How to design a bathroom on a budget

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Even though it’s the often smallest room in my home I’ve recently discovered that the bathroom can be the most expensive room in the house to remodel, if you take it inch for inch. The bathroom requires a great deal of skilled labour, including input from plumbers, carpenters and electrical contractors, and the materials needed are often very costly. I wanted to have a shower fitted in our bathroom but after getting a few quotes earlier in the year I decided that I’d need to save up for a while and stick with enjoying baths in the meantime! If you’re on a budget and your bathroom needs an overhaul, don’t despair because there are plenty of ways that you can save money on your bathroom remodel and still have the design that you want.

Planning for Success

The planning stage is extremely important when it comes to your bathroom. Look at your existing design and think about what currently works for you and what doesn’t. it’s a good idea to make a list of the things you really need in your bathroom and the things you want, but could probably live without. When you see an amazing bathroom feature, make sure that you consider whether it’s essential to your bathroom design or not, before you make any purchasing commitment – is a spa bath or steam-room shower really going to be used that often?? There are plenty of online tools that will help you decide on the best design for your bathroom, including interactive applications that allow you to drag and drop furniture and fixtures, and arrange them in different ways.

Labour Costs

One of the most expensive things about remodelling a bathroom is the associated labour cost. In order to save money, you could invest more of your time in the project so that the various workers will have to spend less of theirs! Pull up old flooring, remove old fixtures and steam off wallpaper before the tradesmen arrive, so that they don’t have to spend time doing this. It’s very important that you discuss what you’re willing to do with your contractor before you get started. This agreement should be made into a written contract so that they can deduct the cost of your work from their bill. Always use common sense and shut off water pipes before removing fixtures. It’s best not to remove old insulation as this may contain asbestos, particularly if your home is old.


Bathroom Materials

If you’ve fallen in love with a high-end bathtub or shower, simply shop around and look for a more reasonably-priced design in the same style. Hand-painted tiles are a popular choice, but they can be used sparingly as accents around the bath area to save money. Choose standard tiles like those available from Tiles4All for the rest of the wall. Similarly, you can get a luxurious look without the price tag by choosing marble tiles for your vanity countertop instead of splashing out on one marble slab. If the rest of your bathroom design is quite plain and simple, go for interesting taps, door handles and rails to add interest while keeping decorating costs of paint, flooring and tiles to a minimum.

Even though I’ve seen some lovely flooring that I like and quite fancy having an all-white-with-rainbow-accents bathroom, I think I’d rather decorate after the essential plumbing work is done – and it might take me the rest of the year to save for that shower! Best of luck if you’re taking on your own bathroom overhaul and please let me know how you get on with it – tweet me @Cassiefairy 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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