Clever styling can be the secret to turning your bathroom into a space you and your guests will love. “Hide as much of the day-to-day stuff as possible,” says interior stylist and blogger at The Life Creative, Chris Carroll. Pretty baskets are a catch-all for small items, a ladder looks wonderful as a towel rail, and a butler’s tray is perfect for storing bits and pieces. “Keep the soap pump, jar of cotton buds and toothbrush container all on the same tray,” says interior design Angela Steyn. The steamy environment of a bathroom is also a perfect canvas for plants. Use lush greenery to add colour to a stark white space.
Scrubbed up and ready
Whatever the state of your bathroom – retro horror story or symphony in beige – there are only a few baths that can’t be improved by a good clean. Grimy grout and insidious mould are issues that can afflict even a well-scrubbed space. For a grout solution that will cost very little time and some elbow grease, try attacking it with a toothbrush and a mixture of bicarb and vinegar. Mould is a different story. “I recommend getting a professional clean done for mould, as it needs to be treated properly or it will return in a matter of days,” says Carmel Wylie, senior designer of GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens. Tile Rescue uses intensive cleaning products to rejuvenate the look of your tiles and grout, and seal them to keep them lovely. Don’t forget your tapware. Dripping taps can stain your bath or basin, but can be easily fixed with new washers – a straightforward job for even first-time DIYers – while calcium and limescale look yucky and can also affect the functionality of your shower rose.
Refresh your walls
If your bathroom is functional but let down by a less-than-lovely colour scheme, the solution may be as easy as a coat of paint. Refresh painted walls above the tile line with a modern hue, or even just redo the ceiling. “Make sure you use a paint suitable for a bathroom, and do the prep work first – it makes all the difference,” says Carmel Wylie, senior designer of GIA Bathrooms & Kitchens.
Tiles are a little trickier. Tile paint could be a great option if your bathroom’s biggest problem is dated feature tiles, but for a larger area, a better solution might be professional resurfacing, which can reinvent baths and basins as well as tiles. Worldwide Refinishing Systems estimates a complete bathroom makeover, including tiles, bath and vanity, at between $1800 and $3000 – a hefty bill for budget renovators, but cheaper than ripping out a whole bath.
If an item is drawing attention for all the wrong reasons, replacing it may give your room a new look. Chris Carroll, interior stylist and blogger at The Life Creative, says, “Replacing your tapware is an affordable way to bring your bathroom into the now. The latest trends are pointing towards black and brass tapware, so look at those for a contemporary feel.” The key is to choose taps with a similar base fitting, and change the basin, bath and shower fittings so they match. Look into replacing your framed shower screen with a frameless version to modernise the space and increase the feeling of light and space. Mirrors are another way of transforming interiors, especially in small spaces. “Larger mirrors will open up the space and allow more light within the room,” says interior designer Angela Steyn.