Renovate the bathroom yourself: A step-by-step guide

Tips for the DIY bathroom project: Taking bathroom renovation into your own hands

Feel-good bathroom desired? A bathroom renovation is an easy way to spruce up your home and transform what is perhaps the most important room in the house into a true dream bathroom. But before you take the measurements for an open shower, take the time to plan your project step by step in advance so you know exactly what you're getting yourself into.

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First ask yourself the following question: How exactly do I want to renovate the bathroom? When renovating the bathroom, do I only want to replace the tiles or also the washbasin, washstand and co. Do I want to take everything out and replace all the fittings with new items? Do you need a professional for the installation or have you already successfully mastered several DIY projects?

In our article, we would like to give you inspiration, ideas and information (incl. step-by-step instructions and before-and-after photos) for bathroom planning and subsequent bathroom renovation to make the work on site easier for you!

Can you renovate a bathroom yourself?

Yes! Traditionally, the bathroom consists of a variety of main components such as WC, washbasin, shower/shower tray and bathtub. In other words, the bathroom is one of the easiest places in your home to disassemble into its component parts. This makes it an ideal DIY opportunity! When renovating the bathroom, you can simply tackle the work you are comfortable with - which ultimately lowers the cost of bathroom renovation - and then you can leave the installation of the other elements (such as the wall, floor, waste pipes or WC sanitary objects and sanitary ceramics) to professionals.

How much does it cost to renovate a bathroom on my own?

The average total cost of bathroom renovation is usually between €10,000 and €25,000, with labour often accounting for up to 60% of the budget. So if you opt for the do-it-yourself method, you can save several thousand euros. The price of a bathroom that you renovate completely yourself and without a craftsman can therefore be less than €5,000 for a small bathroom (4-6 m²).

Small budget: bathroom renovation under €1,000

Do you have a tight budget? If you want to pay less than €1,000 per m², you can save an extremely large amount of money by doing the bathroom renovation yourself. We have a few ideas for different solutions:

  • For example, simply repaint your tiles with tile varnish instead of replacing them completely. This saves you a lot of work and the result is phenomenal. The old tiles can also be grouted with new tiles.
  • If the grout is dirty, you should use a grout refresher. This also prevents possible mould growth. Porous silicone joints, however, should definitely be scraped out first and only sealed with new silicone after thorough cleaning and drying.
  • Scratches and wear marks in ceramics, enamel and acrylic can also be repaired easily and inexpensively by yourself. Simply get yourself a repair kit for the corresponding material. This way you can quickly make your bathtub, shower tray and washbasin shine again.

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How do I start renovating my bathroom?

Before renovating your bathroom, the first step is to decide on a design that suits both your ideas and your possibilities. There are many different ways to transform a bathroom - from simply replacing the sink or a fitting to completely renovating the room, including the floor, tiles and sanitary objects.

Below are some design elements that you should definitely consider before you start renovating your bathroom:

  • The colour scheme

Are you a fan of blue tones? Or do grey tones go well with the rest of your interior? Find out in advance to make sure your new bathroom tiles don't clash with your chosen colour.

  • The taps and fittings

Will you be replacing or remodelling your shower/bathtub? Are you installing a new washbasin? Replacing any or all of the components will increase the time and cost of your project.

  • The storage room

Where will you store your towels and toiletries after the bathroom renovation? If you are removing a cupboard to create more space, make sure you have shelves or cabinets to replace the lost storage space in your bathroom.

  • The location of the supply lines

Do you know where the power lines and sewage pipes are located? Make sure you have the exact information and measurements of the conditions so that you do not have to make expensive repairs following the bathroom renovation.

Tools and accessories for bathroom renovation

The next step before renovating your bathroom is to stock up on tools of the trade. Essential tools and products for a DIY bathroom renovation:

  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Sealant gun
  • Silicone sealant
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Spatula
  • Drilling machine
  • Pry bar
  • Bucket
  • Chisel
  • Spanner
  • Slotted screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Extension cord

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The next step: Now you can start renovating your bathroom! In this step-by-step plan, we show you how to first disassemble your bathroom and then refurnish everything and replace all the fixtures and fittings.

