Renovating a bathroom may require a complete gut-and-rebuild or small changes that make a big difference. HomeFront looks at makeovers ranging from simple to extensive, all adding value and a new look to your home
WORDS: DEBBIE LOOTS AND SARAH MARJORIBANKS – PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
There are more ways than one to spruce up your bathroom. It depends on what is required and the budget available. Keep in mind that major renovations usually involve unforeseen costs and that small and simple changes are often all that is needed for a smart makeover. We asked the experts for advice on how to make a bathroom look beautiful on any budget.
Erica Schalkwyk of Form Interior says the best place to start when renovating your bathroom is the floors and walls. “These are the canvas of a bathroom and set the tone,” she says. As tiles can easily date your bathroom, she suggests choosing neutral tiles that are timeless. “When in doubt, go white. It is the only place in the house where you can use white as freely as you want because it’s easy to clean and well liked in reselling,” says Schalkwyk. A bonus is that white creates an illusion of spaciousness. Should you not want to tile the walls, modern paint withstands moisture so painting the walls is an option.
“The floors and walls are the canvas of a bathroom and set the tone” Erica Schalkwyk, Form Interior
Balancing beauty with function, the vanity – a combination of a sink and the storage structure around it – is an opportunity to show off your personal style while creating surface space and storage. Lisa Millbacher of Bespoke Bathrooms says in a modern bathroom the vanity should be hung on the wall and include drawers in various sizes. “A shallow drawer is great for small items such as cosmetics, and a deeper drawer could hold towels,” she says. A vanity works best with an engineered stone countertop that complements the wall and floor tiles. “It’s one of the only bespoke products in the bathroom and will therefore reflect the owner’s unique personality and style,” says Millbacher. If you are trying to sell your property, it is wise to keep the appearance of the bathroom as neutral as possible, focusing on quality products and finishes.
No longer set apart from the rest of the home, the bathroom is now taking on a more comfortable and homely identity. Recent trends have also influenced sanitaryware and fittings: a washbasin or bathtub is now treated more like a a furniture piece rather than just a sanitary item. Comfort is key and so are products that enhance the time a user spends in the bathroom. Sanitaryware should be intelligently designed and functional yet also intuitive to use for optimum comfort. Duravit’s Happy D.2 Plus series by sieger design consists of a ceramic washbasin and furniture piece that is designed without any overhang or recess to form a perfect unit.
Bathroom makeovers on a budget
Cailin Wandrag, interior stylist and owner of Studio Cailin, shares quick and inexpensive tips for giving your bathroom a fresh look.
Tip 1: Declutter
Get rid of personal items on the countertop. Instead, stick to a fragranced candle, a bottle of liquid handsoap and a small plant.
Tip 2: Keep it simple
Fluffy new white towels, a few works of art and a basket or two will add to the overall appeal.
Tip 3: Hang a new mirror
A large mirror makes the space seem bigger and better lit. Choose a mirror style and shape that suits the overall look.
Tip 4: Change your hardware
Replace the vanity, shower door handle or towel rails with modern ones.
Tip 5: Update countertops
If yours is a dated granite, it’s relatively simple to change it to quartz, for instance.
Tip 6: Paint
Experiment with colour and take a few risks but steer clear of polarising choices.
Tip 7: Lighting
Ambient lighting is quite easy and inexpensive to install. Consider backlighting around your mirror or go bold with a lovely chandelier above your bath.
Tip 8: Flooring
If the floor tiles are outdated, choose a crocheted or cotton rug that is easy to wash. It will add warmth and texture to the space. Another relatively inexpensive option is to screed directly over tiles for an effect that is contemporary and timeless.
Make a splash
While there’s no doubt that baths have become less of a must-have owing to water restrictions, they’re still an important feature for families with young children. Moreover, Covid-19 has had an unexpected consequence in this sector. “The pandemic has reminded us to slow down and savour the simple things in life. What better way to relax and unwind than to take an indulgent soak in a comfortable bath?” says Joslyn Goodale Pickering of Victorian Bathrooms. Choose a bath that suits your lifestyle – a small tub for a compact space, a large soaking bath for two, or a bath that’s comfortable enough for long reading sessions. Victorian Bathrooms supplies a wide range of bespoke baths made in Cape Town for which clients are able to choose custom finishes.
“Upgrading the tapware can change the appearance and improve the functionality of the space” Joslyn Goodale Pickering, Victorian Bathrooms
Carefully considered fittings are essential in a bathroom – not only can a poor-quality tap be spotted a mile off, but the style of the room, whether modern, minimal or eclectic, is determined by them. Joslyn Goodale Pickering of Victorian Bathrooms recommends upgrading the tapware to change the appearance and improve the functionality of the space. “Victorian Bathrooms has designed the high-quality Italian-imported Britannia tapware range. Classic and clean, the range complements a wide selection of bathroom styles and incorporates water-saving features.”