Renovation series: How to blitz the bathroom

Bathrooms are one of the smallest rooms of the house yet they have to fit so much. To achieve a great bathroom, be very practical when it comes to planning and look for options that make the room streamlined and simple. Choose one thing to be the hero – the tiles, bath or even just some cool towels in an otherwise white room.


On a small budget, consider a facelift

Pick the most dated items to replace. A new toilet and vanity can go a long way to modernising a bathroom, as can a new towel rail or faucet. Or make the best of what you’ve got – re-grout tiles, paint cupboard doors and swap out handles for sleeker versions. Grace Gilfillan of Clearlite and Athena Bathrooms says if you don’t want to replace any major fixings, a new bathroom mirror is an easy way to revamp a tired-looking bathroom. “Mirrors create the illusion of space and the reflection of natural and artificial light makes a bathroom look bright and spacious,” she says.

Redoing the lot? Things to consider:

  • Good lighting is crucial. Get as much natural light as you can flooding into the space. Make sure your lights are in the right place so you can see yourself in the mirror – we all know what it’s like to put makeup on in dim surroundings!
  • Get smart. Think about ditching a cumbersome towel rail for some funky hooks. Avoid having the toilet being the first thing you see when you open the door. Don’t have the door too close to the toilet or any other fixture – it’s a sure-fire way of making the space feel cramped.
  • Vanities. Get a vanity with some decent storage and enough room around the sink for your toothbrushes, soap and maybe a small vase of flowers. Vanities that hang off the ground give a more streamlined look and make it easier to clean the floor. Make sure the sink is big enough for your household needs – if you have room, get a double sink so two people can brush their teeth at the same time.


  • Tiles. This can be the most expensive part of a bathroom overhaul. Make sure you get ones suitable for a wet (and slippery) space – no smooth and shiny ones. Choose big ones for the floor and keep them going halfway up the wall, if you like that look.
  • Showers. They’re never the hero of the space so think practical and minimal. Frameless is good for a streamlined look. Get the biggest size you can. Rainfall showerheads sound great but they don’t give you the option of showering without getting your hair wet. If you have the opportunity to build and tile in your own shower, create more recessed shelving than you’d initially think, for all those shampoos we accumulate.
  • Toilets. Check the comfort factor first. Don’t go too small. Soft-close lids are good, especially with kids, husbands and in ensuites. Having a concealed in-wall system looks nicer but it is more pricey.
  • The very nice-to-haves, if the budget runs to it. Underfloor heating, heated mirrors, double shower heads, wet rooms, recesses into the wall for extra shelving.


✔ Lighting plan
✔ Storage
✔ Vanity
✔ Toilet
✔ Mirror
✔ Shower/bath
✔ Tiles/paint

Words by: Debbie Harrison and Lizzi Hines of Spaceworks and Room by Room. Photography by: Felix Forest/ and Jackie Meiring.

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