This lacklustre bathroom was given a high-end monochrome look on a tight budget

See how a mum of two achieved a high-end bathroom look on a tight budget

white bathroom with black framed shower screen, chrome shower head and Victorian radiator with freestanding bath tub and traditional mixer tap
(Image credit: Future PLC/ Karen Wilson)

When the owners moved into their Victorian end-of-terrace home in Hartlepool, the main bathroom idea felt cramped, despite having a separate toilet.

They felt they could make a better use of space as everything seemed crammed at the far end of the room with a big unused area by the window. 

Victorian monochrome bathroom makeover


pink bathroom before shot

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Karen Wilson)

It was a slow leak from the bath that eventually prompted the family to begin the revamp. 'We were going to live with the old bathroom for a bit longer, but when the ceiling started sagging in the kitchen below, it became an urgent job,' they explained.

The bath had a plastic panel and was located against the far wall, where the shower idea is now, with a pedestal sink next to it. The couple had fitted a temporary shower above the bath, but the curtain kept falling down, and the layout didn’t really make the best of the room shape. 


white bathroom with black framed shower screen, chrome shower head and Victorian radiator with freestanding bath tub and traditional mixer tap

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Karen Wilson)

After gathering ideas on Pinterest and Instagram, the owners soon came up with a solution for how to plan a bathroom that worked for them. They knew they wanted panelling as there’s quite a bit of it in the house elsewhere, and they loved the Crittall-style shower screens they'd seen online. Other must-haves included a traditional towel radiator, a big bath under the window and a large walk-in shower idea.

The owners considered knocking the toilet and bathroom together and got some advice from a local kitchen and bathroom shop. However, it would’ve meant blocking up the little window and keeping a false door to preserve the Lincrusta wallpaper on the landing. Not to mention the extra cost. They also toyed with the idea of half-height Victorian tiles rather than panelling, but they worried it might end up looking like a pub!

'I spent a long time shopping around for the best deals and didn’t get everything from one place,' says the owner. 'The Karndean herringbone flooring, which was installed by a specialist fitter, was the most expensive part at £800. However, it’s a relatively small area so it was worth it.'

Monochrome bathroom with freestanding bath, traditional chrome taps, bamboo bath caddy, wall panelling and Victorian radiator

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Karen Wilson)

To save money they stripped everything out themselves, including two layers of pink bathroom wallpaper ideas, and painted the walls and panelling afterwards. Handily, they knew lots of trades people who’d worked on the rest of the house. The job took three weeks but it wasn’t too disruptive as they have a second bathroom downstairs off the utility room.

'There was a slight panic when our tiler was delayed for a few days, which had a knock-on effect on other trades. Thankfully the flooring fitter was really flexible and worked in the evenings,' they say.

bathroom with grey wall panelling, white vanity unit with basin and chrome tap

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Karen Wilson)

The owners tried not to spend too much on accessories and picked up a few bargains in shops like B&M, Primark and H&M. 'My fern art print was free in a magazine and the boho wall hanging was a gift from a friend. I also repainted some old box shelves that had been left behind in the house,' the owner explains.

monochrome bathroom with grey wall panelling, freestanding bath with traditional bath taps, bamboo caddy, wall shelves and a dream catcher

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Karen Wilson)

'Looking back, the only thing I would change is the chrome taps, which I’d buy in brass,' she continues. 'As Hartlepool is a hard water area, the plumber said they would’ve been tricky to clean and might tarnish, but when I later replaced the kitchen taps I realised there were more matt brass finishes available, which could have worked.

'I also thought about changing the panelling to dark green and tried out a pink tester pot on the walls, too. I soon realised I was just wanting to make changes for the sake of it, though. In reality, I’m not bored with it and I’ve created a classic scheme that hopefully won’t date.'

Have you been inspired by this monochrome bathroom makeover?

Stephanie Durrant
Deputy Editor Style at Home

Steph Durrant is the Deputy Editor of Ideal Home’s sister magazine, Style at Home. Steph is an experienced journalist with more than 12  years under her belt working across the UK’s leading craft and interiors magazines. She first joined the team back in 2016 writing for both homes brands, specialising in all things craft, upcycling and DIY.