Unless you’re very comfortable financially, it can be tough to prioritise the luxuries in life. It’s often the case that holidays, home decor, clothing, cars, gadgets and hobbies are dictated by our bank balances and so we have to constantly decide what’s most important, and sometimes what to sacrifice. Annoying, but c’est la vie.
We’ve been experiencing these challenges ourselves lately – we’ve just changed our downstairs bathroom even though we could have spent the money wisely elsewhere. The bathroom looks like it’s entirely new, but it’s not – with just a few simple updates (this is easy for me to say, I just watched le husband do all the hard work), we’ve gone from having something that looked dated and tired to having a thoroughly modern bathroom.
The reason behind the change was purely down to our boiler packing up in September. The plumber needed access under the bathroom flooring, which meant lifting the tiles – we did this instantly so that the boiler could be in place before the cold weather arrived. Before long – as tends to happen with DIY tasks – other issues cropped up, and so began a bit of an overdue face-lift for our bathroom. But, with a new baby and maternity leave wages, we were unable to order an entirely new one – so we needed to be creative while sticking to a strict budget.
So, I thought I’d share with you how we got our ‘new’ bathroom incase you’re in the same (or a similar) boat to us. If not, you might just like looking at other people’s homes! I know I do… Anyway, here’s what we did. (And again, I say we, but the entire bathroom has been thanks to my clever DIY-tastic husband.)
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As I mentioned, the tiles had to be ripped up to allow access under the floor for the new boiler. This was a pain in the a**, but we’ve never really liked the tiles we inherited from the people who lived here before us, so it wasn’t a great shame that they had to go. We desperately wanted to have tiles again, heated ones as we live in Scotland, but they were an expensive option. Instead, we went for linoleum (ugh, sounds so 70s) and, by choosing a tile effect with the monochrome diamond pattern, we got the look without blowing the budget.
Flooring £107 from Online Carpets.
Our shower had been unsafe for quite some time because the enormous, heavy glass doors had come away from the wall and were no longer attached. There was an occasion when I was trying to step out of the shower, naked and wet (sorry for the visual), and the entire door came off the wall in my hands. It was really quite scary but I managed to climb out and balance the door against the wall. You’d think this would have been the moment we replaced it, but no, we never did. That was at least two years ago and so this little refurb seemed like the perfect opportunity to sort it out. We ordered new doors, then realised that they didn’t fit our existing (and cracked) shower base and enclosure, so we ordered new ones of those too. We’d come this far – an entire new shower – that we threw caution to the wind and ordered wet wall too.
I’m generally a fairly untidy person. I blitz the house every few days to tidy all the crap away, but day-to-day there isn’t always time to put everything back where it lives. A good tidy up and clean of our window sill (a lick of paint is yet to happen, but it will, I promise) left plenty of space for a few choice details, including a mosaic mirror from TK Maxx (so old, here’s a similar one), my Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily cologne, a Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir candle, and our favourite Black Pepper and Ginseng handwash by Baylis & Harding. The window sill really does need a freshen up though, because my pot plant (the only one I’ve ever manged to keep alive for more than a month – we’re now at three years) sits perfectly over a grotty bit of flaky paintwork. The final touch were two handmade Turkish towels by Luf. They kindly gifted me one, but I loved it so much that I bought a second. The greenery of the plant against the chrome taps and monochrome flooring is a really fresh look for a bathroom, and who doesn’t love to see a bit of Jo Malone dotted around the home?
The accessories I already had, except the towels, £15 each by Luf Towels.
We didn’t replace the sink, the loo, the drawers, or the cabinet. I simply gave everything a really good clean and ‘made do’. The price? Zilch.
All in all, our new bathroom has cost us around £650 instead of a few thousand pounds. The biggest challenge? Keeping it tidy…
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Images and DIY skills: Kris Miller.