How to smarten up a bathroom
Monday, 16th December 2013, Jane Gibson
The bathroom is one of those key rooms within a home that can be revolutionised with just a few minor touches. Anything old or tired-looking can reflect badly on the whole house, whilst something a little smarter gives the entire place a lift.
One problem, however, is that people think that smartening up their bathroom is a huge, time-consuming and expensive task that requires more knowledge and experience than they possess. As such, it's often left until it's in a real state of disrepair before something gets done.
This needn't be the case, however, as there are a number of smaller, modular solutions that can help revolutionise an old, tired bathroom without the need to strip everything out and start afresh.
Paint and grout
Certainly one of the cheaper options, re-painting or tidying up grout is a way to spruce up the bathroom without having to dedicate too much time, effort or money to the cause.
Where painting is concerned, homeowners can go out, buy all the equipment, prime the surfaces, paint them and leave to dry over the course of just one weekend - less still if they've done this once or twice before. This will not only give the room a new lustre but also cover up any areas discoloured by damp or affected by mould (in which case, getting suitable paint and treating the area beforehand may also be needed).
For grout, the work is even simpler still. For this, just get an old toothbrush and some grout cleaning fluid (or a bleach and bicarbonate of soda make-yourself mixture), then work it into the grouting until all the black has come out. It may require a little elbow grease - and certainly some old clothing to wear - but the end result is one where tiling looks as good as new without the expense of replacing them altogether.
This is a somewhat costlier approach to the paint and grout, but can provide the look of a brand new bathroom without the expense. That being said, it needn't be a bank-breaker, as there are ways of repairing without entirely replacing.
For example, old units can be smartened up with a lick of paint or - if they are wooden - a good sand down and some new varnish. If a change is on the cards, simply replacing the unit doors without turfing out the entire thing and starting afresh can leave the room looking brand new without spending out large amounts. If the hinges and handles are still in good working order, these can be kept back as well for even more savings.
Another replacement that can do wonders for any old-looking bathroom is a clean up or replacement of the light fittings. Whilst many are made from stainless steel, this does not make them entirely rust-proof. Instead, they are more resistant to corrosion than other, similar materials, but will still rust if left in humid conditions - of which bathrooms are a prime example.
As such, even some of the most corrosion-resistant metals used in light fittings can still become discoloured or even flaky after time. This means they need to be replaced, not just for aesthetic purposes but for safety as well.
Simple light fittings can be replaced in little to no time at all, often just by removing a few screws, coughing under the tumult of dust that emerges and popping up a new one in its place - if you're lucky even using the same holes.
Anyone hankering for a more involved DIY challenge may wish to try something different - maybe changing their old, plain light fitting for something a little more glamorous, such as a chandelier or hanging lamp. Whilst this may require drilling new holes, filling old ones, rewiring and installing a new ceiling rose (the cornice which goes around a light base), the end result can be a real reflection of the hard work which went into its creation.
Time for a new tub
Entering into the pricer side of the spectrum, a bathroom can be revolutionised by changing the very item from which it gets its very name: the bath.
A new, glistening white tub is an ideal way of helping add shine to an old-looking bathroom. For anyone looking at clean lines and simple designs, the humble white bath is a sure fire way of smartening up the room by replacing its entire focal point with something fresh and new.
Whites or creams aren't the only colours, of course, and the trend for vintage Victoriana is still strong. So for anyone looking to really give their bathroom a glamorous overhaul, adding a cast iron roll-top bath will be one way of turning a drab room into one that astounds.
For anyone looking to revitalise all of their bathroom furniture, from units to mirrors, lights and even the bath itself, changing up the surfaces and tops should also be on the cards.
Budget renovators may wish to try tiling old countertops, but for a real attention-grabbing finish, there's little better than quartz or granite. Whilst not the cheapest option in terms of initial outlay, quartz and granite worktops have a much longer life expectancy than most - meaning that the next time it comes to updating the bathroom, all of the above points may be considered but the countertops can be left well alone.
Not only that, these counter tops are sealed with non-porous resin, meaning they can handle the rigours and humidity that would otherwise destroy some cheaper bathroom materials.
There are, of course, a great deal of options for sprucing up a bathroom, from the small, quick and low-cost jobs to those that require a little more careful consideration. Either way, there's really no need to let a bathroom go unloved. Instead, with one or more of the above options, it can go from being a source of embarrassment to then become a room that's shown off in the very best light; taking pride of place in the home once more.