Category Archives: Bathrooms

Seven steps to a brilliant bathroom

diy-bathroomWith news that nearly two thirds of us have not renovated our bathroom in the last five years, is it time your smallest room had a refit?

A recent survey from Shower Selector found that:

  • 31% of Brits have not decorated or renovated their bathroom in over five years
  • 18% are in the middle of a bathroom renovation
  • 16% last renovated their bathroom between two and five years ago
  • 11% of UK homeowners updated their bathroom between just six months and a year ago

So, with that in mind, here are our seven simple steps to the bathroom of your dreams:

  1. Work out your budget. A new bathroom needn’t be expensive, but it depends on where you shop and how much of the work you are prepared to do yourself. Get quotes from online and in-store bathroom shops and don’t forget to factor in delivery and labour costs. If you’re not confident about plumbing but handy at decorating, you can hire contractors to install the bathroom then save money by doing the tiling and painting yourself.
  1. Plan ahead. Work out how long the job will take and how you are going to manage whilst it’s being done – particularly if you don’t have another loo! Check and double check measurements and factor in extra time (and budget) for unforeseen problems that might be uncovered along the way.
  1. Grand designs. Having a stylish bathroom is not all about buying the latest trends – in fact, often, just the opposite is true. When designing your refit, consider the age and style of your home, as well as your family’s size and lifestyle. Freestanding baths can look fantastically elegant in the right setting but would a fitted suite work better? Factor in existing wiring and plumbing and consider whether it can be moved or whether you’ll just to have to work with the current layout. Lastly, think about resale value in case you move. You might think those purple tiles and glitzy chandelier are the epitome of good taste but potential buyers might not agree!
  1. Walls and floors. Waterproof walls and floors are a must, and there’s a lot of choice on the market to suit all budgets. Marble, ceramic or granite tiles look stunning and are highly durable, but vinyl floor tiles can look just as effective at a much smaller cost. Remember that the flooring needs to be slip-resistant or, at the very least, buy a selection of high-quality, non-slip mats! Choose specific bathroom paint over standard versions as it features moisture and steam protection – and is even available in marble effect these days!
  1. bathroom-lightingRight lighting. Bathroom lighting needs to strike a fine balance between creating a calming atmosphere for a relaxing bath whilst providing the right light to allow you to shave or put on make up! Consider a feature ceiling light or downlights to create the right mood, with cabinet strip lights or a mirror light to carry out those close-ups. Due to the presence of water in the bathroom, lighting must meet a minimum IP rating, depending on its location, to reduce the risk of electric shock. Here’s a handy guide to bathroom ‘zones’ and IP ratings applying to each.
  1. Ventilation. Good ventilation in a bathroom is essential to reduce condensation and eliminate smells. If the bathroom is in a new extension to your home, the Government’s planning portal says that it should have a mechanical extraction fan, but many homeowners also choose to install them in existing bathrooms. Some fans have timers, which are good for saving energy, whilst you can also buy high-powered inline fans with built-in LED lights.
  1. Accessorize. Once the refit is complete, all that’s left is to accessorize and, if your bathroom was done on a budget, this is where you can really glam it up! From shower curtains and bathmats to toothbrush caddies and loo roll holders, here’s your chance to ‘splash’ out on the small details!

Budget ways to boost your home

home-improvementIf your property is in need of a makeover, there are plenty of ways to do it without breaking the bank! Whether you want to spruce things up in order to sell or simply make your home a cosier place in which to curl up, here are some inexpensive improvement ideas!

First impressions

They really do count, so make sure the entrance to your property looks its best. Keep the lawn mown and the path well weeded, and place a few potted shrubs near the front door. If you’re not particularly green-fingered, artificial topiary or plants can look smart and inviting without requiring maintenance! Try a specialist such as Evergreen or check out the range at High Street and home improvement stores.

Running theme

Fitting a new carpet throughout the hall and stairs can be expensive, but an eye-catching stair runner can have the same impact at a nicer price! Stair runners look fabulous over painted floorboards and can also rescue a tired, old carpet, covering the well-worn centre of each step and giving your hall a welcoming appeal.

Splashing out

kitchen-sinkA well-presented kitchen can clinch the deal for prospective buyers – but there’s no point spending thousands on new cabinets only to find your buyer plans to rip it straight out again. Instead, enhance an existing kitchen with a few added extras such as a splashback. Splashbacks can transform grimy or dated tiles around the cooker or sink and the choice of materials now available – including glass, wood, gloss acrylic and tiles – might be wider than you think. New worktops can also be bought and installed reasonably cheaply and they take the focus away from less-than-perfect kitchen cupboards underneath!

Loo-sen up

bathroomAs with a new kitchen, it can cost a lot to install a new bathroom suite, but there are plenty of ways to brighten up your bathroom on a budget! At the very least, buy a new loo seat, shower curtain and bathmat, as well as accessories such as toothbrush holders and soap dishes. Scrub the tiles and re-grout between them if needed, or buy a grout pen to disguise discoloured areas. Adding fresh bathroom sealant is an easy job, whilst most homeowners are able to fix new bathroom cabinets and shelves (and it’s a good chance to re-paint the walls when the old units have been taken down!).

