This is How You can Upgrade your Bathroom on a Budget

This is How You Can Upgrade Your Bathroom on a Budget

“The bathroom is one of the two most important areas in a home. The other is the kitchen.” Wise words said by an expert in her field, Deborah Garth from Deborah Garth Interior Design. The bathroom is indeed an important space in any home; it’s where you go to prepare for the day ahead or to take a relaxing shower (or bath) to wash away a day if it’s been too long and exhausting.

When you’re in your bathroom, you want to feel happy, relaxed, and at-home, right? Well, we have some good news! You don’t need to buy expensive items to create that feeling or renovate the whole space to get that effect. We spoke to some of the top interior designers in South Africa, including Andrew Mackenzie from Andrew Mackenzie Interiors, Craig Whitehead from CKW Lifestyle, Deborah Garth from Deborah Garth Interior Design, and Michael Harrison from Head Interiors, on what you can do to upgrade your bathroom on a budget.

Benefits Of Working With An Interior Designer

  • Design Plan – When you’re working with an interior designer, they will provide you with design plans which will keep the redecorating inline with your budget, style, and lifestyle.
  • Saves Money (and time) – If you’re going to handle redecorating tasks by yourself, chances are you’re going to make mistakes that could cost money and waste precious time. An interior designer has a whole process in place (AKA the plan) when taking on a new project.
  • Reduce Stress – Renovations can be extremely stressful for most people, especially if it’s their first time. Considering all the decisions you have to make will ultimately make most people pull out their hair! Having a good design plan in place will help alleviate some of the stress and you can let your interior designer handle everything!
  • Communication – With builders and contractors it’s simple; they plan and build according to their experience. However, an interior decorator already knows what you like, so they can work closely with contractors during the building process.
  • Consistency – You might think your colourful pillows fit with the style of the rest of the room, but often it doensn’t. An interior designer will ensure the whole room’s items compliment each other. 
  • Connections – An experienced interior designer will have an extensive list of contacts from trustworthy companies. Not only will the designer know of amazing places to look for furniture and accessories, they can most likely also negotiate a better price.

These are just a few of the benefits of making use of an interior designer’s services when redecorating your space.

Listen to the Experts

Have a look at what some of the best interior designers in South Africa have to say about renovating your bathroom on a budget:

Andrew Mackenzie | Upgrade your Bathroom on a Budget

Andrew Mackenzie

Andrew Mackenzie Interiors

Award-winning interior designer Andrew Mackenzie’s key attribute is interpreting personality into a living, functional space. His passion for culture and the psychology behind interior design is what separates him from the mundane, and leads to the creation of authentic, holistic spaces. Andrew creates spaces that are uniquely tailored to the individual, and understands that a living space is something deeply personal. Andrew takes this approach into consideration in everything he designs. Continue reading…

What Andrew says...

Andrew Mackenzie, of Andrew Mackenzie Interiors, has a talent for rescuing rooms from bleak obscurity into warm and inviting spaces. “The bathroom,” says Andrew, “is vital to the comfort of any home and needs loving treatment.”


A bathroom can be successfully transformed, for very little, by restyling rather than renovating,” Andrew explains. “You don’t need to start over to upgrade your bathroom. Just go forward from where you are.” There are more people renting now and it may not necessarily be in the tenant’s best interests to spend money on renovations.


The contemporary, slick, tile-and-marble look on display in expensive bathrooms can look a little sterile and generic and sometimes feel downright tomb-like,” Andrew says. “Using personal pieces can add charm and individuality. Furniture lends character. Make it multi-functional by piling soft white towels onto an old chair, or an ottoman which can also be used as a practical seat.”


Instead of re-tiling, create a quick and eye-catching effect by ‘gallerising’ a wall with glass-framed pictures or prints, and mirrors. Personalise the display by focusing on a favourite hobby or sport, or a special interest. Vintage motor cars, landscapes, black and white photographs of Hollywood stars, old steam engines, magazine covers, cartoons and botanical prints are some examples. There may be suitable pictures in your house but, failing that, most second-hand shops sell framed prints at knockdown prices. Nails, a hammer, a spirit level and a helpful partner will help to get the wall covered in a morning. “Don’t be afraid to cover the wall all the way from the floor to the ceiling,” Andrew says, “one little print has never cracked it. Easy to clean, glass framed prints are also hygienic.


Here’s a tip that will add to the cost but will certainly pay off in terms of the look, especially if your partner does not have a good eye, hire professionals to hang the pictures.


Take everyday items out of their literal context and use them in a decorative way. Old cut-glass booze decanters look wonderful filled with bubble bath and silver ice buckets paired with a big silver spoon are perfect for bath salts. Instead of a generic toilet roll holder use a lovely old basket; roll up face cloths or hand towels and use table napkin rings as holders. If you have the space, an old Persian rug on the bathroom floor always looks fabulous.


While you cannot hide from something like a blue bath, you can play into it by using that colour and turning it into a feature, linking it to something like a print collection of blue wildflowers or repeating the colour in the frames.


If you want to go a little deeper into restyling, paint a wall. Painting is often seen as the cheapest way to redecorate. Stay away from bland and beige and go for gorgeous, bold colour. Freshen up the look with some beautiful white frames. A stunning and dramatic look could be achieved by painting a wall deep charcoal and hanging black and white prints in white frames. Bathrooms are not usually big rooms so a little paint can go a long way.


Frameless showers are trendy and practical and they create a lovely illusion of space. If you can’t afford a frameless shower right now and your old walled shower is falling apart consider ripping out the walls and having an open shower.


The great essential in a bathroom is ventilation. Free circulation of air is critical.

Restyling gives you an opportunity to create a unique and personal look.”

