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Bathroom refurbishment: Where do I start ?

Whether you’re planning a practical family bathroom, en-suite, wet room or full-on home spa, here are some tips on where to start with your bathroom refurbishment. 

bathroom refurbishment

Should I fit myself, project manage or use a bathroom specialist?

In planning your bathroom refurbishment, you need to decide whether you want to:

  • install the bathroom yourself,
  • project manage other trades to fit your bathroom, or
  • get a bathroom specialist to design and then see it through to completion for you.

What is your bathroom refurbishment budget?

The average new bathroom costs £6,000. This price can rise sharply though depending on the level of luxury you opt for and how much new plumbing is required.  How much you have available to spend may determine whether you manage the project yourself or get a bathroom designer involved.

If you’re planning to spend under £6,000, then your best approach may be to manage the project yourself. Expect to pay £3,000 to £6,000 if you manage your bathroom refurbishment yourself. Be prepared to sacrifice finishing detail to ensure you spend the bulk of your budget getting the tiling and plumbing right. See how to finance your home improvement project

Doing your own bathroom installation

If sourcing and fitting the bathroom yourself, you can find a cheap bathroom suite for as little as £200. But you’ll need to source and work out your budget for accessories, shower fittings, taps, tiles, grouting and other materials, which can double the price.

While fitting the bathroom yourself can save up to 60% of the cost, do consider the time and difficulty of the job before you decide to take the project on. You should always get a professional in when it comes to gas or electric. If you’re putting in an electric shower, use a registered electrician.

Save money by sourcing the bathroom materials yourself

If you have a contractor fitting your bathroom, then buying the goods yourself – with their approval – can help to reduce the cost dramatically. If you are buying from a bathroom company that quotes for installation too, check to see what it would cost for a plumber and electrician to do it independently.

For advice on managing a home renovation project, see our step-by step guide.

Check guaranties and warranties

Whether buying the products yourself or getting someone in, it’s worth looking at the guarantees, especially for things such as grouting or sealant, which are costly to replace if they spring a leak. Look for lifetime or ten-year-plus warranties.

Finding trades to help with your bathroom refurbishment

If you’re looking for a general builder or a plumber, electrician, tiler or decorator to help you with your bathroom refurbishment, see our advice on how to find a trusted tradespeople.

We’ve partnered with Checkatrade for our find a tradesman service because their tradespeople are rated and vetted.

Find a trusted local builder or trades to help with your bathroom refurbishment

Designing & furnishing your new bathroom

Whether fitting yourself or using a specialist, you’ll need to decide what will go into your new bathroom.

Many people use their existing bathroom as a template and it can be cheaper and quicker if the plumbing services remain in the same place. But, start with a blank canvas to create a space that enhances your lifestyle. Don’t forget bathroom storage space for towels, toilet rolls and toiletries. It’s worth working this into the original design to ensure you can fit everything in.

For ideas and mood boards, Pinterest is a great tool and most designers now have an account so you can work the mood board between you.

You’ll also need to decide if you’re a bath, shower or a wet room kind of person and whether you need anything particular like a bidet or douche.

Next you’ll need to decide on wall coverings. You can go the standard ceramic route or splash out on natural stone.

Lighting can be a key design detail ranging from basic downlighting, to back-lighting mirrors and lit ‘feature walls’. A split-face tile with concealed downlighting can make a breathtaking feature.

You can even add a TV or flush-mounted speakers  to listen to your music wirelessly if you want to make a statement!

If you really want to splash out, how about a home spa? A simple sauna can start at around £5,000 and gives your home that luxury feel.

How long will a bathroom refurbishment take?

Bathroom refurbishments can take between one and three weeks to complete.  They often involve a number of different trades and it can take time to complete each component — plumbing, electrics, tiling, decorating and sealing.

Depending on the size of your house, the work can be rather intrusive.

If you only have one bathroom, you might want to wait until you go on holiday or go and stay with friends or relatives. The joy of coming home to a brand new bathroom will more than make up for any inconvenience.

Find local rated trades to quote for your bathroom refurbishment


This guide was pulled together by the Federation of Master Builders, working with  ProjectONE Wales from Penarth. Find out more at 

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