This awkward room was turned into a luxurious family bathroom thanks to these clever layout tricks

Classic style in a practical space was key to the design this family bathroom

freestanding bath on white and black tiles in front of white paneled wall with artwork
(Image credit: Adam Carter / Ripples)

When you move into a home, it can be easy to try and squeeze yourself into the existing layout. However, sometimes converting a room or two is can be the small change it takes to make daily life so much easier. That is what Jenny Howard, a brand strategy consultant, did when she converted a bedroom into a family bathroom in a now three-bedroom Victorian cottage in Winchester, where she lives with her son.

‘When we moved in, the cottage only had two bedrooms and no bathroom upstairs, Jenny tells us. 'It was a really inconvenient layout – you had to walk through the living room to get to the downstairs shower room. I decided to convert one of the bedrooms into a family bathroom before starting on a first-floor extension to create two additional bedrooms.'

The total cost of the bathroom project was £10,000. Ever keen to fill up on new bathroom idea inspiration, we wanted to find out all the details of the transformation process.

black and white bathroom floor tiles with navy freestanding bath

(Image credit: Adam Carter / Ripples)

'For the bathroom project, I went with Ripples, which meant that the design was much better than I could have managed on my own – there are so many details to consider,' Jenny says. 'I wanted it to be the most relaxing part of the house, so I went for a warm, neutral colour palette. It proved difficult to fit a shower because of the sloping ceilings.'

'But, our designer at Ripples solved this by including the seat in the wet-room ideas, and I took pictures of the wall with masking tape stuck on at head height so we could work out where the main showerhead needed to be!’

wet room on black and white floor tiles with freestanding bath

(Image credit: Adam Carter / Ripples)

In terms of the bathroom colour scheme, Jenny opted for the colour drenching method, whereby one paint shade is used on the walls and ceiling to add a feeling of height.

‘For warmth and texture, I added natural materials and wall panelling to the simple neutral colour scheme,’ Jenny adds.

freestanding bath on white and black tiles in front of white paneled wall with artwork

(Image credit: Adam Carter / Ripples)

‘Originally, I looked at vintage mirrors for above the basin, but decided to install a made-to-measure design instead, so that I could fit a wall light,' Jenny explains. 'It was important not to have harsh overhead lighting.’

She wanted a classic bathroom that appeared as if it could have been here for years. 'But it also needed to be practical; I have a five-year-old son and there’s always lots of splashing! The recess above the bath is handy for both his toys and my scented candles.’

wet room with brass showerhead, black and white bathroom floor tiles and chair

(Image credit: Adam Carter / Ripples)

Brass fixtures in traditional shapes have timeless appeal, which feature throughout Jenny's cottage. She chose charming bathroom wall art ideas to add a dash of colour and interest.

‘The bathroom is tanked to create one continuous surface, which makes it feel spacious, and I made sure the hand-held shower is within reach of the seat,' Jenny says.

Focus on: vintage vanity unit

upcylced vanity unit with sink and mirror in bathroom

(Image credit: Adam Carter / Ripples)

An upcycled piece of furniture used as a bathroom surface adds great character, but how practical is it? The steps below detail how to get this rustic effect in your own bathroom.

  • Start by measuring the space before you head off looking for furniture. Browse vintage markets or second-hand furniture shops for good-quality, well-made pieces that can withstand the weight of a basin. Look out for a chest of drawers or a cabinet, rather than a table, to provide somewhere for the plumbing to be hidden.
  • Enlist a joiner or plumber to help you convert the piece. If you want a countertop basin, the top surface will need cutting to fit the waste pipe. This style is a goo choice, as the basin will cover the removed area, ensuring a neat finish.
  • The entire piece will need sealing, as you would with a wooden kitchen worktop. Osmo oil or yacht varnish will protect it for many years. However, the top surface might need more protection; practical choices include Corian, terrazzo or quartz.
  • Or, take out the hard work by using a company that does it for you. Simply Bathroom Furniture sells reclaimed and vintage- inspired options, while Jenny went with a bespoke design from Furnewal.

Get the look

Reflecting on the project now, Jenny tells us: 'This project has taught me a lot about how to manage an awkward space and make the most of every centimetre – and being vocal about what I want.'