Credit: Interiors by Andrew Mackenzie Interiors
Bathroom Renovation by Andrew Mackenzie Interiors
Bathroom before
:Bathroom Renovation by Andrew Mackenzie Interiors
Craig Whitehead | Upgrade your Bathroom on a Budget

Craig Whitehead

CKW Lifestyle

Since our founding, our creative team of interior design professionals at CKW Lifestyle Associates has been transforming spaces and remains at the forefront of design in South Africa.


Lead by our founder and design principal Craig K. Whitehead with 25 + years experience in the industry- CKW Lifestyle has become a household name synonymous with great interiors and stylish events. Continue reading…

What Craig says...

On a Budget

“I would say there are plenty well priced options out there. Try to get the best quality for your budget. Spend money where it counts and stick to good taps especially if they are concealed like a mixer in the wall. No one wants to have to chase open a wall after tiling.”


“Wall tiles can be ceramic if you must, but generally there are great porcelain and porcelain gris products for tiles at very affordable prices. Porcelain is infinitely more durable than ceramic tiles. Be sure to consider your layout and ensure it works not only for aesthetic purposes but for practicality too. Keep a loo close to a window where there is maximised ventilation for odours and create privacy if the loo is in view of the door. Baths come in all shapes and sizes and one is able to find a decent fibreglass or moulded bath at a very reasonable price vs the luxurious lines of cast baths on the market. Consider efficiency, energy and water saving solutions when it comes to heating, taps and shower heads too. We live in a world where we really need to take better care of our water and sanitation needs as a whole. Shower doors and panels are great solutions for open showers and glass can make a worthy option for cladding surfaces like splash backs and showers and a pop of colour without having unsightly grouting. It’s an initial investment but one worthy in the long run.”

Fundamentals if Budget Were Not an Issue

“I’d say the same. Go for the best quality on taps and sanitaryware. Quality first, aesthetic and durability. Consider the style of the bathroom and what elements can be included in a design that enhance the use of the space. It’s very gauche trying to create something so over the top beautiful but has no value when it comes to purpose. Consider efficiency,heating and water saving solutions when it comes to taps and shower heads too. Just because you have a great budget doesn’t mean you can afford to waste or not consider our environmental needs. Be smart about your decisions and spend money liberally on the things that count. Luxe shower door lines and glass cladding make for stunning design ideas in shower design and splash backs and can be used to further create privacy in loo areas where you want to create a separate area without making the bathroom feel small. Transparent or semi transparent glass doors work well.”

Craig Whitehead bathroom project | Upgrade Your Bathroom on a Budget
Deborah Garth | Upgrade your Bathroom on a Budget

Deborah Garth

Deborah Garth Interior Design

Deborah Garth is the owner and founder of Deborah Garth Interior Design International (Pty)Ltd. The firm was established in March 1992 and specialises in various areas of interior design including High End Residential, Corporate (Office design), Retail Design, Hospitality Design (Hotels, game lodges), and Unique kitchen design. Continue reading…

What Deborah says...

“The bathroom is one of the two most important areas in a home. The other is the kitchen.

Spending on a bathroom should be done with great thought, taking into account function and space.

Using frameless shower panels and doors are the best way of making a bathroom space look larger than it actually is. Framed panels create borders and visually it can look heavy and bulky. If on a small budget, this would be my recommendation on where to start. You can’t go wrong — the bathroom will instantly turn into a dream space.


Tiling from floor to ceiling is always the best option — keeping the tiles white with perhaps a hint of coloured mosaics. If the budget is tight, the shower area can be fully tiled, including the shower floor and the rest of the bathroom walls can be painted.

If you have space for only a bath or a shower, I would strongly recommend adding a frameless panel to the side of the bath for showering and adding a hand shower clipped onto a wall bar. Homes sell better if there is a bath and shower.

There is no need to retile a floor. The walls and frameless shower panels create a great effect to the look of a bathroom and your eye is immediately guided to look up.

Lighting is vitally important as well. Get a good ceiling strip LED fitting — this will cast light evenly throughout the space without casting any shadows.”

Deborah Garth Bathroom Project 3 Upgrade your Bathroom on a Budget
Deborah Garth Bathroom Project Upgrade your Bathroom on a Budget
Deborah Garth Bathroom Project 2 Upgrade your Bathroom on a Budget
Michael Harrison | Upgrade your Bathroom on a Budget

Michael Harrison

Head Interiors

Founded by Michael Harrison and Sharon Fihrer, Head Interiors is a renowned interior design consultancy with over 35 years of experience providing a full spectrum of services in interior architecture and design for both corporate and residential clients. Continue reading…

What Michael says...

“If you are on a modest budget the one item which can be done relatively inexpensively and have a big impact is lighting. A track light can usually be simply retrofitted. This will brighten the bathroom and create interesting depth and shadows.

A lot can be done with a slightly more generous budget . . .

Older bathrooms tend to have small wall and floor tiles. Although messy, changing these tiles will have a huge effect.

Large scale, light in colour, tiles are recommended. Individually framed mirrors as opposed to built in is also a simple and effective add on.

You can even hang mirrors on mirrors.”

Michael Harrison Bathroom Project | Upgrade your Bathroom on a Budget

Feeling Inspired to Redecorate Your Bathroom?

Showerline provides various beautiful bathroom essentials including bespoke glass framed- and frameless shower doors, glass dividers, and glass bath screens. Get in touch with our team at Showerline by visiting or simply sending an email to

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We use cookies to track visitors, measure ads, ad campaign effectiveness and analyze site traffic. We may also share information about your use of our site with 3rd parties. For more info, see, our Cookies Policy, our Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept All” you agree to the storing of all cookies on your device. In case you don’t choose one of these options and use our website, we will treat it as if you have accepted all cookies.