Light of your life

Lighting is an often-overlooked element of home improvement, yet the right lighting can transform a room. Accent lighting highlights focal points, drawing the eye towards features you want guests to see and creating mood. Spotlights are a brilliant way to light up corners and recesses, whilst a striking pendant light or chandelier can make a statement in a large room. A table lamp in the hall will create a welcoming atmosphere and a standing lamp next to your favourite armchair provides the perfect place to relax at the end of a busy day doing DIY!

Make a date with DIY this spring!

home-show

Regular readers might remember our January round-up of home, garden and building show dates for your diary. With the show season now well underway, it’s time for Part II – so here are the must-visit events in April, May and June!

The Gadget Show Live, NEC, Birmingham

Now in its seventh year, the Gadget Show is the perfect way to round off the Easter holidays! With the chance to see, try and buy the latest in cutting edge technology, this event showcases the best of British innovation, as well as staging gaming tournaments and talks and shows in the Super Theatre.

April 7-12, adults £25, children (5-12) £20, http://www.gadgetshowlive.net

The RHS Flower Show, Cardiff

Spring will well and truly bloom at Wales’ premier flower show, with gardening tips from Royal Horticultural Society experts, exciting family activities and, of course, thousands of plants! Talks and demos will take place in the theatre, whilst the show will be split into three main themed areas – plants, people and places. The RHS Flower Show takes place in Bute Park, just outside the walls of Cardiff’s historic castle and with the largest number of ‘champion’ trees in any public park in the UK.

April 17-19, RHS members, £7.50, public £8.50 (two under-16s free with every paying adult), https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-flower-show-cardiff

The Cornwall Home & Lifestyle Show, Wadebridge

Cornwall’s only home, garden and living exhibition, at the Royal Cornwall Showground, brings together the best products and services in interiors, homeware, gardens and architecture. The 150+ exhibitors include renewable energy firms, letting agents and food and drinks vendors, and there’ll also be a health and wellbeing zone. And, if you book online in advance, it’s free!

May 2-3, free in advance or £3 per person or £5 per couple on the door (children free), http://www.cornwallhomeshow.co.uk

Grand Designs Live, ExCel Centre, London

The show of the year for fans of the long-running C4 series (not to mention presenter Kevin McCloud!), this huge event has it all. The interiors hall has inspiration from every room in the house, from essential kitchens and bathrooms to luxury games room. In the Grand Village, visitors can take in unique and innovative architecture and see the latest in eco-friendly design, whilst experts, celebrities and real life Grand Designs case studies will share their experiences in the Grand Theatre.

May 2-10, from £12 (under-15s free), http://www.granddesignslive.com

All Energy Exhibition & Conference, SECC, Glasgow

After 14 years in Aberdeen, the UK’s largest renewables show for professionals is moving to Glasgow during the city’s Green Year. Featuring more than 450 suppliers and with more than 400 high-profile speakers, the exhibition includes a Sustainable Cities Zone, a number of conference theatres, a Meet the Buyers ‘share fair’, where developers will explain what they look for during their tendering processes, and an Energy Storage Visitor Trail. And don’t miss the Low Carbon Transport Zone, where visitors looking for personal or company vehicles can take a ride in a number of display cars.

May 6-7, free to register in advance, http://www.all-energy.co.uk

The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, SECC, Glasgow

The second of seven Homebuilding Shows throughout the UK in 2015, this Glasgow date comes hot on the heels of the All Energy Exhibition and in the same venue. It’s an essential date for anyone planning to create their dream home, either from scratch or by remodelling or extending an existing property. A one-stop shop of ideas and advice, this show includes inspiration for gardens and has experts from Homebuilding and Renovating magazine ready to answer your questions.

May 16-17, from £8 in advance, http://www.homebuildingshow.co.uk

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Chelsea, London

garden-showThe RHS staged its first ‘Great Spring Show’ in Kensington in 1862, before moving to Chelsea in the early 20th century. Since then, this world-renowned show in the grounds of the Royal Hospital has become the place for horticulturalists to exhibit, with displays becoming increasingly inventive year on year. 2015 marks the return of award-winning designer Jo Thompson, who is creating a romantic retreat inspired by the writing room of author Vita Sackville-West. Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale, will also create a garden, whilst the RHS Discovery Zone in the Great Pavilion is a great place to head to with children. They can even turn astro-biologists courtesy of ‘Rocket Science’, a project with the UK Space Agency encouraging youngsters to plant rocket seeds that have been to the International Space Station!

May 19-23, from £24 for non-RHS members, https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show

Salvo Fair, Henley-on-Thames

This outdoor show at Fawley Hill is a mecca for homeowners with an eye for all things vintage. The UK’s largest architectural salvage fair, it’s a treasure trove of home and garden antiques, industrial products, upcycled goods, reclaimed material and retro items. New for 2015 is ‘Tiny Salvaged Spaces’, an exhibition of summerhouses, wagons and shepherds’ huts. Note that Friday, June 26 is trade day.

June 27-28, £8 in advance or £9 on the day, or £29/£32 for a family ticket, http://www.salvo-fair.com/2015/Salvo_Fair,_architectural_salvage_and_reclaimed_materials_fair_in_Henley_on_Thames.html

Main image courtesy of the Homebuilding & Renovation Show