Project: A (partial) bathroom refurb

My house is nearly as old as me, which is a bit disconcerting when you see the state of it when I first moved in. It can be overwhelming moving from a two bed rental into a three bed home, especially when you’re on a budget – where do you start?

Although I had a few essential pieces with me when I moved in, a bathroom is not really something you can take with you, so what you see below is what I got – for about a year unfortunately.


My bathroom when I first moved in. The tiles and sanitary ware were original (c. 1983) but the blue carpet flooring and magnolia walls were a relatively new addition. Photo: Alexia McInerney

I agonised over how I was going to fit storage into the room when the only spare space was above the bath, when I found this little ingenious design at IKEA. So off I popped for a day trip to the Dublin store to pick up the €80 unit, taking a last minute obligatory trip to the clearance section and – tadaah! – there it was, hot off display and reduced down to €40. Which of course left me with a whole bundle of cash to raid the TK Maxx storage section for these natural wood and straw boxes, all €20 or less.


My new bathroom shelving courtesy of IKEA’s clearance section and TK Maxx. The printed ceramic tiles were on sale at the Tile Warehouse, Limerick.  Photo: Alexia McInerney

Despite my love for colour, my bathroom has developed into a neutral space. I need calm in my mornings and all these washed out tones and natural textures soften the blow of the dreaded early mornings. Sometimes it’s the only space in this small house suitable for time out (the relaxed mummy kind not the cranky kiddie kind). My bathroom  has a long way to go – there are patches of plaster missing and the sanitary ware has seen better days but in the meantime I will aspire to minimalist bathroom sanctuaries like these (note the black roll top bathtubs in all three images – clearly the next thing on my wish list).

Click here for more bathroom inspiration on the Rough House Style Pinterest board.






  1. kddomingue

    Wow! What a FABULOUS improvement for such a small pricetag!


    1. Alexia McInerney

      Thank you! It helps that my bathroom is teeny!


      1. kddomingue

        Teeny doesn’t negate a fabulous job on a bitty budget! And it’s so bright ,clean and fresh….. I’m impressed. You’ve made me rethink large tiles for the wall. We remodeled our master bath (which, while not teeny, isn’t big either) with white subway tile (which I love!) and a clawfoot tub. Our second bath IS teeny and will have a walk-in shower and no tub. I’m thinking that the tile you used would be perfect!


      2. Alexia McInerney

        I think big tiles and a understated colour does wonders for a small bathroom. Good luck!!


      3. kddomingue

        Thanks! I know some people like a lot of color in a bathroom but I prefer white or white with a hint of color. I find understated is best in a small bath.


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