk for £25.50 psm. I used eBay to find a bathtub, sink and taps at a much cheaper price that traditional retail stores.
Also make sure you keep an eye out for flash sales or offers to sign up to newsletters from a brand for a discount offer.
Build on your budget
To make some money back I sold the old sink, bath and towel radiator on Facebook Marketplace. The existing bathroom was in perfectly useable condition and reselling is a great way to help pay towards new items and prevent adding to landfill.
Another cost saving I managed was to get a local metal shop to create a sink stand that was integral to my design. I had seen a design I liked but it was at the cost of £700 which did not fit into the budget...
Luckily a neighbour we knew from dog walking was a metal worker and built one for me. This meant I got a tailored design for the space and saved over £500 in the process.
Real Costs: a breakdown of materials
This bathroom was the biggest home renovation project I had done at the time but by doing the installation work DIY it was the biggest saving. Most bathroom renovations require tilers and plumbers and costs can quickly mount up. By keeping the existing plumbing infrastructure, it reduced the need for us to use a plumber and any changes could be done using push fittings which is much easier to plumb.
Tiling is a little more straight forward for the average DIY’er but can take some time to perfect. The tiling of the bathroom was the longest part of the renovation but was another big saving in terms of labour costs.
- Plumbing Fittings: £50, B&Q
- Tiling: £450, Wallsandfloors.com
- Shower: £200, eBay
- Shower screen: £199, Victoria Plumb
- Bath: £130, eBay
- Sink: £30, B&Q
- Sink Stand: £150, Local Metal Shop
- Taps x2: £78, eBay
- Cast Iron Radiator: £275, castironradiatorcentre.co.uk
- Mirror: £125, eBay