Home Improvements : My Bathroom Makeover

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British Ceramic Tiles Form and Function Hex Black Matt Tiles

Form and Function Hex Black Matt Tiles by British Ceramic Tile.
(We intend to use the matt white version in our bathroom makeover)

I hope you all had a lovely long Easter weekend. I know many people take this opportunity to get stuck in with the DIY and home improvement jobs so if that was what you spent your weekend doing I hope it all went well. I didn’t actually do any DIY myself but we do have a couple of really big jobs in the pipeline which I wrote about in my New Year’s resolutions post here. I put them at the bottom of the list as I couldn’t actually see us getting around to them any time soon but I was so determined to start a kitchen and a bathroom makeover this year that I’ve moved it to the top of the priority list. So with April being National Home Improvement Month, I thought this would be the ideal time to really get started and I tell you now, I just cannot wait to rip out our bathroom and replace it with something that doesn’t make us cringe when we walk into the room.

But I also want to let you into a little secret…I am petrified! We’ve only been homeowners for just over two years and when we were renting I dreamed of one day owning our home so that we could do it up as we wanted. But now this is a reality I am really, really scared. Both a kitchen and a bathroom makeover is such a massive job and really expensive and despite what people might think, I’m really not that confident when it comes to putting together a whole interior scheme. I just don’t have the vision. And as I spend so much time reading the blogs and following the Instagram accounts of Interior Designers and Stylists I feel this immense pressure to create something as wonderful as they can. But the problem is I’m not an Interior Designer and I’m not a Stylist. However, I really do need to give myself a break and stop worrying that my makeovers won’t be Instagram-worthy enough. I’d love to get an interior designer in to handle everything for me, but sadly my tiny budget just won’t stretch to this.

And then, as if by magic (things like this always happen to me, I swear I’m one of the luckiest people alive and I never take this for granted) I was contacted by MoneySuperMarket asking if I would like to take part in their #MSMHomeImprove Campaign which aims to raise awareness of the fact that you should inform your home insurance provider of any home improvement projects that you undertake.

Whilst those who have taken up renovation projects in the last year spent an average of £3,902.61 on their home improvements, less than half (48%) said they would inform their insurance provider about any renovations. However, making improvements in and around your home can have an effect on your home insurance policy and sometimes even drive it down.

Research commissioned by MoneySuperMarket

I had no idea about this and it never crossed my mind to let my home insurance provider know about our upcoming renovations. Definitely something to think about. Who doesn’t want cheaper insurance premiums, right?

Anyway, as part of the campaign MoneySuperMarket joined forces with DIY expert and TV presenter, Jo Behari who is most well known for presenting the Channel 4 show Make, Do and Mend. She also co-authored The Girls Guide to DIY and an online DIY course for Skillsology. I was offered a one-to-one consultation with Jo so that she could provide me with some bespoke advice and helpful tips concerning my home improvement projects. How fantastic, and the timing couldn’t have been better.

I’ve mentioned so many times before that my bathroom is absolutely miniscule and there literally isn’t enough room to swing a cat. Given that so many of us in the UK have to put up with such teeny tiny bathrooms I thought it would be a great idea to share the tips and advice that I received from Jo as it might just be something that could help you too.

The Design Sheppard Bathroom Collage Before Makeover

It makes me a little bit sick in my mouth to share these pictures of my bathroom as it is currently but you need to see it to understand what challenges I’m up against. I hope you realise how hard it has been for me to live with a bathroom like this for the past two years, it makes my eyes bleed just to look at it. The bathroom is tiny at just under 2m x 2m so I couldn’t even take a decent picture, but hopefully you can see that the main issue I have is a complete lack of storage. We have no available floor space for free standing or built in storage. We have an unnecessarily large window above the sink meaning that we can’t have a mirror or mirrored cabinet above the sink. We currently only have a very slim mirrored cabinet on the wall above the toilet which is ok but not the most practical and you can’t store much in it as it is so small. We also have a mirror on the wall adjacent to the sink. This is the only available wall space, but as it is directly inside the door you can’t put up any storage that is too deep as it would obstruct the doorway. This wall also features the radiator which is great for heating the room but that’s it. I’d like to replace this with a towel radiator as we currently hang the family’s towels on the back of the door which looks messy and they don’t dry quickly.

So what was Jo’s advice for me?

IKEA valje-wall-cabinet-with-door-white

You could put a long wall unit above the window to store all those bathroom bits that don’t get used on a daily basis. A few of these VALJE cabinets from IKEA or something similar might work quite well. This would give you more surface space to put your toothbrushes etc.

Plumb World essentials-white-gloss-vanity-unit

If you buy a built in sink and toilet unit it will clean up the look of the bathroom and maximise on the under sink storage. It will depend on the width of space you have but Plumbworld do a good range.

Stonewood UK custom made storage bath panel

Image courtesy of Stonewood

If you have a good carpenter you could ask them to build something bespoke for under your bath. It’s often dead space that can be used if you think cleverly about it. You can’t store lots in there but good for the endless bottles and bath toys that build up.

If you move the mirror you could fit a tall towel rail where the radiator is now. Or alternatively fit the towel rail on the wall above the toilet and have a full length mirror where the radiator currently is. Pipework wouldn’t be too hard to move as it’s on the same wall. Also, if this is a plasterboard wall you could get a unit built into the wall with a mirror door over so you have a mirror in the bathroom.

As for bathroom lighting I’d really recommend a consultation with an electrician as there are restrictive requirements on lighting in wet areas. I would always recommend spotlights as they distribute the light really well but you need IP65 rated spots over the shower area. But there are some really nice single ceiling lights on the market now just make sure they are bathroom rated.

British Ceramic Tiles Form and Function Hex-white TilesI was so happy to receive this advice and tips from Jo. I was a little apprehensive as we are quite far along in our bathroom makeover, as in we’ve already ordered everything and booked the tiler and plumber in for mid-April. I was worried Jo would come up with lots of fantastic ideas that I hadn’t thought of and I’d want to change everything. But it was a massive confidence boost for me as most of the suggestions Jo has made are things that I’d already considered. I’ve bought a shelf and some storage baskets to go above the window and I’ve ordered a compact sink and toilet unit. I love the bath panel idea and will definitely consider this in the future when we have the budget to get it bespoke made. As the wall with the radiator on is a solid wall I can’t really go for recessed storage. Instead I’m going to get a long horizontal mirror to go along the top of the wall with a towel radiator below. All of these small changes, along with a complete retile using British Ceramic Tile’s Form and Function Hex tiles in matt white, should hopefully transform our bathroom. I’ll keep you updated as this exciting bathroom makeover project progresses later this month.

Jo also gave me some great advice regarding my kitchen makeover so I’ll be sharing that in the next post.


Disclosure: This post has been written in collaboration with MoneySuperMarket who arranged my one-to-one consultation with Jo Behari. However, all the opinions in this post are my own and I stress that I only collaborate with brands and companies that I genuinely like and believe that my readers will like too.

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