Bathroom renovation step-by-step

Let's go! Let's start by dismantling the old bathroom:

1. Removal of fittings

If you are renovating all or part of your bathroom, you should first remove the walls and furnishings you want to replace. There are a few things to keep in mind to avoid costly mistakes during the demolition phase.

Tips for demolishing a bathroom

  • Empty the toilet to avoid leaking liquids.
  • If you remove the bathtub, cover it and remove the bathroom tiles down to the foundation walls. This is necessary to adapt the piping to the new shower or bathtub design.
  • If necessary, remove the insulation from the walls. Do not use a hammer for the insulation, but a jigsaw to cut out the tiles.
  • Finally, dismantle cabinets, washbasins, mirrors, tiles and any other furnishings you want to replace.

2. Installation of the new shower or bath tub

Now it's time to install your new fittings. If you are replacing your shower or bathtub, you should choose a tub or basin that matches both your new décor and the room where your previous tub is located.

Design options when redesigning the shower in the bathroom

When it comes to shapes, you generally have three options:

  • Rectangular
  • Square
  • Pentagonal

The basic shape you choose will determine the floor plan. So consider the other features of your bathroom beforehand, including the position of the door. If you have the space, you can also install a combination shower and bathtub.

Tip: If your subfloor shows signs of rotten wood or water damage, you should replace it before installing your new shower to avoid further damage.

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3. Installation of new fittings

After the shower is ready, you can mount the fittings and install the lighting. If the fittings are larger or smaller than the current ones, you will need to modify your bathroom a little further and adjust the wiring.

Tip: You should consult an electrician for this step, especially if you have never worked with domestic installations before.

4. Laying of new tiles

Renovating a bathroom is not complete without new tiles. However, before you start grouting, you should mark guide lines that are perpendicular (at a 90-degree angle) to the wall. This way you can lay the tiles in a straight line and avoid crooked tiles.

5. Installation of the new washbasin and cabinets

Now it's time to install the washbasin, the cabinets and everything else on your list. The first thing you need to do is install the washbasin, the sink and the tap. Once you have connected the drain to the tap, you can move on to other important things like the mirror, the base cabinets and the trim around the shower or bathtub.

6. Completion of the plumbing

Now your bathroom should actually look like a real bathroom again - except for two things: the WC and the sanitary ceramics. You can install the WC earlier, but if you install it at the end, you avoid damaging it while working in other areas of the bathroom. By the way: if you want to hide the connections during installation, you can easily do this with pre-wall elements.

Tip: You may want to call in a specialist for sewage pipes and the like. Because if you carry out the work on the bathroom renovation yourself and the fresh and waste water pipes are leaking at the end, the insurance will not pay.

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Now add the finishing touches to complete your DIY bathroom renovation. This includes trimming the room and adding mirrors. The surround is the crowning glory of any bathroom renovation, as it is the final detail that really brings your bathroom to life. But of course, the very last step in bathroom renovation is a nice hot bath that you treat yourself to after all the hard work. You've earned it!

7 tips for bathroom renovation without a craftsman

As you can see, there are many ways to redesign your own bathroom. Whether it's renovating the wall or floor, replacing the toilet facility, replacing the washbasin or the tiles: Renovating a bathroom is a major undertaking. That's why we have some useful advice and information for you on the subject of bathroom renovation:

1. Modernize the walls

In almost every room, the walls immediately convey an impression of the style and atmosphere of the room. The walls of the bathroom are no exception. If your bathroom has peeling wallpaper or a strange colour, the entire room will look dingy, drab and outdated. If, on the other hand, the walls are clean and freshened up, the entire room receives a stylistic upgrade.

Some DIY options for renewing your wall:

  • Attach boards and battens to create a touch of vintage.
  • Paint the walls a fresh, light colour. Remember that a lower contrast (e.g. lighter walls surrounding your white porcelain fittings) makes the room look bigger, while a higher contrast (e.g. darker walls) gives the bathroom more energy and visual vibrancy.
  • Apply modern wallpaper.

2. Maximize the mirror

Every bathroom should have a good mirror. But what makes a really good mirror in the bathroom? It should be big enough so that you can see at least your whole head. It should also be well lit. Mirrors are especially beneficial when remodelling small bathrooms, as they reflect a lot of light and make even the smallest bathroom seem more spacious than it actually is.

