Stretch your bathroom budget without breaking it
According to the Housing Industry of Australia’s Kitchens and Bathrooms Report 2018/191, most people tend to spend between $16,000 and $20,000 on the job. But if you’re smart, and follow a few of these tips, you can get a great outcome for as little as $2,000 to $3,000. It all comes down to planning well and being a bit clever as you go.
01. WORK OUT YOUR BUDGET.
Before you decide what you want to do, work out how much you want to spend. Keep it affordable and don’t over-capitalise. The amount you have will largely determine the approach you’ll take. Don’t worry, you can do a lot with a little bit of money and a lot of care.
02. FIND THE RIGHT PEOPLE FOR THE JOB.
No matter what you do, one of the biggest costs is labour. Getting a good tradesperson for the job is essential. The best bet is to ask friends, family and colleagues for good recommendations. Or you can go online to find someone local who has good reviews on Google or other sites. Don’t just find one – once you’ve got a plan, get at least three quotes and remember that cheapest isn’t always best.
03. DO IT YOURSELF.
If you’re handy, you can save a lot by doing the work yourself. If you haven’t had much experience you can find helpful articles and videos online, or speak to someone at your local hardware and bathroom supplies shop. A good strategy is to do the simpler things, like painting, and leave the trickier tasks to an expert.
04. PLAN TO YOUR BUDGET.
Have a very good idea of how the room will be used by you and your family, what you want to achieve, and research the costs of items before you start. This is the time to get your quotes too. Always leave a bit of room in the budget to splash out on something special. Spending a bit extra on one thing to create a feature can give the feeling of a much higher value renovation.
05. DON’T CHANGE THE PLUMBING.
If you want to totally change the layout of your bathroom, you’re going to have to change the plumbing for your taps, showers, baths and toilets. This can get very expensive. The easiest way to avoid this expense is to keep the plumbing the way it is and update the fittings.
06. THINK ABOUT THE TILES.
Like the plumbing, tiling can get expensive. There are many ways to keep costs down, without sacrificing a stunning finish. You don’t need to tile all the way to the ceiling – halfway or two-thirds up can look great.
Go for an inexpensive, simple tile and add a more expensive one as a trim or feature. Or do something interesting with the layout, like herringbone or brick patterns.
If there’s a pricey European tile you like the look of, chances are there’s a cheaper version from China or Thailand that can give you the same look without the high price tag.
And for a really cheap option, it’s easy to remove grubby, mouldy grouting. Fresh grouting and a bit of elbow grease to clean up the old tiles will make it all shine like new – this is a good one to try yourself.
07. PAINT IT.
Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to make a big change. And it’s something you can do yourself if you get the right tools and take time to prepare the area. Use plenty of painters’ tape and go slow around the corners, edges and any fittings or furniture you’re keeping. It’s a room that’s high in moisture, so make sure you get good quality paint that stops mould growing.
08. FIND THE RIGHT FIXTURES.
Things like taps, showerheads, baths, towel rails and lights really help finish the look of a bathroom. The trick here is to shop around. Like the tiles, if a European model catches your eye, there’s probably a good quality piece that’s similar in look but at a much lower cost. Also look for superseded stock or items with minor damage that have been heavily discounted.
This is also a great place to save on some items and spend more on something special to lift the feeling of the room, like some designer lights, a waterfall showerhead, or a huge mirror to increase that feeling of space.
09. CHOOSE FURNITURE CAREFULLY.
Needless to say, customised fittings are expensive. Some of the big retailers have good-looking, ready-to-go pieces you can build and install yourself. If it’s cupboards with a built-in vanity, think about adding some special tapware to make it uniquely yours. There’s a big choice of all sorts of items so it’s good to search online and instore for the pieces that are right for you at the right prices.
10. REUSE, REPAIR, UPCYCLE.
Buying secondhand is smart. Sift through Gumtree and you may find everything you’ll need. You can even find treasures like classic old mirrors that bring something unique to the space. It also works both ways. Selling the items you’re not keeping is a good way to put a little bit back in your budget.
Anything made of porcelain, a cast iron bath, or vintage fittings can be refinished to look like new and give you many more years of use. You can even do it yourself with a bit of advice and tools from your local hardware store.
Repurposing or upcycling old furniture can look fantastic. One trend now is to take old cabinets and place a sink in the top to create something distinctive. Old wooden ladders make fantastic towel racks, and a timber bookcase is perfect for storing extra towels and adding some personal finishing touches.
Any advice contained in this article is of a general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regard to those matters. Information in this article is correct as of the date of publication and is subject to change.