A new bathroom on a budget

Caroline Cassidy

Stained grout, cracked tiles, an outdated suite - is it time your bathroom had an overhaul? The price of a new bathroom can range from hundreds to thousands of pounds, but there are plenty of ways in which it's possible to save money.

Budget bathroom ideas
Budget bathroom ideas

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Here are a few planning, buying and installation tips to help you get the most from your budget.

Design and planning
If you're watching the pennies, the best way to save money on an upgraded bathroom is to leave the main elements in their current position. By moving toilets, showers and baths and redesigning the room you are likely to end up with a more complicated job and therefore a bigger plumber's bill.

Leave the bath, toilet and basin where they are and a simple 'off and on' is all that is required.

It is perfectly possible to make your bathroom feel like an entirely new room with a new suite, tiles and accessories so don't waste time and money on a redesign.

The confident DIY-ers among you can save a sizeable sum by taking on this reasonably basic plumbing job but remember that bathroom leaks can cause serious damage so if in any doubt about your abilities, hire a professional.

The suite
A plain, white suite will brighten up any bathroom and will appeal to buyers if you are planning to sell. That's good news because they are inexpensive and in plentiful supply.

Large DIY stores such as B&Q and Homebase often have offers on two-part or three-part suites (in both traditional and modern styles) so it is a good idea to shop around. Alternatively, your plumber may get a better deal at a specialist merchants so do ask as there may be a saving.

Choose the latter option and you may need to buy the taps to fit the suite itself but again, shop around and you could save money.

Opt for a bath/shower mixer tap, for example and you won't face a hefty electrician's bill. Obviously, this type of shower arrangement has its disadvantages - water pressure and temperature control among them - but with no extra plumbing or electrical works to do, it can prove very cost-effective.

Tiles, flooring and accessories
Here's where you can add interest and style without breaking the bank. Tiling your bathroom offers plenty of scope for design - once again those plain white tiles will undoubtedly be the cheapest but they can be easily broken up with stylish textured, coloured, glass or printed accents.

Let your flair for design take over and give your bathroom the wow factor.

Similarly vinyl flooring, which is cheap to buy, install and easy to maintain, is available in a huge variety of colours and effects. Smaller bathrooms may benefit from a light coloured flooring but you may want to consider tying the vinyl in with your accented, tiled walls.

When it comes to accessories, the key is... you guessed it, shopping around. From Argos to M&S to junkyard finds, a new mirrored cabinet, repainted or revarnished antique or freestanding shelving unit will ensure you have all that essential storage without the plastic finish.