HOCO HACK: BATHROOMS ON A BUDGET.
Winter is almost over and Spring is on approach - finally! So whats better than to welcome the new season with some home improvement.
Bathrooms are one of the most utilised rooms of any home. Trends aside, bathrooms date, become run down and lets be honest, its not a cheap or easy feat to update a bathroom. Pinterest and Instagram are full of never-ending images of stunningly designed bathrooms, with beautiful natural stone tiles or slabs, custom vanities and cabinets, specialty finish tapware, state of the art toilets, finished and styled with the best of the best (we’re talking Aesop and the like).
Don’t panic though! Hoco has some top tips and tricks to give you a fresh, new bathroom on a budget.
SO WHERE DO I START?
First things first, you'll need to establish a budget for yourself. This will determine how far you can go with the space. So, be realistic. It’s not worth eating 2 minute noodles for dinner for the next 6 months.
Budget aside, consider your options. For example, if you live in a unit, you’ll need to find out if there are any body corporate regulations (there most definitely will be), and if you plan on changing plumbing points etc., you could run into a some trouble. May be worth getting a builder or plumber on site to assess the potential of the space.
For arguments sake, lets say you’ve decided to do more of a cosmetic renovation to the bathroom. This means, we retain the existing layout of the space, the existing tiles / wall finish (I’ll talk more about this) but replace the vanity, toilet, tap ware, accessories and glass screen (if applicable).
So, we’ve got to retain the existing tiles. No worries. A great option to update the tiles is to spray them white. A simple option that can be done cheaply and efficiently. Do your research and get a couple of quotes. If you’ve got an existing floor tile that isn’t too bad as it is, then don’t bother spraying it, retain it and give it a good clean.
Baths can also be sprayed with a specialty acrylic paint to fresh up the finish if need be, but most acrylic baths retain their finish quite well. Give it a good clean.
There are many types of showers. Shower baths for one, or a shower cubicle / space. If you’ve got option one (quite common in smaller homes or units), no need to worry.
We will replace the tapware, but it can be a good idea to get a new frameless glass screen cut by a glazier (glass supplier installer) to fresh it up and give it a modern touch. Shower curtains can be an eyesore and close the space up. If this is your only option, there are some nicer shower curtain options that can jazz up a space and give it some personality.
If you’ve just got a shower cubicle or space, get a glazier to provide a quote for a new glass shower screen. If you can, go frameless, its a touch more expensive, but can look a lot better. If you opt for the framed screen, try to find a frame that is minimal that ties into the tap ware colour you select.
VANITIES & MIRROR CABINETS
Nowadays, custom built vanities can end up being the cheaper option, as compared to purchasing a pre-built one from a shop (say Reece or similar). But, if you are on a tight budget, you’ve come to the right place. Has anyone being wandering aimlessly through Ikea and not ever noticed the bathroom section? Well, look again.
You’d be surprised as to what you can find in places like Ikea, Bunnings or Aldi. Do your research. We generally opt for white as it keeps it simple and clean and won’t date. It gives you a blank canvas to style on!
This will require some liaison with a plumber, who will be able to tell you what type of toilet you’ll need to get to replace the existing. This is very important, so unless you are a plumber or know a plumber, get some professional advice. The best place to get cost effective toilets is Bunnings. A simple white toilet suite will do the trick. Don’t even think about an in-wall cistern or wall hung toilet, this requires a lot more work that just replacing the existing.
We tend to think of tapware & accessories like jewellery to the space. The most cost effective method is to go with a chrome finish, as this won’t date and is the cheapest. Matt Black is also quite easily accessible and can edge up the space if it feels bland. You can also easily match anything to this (say your shower screen fixings or drains or door hardware). Again, keep it simple. A simple round pin lever style is a great option, to keep it modern but not too modern that it will date.
We go by this rule - round fittings are the better option, as if it is installed not straight, you won’t be able to tell (as it is round - duh), but if a fitting is square and it is installed not straight (and you have OCD like us), you’ll be able to tell… hmmm nope, round it is! Round tap ware is also very easy to come by, so if you need to replace something, round is always round, but a square fitting may have certain curved details or plate sizes that are more noticeable if things are not matching.
The best thing to do with a cosmetic renovation is to retain the existing plumbing points. Only purchase items that can easily replace the existing. I.e. if your vanity has a bench mounted tap mixer, get the same type of tap mixer to avoid having to adjust plumbing points.
Most tap ware ranges come with matching accessories. By accessories we mean, toilet roll holder, towel rails, robe hooks, shower shelves, soap dishes etc. Stick with the one range to keep the fittings consistent. Consistency is the goal.