Homeowner saved £1000s turning rotting bathroom into a Moroccan-inspired retreat

In dire need of an update, this unloved room had a good dose of TLC to turn it from dark and damp to totally vamped!

moroccan style bathroom with blue fish scale tiles and basin
(Image credit: Kirsty Cheyne / LatestDeals.co.uk)

One homeowner turned her rotting bathroom into a stylish new Moroccan-inspired scheme, complete with fish-scale wall tiles for the incredible price of £500.

It wasn't without its fair share of hard work, but after months of DIY, Kirsty Cheyne from Sheffield finally completed her bathroom makeover and couldn't be happier with the results of her budget bathroom ideas.

'After living in a van for a long time, my partner and I were so ready for a functioning bathroom,' she says. 

Moroccan-theme bathroom makeover

Faced with a bathroom that was rotting and plagued with damp, Kirsty and her partner rebuilt it from scratch, without any professional help – not an easy achievement but a challenge she was keen to take on. 

'We were never under any illusion that we might be able to afford a professional to fit out a new bathroom,' she told LatestDeals.co.uk, 'it's just not on the cards financially for us and when we started the demolition, we had no more than £500 between us. A benefit of doing it yourself is going at your own pace and stopping at any time if you need to catch up on money, though – there's no contractor to contend with.'

‘I think the decision was also helped by our desire to build our own house completely from scratch with our own hands at some point in the future,' Kirsty continues. 'We saw this project as a bit of a practice run.'


before of a dated bathroom

(Image credit: Kirsty Cheyne / LatestDeals.co.uk)

Many would look at the dated bathroom and be daunted by the amount of work, but Kirsty got stuck straight in. ‘I started with a rotting room that smelled damp, so the first step was demolition,' she says. 'On doing that, I saw the expanse of damp damage around the bath, so an extra step I wasn't expecting was having to replaster!'

After two weeks of plastering, Kirsty could finally get onto painting and installing the floor. Then came plumbing… 'which was an absolute nightmare as we had leaks everywhere, all the time,' Kirsty recalls. 'My record number of trips to Screwfix in one day is four – but perseverance and YouTube tutorials got me through!' 

dated taps

(Image credit: Kirsty Cheyne / LatestDeals.co.uk)

You can see here just how dated the old scheme was, but Kirsty was unphased. 'Plumbing was the biggest challenge,' she says. 'It's just absolutely terrifying to cut into a pipe for the first time. I dedicated a huge amount of energy to problem-solving, thinking outside the box, and just learning via YouTube tutorials.

'This project took months and months of gruelling hard work. There was so much problem-solving and suffering involved, including washing outside with a hose for months.'


moroccan style bathroom with blue fish scale tiles and basin

(Image credit: Kirsty Cheyne / LatestDeals.co.uk)

The new room is a far cry from the dated and damp scheme Kirsty had before and is a testament to her hard work. 

‘Blue fish-scale tiles inspired the design,' she says. 'I found them on Facebook Marketplace weeks before I started work on the bathroom and they were just so stunning I couldn't believe someone was selling them so cheap! I let the tiles lead the design and the small number of them led to the "feature wall" look in the shower.

'Their intense colour led to everything else taking a more muted tone... and the shape of them led to the gently tropical, Moroccan feel.'

shower with blue tiles

(Image credit: Kirsty Cheyne / LatestDeals.co.uk)

So, how did Kirsty manage to refit the entire bathroom complete with brand new shower bath ideas on such a tight budget? 

‘We used as many secondhand items as we possibly could,' she says. ‘From Marketplace, I picked up a sink, tap and bath-shower mixer tap for £30, bathroom paint for £6, laminate flooring for £20, and a bath for just £40. Then there was a free vanity unit and sink, blue fish-scale tiles for £20, and I got the grout and tile adhesive for free. 

'The most expensive item was the towel radiator, which cost £100. When we had been researching new bathroom installs, online prices were anywhere between £4,000 up to £6,000, so I'm immensely proud that the project was done for so much less.'

cream wall tiles with plant and shelf in bathroom

(Image credit: Kirsty Cheyne / LatestDeals.co.uk)

Kirsty picked up the cream tiles for just £20, again from Facebook Marketplace. 'I love the idea of keeping money in the community and reducing your environmental impact by allowing old and unloved things to have a second life,' she says. 'And anything that I couldn't source on Marketplace, like sealants and plumbing fittings, I bought from Screwfix.'

Along with the little touches, like the shelf in the shower for toiletries, trailing plants and hints of blue elsewhere in the bathroom, it's safe to say that Kirsty has transformed the bathroom completely. 

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at lauriedavidson.co.uk