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A Contractor’s Tips for Your Bathroom Makeover or Renovation

As a remodeling contractor, I’ve done a number of bathroom upgrades, from simple fixture replacements to complete tear-outs and redesigns. If you’re itching for something new in your bathroom, here are a few ideas for simple upgrades that won’t break your bank.


Start with your toilet. If you don’t already have a relatively new toilet, you need to go see the variety of modern and convenient fixtures now available. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and price ranges, with varying comfort features. You may even want to consider a bidet, which is almost standard in European homes.

Black toilets can be very striking if you coordinate the rest of your bathroom, and you can find added features such as self-raising lids and heated seats. Most modern toilets use less water, and many are high-efficiency, meaning lower water bills and fewer clogs.

The toilet itself can cost as little as £50 to as much as £500 or more. If you can find an inexpensive plumber and there are no repair issues (such as rotted flooring or rusted cast iron sewer pipes), you can get it installed for £100-£200. You should replace the shut-off valve and the toilet supply line at the same time for modest additional cost. It’s cheaper to do it now than later.


In readying some homes for sale that were previously rentals, I’ve encouraged owners to replace the vanity light, mirror, and vanity, if nothing else. These fixtures can be very dated, and are not that expensive to replace with modern equivalents.

Altogether, you can buy all the components for as little as £500, and the cost of a handyperson to replace them may cost about the same.

You can spend a lot more on fancier items, too, if you’re in the mood. Spend a little time at your local home improvement store or bath showroom to see the variety of modern, reasonably priced or elegant and expensive items you have to choose from.

Keep a little extra budget on the side, however, in case hidden problems are uncovered during replacement, such as collapsing drainpipes, leaking pipes in the wall, or defective wiring.


If you haven’t been to a home improvement store recently, you’ll be amazed by the variety of towel bars, TP holders, cup holders, glass shelves and medicine cabinets you can find. You may also be amazed by how expensive these little knick-knack items can be. You can get to £100 pretty quickly if you get very many of the little items, and depending on your cabinet, you can double that or more.

Depending on how exotic you get with your accessories, you may be able to replace these yourself, or you may want a handyman who can make sure everything is fastened securely so as to not fall out of the wall later.

In replacing these items, you may very likely be left with holes in the walls from the old fixtures, so I recommend taking them down and patching and repainting before installing the new ones.


If you do it yourself, you can probably completely repaint and install a new toilet, vanity, sink, mirror, vanity light, medicine cabinet, and accessories for about £1,000. If you have champagne taste and a reliable contractor, you can still get it done for around £4,000.