It’s often one of the smallest spaces in your home, but a bathroom can take a big chunk of your renovation budget. According to Housing Industry Australia (HIA), the average cost of a bathroom renovation is an eye-watering $21,484. Depending on the space and your choice of fixtures and finishes, the cost of a bathroom reno can blow out of control.
You can still create the bathroom of your dreams without going over your renovation budget. The secret? Planning: itemising tasks to be carried out and listing every component and purchase necessary for the job, including taps, tiles, joinery, plumbing and electricals. Down to the last tube of grout. It may seem like overkill, but it’s the key to keeping a lid on spending.
“For a full bathroom renovation, a rough guide would be to spend 40% your budget on fixtures, 35% on tiling, 20% on plumbing and the last 5% on electricals,” says Wesley Sinclair from Highgrove Bathrooms. “And always allow for a 10% buffer for any unexpected costs that may come up along the way.”
How much should you spend on bathroom fixtures and fittings?
Accounting for nearly half of your renovation budget, the fixtures and fittings you choose can make or break the look and feel of your bathroom. Keeping a bathroom renovation under $10,000 means careful allocation of spending across all items. “The fixtures to splurge on are your cabinetry, toilet and bathtub (if you’re looking to include one),” says Wesley.
“Don’t blow your budget on pricey mirrors, robe hooks, tapware, basins, towel racks and the like,” says Wesley. “Quality, affordable accessories that can coordinate your whole bathroom look are readily available and can be updated later when you’re ready for a refresh.”
If you’re keen to install a bathtub in your new bathroom, a freestanding tub might add that extra touch of luxury but could also make or break your $10,000 budget. On the other hand, a bath adds value to your home.
When choosing a toilet, consider the WELS (water efficiency) rating as well as how easy it will be to keep clean. Wall-face toilets, where the cistern is hidden in the wall, are an interior designer’s favourite since they take up slightly less floor space and eliminate the need to clean behind your toilet. However, the installation can cost more and because the cistern isn’t as accessible, could be trickier and more expensive to repair down the track.
Ample storage space is a must for every bathroom, so choosing the right vanity and shelving for all your bathroom essentials is vital. “Opting for a wall-hung vanity will free up floor space and give you the illusion of a bigger bathroom,” suggests Wesley. You can also buy one ‘off the rack’ from a bathroomware supplier, rather than fork out for custom joinery.
How can you save money when tiling your bathroom?
The cost of tiling depends on the size of your space and how high you want your wall tiling to go. “Floor-to-ceiling wall tiles is a luxury bathroom trend we’ve seen emerge and it can instantly add value to your home,” says Wesley.
However with prices ranging anywhere from between $40 to $500 per square metre (or more), you may want to be more discretionary about which tiles you choose and where to put ’em. Still want some opulence? Consider using a combination of tiles at varying price points; for example, basic square matte tiles in a neutral colour in the shower then a feature splashback of kit-kat or fish-scale tiles at the basin.
“Complex designs like mosaics and herringbone patterns are more expensive and can cost more to lay, too,” says Wesley. “On top of the price of your tiles, the actual installation can set you back around $40 per square metre – including things like site preparation, labour, glue and grout.”
If your tiles are still in good condition, you could stick to a bathroom renovation under $10,000 by re-grouting instead of completely replacing. “A bit of facelift rather than a complete overhaul will save you lot of money. In some cases, some fresh white grout is all that’s needed for a brand new look!” says Wesley.
Don’t go too cheap when it comes to plumbing
While saving money on your bathroom renovation is a top priority, plumbing is not something you want to cut corners on. “Don’t scrimp when professionally fitting your basin, toilet, shower and bathtub, as poor plumbing can lead to many problems later down the track,” Wesley warns. A leaking tap or busted pipe could cost you so much more to fix than the initial installation fee.
Some products are only covered by warranty if they’re fitted by a licensed plumber too, so do your research.
The average cost of a plumber is $110 per hour; they can also charge a flat fee per task. If you were to completely renovate and rearrange the space, your plumber would need more time to change the bathroom layout, so sticking with the existing plumbing ‘footprint’ of your bathroom is an easy saving.
