How to convert an old room into a bathroom

Whether you transform a whole room or just a part of it, a new bathroom can add value to your property

From open-plan bedroom/bathrooms and self-contained bathroom units to whole-room conversions, even the smallest new bathroom needs many big decisions. Our simple guide will help get you started.

Do your research

Good planning right from the beginning will pay dividends. Creating a bathroom from scratch involves lots of trades, including plumbers, electricians, plasterers, tilers and decorators. You will need time to commission them and work out how they will work together.

Things to consider from the outset

Where is the main soil stack? How close are existing hot and cold water pipes? How much waterproofing will your design require and where are the joists? All these questions will affect your design and your budget so consider them early on.

Check if you need planning permission by calling your local planning office. It is important to do this early before you spend any money.

Consider a self contained unit

If the room you want to convert is big enough you might want to consider a self-contained unit. This is essentially a box to house the bathroom, while the rest of the space would function as a bedroom.

Because you won’t lose a bedroom, installing a self-contained unit could potentially safeguard the value of your home.

Be open to dual-purpose rooms

We are used to open-plan kitchens, but what about an open-plan bedroom? Size is key, but if you do have a large bedroom why not create a master suite within it? You would be adding value to an existing bedroom rather than losing a whole bedroom to a conversion.

This type of scheme works best with a partial wall that can be used to house units. Crucially, it can also hide pipework. A built-in shelving wall and shower unit is the ideal, with a separate WC factored in outside the space.

Consider an architect

An architect’s knowledge and clever design solutions will be worth the expense, but remember an architect may require payment upfront.

Plan down to the finest detail

Visit showrooms armed with a tape measure for sinks, bathtubs, shower trays, shower screens and towel rails. Before you buy anything, make sure you mark out exactly where each item will go in the room or space you are planning to convert.

Pick the right fixtures

Get your plumber to do a water pressure test. This will ensure you have adequate pressure for the type of taps and showerhead you’d like to use.

Get quotes

Call in at least two or three quotes from reputable bathroom fitters. This is particularly important if your new bathroom will require structural work.

How much should a bathroom conversion cost?

The cost of converting a spare room to a bathroom will depend on where essentials such as the soil stack and water supply are in relation to the room. This will vary enormously from property to property so it’s important to get at least two or three quotes. An open-plan bathroom design would cost between around £8,000 and £10,000.

Find lots more bathroom design inspiration at Grand Designs Live, where a number of top bathroom companies will be exhibiting.

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