Before and after – from dated bathroom with built-in fish tank to luxe space

Despite the walls being painted a darker shade, this bathroom feels much bigger now

bathroom with black walls and white bath tub
(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

‘The old bathroom was a beige, masculine space,' says the owner of this Victorian terrace in southeast London. 'It had heavy brown cupboards and an empty tropical fish tank set into the chimney breast. We lived with it for nearly three years while we saved up. I wanted a scheme with glamour and elegance but, as this is a family bathroom, it had to be functional, too.'

For more makeovers and inspiration to kick-start your project, check out our bathroom ideas

'We stuck to the existing layout, hoping that using the same plumbing would save money, but when the old bath came out, we found that the pipes were running along the walls rather than between the floor joists. They had to be re-routed, which was tricky and time-consuming. It was worth it though – the bathtub is the centrepiece that pulls everything together.'

bathroom with black walls and white bath tub

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Swapping the brick-walled shower enclosure for simple glass panels and knocking out some storage and boxing-in has opened up the space. The white bath and marble tiles bounce light around the room. Painting the ceiling in the same matching black smooths out the awkward angles 
of a sloping roof.

Get the look
Buy now: Walls and ceiling painted in 
Farrow & Ball Off-Black modern emulsion, 
£46.50 for 2.5 ltrs, B&Q

bathroom with black walls potted plants and black vanity

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

The couple replaced the fish tank in the chimney breast with a mantelpiece bought on eBay.

Get the look
Buy now: Boston fern, £44 each, Hello Flora

bathroom with round mirror potted plants and black door

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

A birch-ply cabinet was 
built into the space and brass-clad doors added, ‘The brass dulls down and shows finger marks and splashes, but I’m not too precious about it,’ says the owner. ‘I prefer an aged patina.’

Matt brass is perfect for giving a bathroom simple glamour. The owner found her Art Deco-style lights on eBay, while the round mirror softens all the straight lines and right angles in the room.

bathroom makeover with potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Get the look
Buy now: Black Pradena floor tiles, 
£147 per sq m, Bert and May

bathroom makeover with bath tub black walls and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Ready for another? Before and after: from bland bathroom to industrial-style space brimming with character

The roll-top bath is a nod to the house’s Victorian history. ‘We gained a lot more room by replacing the boxed-in bath with a freestanding one,’ says the owner. 'The kids love filling the bath all the way to the top and diving in! It meant we could fit in 
a larger shower, too.’

Get the look
Buy now: Victoria and Albert York bath, £2,295, Bell

'People were quite sceptical about the black walls and ceiling, but 
it looks great, and disguises the slanting angles. I’m 
glad I trusted my instincts and stuck to my plan,' says the owner. 'I'm so proud of the result – it’s probably my favourite room in the entire house.’