Port Macquarie, NSW

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The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the home second only to the kitchen. The design and aesthetics of the bathroom can have a huge impact on how you begin and end your day and as such we are seeing the focus shift from one of pure function to spa-like amenities that respect the ritual of bathing. Even if you have a small budget, there are ways you can achieve a modern designer bathroom.

If the layout works don’t change it.
If your current bathroom works on a functional level then there’s no need to make any changes. Keep the plumbing in the same place and this will keep your costs down. If you need to make changes because the layout isn’t functioning properly then do so now because there’s no point in spending money on a renovation if you’re only going to hate it all over again.

Choose your tiles wisely.
Even if you’re working on a tight budget, consider tiling from floor to ceiling or include an interesting application to one of the walls. This will provide a sense of luxury and give you that designer look you’re after. Use a simple palette of materials and colours for your finishes because you’ll have more options available and by virtue many price points to choose from. If the budget stretches you could add a feature tile, or, you could create a feature wall using the same tile and lay this in a different pattern to differentiate it. A third alternative is to introduce a second wall application such as wallpaper to add a wow factor.

DIY custom.
Unfortunately custom pieces are out on a tight budget but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a custom piece yourself. Repurposing an old sideboard as a vanity can add character and bring a sense of history to the room. The total vanity height should sit somewhere around the 850mm mark so knowing if the basin will be inset or mounted is essential before you make the purchase, otherwise it could end up being too tall. Talk with your builder before you go down this path so they can advise if the piece is going to work or not! Stick to chrome fittings to ease the budget and try to use fittings from the same line to bring continuity to the bathroom.

Even on small budgets, include good storage to keep the bathroom from looking messy; you’ve worked hard to get a designer look so don’t undo it because there’s nowhere to store all the necessities! At a minimum ensure the vanity and shaving cabinet has storage and use smaller storage containers to easily access items from within (that should stop you from leaving everything out on the bench!). If the layout and budget allows, incorporate additional bulk storage through built-in cabinetry. One storage item I would recommend is the shower niche – for this I would say make the budget stretch because it will change your life!

Good lighting elevates the ritual of bathing. Choose up-down IP44 rated wall sconces and position them either side of the shaving cabinet to give you subtle mood lighting. I guarantee you’ll be flicking that light switch rather than the overhead downlights because of the mood it sets in the space. Although a little more expensive, IP44 rated light fittings were traditionally quite unattractive, however, because of their increased popularity there are some beautiful budget friendly options now available.

By Kathryn Trentini, Trentini Design