Some ways to make the most of your bathroom mirror:

  • Choose a mirror that is large enough to make a statement with its stylistic proportions.
  • Mount the bathroom mirror professionally.
  • Install a light source above the mirror to increase light reflection.

3. Personalise your washbasin

The washbasin is perhaps the largest piece of "furniture" in your bathroom. It's a great opportunity to show off your individual style! With a DIY bathroom renovation, you can replace the vanity completely or simply redesign it.

Some DIY options for customising your bathroom vanity:

  • Renew the fronts of your existing washbasin.
  • Install a faux marble worktop on your existing washbasin.
  • Build a chic shelf that attaches to the side of the washbasin to hide unsightly bathroom accessories and utensils.

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4. Re-tile the tub or shower surround

A newly tiled shower or bathtub surround can be beautiful. It is fresh, modern and completely tailored to your preferences. This alone can make showering a great pleasure.

Some DIY examples of how to replace the tiles in your bath or shower:

  • Tile the shower/tub rim. Give the old tiles a modern touch, e.g. with vertical tiles or a herringbone tile pattern.
  • Fit a shower shelf - not only does it look nice, but it will also make your former self, who didn't have a shelf, overjoyed.

How to renew your old shower in just a few steps »  

Tip: Sealing the tub surround is very important in the bathroom. So make sure you seal and grout the edge of the tiles to ensure longevity and cleanliness.

5. Choose stylish bathroom lighting

This DIY bathroom makeover idea is quite simple and can often be done in less than an hour. The result: it really makes a huge difference in brightness and updates the overall feel of the bathroom. After all, lighting is the be-all and end-all in a bathroom. Make sure the light is bright enough but not too bright and also suitable for areas with high humidity.

Some DIY options for installing tasteful bathroom lighting:

  • Attach a chic light directly to the bathroom mirror.
  • Build a modern brass branch light to place above the vanity mirror. This option combines modern art with lighting and definitely gives a standard bathroom a higher aesthetic presence.
  • Bring the "industrial style" into your bathroom with a rustic bathroom light.
  • Replace the standard ceiling light with a brighter LED option.

Tip: When renovating the bathroom, make sure that the light is warm and pleasant.

6. Renew the taps

Taps are important to give the whole room a finishing touch. And the costs are not that high! Simply replacing the old tap in the sink will make your whole bathroom look much better.

Some options for replacing the taps in your bathroom:

  • Renew your bathroom tap by removing the old one and replacing it with a more elegant, modern and/or functional one.
  • Replace your old toilet paper dispenser with a new, homemade one. This can be something as simple as bending thick brass wire into a dispenser shape or something as fancy as making your own brass dispenser from pieces of pipe.
  • Install stylish wall hooks. This keeps towels and clothes off the floor, improving both the form and function of your bathroom. This is especially useful if you are remodelling small bathrooms where every square inch counts.

7. Enjoy functional and aesthetic details

Even though a bathroom is usually a functional space, that doesn't mean it can't do its job without style and comfort. When renovating a bathroom, take the time to consider which details will best serve bathroom users.

Some options for beautiful and useful details in your bathroom:

  • Hang a piece of art on the wall.
  • Lay out a comfortable, non-slip carpet.
  • Install a shelf above the bathroom door to make the most of the space.
  • Replace the shower curtain.
  • Attach the shower curtain to the ceiling. This adds a dramatic flair to the room. The vertical emphasis of this idea also helps the room look airier in a small renovated bathroom.

Tip: You are sure to find more pictures and information on the net to get an even better idea of which items are also suitable for decorating when renovating the bathroom.

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How can I spice up my old bathroom at a reasonable price?

  • Clean the joints.
  • Update the tiles.
  • Add textures.
  • Apply the tray trick.
  • Add one or two special pieces to the room.
  • Choose products in expensive and clean-looking packaging.
  • Add greenery.

How much does it cost to completely renovate a bathroom?

The cost of remodelling the bathroom ranges from €5,000 to €25,000. A typical homeowner spends between €6,000 and €15,000 for a complete demolition and replacement of all walls, fittings and fixtures.

How can I save money when renovating a bathroom?

If you have a small budget, you may benefit from using the following options and information:

  • Keep the size and layout of the bathroom.
  • Leave the bathroom's load-bearing walls in place.
  • Renew the bathroom elements instead of replacing them.
  • Install a prefabricated shower or bathtub.