Saturday 27 February 2016

En Suite Redecorating | The Cost-effective Way

Since we moved into our house the en suite's the only room that's had hardly any improvements. We did replace the cream floor tiles a few years ago with a silvery grey wood laminate. After the floor went down I painted a feature wall, put up a corner shelf and a Roman blind with a wood detail above it, but apart from those things that was more or less it.

Even though I'm never unenthusiastic about redecorating I suppose my slight lack of enthusiasm with this room came from the fact that no one ever sees our en suite apart from me, David and the boys, so other rooms became priorities. But it was time to give this room some attention and finish what I'd started a few years before.

The main area I wanted to change was the sink; the toilet was fine and the shower tiles could wait. The room also needed to be repainted. My plan for the sink area involved changing the basin taps and white splash back tiles. I was going to replace a white plastic light over the mirror which I never liked, for two reasons... one, it was crooked, and two, it was plastic. I really dislike plastic! I was also going to replace the sink which had gotten really scratched and grubby over the years.

As usual, I began my planning on Pinterest where I saw some beautiful bathrooms with walls painted in gorgeous greys by Benjamin Moore paints. Benjamin Moore is an American paint company with a stunning colour palate and the paints are now stocked in MRCB paints.

I payed a visited and picked up some paint cards and testers, finally deciding on "Grége Avenue" - a warm smoky brown colour.

I calculated the project would probably cost about €350 in total and crossed my fingers. Sometimes it helps to cross your fingers when you're doing maths, especially for home improvements!

Before I started, the room was more or less all white. The tiles were white, the walls were white and the sanitary ware was white. I usually love the colour white in a room, I've chosen it as the wall colour for the two boys' rooms; but in the en suite the room had no texture with no natural finishes anywhere. Anything that was white was enamelled or plastic so the room felt cold and insipid. I was hoping that the new colour would bring a warmth to the room that it lacked in white.

I chose the regal paint finish in matte. Not usual for bathrooms but I just love the luxurious look a room achieves in matte paints.

I started by painting the back wall. As soon as the colour was up I loved it, but when I started on the other walls I thought it looked a little too dark. So, change of plan... I decided if I painted a lighter colour on the other three walls I'd still get the effect of the gorgeous colour without it feeling too dark and enclosed.

I added some of the Grége Avenue to Brilliant White paint in an attempt to lighten it slightly for the other walls.

I got a mixing bucket, found a wooden spoon, added small amounts of paint and stirred like crazy until I got the colour I wanted. Not a very high-tech way of mixing paint but it worked!

I was much happier with the new lighter colour in the scheme, and it still kept the south facing room very bright. The colour also matched a porcelain knob from Zara Home which I'd replaced on the wall cabinet - bonus!

The Grége Avenue was perfect with the silvery-grey wood laminate floor, and the dark Roman blind with the ornate wood detail above, looked much better next to the new colour.

Now it was time for all the other jobs! Replacing the sink also meant the ugly pipes that were on show at the back would be hidden as the new pedestal could be pushed back to cover them.

Unlike our main bathroom, where the professionals were needed for the majority of the work, this time we managed to do everything ourselves apart from the tiling. And by ourselves I mean me, my Dad and David's Dad.

First of all, changing that crooked, white plastic light. I found a chrome light in HomeBase that I liked and bought, and phoned my Dad. I don't know exactly what he did but "Thanks Dad, it looks great"!

Next it was time to remove the old splash back tiles, and replace the sink and taps. That's where David's Dad's help was needed and was much appreciated. During the sink revamp I learnt a couple of lessons, apparently you can replace the basin top and keep the existing pedestal (if it's the same colour of course) and a basin top is only around 40 euro. I was delighted. I expected the sink to cost over €100. What I also learnt was that crossing your fingers really works!

Next the tiles. I went to Tile style and picked up two sheets of marble hexagon tiles. They were on sale. It was after Christmas and there was 20% off a selection of tiles. The tiles came to a total of €30.

I chose a chrome trim for the tiles instead of a white plastic one. The chrome trim was €23 which I thought was a little steep. I found out afterwards though, apparently if you go next door to TJ O' Mahoney the trims are cheaper. That's where I bought the sink. They're really nice and very helpful. Must remember this for next time!

The taps from Homebase were on sale too, and at the time of posting this still are.. The total saving from the tiles and taps was €28. I'm not going to mention my secret to doing calculations for home projects again but I seriously think you need to consider my method for your next one!

I adore the tiles and am so happy that I decided to replace the white ones. The tiling was tricky because of the hexagon shape, each one needed to be individually cut to square off the edges so an experienced tiler was needed. The cost of labour for putting up the new tiles was €50. I supplied the adhesive and grout so the total cost came to €65.

The new chrome taps replacing the existing white ones are a nice feature on the new sink, and the taps match my favourite hand soap #happyaccident.

I hadn't planned on doing this but I also put up a second corner shelf. I found a similar shelf in Woodies the exact same size and I had the paint - Elephant's breath by Farrow & Ball - a colour I've used throughout the house in various places as well as the exterior. The colour ended up being an almost exact match to the paler wall colour I mixed myself. I wanted these shelves to blend in so the colour was perfect.

Just before the room was finished I found an ornate glass blind pull in Next Home (the old one was plastic, and white..). I was determined to get as much of the plastic out of that room as possible!



I love, love, LOVE how the updated ensuite looks. The repainting has made it look so much richer and has given a real plush feel to this small space. The wall colour has definitely pulled everything together; the floor, splash back tiles, and walls now all work in harmony and the room has a real depth instead of looking bland like it once did. The Benjamin Moore paint has such a lovely rich texture and hue and makes this tiny room now feel luxurious and opulent.

The total price for everything came in at €330 - under budget. I would definitely recommend Benjamin Moore paints. And if you're thinking of redecorating an en suite and can do as much of the project yourself or get any husbands, Dads (sisters even!) to help then do! It makes a revamp extremely cost-effective.


1. Grège Avenue, Benjamin Moore - MRCB Paints

2. Dulux Easycare Satinwood for skirting boards - Woodies

3. Bristan basin taps - Homebase

4. Helsinki wall light - Homebase

5. Sink - T J O'Mahony

6. Tiles & trim - Tile Style

7. Tile grout & adhesive - Homebase

8. Tiler - Robert 087 6556572

9. Wooden corner shelf - Woodies

10. Glass blind pull - Next home


  1. It looks fab! Really nice and luxurious which is rare in an en suite I find!! We have just gone sale agreed on a house we were bidding on for 2 weeks, I can't wait to get in and get stuck into some DIY and decorating (fingers crossed the sale goes through smoothly!!)

    1. Congratulations! Lucky you with all those exciting home projects to look forward to! I must remember to drop those books I have into Emma for you, I'm writing that on my todo list now :-)

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