Bathroom Makeover Challenge Part 1: Getting Started

Natasha Dickens from Little Red Industries returns with her next DIY challenge, this time tackling a tired and outdated bathroom. Read on to find out how Natasha gave this bathroom a full timber refresh, with a little help from Bondall’s products.

Bathrooms more than 20 years old tend to feel dated, regardless of how clean they are. This one was built in the early 1980s and has a difficult floorplan, making it awkward to get to the vanity.

With the entire house getting ready for a major refurb, the area needs a spruce-up to simply make it more usable. I took a budget of just $1000 and a couple of days of DIY to transform it into a more practical space. My aim was to keep it simple, clean and modern, with neutral white walls and tiles offset with timber accents to warm it up.

Adding custom features such as a new vanity table, a mirror frame and a totally unique shower curtain rail adds a handcrafted element.

The Project Scope

This bathroom needs a refresh to make it more functional and feel cleaner. While the floorpan is awkward with the vanity so close to the bath, there are some quick DIY fixes that will help to make it a more welcoming area. The makeover plan was to address five problem areas.

  • Discoloured Surfaces
    No amount of scrubbing can fix old grout, so painting the walls and tiles white was an inexpensive quick fix. 
  • Bulky Vanity
    This dated, shabby piece of furniture was too big for the space. Replacing it with a smaller, more elegant table with a shiny new sink and mixer makes it modern again. 
  • Mirror Placement
    The reason for the originally adjacent mirrors was explained when they were removed to reveal a former window. One mirror was repurposed with a simple timber frame and rehung.
  • Lack of Storage
    The hidden window cavity was the perfect size for recessed shelving to make up for losing the vanity drawers and shower caddy while continuing the handcrafted theme. 
  • Dated Shower Screen
    As the most unattractive part of the bathroom, removing the screen immediately made the room feel bigger. Adding a bespoke timber rail kept the budget down while adding the functionality of a shower curtain.


Refreshing the Surfaces

For part one of our bathroom makeover challenge, we’ll be focussing on fixing up the surfaces.

Step 1: Seal the Timber

Using timber in a bathroom creates warmth to contrast with all the shiny tiled surfaces. But it must be sealed properly to prevent moisture damage that results in warping, cupping or lifting.

Choosing a product designed for using on boats is a safe option and Bondall’s Monocel Gold is a marine-grade sealer that provides a tough coating with a lovely satin finish for the Tasmanian oak used here.

Step 2: Paint the Surfaces

Always use an especially formulated paint for bathrooms to combat mould and ensure it’s easy to wipe down. When in doubt over colour selection, go for clean, bright white. 

Paint the ceiling first, then the walls and use a formulated cleaner such as Bondall’s TileGuard Tile & Grout Cleaner before applying tile paint, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of coats.

Painting the tiles and grout instantly refreshes the surfaces and protects the grout from corroding – giving you a fresh and clean base to work with as we move forward with the rest of the makeover.

Stay tuned for the next part of the Bathroom Makeover Challenge, where Natasha will be building a fresh new vanity.

For assistance choosing the right Bondall products for your next DIY job, contact us now.