Buyer's guides:

Bathroom decorating 101

Starting from scratch? Use our guide to get the basics of your bathroom decor right.

When your bathroom’s in need of a whole new look, and you’re ready to DIY, here’s what you should know. 

 btw corner bath

Back to wall Bath, 


The key to a successful paint job is good preparation.

• To get previously painted walls ready for a fresh finish, wash them down using sugar soap – available from DIY stores – which will remove any grease, marks or flaking finishes. Wear gloves to protect your skin; goggles will shield your eyes from splashes. Rinse with clean water.

• Fill any small holes using interior filler – a tub of a ready mixed makes life easy. Leave to dry.

• Lightly sand the wall to provide a key for the paint. Put down dust sheets before you begin, dust down the sanded surface when you’ve finished, and vacuum thoroughly. Wear a mask for safety.

Now, you’re ready to paint, choose between a bathroom paint, made specially for an area with high humidity, or a water-based emulsion. If you pick the latter, you might want to look for a wipeable option.

• Use a paint kettle – a smaller container that’s easier to move round the room with. Line it with foil, which can be thrown away when you’ve finished so you don’t have to keep cleaning the container. Stir the paint and pour into the paint kettle so it’s around a third full. 

• Paint from the top of each wall, using horizontal and vertical strokes, and completing one wall at a time. Allow to dry.

• You’ll need to apply a second coat, and possibly a third if you’re painting over a dark colour.

This bathroom’s painted in Hague Blue, Farrow & Ball




Some bathroom flooring needs professional fitting. Want to DIY? Try these strategies.

• Old floorboards can be revamped if you hire a drum sander. Knock any protruding nails into the surface and nail down any loose boards before you start. You’ll also need to use a rotary edge sander for the edges of the room, and a hand sander or sanding block to work right into the corners. Vacuum the newly sanded floor and wipe with a lint-free cloth before applying varnish.

• Click-together laminate flooring is available for the bathroom – never install a laminate that isn’t designed to be used in this room.

• Self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles are another DIY option to change the look of your bathroom.


Preserve your dignity with a practical bathroom window dressing.

• Plain or decorative film can be applied to the glass using soapy water and a squeegee. This design is from Purlfrost .


• Many roller blinds can be cut to fit your window recess – but check the particular blind before you buy.

• If you’re confident in your measuring and fitting skills, consider DIY fitting shutters for a sleek finish.


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