The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in any house, and with our practical tips and tricks, you will be able to turn yours into your vision without breaking the bank.
The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in any house, and with our practical tips and tricks, you will be able to turn yours into a functional space that works for your budget. Bathroom renovations in Australia can generally range anywhere between $16,000 - $75,000+*, depending on the project specifications, site conditions and a range of other factors. Our simple tips below will help you keep your costs in check.
A basic bathroom renovation in Australia is likely to cost in the region of $16,000 - $30,000*.
A basic bathroom renovation in Australia is likely to cost in the region of $30,000 - $50,000*.
A high-end bathroom renovation in Australia is likely to cost in the region of $50,000 - $75,000+*.
Bathroom layouts on a limited budget
The main thing to remember for a basic bathroom makeover is that all your fixtures will stay where they are because moving them will involve extra, costly replumbing and rewiring. This means that the position of your shower, vanity, and toilet will remain the same. A budget of up to $30,000* is realistic, but you might be able to get away with spending less if you only replace critical items such as the shower or vanity while keeping other items that are still in good working order.
If your home is an older house, your builders may discover water damaged timber or floorboards. Old pipework is another common problem. If your home has old, galvanised pipes, chances are you will need to replace them as they are often rusty on the inside. It pays to have a contingency budget of at least 15 to 20% aside for such unforeseen problems. Some very old plastic pipes and fittings may be due for replacement too to avoid leaks. Copper piping is usually fine and new pipes can be joined onto it.
Even a straight swap of, for example, shower for shower, usually requires some extra work to alter the pipes and make the new item fit properly. Wall linings also need to be peeled off and replaces. If you would like to exchange an old floor standing vanity for a new wall hung model, the pipework needs to be reset to fit into the designed space within the drawer of the vanity.
Looking for affordable bathroom inspiration? Check out this $16,710 bathroom renovation in Cranbourne.
Bathroom layouts on a mid/high-end budget
Nine times out of ten, you’ll want to move fixtures around in your bathroom to create a space that really ‘flows and works for you. This will involve more plumbing and electrical work, but is worth the extra expense. For a bathroom renovation which involves layout changes, you’ll want to set aside at least $40,000+*.
Looking for inspiration? Check out this French provincial bathroom renovation, completed for $75,000.
$16,000 - $75,000+*
On a basic budget:
These days there is a whole host of different styles of bathroom fixtures available to match any budget. A basic choice is a shell box shower with a standard shower mixer and a sliding shower with no design features. A plumber will also need to disconnect and repipe your pipework.
For a small budget go for plastic instead of expensive copper piping. A carpenter will need to adjust the timber framing and reline your walls.
Shop around for deals on shower products for the cheapest option. As a space and money-saving tip, showers can be installed over baths, using a shower curtain on a rail or use a glass panel.
Opt for a plain PVC bath rather than high-end materials like marble, fibreglass and cast iron. Choose a basic-shaped single-lever bath mixer, allowing in your budget for a plumber and carpenter to install it.
When shopping for toilets, make sure you opt for a model that can easily be retrofitted; look for a flexible wait and multiple water inlets. Prices for a basic back-to-wall model with soft-close seat start from around $200*, plus installation costs. Older toilets use huge amounts of water, so it pays to choose a high-efficiency toilet that can save up to 50% on water. In a small bathroom, a wall-hung toilet works well as it creates a more open floor space.
On a mid-range budget
Wet rooms are fully waterproofed areas where the walls of the bathroom form the boundaries of the shower itself. They work especially well for smaller bathrooms as they don’t need walls or glass panels and hence create the illusion of more space. The main cost factor is the floor-to-ceiling waterproof layer or lining, and expenses should not be spared in this area to ensure that water will not be able to leak out.
A wet room will have a fully sloping floor and floor drainage to allow all water to drain away properly. You can have a completely open shower or decide to install a glass panel after all to avoid water splashing where you don’t want it. The vanity will need to be placed away from the shower or be waterproofed.
On a high-end budget
Making a real statement and creating a luxury spa feel, the freestanding bath is one of the essential items that turn a normal bathroom into a real high-end space. Huge ranges of different styles are available, from square and modern to oval and curved. You can also opt for claw foot baths and baths made from solid stone (beware the weight). An entry-level freestanding stone bath can be bought from around $2,500*, excluding installation. To complement the bath, choose a matching freestanding tap and mixer. The trend is to go for big baths or baths that have spa massage jets integrated for a deep relaxing soak. Some even come with special light effects, TVs or other extras. Corner baths are also still popular, maximising the available space.
Consider installing an extra-large, double ‘his and hers’ shower with dual shower heads, or opt for one large shower space that combines a rain dumper with multiple massage spray jets along the wall. Rain dumpers can now be recessed into the ceiling so they are completely flush. Some models come with built-in LED light strips that will lift your spirits even on the worst of days.
