Affordable bathroom renovations

Affordable bathroom renovation ideas

Smart ways to lower the cost of a new scheme without sacrificing its style or performance

By Paula Woods |

Renovating your bathroom will make a huge difference to your home. Not only is it a space we use every day, it’s also a room that, according to Interactive Investor, is ‘more or less guaranteed to add value to a property’. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to create a beautiful bathroom. Read these clever tips and tricks for more affordable bathroom renovations.

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Fake a bespoke finish 

Upgrade a standard inset tub by creating a feature bath panel. Clad a made-to-measure sturdy plywood sheet with tiles to suit your scheme. 

Slate effect porcelain tiles in bathroom renovation with built in bath

Indas Storm slate-effect matt porcelain tiles. Photo: Topps Tiles 

Find a free design service

Take advantage of the free design service offered by many bathroom and DIY suppliers, such as Victoria Plum’s Design + Installation, to help keep bathroom renovations affordable. Bear in mind that you will need to provide measurements. Otherwise, virtual tools such as Roca’s 3R Bathroom Planner can help you visualise its products in your space.

Affordable bathroom renovations: find a free bathroom design service

Mode Spencer bath, and double vanity unit and basins, Orchard Wye mixer taps. Photo: Victoria Plum

Consider the long-term benefits 

It’s worth investing in quality taps and shower fittings to ensure that you get great performance over many years. Look out for water and energy-saving features to minimise your utility bills. 

White basin with black taps in white tiled room

Axor One Basin Mixer Select with energy-efficient CoolStart technology. Photo: Axor

Ensure it’s well fitted 

When striving for affordable bathroom renovations, be mindful of cutting too many corners. Professional installation is always worth the expense. Find a reputable firm via personal recommendation or through bodies such as TrustMark. 

Marble shower with gold showerhead and taps and large full length window

Screens, walk-in tray, showerhead, handset, triple shower valve and Athena vanity/basin are all Nuie

Bag a bargain

Make your budget go further by buying discounted ex-display and end-of-range items. Factory outlets are worth a visit, or wait for the seasonal sales. 

Affordable bathroom renovations: buy an ex-display bathroom suite or freestanding basin for an update

Novara wall-mounted basin mixer, Aegina marble bowl and Forecast Lundy tiles Fired Earth

Follow the footprint 

Work with your current layout to reduce installation costs. Save more money by retaining the existing wall covering and flooring while upgrading the fittings. The below example matched existing drill holes help keep installation costs in check.

Affordable bathroom renovations: match existing drill holes when replacing a wall mounted shower

Euphoria 260 wall-mounted shower with thermostat and Fast Fixation system, Grohe

Luxury look for less 

Freestanding baths and affordable bathroom renovations may seem like poor bedfellows, but acrylic freestanding baths are good value and low maintenance. Choose robust fibreglass-reinforced acrylic for durability like the example below.

Affordable bathroom renovations: acrylic freestanding tub in grey with pale pink bathroom walls

Hyde fibreglass-reinforced lucite acrylic freestanding bath tub from Bathroom Mountain

Is it made to last?

Buy well-known brands and check the warranty. Choose products with a warranty of at least five years when buying brassware, and ten years or more for sanitary ware.

Green tiled bathroom with starry feature flooring and white units

Curve2 basin with semi pedestal, rimless loo, brushed brass flush plate and Hoxton basin mixer all from Britton

Keep it simple

Cut the cost of installation by opting for sanitary ware and fittings that are straightforward to install. Avoid anything that calls for the construction of a false wall to conceal supporting frames or pipework.

Two white sinks with silver taps in bathroom with cream panelled wall

Photo: Roca 

Get organised

Making significant last-minute changes to your scheme will be costly. So carefully plan and double-check your design before you order products and work gets underway. Ensure deliveries arrive before installation begins to avoid any delays.

Noir ceramic basin in teal bathroom with wall quirky shelving unit and houseplants

Noir ceramic basin and aluminium frame with oak shelf and towel rail unit and mirror from Bathstore

Explore every avenue

Online marketplaces are a rich source of affordable new and second-hand designs. Check seller profiles, customer reviews and the returns policies. If possible, examine goods before buying. This bathroom by Pepper & Co has a second-hand workbench, vintage copper sink, wall-mounted basin tap and bath mixer from eBay. Millbrook cast-iron bath from The Cast Iron Bath Company. Victoria tiles from Topps Tiles.

Freestading bath tub with gold taps and white cover in navy wall with brickwork

Photo: Pepper & Co

Marble alternatives

Mimic pricey materials such as marble and concrete – and avoid the need for specialist installation – by choosing lookalike porcelain, ceramic or vinyl tiles. The below polar white marble-effect gloss porcelain tiles, and Detroit light grey concrete-effect matt porcelain tiles are a great option for this.

Porcelain white tiled bathroom with grey marble effect, and pink basin with built in taps

Polar white marble-effect gloss porcelain tiles, and Detroit light grey concrete-effect matt from Mandarin Stone

Centre of attention

Team inexpensive off-the-shelf sanitary ware, furniture and fittings with an investment buy that makes a bold design statement. It will give the entire scheme a more luxurious look.

Scrula grey marble washbasin on wooden countertop

Scrula grey marble washbasin from Tikamoon

Quality control

Shop wisely to make your money go further, advises Tom Reynolds, chief executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association:

  1. Check that the company you are buying from is part of a recognised body such as the Bathroom Manufacturers Association. Companies must sign up to a code of ethics that ensures they have quality systems in place to guarantee their products comply with British and European standards. 
  2. Look out for baths, basins and loos that carry the UKCA mark. This is an assurance that products are both safe and fit for purpose, and have been tested for strength and durability.
  3. Taps and showers are controlled under Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations, which require products to be of an appropriate quality. To ensure conformity, look for the label of a recognised approval scheme such as NSF, WRAS or Kiwa Watertec.
  4. Ceramics can break in transit, but products from a quality manufacturer should be inspected for faults and packaged correctly. However, be sure to check for any marks and breakages on delivery.
  5. The Consumer Rights Act states that all goods must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. If you are not happy for any of these reasons, contact the retailer, not the manufacturer, within 30 days to request a refund or replacement. Your local Trading Standards can provide help and support.
  6. For more advice, the Bathroom Manufacturers Association has guides you can download.