When it comes to revamping rooms in our homes, the number one thing I hear my friends and family dream of is revamping their kitchen or bathroom. But these two rooms are also the most expensive to renovate. For most of us, this renovation goes on some kind of ‘one day wish list’ and in the meantime we end up cursing everyday or browsing pinterest and dreaming.
But when it comes to bathrooms at least, there is stuff you can do to make an old bathroom feel new, look fresher and more stylish without a full blown renovation. Most of us tend to think that the only solution is a complete re-haul at great expense. But no. It’s entirely possible to make your old bathroom look much better without spending much or anything at all.
Of course tidying up your space will help hugely and there’s lots of ways to do that. I had shared my top bathroom de-cluttering tips in one of my most popular posts (pinned 24,000 times!) – maybe read that first if you like. Assuming you’ve done that, here’s some tips on how you can enhance a basic old bathroom in to a stylish, new and expensive looking room without renovating the whole room.
Tips to help make an old bathroom feel new
1. Clean that grout
One of the first things that make a bathroom look tired is dirty grout. But it’s also easy to fix. If you have white grout and it’s gone all dirty and grey, you can buy a grout whitener and have it looking super white in no time. If you have coloured grout, you can sometimes get coloured grout restorers but colour matching could be a problem. Instead, what I’ve recently done is got a good grout cleaning brush and it’s really spruced up my dark grey grout. If you do nothing else on this list, this one tip will make a big difference and will go a long way to make an old bathroom feel new.
2. Update those tiles (without re-tiling)
Coloured tiles can make a bathroom look dated. And perhaps one of the biggest reasons for wanting a new bathroom is because you hate the colour of the tiles – avocado anyone? So why not paint them or use peel and stick tiles over existing tiles? Both of these things are doable as long as you know how. So definitely do your research, read about different ways to apply whatever you’ve chosen and then go for it. Bye, bye avocado tiles! And don’t forget to re-paint the tile-free parts of the wall.
3. DIY or upgrade stuff
Expensive looking stuff doesn’t always have to be expensive. In fact far from it. When we did our renovation and couldn’t find an affordable towel rail that we liked, we hacked it. I bought a cheap one from Ikea, sprayed it and got rid of some bits of it to make it look more minimal and I was done. I also wanted a some cool wall mounted toothbrush holders – I couldn’t find any I liked so I made them. Is there anything in your bathroom that could look fresher with a lick of paint or a polish or what can you make to replace anything that is past it’s best?
4. Add texture
I tend to harp on about the importance of texture to anybody who will listen! Most people probably think of adding textures to a living room or bedroom but not a bathroom. It’s just as important in a bathroom. Bathrooms can look cold, old and soul-less but textures will add depth and freshness. I’m talking things like seagrass baskets which are great for storage too, string bags, a fluffy bathmat, perhaps some textured containers, a wooden bath tray…
5. Use the tray trick
This is a simple design trick that can instantly make your bathroom look tidier and more stylish. Rather than leaving stuff lying around, put that same stuff on a tray and what an instant difference!
6. Add a feature piece or two
If you’ve got a tiny bathroom, you may be wondering what the hell I’m on about adding pieces! What I mean is add a piece that is unusual but still practical. So instead of a bog standard towel rail, use a ladder rail to hang towels and more. Or instead of plastic bathroom hooks, get (or make) something that makes a design statement but of course is still very much a hook. It’s details like these that will lift the look of your bathroom. Instead of a shelf, can you use a stool to stack towels or keep bath supplies on?
7. Choose products in expensive and clean looking packaging
I know, expensive looking packaging usually means it IS expensive. And things like soap, shampoos, make-up removers need to be replaced regularly so it can quickly add up. But here’s what I do – I buy the expensive stuff first time around and once it’s over (weep!) I re-fill those same bottles with the regular (read: cheaper) stuff I use. I also mix it up with some nice dark glass apothecary jars (that resemble the expensive stuff) and decant in to those so I don’t have different, brightly coloured packaging all over the place.
8. Add some greenery
I rarely see bathrooms with plants and yet this simple thing can add warmth and style instantly and do wonders to revive and old looking bathroom. It also adds interest and adds to the visual appeal. If you have space and are green-fingered, go for anything green you like. You can even go big with a large plant pot on the floor. But if you’re like me – someone who cannot keep a plant alive for more than half a day, opt for some cacti or what I prefer is to get some foliage like eucalyptus and pop them in a small vase – no maintenance needed and your bathroom will smell good too.
9. Update the decor
If budget permits, changing the taps, mirrors and/or cabinet fronts can make a huge difference to your bathroom. In fact this will completely alter the look of your bathroom at a fraction of the cost of a complete renovation. But this still requires some budget so if you can’t stretch to all, pick one or two things that you can update. Even a small change like replacing your mirror with a large, stylish one can hugely change the look of your bathroom.
Depending on what state your bathroom is currently in, you can pick a few of these things or maybe even do them all. The one tip though that I would advise everyone to do is clean that grout – this will make such a big difference and go a long way to transforming your old bathroom in to a much fresher space for hardly any spend at all.
So those are my top tips to help you make an old bathroom feel new. Once you’ve had a go at transforming your bathroom, you may even love your ‘new’ bathroom so much that you put off the renovation for years.
Any tips to add to these? Leave me a comment below.
Very clever, a shower curtain also can brighten up a dingy, bathroom…happy sprucing up!
Very true. And a great idea and thanks for sharing. I’ve done my sprucing up which is what inspired me to write this post. 🙂
Emma van Steen says
Thanks for all these great suggestions, our bathroom is super ugly so could really benefit from applying some of these ideas, greenery always works wonders but i also like the idea of using products or bottles that look expensive for consistency and simplicity, will give it a go.
Thanks for stopping by – and it is little things that can make a big difference to a bathroom. Just tidying it up and getting rid of excess stuff can help a lot. Good luck with your bathroom refresh. I’d love to see before and after pics 🙂