We all have a vision of our dream bathroom. Something comfortable and luxurious, that could be mistaken for a high-end hotel or a page in a glossy magazine.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have thousands of pounds to make that fantasy a reality. Bathrooms are notoriously expensive to renovate, averaging out as the second most costly room in the house – falling second only to kitchens.
So, what can be done? Actually, splashing out on a few small changes can have a big effect on the overall impression of your bathroom. Whether you’re living in rented accommodation or simply don’t want to cough up the cash, here are 10 simple rules for achieving an opulent bathroom without a huge investment.
- Work with what you have
The secret to bathroom elegance is to co-ordinate as much as you can, so start by embracing the things about your bathroom that you can’t change. Accept that today is not the day for ripping out ugly wall tiles or a tiny shower cubicle, and move on.
Use the design of everything that has to stay to inspire the styles and colours you choose for any new additions, and you’ll be on the right track for a chic end result.
- Lighten up
Of course, your main bathroom lighting needs to be functional, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful. Modern, bathroom-safe fittings cost as little as £20-£30, and can add effortless elegance at the flick of a switch.
Secondary lighting will up your style stakes, and most DIY stores offer LED strips and stick-on spotlights that are perfect for achieving ambient opulence. If that sounds like too much work, simply add a lamp or assortment of candles for soft, sultry lighting.
- Invest in your towels
Tired towels and worn-out bathmats aren’t lending you luxury. If there’s any room in your budget for splashing out, make sure it’s on good quality bath linens.
White towels look stunning, but it’s unrealistic to think that they will stay clean for very long in a busy household. Pick a colour that complements your wall tiles, and remember that fluffier is always better.
- Break up with chrome
It’s not you; it’s chrome. Cold, clinical, and absolutely everywhere, chrome totally gives the game away that your bathroom is furnished on a budget. Swap silver-coloured taps, handles and holders for versions in gold, brass or matt black. Your basins, tubs and showers will get a luxe lift, and your friends will be enviously wondering where you got the cash for a whole new suite.
- Keep it contained
A big secret to achieving a designer look is to store everything in its own container. Soap should be kept in a dispenser or dish, and small items like cotton buds can be stored in designated jars. It might seem like overkill, but think about it – have you ever seen soap marks or cheap packaging in a luxury bathroom? No.
- Put a lid on it
Your bin, that is. It’s possibly the smallest adjustment on this list, but will make a surprising difference. Rubbish doesn’t scream elegance, so spend as little as £5 on a pedal-operated or swing lid bin, to keep bathroom litter out of sight.
- Show off your cultured side
Nobody needs artwork in their bathroom, which is precisely why it feels so glamorous. Hang a pair of abstract prints or curate a gallery wall for a smatter of sophistication. Go for simple frames to really let the pictures do the talking, and avoid canvas, which won’t last long in a steamy environment.
- Get comfortable
As with artwork, you don’t need an extra place to sit in your bathroom. However, if you have the space then a seat of some description is a lavish addition. An armchair is perfect, but a storage bench can double up as a towel or laundry basket, which is a little more practical.
- Take time to reflect
Mirrors are textbook for making a small space look bigger, but consider them a style statement, too. Find a style that suits the look of your bathroom, whether it’s minimal and geometric, or ornately delicate. Don’t forget to look at freestanding mirror options to show off excess square footage.
- Tidy up
Invariably, the bathrooms in hotels and magazines look good because they’re not being used every day. This means no clutter, no limescale and no bits of clothing lying around. You might not achieve perfection, but do your best to keep your bathroom clean and tidy and you’ll be closer to realising your dream. Keep shower products to a minimum, and store them somewhere out of sight when they’re not being used. Relocate the laundry basket to another room if possible, and mop up toothpaste and soap spills when they occur.