I was quoted £4K to do up my bathroom but did it myself using bargains from Amazon and saved thousands

IF YOUR bathroom is in need of a serious overhaul but you don’t want to spend thousands of pounds giving it a new lease of life, look to this DIY-savvy mum for inspiration.

Monica Farrelly, 45, a pharmacist and mum to two boys, transformed her bathroom into a chic monochrome space for under £500.

The Glasgow mum was able to save thousands by doing the bathroom herself, as she estimates that hiring professionals would have cost around £4,000.

Monica took inspiration from Pinterest and used budget materials such as Frenchic paint, Amazon stick-on tiles and even a free scaffolding board as a shelf.

Monica told the money-saving LatestDeals: “I decided to become self-employed as a locum a year ago, giving me better opportunities to do the things I enjoy best – to create interiors, make furniture and basically just to nurture my creative side.

"The idea for my bathroom came from an extension of what I had already created in my hallway and kitchen.

"Having already spent so much on those other areas, I decided to do it on the cheap as my budget wouldn’t stretch to a brand new suite and tiles.

"I noted some tips and inspiration on some Facebook groups, took lots of inspiration from Pinterest and of course from my favourite interior magazines.

"My vision was of an industrial feel mixed with natural wood and greenery plus a hint of glam.

"My creative process really took off when my partner took our boys to see family in France for a few days, giving me the perfect opportunity to revamp the bathroom and use it as a surprise for when they got home!

"My process for most of my projects generally involves an attitude of ‘try something, see if it works, if not, change it!’

"I knew I wanted crisp white in the shower area with nearby greenery, then a more sophisticated industrial-style boudoir for the rest.” 

Monica explained how she achieved the stunning DIY bathroom. 

She said: “First, I prepped the bath panel and the wall tiles throughout the bathroom using sugar soap. This helped remove any residual dirt or grime built up over time.

"Next, I lightly sanded the tiles using my orbital sander on a 120 grit. This provided a better surface for the paint to adhere to.

"I removed the toilet roll holder, wall cupboard and towel rail with ease, however, the old concertina bath screen took a good couple of hours to remove.

"The fixing bracket fitted to the main wall tiles and was held in place using the expected Rawlplugs and screws, but the thick yellow industrial-type glue for additional security was definitely not expected!

"This was my original family home and my dad worked in the shipyards, so my guess was that it came from there.

"Using a hammer and wallpaper scraper, I finally managed to prise it off the tiles, but with resultant damage to them. Around six were either cracked or completely broken.

"After receiving advice from a tiler, it was advised that I remove the broken ones and replace them with new ones. 

“Given that the tiles were from the ’80s, finding tiles that size was virtually impossible.

"My only option was to buy bigger ones and cut them exactly to size. This I did with my jigsaw and diamond blade attachment.

"Thankfully I have a lot of patience, so after a few hours of finely shaving and sanding tiny bits off, I managed to have the perfect fit. I secured them using tile adhesive and grout."

Monica then began painting the bathroom, with bargain paint from Frenchic.

She explained: "Once I had decided what height to have the contrasting colours meet, I used frog tape to ensure a straight edge.

"I decided after research to use the Frenchic Al Fresco paint. 

“It’s a chalk and mineral-based paint which leaves a matte finish. It’s known for its durability and is waterproof.

"Two coats took around three hours to complete. I removed the frog tape and started on the white Dazzle Me paint, again using paintbrushes.

"The flooring was my next job. I prepped it again using sugar soap. I decided to lay it on top of the existing linoleum.

"The tiles themselves were self-adhesive and were extremely sticky. For the tricky areas around the sink and toilet, I used scrap backing paper along with a pencil to give me a template.

"I used the template, making gradual changes until it became a perfect job. It was a bit tedious but well worth the result.

"I also used contact adhesive spray in areas I felt would have been prone to more moisture and heat, just to give it some extra security. Finally, I sealed off the edges around the sink and toilet with black sealant to finish the job.

“The final jobs included fitting a new dark blind. This was easy as the previous pilot hole fixings were in exactly the position I needed the new one to be in. I also fitted a new black toilet seat, replacing the existing white one.

"The fitting of the bath screen was a little trickier as it was really heavy and fitting it needed to be exact. Firstly I fitted the wall bracket for the screen to slide into, then with some help I managed to accurately secure it in place."

Monica was able to source some scaffolding boards from her friend Paddy to create rustic-looking shelves.

She said: I cut them to the size I wanted using my circular saw, let them dry out a little then sanded them.

“Lastly, I oiled them using some leftover worktop oil from my kitchen. I secured them to the wall using Rawlplugs and screws, using a special tile drill bit to ensure I didn’t crack or damage my tiles.

"My last job was to fit a new light. My existing one screwed directly into the ceiling, so I needed to fit a new drop-down pendant then fit my light shade.

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"Equipped with my head torch and ensuring the mains was switched off, I set about changing the ceiling rose. I discovered after unscrewing the existing wiring that the old wiring system was in place from the mains!

"After a quick bit hesitant search on Google, while my two young boys waited patiently for the internet to return, I worked out what wire went where and reconnected it all.

“I fitted the pendant to the ceiling, inserted the bulb then the light shade, popped the mains back on to excitedly discover it had worked! My kids were so happy for me too that I had achieved it!”

Monica’s tips for DIY bathrooms

Plan and take plenty of inspiration from your favourite magazine and Pinterest on the look you’re trying to achieve.

Don’t be afraid of failure. If you don’t like it, it can be simply changed.

And if something breaks, it can be fixed!

Share your work as it may inspire others.

Play great music whilst you create and work on your project – it’ll encourage and inspire you further!

Monica is thrilled with the outcome of her project and with the thousands of pounds she has saved by doing it herself.

She added: "I feel so proud of the look I’ve created and how much better my house looks overall – it just ties everything together!”

"Cost-wise, without the plants and decorations, it cost me just under £500 to complete, where £280 of that was the bath screen and the storage cabinet.

"Looking online at your typical DIY store, I reckon it would have cost around £2,000 to do a similar job.

“That's without the cost of the workmen to complete the plumbing and tiling, so possibly £4,000 with those costs included.

"I feel absolutely elated to have completed this myself.

"I’ve always been quite hands-on when it comes to DIY, and it’s a constant learning curve. 

“I feel so proud of what I have achieved in a short space of time and would do it again in a heartbeat.

"My sons encourage me too, telling me ‘well done, Mum, it looks amazing' – they’re so sweet and are my complete inspiration to keep creating!

Meanwhile, I’m a skint first-time buyer but people can’t believe the glow-up I’ve given my new build – and it was all on a budget.

Also, people never believe what’s inside our tiny van, we spent months doing it up & it’s even got a home CINEMA.

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