Redo your bathroom on the cheap

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In need of a new bathroom but short on cash? We check out the options

  • What to chuck out

    Decide whether you want a complete overhaul (ie rip it all out and start from scratch) or whether there is anything worth salvaging. A steel-and-enamel bath in good condition, for example, can take on a new lease of life in a swanky bathroom, as can a big wall mirror or antique bathroom cabinet – and will save you a few hundred pounds off the total bill. The five basic steps are: 1) establish what you want to do2) measure the space (twice to be sure)3) Produce a scale drawing of the floor plan to take around with you to bathroom shops4) Plot the location of the products – advisers at bathroom showrooms will be able to help with this5) Enlist a reliable plumber (see Useful Contacts below).

    How much to spend

    Realistically, you’ll need a minimum budget of around £1,000 for materials for a very basic new bathroom from somewhere like Bathroom Heaven or Bathstore. For £2,000, you can think about fancier fixtures and tiled floors from swankier Aston Matthews; if you’re willing to spend £3,000-£6000, you’ll be able to invest in designer fittings and a mosaic floor. The general rule is: once you’ve worked out the cost of your fittings and fixtures, double it to give you the total cost of the new bathroom including labour. Which fixtures to chooseStart with the bath. You have two main options: acrylic or steel with enamel coating. Both have pros and cons. Acrylic baths are available in a wider variety of colours and keep the water warmer for longer but are less hard-wearing than enamel baths. However, they are easy to install and come in a variety of shapes including space-saving corner units. Steel-with-enamel baths are strong and durable but a tad more expensive (expect to pay from about £89 plus VAT). However, they are a better investment in the long run. Once you’ve decided on thestyle of bath you want, go for a basin and toilet in a style that matches.Useful contacts

    Association of Plumbing

    To find a decent plumber to do the job. APHC (www.aphc.co.uk / 020 7647 0626). Phone enquiries Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.

    Aston Matthews


    A huge and well-established bathroom shop stocking all your bathroom needs. Keep an eye out for stock clearances when items are slashed by up to 50 per cent. Staff are helpful, no-nonsense and know their stuff. Sinks start at £69; steel and enamel baths, £89.
    141-147a Essex Rd, N1 (020 7226 7220/www.astonmatthews.co.uk) Angel tube. Open Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm, Sat 9.30am-5pm.

    Bathroom-association.org This website has downloadable fact sheets on shower types, saving water, special-needs equipment and much more.Bathroom-design-guide.com Gives a helpful step-by-step guide to installing a new bathroom.

    Bathroom Discount Centre

    Discounted non-designer gear. 297 Munster Rd, SW6 (020 7381 4222/www.bathroomdiscount.co.uk) Hammersmith tube. Open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm, Sat, Sun 9am-5pm.

    Bathstore

    Basic but stylish bathrooms with a minimal aesthetic – suites and separate fixtures, lighting and mirrors. Always a sale on something! 62-82 Commercial Rd, E1 (020 7702 9898/www.bathstore.com) Aldgate East tube. Open Mon-Fri 9.30am-6pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 11am-5pm.

    Bathroom Heaven

    Simple bathrooms at affordable prices; you can kit out an entire bathroom for £370 if you choose the Angel A option.144 York Way, N1 (020 7812 1300/ www.bathroomheaven.co.uk) King’s Cross tube/rail. Open Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm.

    Edwins

    A plumbers’ merchant at Number 17, with stylish showrooms at 19 and 26.17, 19 & 26 All Saints Rd, W11 (020 7221 3550/www.edwinsbathrooms.co.uk) Ladbroke Grove tube. Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat 9am-1pm.Salvo.co.uk For a list of bathroom salvage shops where you’ll find antique basins, art deco taps and cast iron Victorian baths.

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