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Maintaining a home

Renovating and styling your ensuite bathroom on a budget

21 January 2021

Lucy Glade Wright

By Lucy Glade-Wright

Lucy is Designer and Director of Hunting for George, an online publication that is your go-to inspiration for all things home, design and lifestyle.

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Transforming a bathroom or an ensuite can often be an expensive task, especially if you’re starting from scratch. In our recent ensuite makeover we faced that exact challenge, renovating from the ground up whilst trying to cut costs where we could. Suncorp asked us to share our learnings with you to help make change for less when renovating and styling your bathroom.

1. DIY what you can

If you’re starting from scratch in a bathroom you will need to hire important trades for plumbing and tiling etc, but you can save money by doing whatever tasks you can yourself. For our ensuite renovation we did our own demolition, cleaning, material removal and waterproofing. This was a lot of hard work, but we saved a full week of trade costs. Whilst hiring trades is important and necessary, if a certain task does not require a skilled hand then DIY to save money.

2. Save on lighting

When it came to deciding on lighting for our ensuite I wanted to add in feature wall sconces, however our budget simply didn’t stretch enough to be able to get the ones I wanted! So we decided to save on lighting costs by opting for well placed down lights instead. If you position your down lights well, they will provide ample lighting for your bathroom. Feature lighting such as wall pendants look great but will add to the cost, down lights are cheaper and easier to install. We used 4 down lights in our ensuite which we picked up from our local hardware store, they cost $35 each so all up our lighting cost $140.

3. Make a plan early

Map out your layout from the start and make sure you know exactly where you want your fixtures and fittings to be. Once you are confident with your layout be sure to communicate clearly with your trades. Trust me, if you don’t, they will often just put them wherever they think ‘looks good’, so be sure to have a plan and share it. Changing your mind can happen but if work is already underway that will cost you more in labour costs.

Bathroom Styling Tip

When it comes to the interior design and styling of your bathroom, it’s important to decide on a colour and material palette to work from. The best way to do this is to order samples and swatches of the finishes you are interested in. Think tiles, paint, fixtures and finishings.

Once you have physical samples you can look at how they all work together and choose the best combination. A good way to start is to create a base first by choosing tiles, then bring in different textures and colours to see what works.

Whether you're carrying out large-scale or simple renovations, Suncorp Bank offers a range of financing options and helpful tools to help with project planning and budgeting.

Explore Renovation Loan Options

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Images by: Hunting for George
Art Direction & Styling: Lucy Glade-Wright
Photography: Jonno Rodd

Any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.