Five Things I Learnt Renovating a Bathroom the Week Before Christmas

Five Things I Learnt Renovating a Bathroom the Week Before Christmas

If you've ever had work done to your house, you'll be reading this wondering why anyone would get anything done the week before Christmas. But as a first-time buyer, who hasn't had anything done I thought it was a great idea when one of the contractors contacted us to say he had a cancellation. Since it seemed like everyone local was booked until September 2022, we jumped at the chance to have a finished bathroom before Christmas. This meant we had two weeks to find a full bathroom, so we actually had something for them to fit once they arrived.

Shop around

We had budgeted for a bathroom when we bought the house, as there was no shower or the possibility of adding one in temporarily. But when the work was brought forward by approximately eight months, we were left with an excel spreadsheet and trying to decide what gambles to take with ordering online, in December during a pandemic.

Thankfully we took a wrong turn one day and found a bathroom outlet about ten minutes from our house. So, this isn't really all that helpful unless you live in Liverpool but have a look around your local shops and ask everyone who comes out for a quote where they recommend; I found most wanted to give you all the hints and tips in the hope it got them the job!

Don't plan work the week before Christmas

This might sound like common sense but when you've never had any work done before, let alone a renovation, it doesn't seem like a bad idea. Our work was scheduled to be completed by the 22nd of December; however, I didn't realise these things never tend to stick to a schedule and the bathroom (minus painting) wasn’t completed until Boxing Day (26th) at about 2pm. Our contractors were lovely and worked until late Christmas Eve and then were back again Boxing Day, but it wasn't ideal for anyone!

I also didn't realise how much work spills all over the house! I naively thought the bathroom mess would stay contained to the bathroom but it ended up taking over pretty much everywhere! Another thing to consider next time.

Choose your tiles carefully

(All of our tiles were gifted but I don't have to mention them on the blog).

With paint or wallpaper, it's easy enough to change it if you decide you don't like it or made a bad decision. But bathroom tiles (and any tiles) are there for a while. We looked at so many different designs for the floor; we knew we wanted a bold print but it's a small bathroom so it would have to be suitable for the space and not make your eyes hurt when looking at it. That last point seems obvious but a lot of tiles we looked at were too busy for our space! In the end we went for Hanoi Star Blue Floor Tiles from Tile Mountain which were perfect! They have just the right balance of colour and white to make the space look bigger whilst still providing the wow factor when you enter!

For the walls we went for Metro White Wall Tiles and tiled them herringbone style in the shower area and brick-like everywhere else. Again, you'd think choosing plain white metro tiles would be a one size fits all, but it turns out there are a lot of options (matt or gloss, width, length, whether you want a bevel.... it was endless). In the end we went middle of the road and got a medium size so as that it'd look good for both styles of tiling. But the main takeaway here is order a lot of samples just to be sure, oh and tell the tiler you want herringbone before they arrive!

Go bold

We must have looked at and saved hundreds of bathroom pictures for inspiration. Even up until a few weeks before, we were backwards and forwards about style and design. But in the end, we (typically) went for our original idea. We removed the bath, added a shower, a bold floor and a statement herringbone wall using Metro White Wall Tiles (tiles all ad-gifted) and half tiled everywhere else leaving the top half freshly plastered waiting for paint. Little tip, don’t plaster a wall and then go on holiday leaving all the windows shut or it’ll be just as wet when you return!

We struck lucky with the paint as we had already bought Lick Blue 06 (ap-pr discount) to use in our bedroom but it ended up being an almost perfect match for the darker blue in the tiles. I'm glad we stuck to our instincts and went dark for the paint as it really adds something to the space, it would probably look a little bigger if we went for a lighter blue, but it would have felt too clinical for our tastes!

(hand wash and hand lotion pictured above are previous gifts)

When in doubt, just do it

The one regret I have with the bathroom is not adding an extractor fan. We have a huge window in the bathroom, so we didn't think we'd need it. That is until you're getting the second shower on a cold January morning and the person before has opened the window to let the steam out. It wouldn't have added much extra work or cost to the job so I'm not sure why we decided against it, but you live and learn.

It's definitely not easy renovating the week before Christmas but it was worth it to have a bathroom we liked and worked for us eight months earlier than planned! Would I plan a reno the week before Christmas again? No. Would I change the timing of this reno? Also no, you just have to weigh up the positives and negatives!

[originally posted Jan 26 2022]

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