Don’t forget about the costs of electricals when renovating a bathroom
Often overlooked in a bathroom reno, the electricals need to be considered up front and included in your budget planning. “Think, exhaust fans, down lights, LED mirrors, heated towel rails, power points and light switches,” explains Wesley. “Always plan your electrical layout before doing any tiling because this will make it much easier to run the necessary wires and cables.”
Effective lighting is a must, for shaving, make-up and brushing your teeth. But keeping a bathroom renovation under $10,000 may be challenging if you opt for statement lighting or fancy appliances. Keep it simple. “Since most everyday tasks centre around your vanity, having a wall sconce or an LED mirror will help illuminate this area,” suggests Wesley. A couple of down lights should complete the job.
Consider the big picture, too, to keep running costs down in the long term. Heated towel rails, when fitted with a timed eco wall switch are an energy-efficient way of ensuring your towel is toasty warm and dry, year-round. It might be cheaper than under-floor heating, as well.
You can complete your bathroom renovation for under $10,000 – and on time. Set a firm budget, plan it well from the start and get several quotes. Speak to the experts first: plumbers, tilers and electricians. “Their advice is free and can help you avoid costly mistakes,” Wesley adds.
Budget bathroom buys
You can update your bathroom or ensuite without scrimping on style or quality, or missing out on beautiful finishes.
Think you can’t get a freestanding bathroom vanity with oodles of storage, a stone benchtop and plenty of set-down space for your bathroom products? Think again. This Shaker-style all-in-one piece is easy to assemble (you only need to screw on the legs) and features an engineered quartz top and ceramic basin. SHOP NOW
Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most luxe-but-affordable of them all? This on-trend arched shaving cabinet will give your bathroom a boost, as well as house all your essential toiletries. Tap on the link and follow the prompts to enter your postcode for pricing. SHOP NOW
Add instant texture and colour (and personality!) to your bathroom with these glazed porcelain kit-kat style tiles. It’s easy being green, but this tile’s also available in mist (blue-grey), linen (beige) and peacock (teal). SHOP NOW
This candy-coloured bathroom collection has a soft-touch feel and includes a bin, tumbler, soap pump, toilet brush holder and toilet roll holder. Also available in olive, pink, black and white. SHOP NOW
Yes, freestanding baths are within reach; all you need to do is buy, install and add bubbles. This modern take on a Victorian-era style also comes with chrome or white feet. SHOP NOW
Stainless steel and energy-efficient, this heated rail only takes 20 minutes to reach maximum warmth so your towels will be dry and toasty-warm in record time. SHOP NOW
Is it a chair? Is it a towel rack? No… it’s some kind of super towel rack and chair combo thingy! And we are here for it. IKEA never fails to disappoint with its inexpensive solutions to everyday problems. The RÅGRUND is great for renovators and renters alike. SHOP NOW
You don’t need to stick to entry-level finishes just because you’re on a budget. And a classic basin-mounted tap set in solid brass like this one will stand the test of time. SHOP NOW
There’s no reason your loo-paper holder shouldn’t be luxe, as well. Modern National makes affordable and stylish bathroomware, such as this brass piece which also comes in chrome, brushed nickel, matte black, champagne and gunmetal. SHOP NOW
If you adore the European travertine look but the budget falls short, this glazed porcelain tile will inject a sense of history and richness to your bathroom space instantly. Click on the link to check the price according to your postcode. SHOP NOW
A cost-effective way to refresh your bathroom is to pick up new accessories, such as this handmade collection with an organic, marble-like resin finish (no two pieces are the same). Pictured: toothbrush holder; tray; soap dish; bin (or planter). SHOP NOW
Bejewel your bathroom (and bewitch your visitors) with this inexpensive sconce light from IKEA, which throws sunburst-esque rays of light and shadows on the wall or ceiling. Very Art Deco without the antiques-shop price tag! SHOP NOW
Navy and gold come together to create affordable elegance in this freestanding vanity, which features a resin basin with plenty of bench space and a glass shelf for your ‘best towels’. SHOP NOW
If you relish a rain shower but your partner prefers the hand shower, then a shower set with built-in diverter is a must. This one comes in six finishes and is height adjustable, as well, so you really can customise your shower experience. You’ll also need a Bezzoni round stream mixer tap to match. SHOP NOW
Inject some whimsy into your bathroom design without making a huge investment. This softened polyester shower curtain will transport you to the beach in Nice every morning, and it’s machine washable (bonus). SHOP NOW