18 affordable and effective bathroom updates to try at home

Handy hacks and expert advice on the latest bathroom trends to fire your imagination

18 affordable and effective bathroom updates to try at home

Updating your bathroom doesn’t necessarily mean renovating. From treating yourself to some fresh new fluffy towels to introducing some on-trend tapware, there are plenty of ways to up the style stakes in your bathroom, no matter your budget. Try one or all of these simple and affordable updates to give your bathroom a fresh new face.

1. Grey matters

Grey creates a look that’s functional, restful and sophisticated. This versatile colour suits a range of home styles from traditional to modern new-build, and it’s practical for family living.

2. Light it up

Statement lighting isn’t restricted to bedrooms and living spaces – it adds wow factor in bathrooms and provides good ambient light. Remember to consider your ceiling height before buying and make sure the bottom of the fixture is at least two metres above the floor.
And while we’re talking about lighting, think about installing sensor lighting under the vanity so you’ll never need to turn on overhead lights in the middle of the night again. Or you could try this cheat’s trick: buy stick-on battery-operated sensor lights (we found some in Ikea) to light the way.

3. On reflection 

Feature mirrors are here to stay and large ornate frames are ever popular.

4. Seamless Transition 

Using the same marble on the walls as well as the floor makes for a space that is open indulgent and seamless in appearance, says interior designer Greg Natale.

5. Power Drill 

Ask an electrician if your power points can be integrated into vanity drawers thereby keeping the look of tiled walls clean and simple.

6. Weekend Upgrade 

On a budget? You can still add impact to a simple bathroom by mastering the little details.

  • Choose stand-out fixtures like luxe tapware and an elegant towel rail and ring.
  • Install new light switches with a matte metallic finish.
  • Buy lovely thick towels in stylish patterns.
  • Add a beautiful dispenser set, a plant and a candle or two.
  • Change the discoloured sealant around bath, shower and vanity. Look for an easy-to-use product, such as Loctite Re-New, which is mould-resistant and can be applied over the old sealant.
  • Make sure the bathroom is thoroughly cleaned, and it will look and feel like new

7. Up the wall 

Wallpaper is back in bathrooms, particularly when used for a feature wall. Go for an updated look, such as an oversized floral, but be sure to purchase a product that is suitable for bathrooms. If you have young kids who splash water everywhere, limit its use to a powder room.

8. Picture this 

Art is a beautiful and affordable addition to a bathroom that doesn’t use up valuable floor space. Just ensure your chosen artworks can withstand heat and moisture.

9. Perfect Symmetry 

Create balance in a room and achieve a more formal, orderly look through symmetrical design elements. Repeat accent colours in towels and accessories to add emphasis.

10. Out With Plain Grout 

The plain white tiles in this bathroom are simple but look fantastic when finished with a grey-coloured grout rather than white. This seemingly small detail can give a designer effect at a small price.

11. Space savers 

With land and house prices at a premium, smaller spaces are becoming the norm for many. Streamlined cabinetry and multi-tasking, wall-hung vanities in simple materials make clever use of compact spaces.

12. Light shower 

Make the most of natural light by installing a skylight. To create a soft, romantic glow, try pendant lighting and wall lamps. A white colour palette and marble tiles also help to bounce light around the room.

13. Go green 

Indoor plants are sprouting up and flourishing everywhere from kitchens and living rooms right through to bathrooms. If you want to add a few potted lovelies to a well-lit bathroom, try philodendrons, Devil’s Ivy or aspidistras.

14. Tapware trends 

While chrome has always been one of the leading choices for bathroom fittings, other finishes are starting to steal the spotlight: stylish colours include black, rose gold and gunmetal.

15. Storage hack

Keep make-up and skincare all in one place and under control by repurposing those kitchen utensils organisers or cutlery trays in your bathroom vanity drawers and cupboards.

16. Tile trends 

Terrazzo is a composite material created with leftover marble, granite quartz or glass chips poured into cement or an epoxy binder. Rachel Gilding, of Beaumont Tiles, says its incorporation as a surface is the next big thing in bathrooms. Terrazzo can be traced back to 16th century Venice and was made popular in the 1920s but, says Rachel, “recent advances in printing technology have made it possible for terrazzo imitation tiles to capture every small detail in the finish without needing to be sealed and maintained. As a result, they are perfect for bathrooms and wet areas.” Plus, they’re an ideal flooring option to bring styles like eclectic Bohemian and global fusion to life.

17. Final flourish 

Inject a little personality into your bathroom by using a stool or small side table for your toiletries. Or add colour and life to your sanctuary with gorgeous greenery.

Photography by: Vanessa and Michael Lewis, Emma MacDonald, Nicola Edmonds, Patrick Reynolds, Larnie Nicolson, Helen Bankers/

This article originally appeared on Homes to Love Australia

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