Homeowner converts retro upstairs kitchen into a chic Japandi-style bathroom

From lime green and impractical to modern and family-friendly

japandi-style bathroom with white tub, double sink and micro cement wall
(Image credit: @oreathome)

An interiors lover has reshaped the old upstairs kitchen in her home, creating a calming space awash with Japandi design features. What was once a lime green relic with Homes Under the Hammer vibes is now a modern and functional family bathroom.

When Ore, her husband and two kids moved into their Victorian property in South London, they could see the potential, and laid down their concrete plans to make their dream family bathroom ideas a reality. Fast forward a few months, and you'd never guess this minimalist haven had a former life as a retro lime green kitchen.

As we know, bathrooms don't come cheap, but when speaking to Green Lili Ore revealed some of the ways she kept costs down.

The Japandi bathroom before

lime green upstairs kitchen before bathroom makeover

(Image credit: @oreathome)

Before, the bathroom had been used as an upstairs kitchen with a sink and cabinets. There was plenty of natural daylight coming in through a large window, and a decent sized footprint. It just wasn't a practical use of the space for their family.

Because Ore and her husband bought their home as a probate sale, the house had been left in a pretty unloved state for several years (featuring lots of vivid green and purple). The house needed a lot of work to be liveable, so the day after they got the keys, the pair got their builders in to get cracking.

They wanted the bathroom ideas to feel comfortable and inviting but, most importantly, functional for their family and little children. 'I wanted a beautiful home, but I didn’t want it to feel like a museum, and it had to be "grubby hand-proof ,"' Ore shares.

Japandi bathroom after

japandi-style bathroom with white tub, double sink and micro cement wall

(Image credit: @oreathome)

They laid down new tiles, installed a bathtub, double sink, towel rail and lighting along with other modern bathroom ideas. The neutral tones, minimalist design and mix of industrial materials all contribute towards a soothing Japandi feel. The textured cement on the walls toughens it up, giving the space a modern edge.

Throughout the renovation process, Ore looked for ways to cut costs, from seeking out Facebook Marketplace bargains to getting builders to use a DIY micro cement kit on the walls rather than paying thousands of pounds for a specialist to do it. 

Ore is a lover of neutral colour palettes and says that comfort is always at the heart of her designs. We can certainly see this in the finished look, which overall cost £4,085, minus labour costs.

shower with glass door, gold hardware and glass door

(Image credit: @oreathome)

Lessons learnt from the renovation process

'Always check your packages when they arrive,' says Ore. 'Even if you’re not going to be using the items for a while – it’s terrible to have a box sitting in your hallway for two months, and then you open it to install whatever it is and realise it’s broken or faulty and it’s too late to take back.'

She also says that there's no rush when it comes to planning a bathroom renovation; social media posts can give the impression that rooms can be transformed at the click of a finger, but in reality, it takes a lot of time and things can get delayed.

In terms of top tips, Ore says that if you can try your hand at doing some of the DIY and decorating work yourself, this will save you hundreds. She also recommends 'shopping your home' as items you're using in other rooms might work well in a new space, while H&M, Zara and Dunelm are great for those luxury-looking finishing touches.

Follow Ore on Instagram @oreathome for budget decorating hacks, renovation tips and money-saving upcycles.

Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.