We are in the process of planning out a full renovation on our home to transform it from 70’s sad to 2022 fabulous.  We’ve been living in this broken old house for over two years and have waited until now to take on the full reno due to life getting in the way, not to mention we simply couldn’t previously afford the heavy price tag to do the job.  

As a temporary measure to make our home more livable prior to going into full reno mode, we took on some low budget jobs to make it more appealing and fresher to live over the past few years.  One of those low budget refresher jobs was making the bathrooms less offensive as they were truly shockers. 

So, let’s go through a few low budget and simple jobs in the bathroom that can take it from drab to fab – but upfront, you’re going need to be prepared to roll your sleeves up and have a crack. 

The areas we are taking into consideration for improvement include – silicon seals, grout, tapware, toilet seat, towel rails, vanity cabinetry and tile colour.  

All these items we are covering can be taken on by unqualified trades and that’s going to save you a whole lot of money.  We’ll go through each one, but you are going to need to do a bit of a combination of jumping onto Google and also talking to your hardware professionals – they have a whole lot of task and product knowledge that will be a big help.

 Let’s look at silicon seals first up.  The silicon seals serve a purpose and to be totally honest, whether or not you are making cosmetic improvements, these things need to be maintained. They can look grubby and the look will improve by tearing them out and replacing them. BUT, if they are compromised and water is getting through them, there can be a whole lot a water leakage brewing. 

Freshening up the grout can make such difference and really isn’t that difficult, although it takes a bit of elbow grease. You’re going to need a grout removing tool to get it out and there are a whole lot of premixed grouts on the market with plenty of colour choices.  We would generally recommend a grout colour as close to the colour of you tiles as possible as you don’t want the grout to be the feature.  You will need to do the grout before you replace the silicone.  

With the tapware, toilet seat and towel rails, these can all generally be replaced relatively easily.  Do a bit of research before you remove them to decide firstly if you are comfortable taking the job on, but also to make sure the replacement products are in stock and compatible.  If this task is a bit daunting for you, you should only need a handy person as opposed to a plumber. 

In a lot of cases, painting the vanity cabinetry will make a huge difference. Make sure the paint you are using is suitable for the bathroom.  Same goes for the tiles, there are a whole lot of products on the market that work brilliantly with tiles, just make sure you follow all the steps and recommended undercoats, otherwise the paint won’t adhere.

If you are painting the tiles, from our experience, properly painted wall tiles work really well and the paint can last years.  We have used tile paint on floor tiles a few time and we have gone through all the recommended preparation and steps and have found high traffic areas have not lasted and we would recommend avoiding painting floor tiles.  

Now that you’ve done the hard work and you bathroom is refreshed we’d recommend styling it up a little more with some fabulous complementary towels to give it that final bit pizazz.  

June 15, 2022 — Mark McKie

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