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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
# scrub up well
Clean slate: 6 homeowners share their before-and-after bathroom transformations
Is your loo in need of some love? Take your lead from these reader makeovers.

ALTHOUGH THEY’RE NOT the first room you see when you step into someone’s home, bathrooms are incredibly high footfall areas, in use daily by every member of the household. Giving your bathroom some makeover attention, be it brand new tiles or just a few budget-friendly accessory updates, can really pay dividends.

I completed a fairly large bathroom overhaul the week before the COVID-19 lockdown started in March, and I’m appreciative every single day for our new shower, a vast improvement on the zero water pressure situation we had previously. After the major renovation work was finished, I got to pick out a few new bathroom necessities, like new towels and a fun hanging plant to really liven the place up.

If you’ve been considering a few updates to your loo situation, these six makeovers might inspire you to pick up a tin of paint or a new soap dish today. Read on for some behind the scenes accounts, complete with before and after shots for added inspiration…

1. Evonne tried some smart stencilling to introduce colour

BeFunky-collage (3) Evonne Reidy Evonne Reidy

“My original plan was to rip out and remodel our bathroom. While searching online for ideas, I came across lots of bloggers who had painted their bathroom tiles, and the results were really impressive. Seeing as we were deep in lockdown at the time, I decided to give the idea a try, and figured that if it didn’t work out, I would just go back to the original plan.

“My son Luke is an artist and he had just moved home during lockdown, so he helped me to choose the colour scheme. I wanted something bright and crisp, but that felt homely too. It was Luke who suggested that I paint the ceiling pink, and I must admit that took some convincing!

“While there are still a few bits to do, I am really pleased with how the room turned out. It’s amazing what a difference a few tins of paint can make. I love coming to the top of the stairs now when the door is open, and seeing the bright and colourful bathroom.

“I would advise anyone interested in stencilling to do plenty of research into the process before they start. There are a lot of steps involved, from cleaning and sanding the tiles and priming them.”

- Evonne Reidy (@out_the_bog_road)

2. Bronagh embraced the dark side in a small space

Bronagh Bronagh Fleming Bronagh Fleming

“Our 1980s bungalow has one tiny bathroom. That’s it. When we bought the house we ripped out the bathtub, put in a walk in shower and repositioned the sink. After that, I was at a loss as to how to make the space reflect our style and feel bigger on our teeny tiny budget, so I painted the walls pale blue, the ceiling white and thought about the problem for three years.

“Eventually, it struck me that trying to make the space seem larger was a fruitless task. Why not embrace the challenge by painting it a dark and moody colour? I chose Bowman Blue by Colourtrend in a soft sheen finish. Dark colours can really create a sense of drama. And more dramatic still was painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls. It blurs the boundaries. Does it make the space feel smaller? Not at all!

“We built in shelves either side of the vanity unit and added a marble effect tile above that to elongate the space. The battery-operated lights above the mirror are from Sostrene Grene and were less than €4 each. 

“The whole bathroom makeover cost less than €400. That’s probably the best thing about the space, the fact that we achieved something that we are really happy with on a shoestring budget.”

- Bronagh Fleming (@foxhollowstyle)

3. Jac brought the Palm Springs kitsch with floral wallpaper

BeFunky-collage Jac Sinnott Jac Sinnott

“I’ve always loved mid-century modern design and its influences can be seen throughout my home. I wanted something impactful but fun for the bathroom, so my starting point was pink and tropical and a bit kitsch.

“I knew it had to be wallpaper would create that impact easily and on a budget. The paper came from Littlewoods Ireland and was cheap as chips. A lot of the other decor items are things I already had in my home, like the prints and faux plants.

“The trickiest part was painting the tiled floor. That was a steep learning curve for me but the polyurethane paint totally transformed a really old and tired tiled floor. I also painted the splashback tiles in a glorious bright pink. Our bathroom was a really boring space beforehand, and I love how it turned out.”

- Jac Sinnott (@jacsinnott)

4. Lynda replaced her bathtub with a space-saving shower tray

Lynda Lynda Butcher Lynda Butcher

“The corner bath came with the house, but it was totally impractical for us, and a bad use of space too. We knew what we we wanted instead: a modern walk-in shower and plenty of storage, plus a heated towel rail. Colour-wise, we went with a timeless monochrome and injected colour with the accessories – like my Orla Kiely retro look towels, which I have in various colours.”

- Lynda Butcher

5. Gráinne created some zen in the midst of a pandemic

Grainne Gráinne Toomey Gráinne Toomey

“Being a nurse, the fear inside the hospital during the COVID-19 lockdown was extremely intense. I found myself clearing out every room in the house on my days off, just to try to distract from the anxiety. Next up, I decided to repaint the bathroom. I follow Carlow Paint Hub on Instagram and saw a lot of photos of bathrooms painted in dark colours. I was sold!

“The original bathroom was just dated and never looked very inviting, so I wanted to create a little zen place that would give me lots of good feels. I love going in there now, even if it’s only a few minutes during the day, it makes me smile!”

- Gráinne Toomey

6. Karen totally changed the layout of her downstairs loo

Karen Karen Coleman Karen Coleman

“We bought our house in 2016 and the whole place was in need of modernisation. The downstairs toilet was located against an internal wall, behind which was a lot of inaccessible understairs space. We repositioned the toilet onto the adjacent wall and opened up the storage space with two cupboard doors.

“To start, we bought white sanitary ware, painted the cupboard doors white, used the leftover kitchen tiles for the floor and bought grey metro tiles for the walls. After a while, I decided to add some colour.

karen after 4 Karen Coleman Karen Coleman

“I used frogtape and Colourtrend Turmeric satinwood paint on the cupboard doors to create a DIY design. I love how these turned out, and they add a splash of sunshine into this little space. I even extended the sunshine to the radiator, a couple of plant pots and the waste bin!”

- Karen Coleman (@homing_in_progress)

More home makeovers: 6 readers share their before-and-after living room transformations>

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