Bathroom makeover: ‘Our bathroom feels like a mini boutique hotel’

A modern, monochrome palette and some savvy space-saving ideas helped Lorna Nicks give her bijou bathroom a new sleek feel

Bathroom makeover: 'Our bathroom feels like a mini boutique hotel'

Lorna and James Nicks first moved into their two-bedroom home, a former rental property, back in 2012. It was decorated throughout in safe magnolia with a tiny bathroom that had seen better days.


A cold enamel bathtub took up almost half of the room and a badly positioned soil pipe meant that the toilet sat 20cm away from the wall, leaving almost no floor space at all.

Bathroom makeover: 'Our bathroom feels like a mini boutique hotel'
Built-in countertops make use of the top of the toilet, creating an extra surface for storing essentials

Having made do while they renovated the rest of their home, by early 2020 the couple knew that it was time to refresh the bathroom. ‘It was cold and unwelcoming, and didn’t fit with the rest of the house,’ says Lorna. ‘With everything else finished, we set about planning and called on TLC Services, a local building firm, to help with the work.’

Insider info

Who lives here? Account director Lorna Nicks moved into this two-bedroom terraced house in Colchester in early 2012 with her husband, James, a charity worker. Since then, they have been decorating room by room, with the bathroom being one of the last projects they had to complete.

What was the old space like? ‘The room was functional but tired, tatty and in need of a refresh. It’s very small at around 6ft square, so it was vital to make the most of the space available and pick items that would make the room feel bigger.’

What’s your top tip? ‘Picking a compact vanity-toilet unit combined two of the major aspects of the bathroom in one neat package. It also provided some extra surface space and storage too.’

Bathroom makeover: 'Our bathroom feels like a mini boutique hotel'

First on the agenda was ripping out the old tiles and replacing them with new designs. ‘The large-scale wall tiles were quick and easy to fit, even on our wonky old walls,’ explains Lorna. ‘And the distressed floor tiles were the first thing I picked for the room, having fallen in love with the pattern after seeing them at a friend’s house.’

Bathroom makeover: 'Our bathroom feels like a mini boutique hotel'
The Crittall-window style shower screen is the focal point of the room and was one of the must-have items on Lorna and James’s wish list. They bought it in a sale for a fraction of the usual price

Next up, the enamel bath went in favour of a walk-in shower tray. ‘Taking away the bath opens up that half of the room and means we won’t have to wait for the tub to fill every time we want to get ready, saving us time and money,’ says Lorna.

Bathroom makeover: 'Our bathroom feels like a mini boutique hotel'
The Metropolis tiles were the first thing Lorna bought for the room, after she spotted them in a friend’s fireplace months before

The couple chose a thermostatic shower and stylish Crittall-style shower screen as a sleek focal point and added a matt black wall-mounted radiator beside it to save space and add warmth. With the lack of space in mind, Lorna found a compact vanity-toilet unit that perfectly slotted into the corner of the room, providing a much-needed storage cupboard for essentials and a countertop beside the sink.

Bathroom makeover: 'Our bathroom feels like a mini boutique hotel'
By carefully choosing compact pieces that fit into the space, Lorna and James were able to open up the bathroom so it feels much larger than before

The poorly-positioned plumbing for the toilet was moved back inside the unit, which further opened up the space and kept everything neat. ‘We adore our new bathroom – it feels like we’re in a boutique hotel now, rather than a student house,’ says Lorna. ‘It also feels so much lighter and more open, and it’s so much easier to get ready for the day ahead. We love it!’


Shopping list…

Metropolis star tiles in black, 450 x 450mm, £24.64 per sq m; Super Relief bumpy white wall tiles, 250 x 400mm, £9.99 per sq m, both Tile Mountain. Harbour Icon compact 900mm vanity and toilet suite in Avola Grey, £354.98; Butler & Rose Catherine traditional back to wall pan, £94.99, both Tap Warehouse. Hudson Reed 900mm shower screen, £137.95, Heat & Plumb. Blyss 1100 x 500mm towel radiator in black, £42.99; Watersmith Heritage Newlyn thermostatic shower, £103.99; Tunstall mini mono mixer tap, £19.99; all Screwfix. Brushed brass tumbler, £5; brushed brass toilet brush, £12; black matte pedestal mirror, £6; gold diamond hanging mirror, £4; all Dunelm. Hanging gold planter, £6.99; brass planter, £6; DW Home Warm Tobacco Pipe candle, £6.99, all TK Maxx. Grey waffle bath towels, £12.99 each, H&M. Glass and brass trinket pot, £24.95, Rex London. Plants, from a selection; black plant pot, £10; all B&Q.

This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Your Home magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?