Our bathroom was beige, dated, with brown accents and just min lekke. I’ve wanted to change it for 6 years but renovations can easily cost over R80 000, especially if you consider plumbing, taps, tiles etc. – I don’t have that kind of kesh. Besides, I want to save for our ensuite shower. That’s the one that needs real work.
Instead, we transformed this…
To this, on a dime…
I set myself a budget for R3000, and if you exclude the money spent on the professionals who tiled and painted, I came pretty close at just over R3200 for all the decor and paint etc. I trimmed some fat by adding a few projects and décor that I DIYed myself. So, with a little elbow grease and taking heed of my (hopefully) helpful tips you can achieve a new space that looks entirely different – is light, bright, airy and serves you well.
TIP1: Trawl Pinterest and plan
Start by looking for exactly what you’d like – not too much inspo or you might get overwhelmed and overstuff the space. Keep it simple. Even though it’s over, I still love monochrome, subway tiles and concrete so that’s the theme.
I didn’t want our bathroom to look too “Pinteresty” – just a functional family space – modern meets homey.
TIP 2: Start on a clean slate
Our moms were so right – Sugar Soap is the shit. Scrub tiles, floors and all the nooks and crannies. Pro tip: Wipe off the dust (from drilling holes or cutting tiles) with a dry cloth or vacuum it up first before going in with a damp cloth – otherwise the water just mixes with the dust and sticks to the grouting… sooo difficult to clean.
TIP 3: Don’t retile when you can paint
I only had the front of our bath tiled to make the area more contemporary, and got the pros in to paint the rest of the existing tile instead.
Here are the steps:
- Cleaning and priming are key! Because I was on a budget, I didn’t listen to the ou ballie at Builders – he recommended the Plascon Tile & Melamine Primer at R428, after which you can apply any paint. I should’ve listened to him – I bought a multi-surface primer that was R262 but the paint started peeling.
- Add masking tape to all areas to paint neatly and keep dust or paint drops out of the corners.
- We didn’t want a matte finish so that the bathroom walls could be easily wiped and cleaned. I went with the Dulux Gloss Enamel high sheen white paint – a 6L is on promotion for R570 – but do I regret it. The high-shine looks dated. Go for a low sheen like the 5 L Modo for R390 or 5 L Duram for R378. A 5-litre is more than enough depending on size.
- On the floor. I opted for a black gloss Kurhula stoep paint, and added a Fortseal epoxy (R68), that was unnecessary, since glossy floors show every speck of dust. Retile the floor – if you factor in masking tape, epoxy, two coats, paint and labour, it works out to roughly the same price. Or, go for a floor paint with built-in durable urethane like the 1 L Floor Coat for R160 below.
TIP 4: DIY Does It
Thanks to @DIYwithElle, I had the courage to try this wooden and cement pot plant stand. You’ll find the tutorial here. They usually sell for about R250-R350 and I managed to make this on a shoestring budget with one wooden rod for R80 from Buco, and some left over cement for the pot – find out how to make it, here. Make sure that you purchase the square wooden pieces, so that your calculations aren’t out (like mine). Still, I am so proud of this project. It came out super cute! I also made the wooden shelves – they usually retail for about R350-R500 EACH but I bought one wooden plank for R250, sawed it in half, sanded and sealed it with a “wax paint” to keep moisture at bay. I then bought 4 brackets for R8 each to hang them. The wood adds SO much warmth to the concrete and white façade. Make sure that the brackets are the length of the shelf though so that they’re sturdy and don’t wobble.
If you’re not a great DIYer, then repurpose. I reused pot planters, things from around the home and resprayed small items like the toilet brush holder, soap dish and the ceramic containers that I had bought for balsamic vinegar and olive oil and never used – now they house the kids’ shampoo and bubble bath. The black vase in the corner is actually an old gin bottle – I simply washed off the label with warm, soapy water and voila! I also did the line drawing myself and used a postcard in a frame to save on prints.
TIP 5: Get the right tools
I can’t stress this enough – electrical tools. Doing it by hand is not as stable, takes much longer and you have to spend time sanding the edges straight. I had to saw two notches into two pieces of wood for the pot plant base, and it wasn’t fun! Same with the shelves. Make sure that you have a level, the right screwdrivers, the right size screws and plugs, a sander or sanding paper, measuring tape, jigsaw or electric saw and a high impact drill. In a series of unfortunate and comedic events, our drill chuck got stuck, our sander started sparking and losing power, and the electric saw at Buco was in for repairs, just as we attempted this revamp, so hubby and I did a lot by hand.
TIP 6: Accessorise accessorise accessorise
I found this gorgeous black powder coated steel shelf and towel hook below at Something Steel. Shop here. And this toothbrush holder is actually a sturdy wall planter from Modern Crete Décor. The modern steel towel rail is from Aysha on Facebook Marketplace. You may contact her on 078 63 77 008. I was so happy to be able to support small local businesses during lockdown – all the items I found are so beautiful and such great quality! The service was also so amazing. I bought the cement planters from @potsaboutplants – run by Gift who is super sweet and wanted to supplement his income during lockdown. The small table I had, and is from Deco Furn, and the toilet roll holder is a repurposed planter basket from Brendan Kotze on Facebook Marketplace, as well as all the pennybum bunches (search for Erica), and the small Ficus/Fiddle leaf Fig (only R210 – from Debbie in Melkbosstrand – you know how expensive they can be). The black soap dispenser is from studio.w at Woolworths and the black ceiling light is from Builders. And I found a few bits and bobs like the candleholder, faux string of pearls and diffuser at Pep.
Also, minimalism is dead – fuck that shit up with plants. I bought the airplant (from Harry also on Facebook Marketplace!) – they’re R180 each but he was running a special and gave me two for R180. The kokadema is from Lanescape – you can order online or pick up in Durbanville. An adordable couple who also sell these gorgeous ceramic vases.
Here are a few more bathroom goodies I luuuurv – from Woolies, Value Co, Builders Warehouse and Mr Price.
I hope that I could help you a little to reach your DIY goals. Please share pics with us or tag us @twobabesonabudget.