Before and after: from bland bathroom to industrial-style space brimming with character

Getting creative kept costs low for this owner

'For years, my bathroom had been at the bottom of my to-do list, with every other room in the house taking priority,’ says the owner. ‘Before 
I got around to giving it a makeover at last, it had a shabby-chic look, with a grey tiled floor, cream walls and duck- egg blue accents.

We have makeovers covering every style and colour palette, plus plenty more kitchen ideas

'It was characterless, and not my cup of tea at all. When we moved here in 2004, the scheme was tolerable, but my tastes 
have evolved dramatically since. Now, 
I favour dark hues and an eclectic mix 
of furnishings, so I made it my mission to infuse the bathroom with those elements.'

Before she could begin giving the room a new look, the owner had to think about how the space would function. The family already had 
a freestanding bath, but the owner wasn’t keen 
on its position, so they had the plumbing rerouted to allow their new, more modern bath to face toward the fireplace. 'We 
also took the time to replaster walls 
and repair original features, such as the coving, to give us a high-quality finish.'

bathroom with black floor tiles

(Image credit: Future PLC/Georgia Burns)

'Decor-wise, I had an idea of what 
I wanted the room to look like, but definitely winged it somewhat. The walls were always going to be dark, and I ended up going for a deep grey that looks stylish and helps to offset my accessories. It looks fantastic, particularly with the period features and sash window.'

'The school-style WC 
with a wall-mounted cistern was a must, as was wall art, as I think it can really help to harness the mood of a room. I love art, and I also like to paint 
as a hobby, so artwork is a dominant theme in every room of our home.'

Get the look
Buy now: Similar Rhino classic polished concrete black vinyl flooring, £18.99 per sq m, Carpetright
Buy now:
Similar Charlotte Edwards black Richmond freestanding bath, £840, JT Spas
Buy now: Similar Ideal Home Super Soft 600 gsm Zero Twist towel range in Blossom, from £8, Very

wash basin with copper taps

(Image credit: Future PLC/Georgia Burns)

'Prior to starting the project, I made 
a long wish list, which featured a concrete floor and old copper taps, among other pricey finishes. However, after having redecorated the rest of the house, I found that our funds didn’t stretch quite as far as I’d have liked, so I made a few small compromises.'

Related: How to change a tap and give your kitchen or bathroom a fresh new look

'I went for lino flooring, as I’m not a fan of tiles, and altered some copper garden taps to get the look I was after. This actually worked in my favour, 
as they have the most beautiful patina.'

metallic table with wash basin

(Image credit: Future PLC/Georgia Burns)

'I love industrial design, so metal was always going to be a big factor in the room,' says the owner. 'I managed to incorporate a metallic element with the sink unit, which is a reclaimed school work bench and by far my favourite feature.'

'There's also the large vanity mirror and the bath splashback, made from American tin ceiling tiles 
I sourced at an antiques fair.'

Get the look
Buy now: Duravit Vero washbowl, £150, CP Hart
Enquire online: Walls painted in Dinner Jacket walls and ceiling paint, £28 for 2.5ltrs, Valspar
Buy now:
Similar Ideal Home Set of 3 Teal Etched Candle Holders, £12.99, Very

dark grey bathroom wall with cactus plant

(Image credit: Future PLC/Georgia Burns)

'Otherwise, the scheme has come together completely organically. I tend to purchase pieces I like before figuring out where they will look most at home, and it 
seems to have worked so far.'

Some of the art you see was purchased from artists the owner found online. Others, she created herself.

Get the look
Buy now: I like Boring Things print, £20, King & McGaw
Buy now:
Similar Trellis tin tiles, £19 each, Rockett St George

bathroom with photo frame and red chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Georgia Burns)

'I tend to invest in decorative items such as ornaments and planters, which I can move from room to room, depending on my mood,' says the owner.

room with photo frame and candle

(Image credit: Future PLC/Georgia Burns)

'My interiors are ever evolving, as I’m constantly inspired by accounts I follow on Instagram, where I also share photos of my own updates at @skullandcactus. 
I mostly get a positive reaction to my bold bathroom scheme – particularly on Instagram – but I understand that dark decor isn’t for everyone.'

Next up: Before and after: from dated, damp bathroom to flexible, family space

'But if you’re tempted to try it in your own home, I say go for it! I did, and I couldn’t be happier with my bold, brooding bathroom.’

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.