When renovating her Victorian house, Karen Clough decided to convert a spare room into a luxurious bathroom bursting with colour


Here, she tells us all about her bathrooom makeover experience...

Karen's story

With our busy family life, we craved our own bathroom so we would have somewhere to wind down without the kids’ clutter taking over.

'We turned a bedroom into our colourful en-suite'
Before the makeover, Karen's bathroom was a lacklustre bedroom

We spent ages playing with the layout on the first floor before deciding to turn the spare bedroom into a luxurious en-suite.

Joe went to school with our builder, so we knew we could trust him to do a good job.

'We turned a bedroom into our colourful en-suite'
Karen’s builder advised her against installing black taps as they can wear and tear quickly. Instead, she went for chrome fittings which are in keeping with the period style of their house

He started by knocking through a supporting wall in our master bedroom into the new bathroom space.

We hit our first stumbling block when our bathroom company went bust.

Welcome to my home...

A bit about me I’m Karen Clough, a blogger at welliguessthisisgrowingup.co.uk. I live with my husband, Joe, and our two children, Luna, five, and Iris, one, and Pebbles the cat. Our home is a five-bed Victorian house in Manchester. I post interior updates on my Instagram @karenanita

My problem bathroom The previous owners renovated the property in the 90s and had created an independent living space on the first floor for their elderly parents. There was lots of space that we didn’t use so we decided to turn one of the dated bedrooms into an en-suite.

'We turned a bedroom into our colourful en-suite'

We eventually got our money back, but it set us behind schedule by months.

We did what we could in the meantime, including laying the floor tiles and upcycling the vanity unit.

'We turned a bedroom into our colourful en-suite'
The Ted Baker Indigo floor tiles were a bargain basement find. Karen bought two square metres more than she needed, just in case some of the tiles were broken on delivery. She then used the leftover tiles to cover the fireplace hearth in her master bedroom

Our plumber also dry fitted the sink and taps so that they were ready to go when our new suite turned up.

I love colour, so I based the design of the space around my favourite shades like lilac, yellow, blues and pinks.

A bit more about my bathroom...

How I made it work We hired a builder to knock through a new doorway, put in pipework and install electrics. We decorated with pastel pink wall tiles and lots of colour. 

My favourite part I love that it’s our very own grown-up sanctuary with lots of luxury elements. It can only be accessed via the master bedroom so it’s all ours to enjoy.

'We turned a bedroom into our colourful en-suite'

I purposefully choose traditional fixtures and fittings to give a classic twist to the modern look.

'We turned a bedroom into our colourful en-suite'
Karen and Joe hired a builder to convert a spare bedroom into their colourful en-suite. Their builder put in all the pipework and electrics, while the couple took on the finishing touches themselves, like upcycling the bright yellow vanity unit

Our bathroom was finished last August and although it was a long journey to get here – six months in total – the end result makes me very happy.

I never used to bother with taking baths, but now I love to wind down at the end of the day with a long hot soak.

Style advice

Embrace colour

For colour ideas, look beyond bathroom brochures and take inspiration from what’s around you, like Karen whose imagination was sparked just by looking in her wardrobe.

'We turned a bedroom into our colourful en-suite'

‘When choosing colours for your bathroom, think about what shades you love wearing and use them in your scheme with tiling and accessories,’ she says.

If you’re worried about going OTT on the colour front, balance the look – like Karen has – with matt black detailing, a monochrome floor or build colour up with accessories.

Consider lighting carefully

Before you decide on lights, think about how you use each area and what kind of atmosphere you want to create.

'We turned a bedroom into our colourful en-suite'

For example, bulbs over and to the side of a mirror are great for doing make-up; exposed pendant bulbs create a contemporary look, while wall lights can create a relaxing feel.

Karen customised her lighting to get the effect she wanted. ‘We had dimmable switches installed on our spotlights and wall lamp, which is perfect for relaxing in the bathtub in the evenings.’

Opt for practical storage

Used first thing in the morning and last thing at night, the bathroom can be a busy space, so plan in details that will make it
as efficient as possible.

'We turned a bedroom into our colourful en-suite'

Wanting the en-suite to be free of clutter, Karen converted a sideboard into a spacious vanity unit with pull-out drawers providing plenty of storage space and room on top for double sinks and mirrors.

‘The mornings can get really busy in here with the two of us getting ready,’ says Karen, ‘that’s why his ‘n’ her sinks were an important part of our bathroom design.’


Feature Maxine Brady. Photos Colin Poole.

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