To make space for these spacious luxuries, it is often necessary to change the layout of an existing bathroom and possibly even to extend its size.
Toilets: from $200* (excludes installation)
Freestanding bathtubs: from $2,500* (excludes installation)
On a basic budget
Vanities are often the key design feature in a bathroom, so it pays to invest some time and money and find one that you really like. Keeping your vanity smaller, around the 600-millimetre mark, will help save money. You can choose between floor standing or wall hung models. Both varieties come in a range of styles and colours.
Working hand-in-hand with your vanity, a flat wall mirror is a much more affordable option than a mirror cabinet. The flat mirror will be fixed straight onto the wall, so installation costs are also minimal.
On a mid-range budget
Double bowl vanities are a very popular feature in Australian bathrooms, for good reason. Not only are they super practical, they also look great. An entry-level model costs anywhere from around $1,500 to $2,000*, off the shelf. For a custom-made vanity, expect to pay more.
On a high-end budget
If your budget stretches that far, bespoke vanities can be a real design highlight and offer a space to store all your bathroom goodies. Wall hung vanities with extra big drawers are fun and functional, and work well in combination with minimalist, flush-to-the-wall mirrors. Mirror cabinets are often recessed into the wall to achieve this look. They offer extra storage and can be fitted with task and ambience lighting.
Bespoke, custom-made vanities allow you to design your own unique space and storage. You can integrate big double bowls or raised bowls and experiment with different kinds of materials including stone, wood, glass, concrete or metal. Taps can come straight out of the wall – a waterfall tap, for example, adds a stunning feature – or be built into the vanity, as is traditionally the case. Touchless taps that are activated by hand motion (even touchless soap dispensers) are all the rage, and while previously reserved for the commercial sector, they are now becoming more and more popular in high-end bathrooms around the country.
From $1,500 - $2,000*
Recessed halogen or LED downlights are the standard, basic setup. A set of two or four, depending on the size of your bathroom should do the job. A heat-light-fan ceiling light is a cost-effective alternative as it combines three features in one (and an extractor fan is a definite must-have for bathrooms to get rid of moist air). However, if yours is a larger bathroom you may need extra lighting to illuminate it all.
Your existing windows may be sufficient, but if they are small or in an unsuitable spot, consider moving them and opting for larger window openings to create a light, bright space. There are a range of window tinting and frosting options, some of which can include artwork and create a real statement.
Skylights are a great option for small bathrooms. They let light pour in all day long and maintain privacy. You can choose from a range of models that are either fixed or opening. Automatic opening models are more expensive than manual ones, and some of them can be fitted with rain sensors.
Feature lighting is what really sets one bathroom apart from the next. Wall lights around the mirror and a centrepiece such as a spectacular chandelier are good options, and you could also install a lighting display in irregular patterns and places.
Sensors are being installed more and more frequently in Australian homes. When using a sensor, the lights turn on automatically as you walk into the bathroom. With some systems, you can switch the sensor to a night setting that may include, for example, low blue lighting around the toilet area.
Recessed LED bathroom lights: approximately $100* each (excludes installation)
Fixed-skylights from: approximately $500* (excludes installation)
How much does basic bathroom flooring cost?
Ceramic tiles are the most popular option for bathroom flooring, and they come in a huge range of styles and colours. Available from around $50 per square metre, ceramic tiles are durable and moisture-resistant. They are very easy to clean and require hardly any maintenance at all. It is, however, important that they are properly installed and grouted.
Vinyl and linoleum are affordable alternatives for your bathroom floor. Today’s technology means that they are no longer the tired products of the past. You can now get a range of luxury vinyl floor tiles with different patterns, and the material even comes in the form of planks that look like wood. No matter which material you choose though, make sure your flooring option is slip and water-proof.
Porcelain tiles are extremely popular. They are a type of ceramic tile that is made from a special type of clay and fired at extremely high temperatures. This makes them very hard, durable and unlikely to chip or crack. They are generally more expensive than plain ceramic tiles, but also harder wearing which is why they’re often used in high traffic commercial areas. Less is often more and you only really need to choose two different tile types – one for your floor, one for the wall – for a simple but stylish bathroom. Wood-look porcelain tiles are a great way to create a ‘feature floor’, even in wet areas like your shower. They work really well when combined with a grey wall tile. As ever though, the choice is completely yours and the options are pretty much endless.
The ‘hottest’ product on the market to keep bathrooms nice and warm is a hot water underfloor heating system. Using water to heat the floor is one of the healthiest and most comfortable ways to heat a room. Water-based systems are free from magnetic fields and can be connected to different kinds of heat sources (such as an air-to-water heat pump or a boiler that runs on gas, diesel or wood), making it a future-proof option. As a more common and mainstream option, electric underfloor heating systems are also widely available. This small luxury has become popular in many homes, and it’s one of the small domestic pleasures that most people wouldn’t want to miss anymore.
From $50* per square metre
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