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6 May 2019

Five ways to cut the cost of your new bathroom

Finding an independent bathroom fitter is the most common trick amongst bargain-hunting Which? members
Large modern bathroom

In our survey of nearly 4,000 Which? members, we found that 60% of them had been able to reduce the cost of their new bathroom. Follow our tips to spend less on your next bathroom project without cutting on quality.

Last year, we asked homeowners* who had updated their bathroom in the previous 10 years what tricks they had used to stick to their budgets.

We also asked people to rate the durability of their bathroom suite overall and the individual components - you don't want paying less to end up beinga false economy.

Read on to discover the five most popular tips from our members.

Find out how people rate well-known bathroom retailers, including B&Q, Bathstore, Homebase, Plumb Center and Victoria Plum, in our bathroom reviews.

Five ways to get a cheaper bathroom

We asked those who saved money exactly how they did it - here are the five most commonly used tactics:

While 30% of people had their bathroom installed by the same company they bought it from, most people (41%) found an installer themselves.

Our guide to bathroom installation reveals what customers think of the installation services provided by big national retailers.

But if you'd rather use a reliable, recommended local bathroom fitter in your area, head to Which? Trusted Traders. All our traders have been through a rigorous assessment by expert assessors.

Sourcing your own components for your bathroom could well save you a tidy sum. Just because you're purchasing your main bathroom ceramics from one company doesn't mean you need to use them for all the extras as well. Just make sure everything will look good together and arrive in time for your installation.

As one Which? member told us: 'We checked prices online, and if we could get fixtures and fittings cheaper somewhere other than our bathroom company, we did. But for the main things, we stuck with the bathroom company, for consistency with the quality and the timing of the delivery.'

Another commented: 'We checked components online and then asked our independent company to match the prices we'd found.'

For more first-hand tips and a detailed planning guide, visit our page on bathroom suites.

Consider a bathroom's durability

Small bathroom

As well as thinking about how much a bathroom will cost overall, it's important to think about whether you're getting value for money. A cheap bathroom suite may not be worth the saving if it soon breaks or shows signs of wear and tear.

Last year, we asked bathroom customers about the durability of their bathroom suite.

Only three big brands were rated four stars out of five overall.

A number of brands got the highest rating for some components, but only one big brand scored four or five stars across the board.

Below is a sneak peak at the best and worst brands' durability scores. Head to our guide to the best and worst bathroom brands tp unlock the results and read more on each brand.

Overall durabilityBathShower cubicleSinkToilet
1st place
2nd place
10th place
11th place

Updating your bathroom on a budget

If you're on a really tight budget, you might be better off updating parts of your bathroom rather than replacing it completely.

Cleaning and regrouting tiles, for example, can transform a tired old bathroom, especially if it's harbouring mould.

You can buy specialist pens to colour over old grout once it's been cleaned with an anti-mould spray, or for bigger jobs you may need to remove and replace the grout completely.

Fully tilled grey bathroom

Retiling key areas, such as above or around a sink, can refresh a tired bathroom, as can a new lick of paint. Make sure you use bathroom-suitable paint that can withstand high humidity. If you can, buy anti-mould paint to stave off future problems.

In our survey, one bathroom furniture brand got 84% and the bottom 59%. Head to our guide to bathroom furniture brands to find out which comes top.

Adding better storage units to your bathroom can declutter and bring a new lease of life. You might find some bargains at non-specialist retailers, such as Ikea or Dunelm.

Lastly, don't forget accessories - a new towel rail or toilet roll holder could make all the difference. See our page on bathroom design ideas for inspiration and tips.

Our research on bathrooms

In February 2018 we asked 3,982 Which? members about the bathroom suite (bath, toilet and sink) and bathroom furniture they had bought in the previous ten years, asking about their experiences of the brand they bought from and their installer.