Budget small bathroom ideas – 10 ways to get the wow factor without breaking the bank

If you aren’t blessed with space in your bathroom, there are things you can do to make it appear bigger. The most important thing is light whether it’s natural light or artificial, followed by good storage, so everything has a place and the bathroom doesn’t feel cramped or messy. There are lots of budget small bathroom ideas that can help create the illusion of space without spending a fortune.

If you are looking for budget small bathroom ideas, consider buying budget sanitaryware, re-using something you already have, such as a vintage chest as a vanity unit, or looking for clearance items, lots of bathroom and tile companies do this, so you can often pick up designer pieces at a bargain price.

Budget small bathroom ideas

There are also visual tricks you can use to make a small bathroom feel bigger – using mirrors is an obvious one, or having horizontal tiling to make a bathroom seem wider, or vertical to make it seem taller.

1. Choose inexpensive fittings


Image credit: B&Q

Sanitaryware does pretty much the same job no matter how much you spend on it, so if you are on a budget, check out DIY retailers for inexpensive toilets, basins and baths. Factor these in early when planning your small bathroom layout.

This stylish, rounded square shaped Cooke & Lewis Santoro WC and basin only costs £235 from B&Q. However, it pays to spend more on good quality brassware and toilet flush systems to prevent problems later on.

2. Consider compact storage

Red and white bathroom

Image credit: IKEA

If you have a small bathroom, storage is so important to avoid it looking untidy. This compact bathroom has it covered – budget small bathroom ideas include a slimline vanity unit with storage beneath, a triple wall unit with mirrors and storage behind, a tall slim cupboard for cleaning products and towels and if that wasn’t enough, a trolley for any extra toiletries.

It’s also been given a mini-makeover with a deep band of red paint on the white tiles which is picked up in the door and frame, trolley and accessories.

Buy now: Ehnet bathroom cabinet, Godmorgon Mirror Cabinet, £215, IKEA 

3. Paint the walls

power pink bathroom with round mirror above bowl sink basin

Image credit: Crown

Painting the walls a different colour is one of the best budget small bathroom ideas. Changing the colour will give the room a whole new look, whether you want something calming or bold. Make sure to choose paint that is designed for wet areas such as this Bathroom Paint, £25 for 2.5l from Crown which has built-in anti-mould technology and will therefore stay looking good for longer.

This soothing colour is Powdered Clay.  The column radiator has been painted in the same shade. A small sized basin like this is ideal for a small bathroom too and adds a contemporary design element.

4. Re-use an old cabinet

bathroom with blue star tiles and wooden sink cabinet

Image credit: Tile Giant

Jump on the upcycling trend and use an existing piece of furniture, often vintage, as a vanity unit. If you have a small chest of drawers like this one, it can easily be repurposed to create a stylish addition to the bathroom. A hole is drilled in the top for the waste and a hole at the back for the plumbing. It also has the added benefit of having storage for towels in the drawers beneath. Modern small bathroom tile ideas create a stylish backdrop and a vintage mirror is the ideal finishing touch.

Buy now: Alexa hex tiles £47.57 per m2, Tile Giant 

5. Use inexpensive wallpaper


Image credit: Future PLC/ David Brittain

Make a statement with a wall of inexpensive bathroom wallpaper idea, it’s so much cheaper, and easier, than tiling and if you choose a pretty pattern like this, it will create a focal point in a small bathroom. It’s also a great budget small bathroom idea.

If you love a bath but are tight on space, there are smaller sized baths available too, 1200 x 700 is the smallest. So measure your space to factor in a smaller, cheaper bath – rather than go without.

6. Make the most of the space

White marble bathroom with shelf built for keeping plants on

Image credit: Future Plc/Lizzie Orme

If your bathroom is narrow, choose small size pieces such as this compact, back-to-the-wall-mounted loo. Having wall mounted taps means they don’t take up space on the countertop or bath surround.

Large-format tiles are great for small bathrooms as there are less lines which makes the space look bigger than it really is. You can add interest and character cheaply to a small bathroom with inexpensive items such as houseplants or framed pieces of wall art.

7. Use mirrors to make the space feel bigger

Bathroom with beige floor and walls and dark grey painted furniture. Mirror wall with modern hanging pendants

Image credit: Future PLC/Alasdair MacIntosh

Look at your space and work out how you can go as big as possible for a bathroom mirror idea. This could be above a basin, or elsewhere in the bathroom. Consider a whole wall of mirror – it will definitely make the room look bigger, especially if it’s opposite a window as it will bounce natural light around the room.

However, if it’s not opposite a window, think about what the mirror will be reflecting, you really want to see something beautiful like bathroom tiles, wallpaper or house plants.

8. Choose statement lighting

White ceramic basin and pedestal, large wall mounted mirror with Hollywood style light bulbs

Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

At one time, good, inexpensive small bathroom lighting ideas were hard to find but that has changed dramatically in recent years and bringing your lighting up to date could make all the difference to the look of your bathroom. Check out IKEA and Victorian Plumbing for cool, affordable designs. All IP44 rated for safety.

‘Lighting improvements go a long way towards transforming the overall look of a small bathroom.’ Says Rikki Fothergill of Big Bathroom Shop. ‘Choosing a bathroom mirror with LED lighting around the edge is a good light source to complement overhead lighting is great for applying make up or shaving. They are especially useful at night when you don’t want to put the main light on.’

9. Rethink the tiling

Seventies style bathroom. ceramic basin, mirrored cabinet, yellow and white metro tiled wall

Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles

When thinking about how much does it cost to tile a bathroom, be clever with how you use tiles. Limit the area you use tiles on, to bring down the tile spend. Save statement tiles for inside a shower or a small splashback behind the basin. Here, low-cost square white tiles are given a lift with a border of yellow metro tiles.

Instead of standard square tiles, consider tiling the walls (or a main feature wall) with narrow tiles that are laid in vertically. That will give the illusion of the room seeming taller than it really is as it draws the eye upwards.

10. Paint the floor

Neutral bathroom, painted floorboards, freestanding bath, skylight, vintage style Bush radio

Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton

If you live in an old house and have original floorboards, think about painting them for a low-cost bathroom flooring idea. There are plenty of floor paints on the market which come in a wide variety of colours. You could paint in one colour  light colours are great for reflecting light and making the space feel bigger.

In a small bathroom you can be a bit more adventurous by painting your own chequerboard effect – very fashionable at the moment – stripes, or even geo-pattern stencils. This is a great way to paint to give floors an on-trend look without a designer price tag.

How do you update a small bathroom on a budget?

‘Vinyl flooring is a cost-effective way to give your bathroom a quick update and inject some personality into the space.’ Says Josh Barber, Buyer at Flooring Superstore. ‘In bathrooms, people are often drawn to different patterns, contrasting colours and unusual layouts. For example, our vinyl Imperia Dorchester Tiles are a simple way to create a modern, eye-catching look and thanks to their slip resistance, it’s a suitable floor for a bathroom.’

What is the average cost of a small bathroom?

‘Installing a new bathroom (including materials) will cost between £1,500 – £7,500, with the average price being £4,500′ says Mike Fairman of Checkatrade. When planning your new bathroom installation, it can often be broken down into different elements. Having a bath and shower will be more expensive than just having one or the other. Equally, if you only plan to install or replace parts of a bathroom that will keep the cost down.

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