Many people want to jazz up their bathrooms, but pricey quotes from tradesmen can often be dissuading at best. So one money savvy homeowner decided she was going to bite the bullet and jazz up her home herself.
Sally Killington, 43, an executive assistant from Essex, saved £2,500 during her renovation journey by doing lots of research, buying value packs and buying supplies from Amazon and IKEA.
She told money-saving Facebook groupDIY On A Budget UK: "I bought my maisonette, my first property alone, in September 2021. At the time, the housing market was booming due to the stamp duty holiday and I only got to see it once, for 10 minutes, before I moved in.
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"As a result, I severely underestimated the amount of work needed – with the bathroom being in the most desperate need of modernisation. The property once had a water tank so there were large cupboards in the bathroom that used to house it, which were now dead space.
"The bathroom itself was old - I think the sink and toilet may have been the originals from when it was built at the end of the 60s! - and barely functional. An electric shower had been installed at some point which was so far back from the end of the bath, you had to practically limbo to get the water to hit you.”
As expected with most other DIY jobs, there were dodgy old parts along the way which didn’t help the process.
She said: “The bath was a cheap acrylic one that would drop as soon as you put the smallest amount of water in it. The taps had eroded, the pipes were ugly and exposed, the radiator had rusted and stopped working and the light switch was practically in the middle of the room – it was a bit of a disaster.
"There was also a really old boiler that had had the front panel removed so that needed replacing too. I knew that I wanted to utilise the space in the cupboards and I was sure I wanted a bigger bath, so that’s where I started.
"My friend's Dad came over to take a look and firstly suggested that I put a separate shower where the cupboards were, but I wasn’t keen on that idea – it’s just something else that would need to be cleaned! So instead we discussed having a large vanity unit and I liked the idea of gaining back some space whilst maintaining some storage so that’s what I went with. The boiler had to remain in the bathroom so I decided that I would get some mirrored cabinets to cover it.
"The large mirrored doors would then give the illusion of a bigger space. Once I’d decided on how I wanted it to look, finding what I had imagined was a bit of a nightmare! The mirrored cabinets were bespoke from a company in Portsmouth as typically, bathroom cabinets aren’t made as deep as I needed mine to be.”
Sally talked about how despite the room being so small, she took on a huge job.
"For a small room, it was a very big job” she said.
"I had to get the professionals in but luckily, my friend's Dad does bathrooms for a living so I knew I had someone I could trust. We removed the cupboards and part of the wall, moved the waste for the toilet, moved and replaced the boiler and replaced all the old pipes.
"There were also a lot of false walls put in to cover pipes, and a false ceiling to hide the new electrical wiring. It was estimated that it would take two weeks and I moved out for the first week whilst the main demolition was done. It actually ended up taking closer to three weeks for various reasons and was a bit stressful living with it.
"All in all, it cost just over £10k, including the boiler and labour. The labour, including plastering, pipes, skip and all building materials, came to £4,250, the electrics were £300, the boiler plus installation was £1,700, the bathroom suite was £1,550, the bespoke cupboards were £670, the tiles were £600 and other bits such as the shower, taps, towel rail, shower screen and lights came to £1,100.”
She also has some top tips on what to do if you need to save when it comes to a DIY job.
“My tips on saving would be to ask your workman to recommend suppliers – they often have relationships with suppliers that will give you good deals and discounts with a builder’s recommendation,” she said.
"Shop around: get the brand and model of things you see in showrooms and look to see if you can find the same products cheaper online.
"Look at delivery costs because sometimes, you may think the cost of something is cheap but the delivery cost can bump it up quite a bit.
"Try and look for things like taps and showers that come in ‘value packs’. For instance, my large shower head, small shower head, triple controls, bath filler and bath waste all came as one pack. Had I bought them separately, the price would have been at least 50% more.
"You don’t have to buy everything from specialist bathroom suppliers. I researched the type of lights that are safe for bathrooms and ended up buying mine from IKEA and Amazon which worked out at a fraction of the price of specialist suppliers.”
Hi, I'm Rafi and I'm a reporter here at MyLondon, born and raised in the capital and currently living in South London.
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