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Warren Robertson
4 minute read
22 Feb 2019
2:32 pm

Refurbish your bathroom on a budget

Warren Robertson

Freshening up your bathroom need not cost a fortune.

Picture: iStock

Refurbishing a tired, run down, or even dilapidated bathroom is something that we all imagine will cost a fortune. However, if you haven’t got the budget or the time to totally dismantle one of the most important rooms in your house, you can still give it a makeover relatively cheaply by using some of these simple tricks.


A good paint job can make all the difference to a bathroom. Credit: Pixabay

Most bathrooms have a good deal of wall area that can just be repainted. You will be surprised by how different you can make a room look either by choosing a sophisticated neutral colour or going all in with your bright designs.

If you can’t afford to re-tile, there are paints that exist that will allow you to paint away those 1970s brown, orange, or avocado monstrosities that you currently think you have to live with. Don’t be afraid to take paint to the old worn cabinets either.

While it may be tempting, don’t skimp on the type of paint you use. Mould and mildew develop easily in a bathroom so buy a high-quality paint with a satin finish. And don’t forget to repaint the bathroom ceiling as well. A new coat on the ceiling adds to the effectiveness of the light in the room, making things brighter and ultimately lifting your mood.


The central light of the bathroom can change the whole mood. Credit: Pixabay

A poorly lit bathroom can strain your eyes and dampen your mood. In most South African homes, the central bathroom light is a little round glass ball, but this can be traded out to give your bathroom a whole new feel.  Changing your old light fixture to something distinctive can give the room a burst of character from classic chandeliers to wrought iron fittings, or artistic period pieces.

If you have space, think about adding in a standing lamp, and remember a large mirror will help what light you do have to really fill the room.


A simple glass shower is an elegant, yet cost-effective addition, to any bathroom. Credit: Pixabay

A bathroom’s built-in shower dominates a huge amount of space and is the focal point for much of the activity in the room. An old, peeling, chipped, or murky glassed model can, therefore, bring the whole room down. Fortunately, the price of pre-fitted shower doors has come way down, and stylish, brand new ones cost just two or three thousand rand.

If your bathroom instead uses a shower curtain, think seriously about replacing it with something that matches your design for the rest of the room. Nothing can bring you down faster in the morning than an old, yellowing, and mildewed shower curtain that keeps attacking you while you are getting ready for work.

Minor fittings

A new modern fixture can freshen up a bathroom and save you money on water. Credit: Pixabay

Replacing some of the minor fittings can have a big impact too. Think about changing out the sink or bathtub faucets, and changing the seat and lid on the toilet. With clever choices, this can give you the impression of having installed brand a brand new toilet, bath, and sink without actually doing it.

As an added bonus, consider installing new low-flow faucets for life-long savings on water. Technology has come far enough to that you won’t even notice these fittings are saving you water every time you wash your hands.

Granite vanity tops

Granite tops can add style to any bathroom. Credit: Pixabay

Bathroom vanity cabinets are often quite small, meaning that switching the top out for granite is often much cheaper than you expect. Creating a dramatic granite-topped vanity the centrepiece of a bathroom can add a lot of class for very little cost.

It is possible that given the small size, you may even be able to use an offcut piece. So if you are open-minded about what you want the granite to look like, you can grab a good bargain. Also, the sink will probably take up the vast majority of the actual countertop so consider buying a piece of granite that has been discounted due to a flaw – that flaw may be in a place that doesn’t affect your bathroom at all.

New towels and bathmats

Sometimes a new bathroom is a lot easier than you think. Credit: Pixabay

Because of their functional uses, it can be easy to overlook the role that your towels and bathmat play in making a bathroom look complete. Matching towels and bathmats are a very easy solution to freshening up a room that requires absolutely no building.


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