How to Freshen Up your Period Bathroom

Updated: May 19



As we all know, it can be very expensive to have a new bathroom fitted, and although we all dream of having a brand new Instagram worthy bathroom, it's not always possible to have a complete overhaul and sometimes the original furniture is still in good enough shape for you to work around.

If you live in a period house and you feel stuck with your old bathroom, read on for some inspiration on how to give your period bathroom a fresh new look without renovating.


Update the Fixtures

It might be worth taking a look at the existing taps and fixtures in your bathroom. If the taps are leaking or just look a bit worse for wear, you should replace them. There are plenty of reproduction taps available that look similar to original styles, with the added advantage of technological improvements. Choose a finish that you like and stick to the same finish throughout. If you go for chrome bath taps for instance, make sure your towel rails and other accessories are also in chrome.



Artwork

As there normally isn't a lot of wall space in a bathroom, you should try to use the artwork to your advantage. There might only be space for one or two pieces of art, so focus on bringing a little of the tile colour into the artwork. When you make sure there is a touch of teal, peach, green or whatever's in your bathroom already, the art will connect with the space. If you have very colourful tiles, try using a metallic or wooden frame, so that there isn't another colour competing for attention in the room.



Accessories

Adding a mirror or two will make a huge difference and if you go big, even in a small bathroom, it will create a wonderful sense of drama as well as make the space look bigger.

Invest in new bathroom mats and towels, it will definitely be worth the extra cost. And spoil yourself with that extra special soap and body lotion!

And of course, definitely add some plants. Plants always look fantastic in a bathroom, and apart from cleaning the air from the toxins in your bathroom, it will add some interest and make the space look softer. Go for plants that do well in humidity like spider plants or peace lilies. If you feel you have no idea of where to start with plants, head down to your local plant centre and ask what they would suggest for a bathroom.



Paint the Walls

If you have coloured tiles to deal with, you can paint the walls in a shade of white and let the tile colour speak for itself. With a lighter background, your coloured tile could be a new favourite. Try to match the undertone of the tile colour with the undertone of the paint colour you choose to give you a more cohesive look. For example, where your tiles are blue-green, use a paint that also has a blueish undertone or tinge. Where you have a yellow-green tile, use a paint colour with a yellowish undertone or yellow tinge.

Don't be afraid to use colour in your bathroom, it is normally a relatively small space that can handle some interesting colour, and if you don't like it, it really isn't the end of the world, you can always re-paint.


Paint the Tiles

This definitely won't last as long as long as replacing the tile, but if you really can’t stand the colour of your existing tiles, you can paint them. Painting over old and dated ceramic tiles will immediately transform your bathroom.

If you're planning to do the work yourself, you should consult a professional painter to make sure that your paint will be suitable for your specific wall conditions. Read here for more on how to paint your tiles https://www.realhomes.com/advice/how-to-paint-tiles



Storage

Pedestal sinks are very common in period bathrooms and they are great to make a small space appear more open, but where do you put your stuff? Older bathrooms normally don't have many towel rails or hooks. If you have enough floor space, you can use a wooden vintage shelf. This one was painted in Farrow and Ball's "French Gray" Estate Eggshell. Think about hanging hooks behind the door, or adding another towel rail. Just make sure it's in the same finish as the rest of your accessories. Glass shelves are great for keeping toothbrushes and other necessities organised. Even the containers you choose can add personality.




Sometimes the details can make all the difference in the livability of a period bathroom. Don’t give up on your old bathroom yet!