Bathroom Makeover – How to Update Your Bathroom

Have you been thinking about updating your bathroom but not sure what is involved?  Have you thought about how different it could look? Well I did exactly that a few months ago and would love to share with you.

We moved into our house about four and a half years ago.  It is a lovely quiet village and our road is a small cul de sac of about eighteen houses.  The house wasn’t perfect, in fact the interior was a bit dated.  Not dated as in it looked like it was decorated in the First World War, more like it was last revamped in the nineties. Luckily we looked beyond that and went ahead with buying it.  One of the things we loved was the view from the back garden.  It’s a silly thing but you can see the North Downs from wherever you stand in the back garden and it actually made me feel like crying because it overwhelmed me so much.  Anyway that’s a different story.

What I want to talk about today is how we have updated our bathroom.  Don’t get me wrong, we haven’t just accessorised, we’ve gone for a whole new beautiful shiny bathroom.   I just thought I’d share what is involved and things I might change now in hindsight.

This was what our bathroom looked like before.

As you can see, it’s a perfectly functional bathroom, it has a bath, a shower, a basin with a vanity unit for storage and a toilet.  It has a radiator and the flooring is laminate which is practical for a bathroom as easy to clean.  The tiles were nice, a nice shell pattern on them and decent colour, but all just a bit dated.   We just wanted it to be brought into the 21st century!  Another thing which was quite a major factor was the fact we kept getting a build of of mildew on the ceiling, mainly due the the fact that there are four of us showering every day and there was no extractor fan so the steam just sat on the surfaces.  Therefore one priority was to include a working extractor that would hopefully provide a solution to this problem.

So to start with we had to think about what we would want in the bathroom.  We went through so many bathroom showrooms it was quite ridiculous.  All my fault I’m afraid,  if you’ve read my post about being an over thinker you’ll know why.  If you haven’t, you can read it Here.

The living room was littered with brochures and magazines about bathrooms, showers, shower screens, shower trays, basins, toilets, radiators, bathroom cabinets – you can imagine can’t you?  There is so much out there to choose from.  I genuinely had thought it was going to be easy.  I didn’t realise there were so many brands, colours and styles to choose from.  We knew what kind of style we wanted, we wanted modern, not traditional and clean lines, not too fussy.  So at least we were part the way there.  We went back into the showrooms, asked advice, took photos of features we particularly liked, then trawled though the brochures again.  Eventually – and it took quite a long time!  We decided what we wanted.  We went to a fairly local bathroom store and bought everything through them.  We decided to buy through an independent outlet rather than a big chain because the service was more personal and they were able to help with the choices we were unsure about.  Oh and also the lady suggested we change the layout of the bathroom slightly by moving the toilet across slightly and the basin onto a different wall so we could put a mirror above (it was in front of the  window before.)

Here is a comprehensive list of the things we needed to order:

  • Shower
  • Separate hand held diverter – we got one that could come straight out the wall as it looks less cluttered.
  • Shower screen – different thicknesses, we went for the thickest as this is the safest and looks better, but is more expensive.
  • Shower tray – there are different types of material for this.
  • Shower head – we went for a round rain shower head.
  • Shower remote (a switch that goes on the wall outside the bathroom so you can turn it on so it will be at the right temperature for when you get in there.)
  • Basin – with or without a unit underneath, you can choose from ceramic or resin.
  • Taps – mixer or separate.
  • Toilet – we chose a really plain one with no indentations so it is really easy to clean,
  • Toilet seat – we chose a soft close one which can be lifted off easily if you want to clean it separately, it’s quite cool really you press a button and the whole thing just lifts off, no messing around unscrewing nuts and bolts.)
  • Toilet cistern – sometimes this can be separate but our toilet came with it.
  • Radiator/heated towel rail  – we chose dual fuel (i.e. Runs off the central heating system but can be turned on via the electricity if the heating is off.)  You need to check the output is correct for the size of your room.
  • Tiles – you need to choose between porcelain or ceramic.  Ceramic are slightly cheaper but there are pros and cons for both.  We ended up with porcelain and chose some that are a beige-grey colour, we had a few textured ones behind the shower screen for a feature.  We also chose (well I did!) some sparkly mosaic tiles which came on a sheet, to go inside the alcove we had built in – I needed a bit of sparkle in there somewhere!


  • Grout to go between the tiles – there are many different shades to choose from, we chose a colour called Pergamon which went well with the tiles.
  • Flooring – we were going to have matching porcelain tiles on the floor but thought this might feel cold and hard.  I fell in love with some Karndean Flooring, the colour is Distressed Oak and the colours blend perfectly with the tiles.  Yes I did carry a tile into the bathroom shop and hold it against different flooring styles!


  • Bathroom cabinet- we were a bit extravagant with this.  We were looking at the different features, definitely wanting one with lights and a toothbrush charging socket.  We ended up buying one with adjustable lights, toothbrush charger, demisting feature and built in speakers so you can connect your phone via Bluetooth and play music while you’re in there 😀
  • Lights – we chose recessed spotlights and had the switch diverted from a pull cord to a switch outside the bathroom door.
  • Extractor – we got one positioned above the shower, it is controlled by a switch outside the door and stays on for half an hour after you turn it off when you get out the shower (you can alter the time.)
  • Toilet roll holder – we got a fairly heavy duty one that is attached to the wall.

I think that’s about it,  obviously there are the decorative features, like blinds or curtains etc but hopefully what I’ve listed above is good enough to help you if you’re thinking about getting your bathroom done.  I haven’t gone into massive detail but if you have any questions I’d be more than happy to share information with you (well at least stuff to the best of my knowledge.)

We got about four quotes from different tradesmen, which varied quite a lot.  In the end we went for one in the middle because he was local and was quite flexible in listening to what  we wanted.  I also thought one who is more local is likely to be at the house for longer hours as he wouldn’t need to spend time stuck in traffic travelling to us.  Therefore the job would get done a bit quicker.  We did have disruption and weren’t able to use the bathroom for a couple of weeks but we are lucky enough to have a separate downstairs cloakroom with a shower.  The plumber did say though that he could have connected the toilet back each evening if we had needed him too which would have been useful.

Here are a few photos of how the work progressed.

Overall I’m really pleased.  It’s the first room in the house we have done and is completely to our taste.  If there is one thing I would have changed it would be to have kept a bath.  Generally we all have showers but you know, just occasionally,  I think it would be nice to lie and relax in a bath with some candles and bubbles but never mind it’s not the end of the world and it’s only an occasional thought anyway.

I’m not sure what our next project will be but I’m looking forward to it already, when funds allow…


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