Bathroom problems solved

Whatever the problem in your bathroom, there is bound to be a way round it. And quite often, it is the simplest solutions which bring about the most startling transformations.

Moving into a new home often means that you have also inherited a modern bathroom suite in a pale colour which you do not like. But clever use of decoration and accessories can either underplay the colour of the suite by drawing attention away from it, or else make it seem a warmer shade.

If your bathroom has pale pink sanitaryware, give it a more sophisticated look by choosing a patterned wallpaper containing dusky pink as a predominant colour. Cover the floor with a washable brown carpet, running it up the sides of the bath.

If the wallpaper has a co-ordinating fabric, make blinds or curtains in this – or from a dusky pink or deep brown fabric. Brown accessories, such as bath rack, soap dish, toothbrush holder and a brown plastic-framed mirror will complete the look and tone down the harsh qualities of the sanitary fittings.

A white bathroom suite is enlivened by covering the walls with a patterned wallpaper which has a white background. Sealed cork flooring can then be laid and run up the sides of the bath to hide the back or side panels, adding warmth to the room.

The blind or curtains could be in a design which matches the wallpaper, or in an accent colour such as bright green. With white sanitary ware, the accessories and towels will predominate: these could all be in one strong colour such as burgundy or green.

If the sanitaryware is in a pale lemon, depth can be added to the colour by tiling the splashbacks with mustard-coloured tiles and choosing a wallpaper which has the same mustard shade in its pattern. Cork tiles or fawn carpeting could be used to cover the floor and sides of the bath. Brown curtains or blinds combined with pine accessories such as towel rail, shelf and bath rack will make the suite seem bolder.

A sky blue bathroom suite can be made to seem deeper and more dramatic by covering the walls in either deep blue tiles or a deep blue patterned wallpaper. Flooring could be in a shade such as beige – carried up the sides of the bath – and matched to deep blue plastic accessories, beige towels and deep blue bath set.


Although renewing the decorations is the most obvious way of changing the face of a bathroom, equipping it with new accessories can be just as effective and certainly requires less effort. The accessories can be used to colour co-ordinate with the sanitaryware giving your bathroom a certain ‘look’ – bold and vibrant; streamlined and efficient; contemporary; or even a look which is predominantly female. It may have to be a family decision.

A huge range of fitments – in metal, ceramic and plastic – is available from department stores, chain stores and specialist bathroom shops. You can buy not only a whole range of accessories in one colour and style, but colour matched towels and bath mats as well. In a large bathroom there is scope for mixing the colour of accessories but in a small one, matching accessories are easier on the eye.

If sanitaryware has passed its prime in terms of appearance but still functions perfectly, you can improve things by using clever disguise tactics. The bath: Boxing-in an unattractive bath can drastically improve its appearance. Hardboard can be fitted around the bath underneath the lip and then decorated with paint or wallpaper – sealed with polyurethane varnish to protect it from splashes. Alternatively, floor coverings such as sealed cork, vinyl or carpeting can be continued from the floor right up the sides of the bath.

Rather than trying to disguise an old bath which has cast-iron legs or ball and claw feet, you can make it a feature of the bathroom by painting the outside in a bold colour or stencilling on an eye-catching design. The addition of new taps can give the bath an updated, or cared-for look.

If the inside of a cast-iron bath is in a bad condition it can be painted with an enamel bath paint – although this is not always very successful. It is better just to clean the bath with an extra-strong cleaning agent.

Where the bathroom has old sanitaryware it is sensible to choose ‘classic’ style decoration which will blend sympathetically with the suite. Carefully chosen, a marbled or embossed paper will add an unmistakable ‘vintage’ character to a bathroom – useful if you are trying to make the most of old wall tiles. The basin: An unsightly wash basin can be largely hidden by building a vanitory unit around it. This will not only smarten up the basin – hiding the plumbing underneath – but also provide storage space for toilet requisites. Again, new taps can be added for an improved appearance, as can a new plug and chain. The wc: An old high-level cistern can be disguised by building a cupboard around it, with a hole drilled in the base for the chain and handle. A new chain and handle will help and the wc seat can easily be replaced by bolting on a new one. The addition of a new seat cover and pedestal mat always give the wc a fresh lease of life.

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