Banish the bathroom blues

Fed up with tired tiles and sagging shelves? Then it’s time to brighten up your bathroom with a few ideas from Flat Living

According to TV property guru Phil Spencer, revamping your bathroom could add nearly 3% to the value of your home. Of course, the other reason for making some changes is simply to make your bathroom a better, brighter place to be. To do this doesn’t necessarily mean spending a fortune – or completely remodelling your space. According to Phil, the secret is to keep things simple so before you rip out that bathroom suite, here are a few simple ideas for making your bathroom better.

Don’t change the suite, just change the fittings

It’s amazing what a new lease of life you can give your bathroom by simply making a few small changes Give your suite a deep clean first and then replace those old taps with bright new chrome fittings. Homebase, B&Q, Victoria Plumb and the Bathstore all supply inexpensive taps starting at around £20. Make sure you use the same style and finish for bath and handbasin. Never mix chrome and gold or brass finishes. If necessary replace your toilet roll and towel holders to make sure they match – and don’t forget the toilet flush. Also, it may sound obvious but don’t make the mistake of fitting Victorian-style taps to a modern basin – or vice versa – if in doubt ask your supplier for advice.

Upgrade your shower

There’s nothing more depressing than a shower that’s more of a dribble than a cascade.  A new power shower could set you back anything from £250 to £1000 depending on the style and make you choose. But if that busts your budget and your shower is already doing its job, why not just change your shower head? Large shower heads are very fashionable and can cost as little as £20. You may even be able to extend your existing shower fitting to give you an overhead shower. If your shower is over the bath, ditch that stained old shower curtain and invest in a shiny new glass door or shower screen. There are masses to choose from with prices starting at around £100 plus fitting.

Invest in storage

Bathrooms are often littered with half-used shampoo bottles and endless lotions and potions. If you have space for a bathroom cupboard, either buy one that you can simply screw to the wall or have one built for you. Next, Ikea, and John Lewis all stock a good range of cupboards for smaller bathrooms or look online at, or for a good selection of affordable bathroom accessories. If your bathroom is too small for a cupboard then open shelves are an alternative (but keep them tidy) or there are plenty of floor standing units that will help you de-clutter what should be a tranquil space not a dumping ground.

Tidy up your towels

If you have enough wall space, buy a heated towel rail. They come in all shapes and sizes and will keep those damp towels neat and tidy.

Replace the tiles

New tiles can make your bathroom look as good as new. Replacing tiles, unless you only have a few, will be messy and could be costly so if you think you may need to replace your bathroom suite in a year or two, wait and do both at the same time. You may be able to get away with painting your tiles but unless you are very good at DIY, get a professional decorator to do it for you. Just having a go could leave your bathroom looking worse than when you started. Never embark on painting tiles in your shower unless you are sure that the paint you are planning to use is the right one for the job.

A quick coat of paint

Interior designers usually advise light, neutral colours for bathrooms but there is nothing wrong with a splash of colour. Plain white or neutral walls withcoloured paintwork works well even in a small room. You could also use one bright colour on a feature wall – over the bath or around the window. As Founder of HomeFix Direct and Property Entrepreneur, Declan Curran told Flat Living, “Colour can be your friend...  if it’s a home you want to create, with lots of personal touches that make you look forward to getting in after work, don’t be afraid to use plenty of colour. Use ideas from magazines or sites like –if you use colour properly it can make your room look really unique, and if you play around a little with blending certain areas of colour with some neutral areas you can really personalise the rooms you spend most time in” However, Declan warns that if you are thinking of selling or renting your home it makes sense to stick with whites and neutrals . And if you are renting yourself “Just make sure you get your landlord’s permission if you’re going be handing the keys back later!”

Go the whole hog

If you have been living with an avocado bath for ten years, unless you are very keen on the retro look, you may want to create a new bathroom from scratch. These days, white is the only colour worth considering for bathroom suites and, if you can, fit a bath and a shower as this will add value to your flat. If your bathroom is small, fit a shower over the bath; if it is tiny spend as much money on a really good quality shower as you can afford. Oversized shower cubicles are very popular but if you are short on space then a standard size will suffice. Consider a corner shower if that will create more space for storage, a towel rail or even double basins which can be a good way to avoid bathroom battles first thing in the morning.

Use a professional

Don’t forget that electricity and water are both dangerous in the wrong hands. Don’t cut corners by trying to do everything yourself unless you have a lot of DIY experience or are a trained plumber! Always use a qualified professional, get several quotes and if possible use a company that has been recommended by a friend or neighbour. For flat owners, bathroom leaks can end up costing more than just money – your relationship with your neighbours could be seriously tested if you are responsible for flooding their homes as well as yours and you could be facing a hike in your insurance premium.

Thinner’s a winner in bathrooms

Thin replacement work surfaces can provide beautiful, tough and durable finishes in bathrooms which can usually be fitted in just one day. Agglomerate is a bathroom surface from Granite Transformations which is beautiful, durable and much thinner than other materials like granite, marble, engineered stone or solid synthetics, but equals or exceeds them in technical performance. Fully-sealed and only a quarter of an inch thick, it fits right on top of existing surfaces without adding depth or substance. This makes it easier, cheaper and less disruptive to install than many other bathroom products. Agglomerate is at least two-thirds lighter than other materials, so needs less reinforcement. As a result it can be installed both vertically and horizontally and comes with a lifetime material warranty. Unlike granite, marble and engineered stone, which need regular sealing and maintenance, agglomerate just needs a wipe over with a damp cloth. It can be fitted on top of vanities or wash stands, as splashbacks, shower liners and panels.

Granite Transformations agglomerate is measured-up, made off-site and installed by its network of showrooms. For your nearest stockist and a copy of the latest Granite Transformations brochure, call 0800 044 5393, email or visit


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