top of page

6 ways to totally blow your bathroom renovation budget

Everyone starts a project with the good intentions of creating and sticking to a budget for their home renovation. But unless you start with a realistic expectation of what that budget should be, then it's easy to overspend. Plus... those fancy Spanish tiles you saw were really pretty and you just can't say no... I get it.

calcatta tile bathroom renovation with gold arch mirror
Project 18 bathroom renovation

"How much does a bathroom renovation cost?"

We get this question all the time and it's almost impossible to say. It depends primarily on two things, which are hugely variable depending on your space and your style:

  • The cost of materials

  • The cost of labour

That said, I know you didn't wanna read this post and not get some kind of answer, so I typically ballpark 40-60,000 AED for a bathroom renovation. There. I said it.

Now I'll tell you how to totally blow that out of the water.

#1 - Get a freestanding bath

Everyone wants to luxuriate in a free-standing bath with one of those fancy bath trays holding a glass of wine and an episode of Love Island in the iPad, right?

OK well anyway, even an entry-level freestanding bath can cost 6 times more than it's inset counterpart. So if you're looking to blow your bathroom renovation budget in one fell swoop, this is a great place to start.

#2 - Treat yourself to some massive slabs

You know, the really huge ones that run from floor to ceiling. Yeah, them. They can cost 2-3 times more than smaller cut tiles. Pretty. But not so friendly on the budget.

That said, watch out for the reallllly small mosaic tiles too - they can cost a pretty penny. So just try and stay somewhere in the middle. Medium tiles. Average. Nothing to see here.

Calcatta marble bathroom slabs
Beautiful bathroom slabs

"Big slabs. Beautiful for giving a seamless feel to your bathroom. Bad for tight budgets."

#3 - Move your toilet

One of the most expensive things you can do in a bathroom is move the position of the WC, as it usually involves coring new drainage. And in the case of my own home, additional costs were incurred after the contractor failed to close up the pipe one evening and flooded most of the living room downstairs. Cool.

Anyway, the more changes you make to your layout, the more labour is gonna cost. Simple.

#4 - Invest in custom joinery

Bathrooms need loads of storage, it's true. A vanity, a linen cupboard maybe with a built-in laundry drawer. Dreamy.

Designer tip* If you've overspent on your Spanish terracotta floor tiles and you're looking to make up some of the gap, check out Fronteriors - a beautiful facelift for the ever-functional IKEA cabinet that will give you a custom look without the price tag. And they do bathroom vanities, who knew!

#5 - Tile everywhere

Want to spend more on your bathroom renovation? Buy more tiles.

Don't want to spend more on your bathroom renovation? Buy fewer tiles and paint in some of the dry areas instead.

#6 - Hire a designer

Yep, it'll cost you money in the short term but it will help you save money (and time, which as we know, equals money) in the long term because we understand points 1-5, and can help make sure you in fact *don't* overspend on your bathroom renovation.

That said, we're not magicians so if you're really looking to do it on the cheap, probably don't adhere to point 6...


Becki Willis, Studio Van Oliver founder

Need help planning your new bathroom? From bespoke consultations to full renovation support, get in touch to find out how we can help.


Studio Van Oliver is a UAE-based interior design studio, specialising in residential design, home renovation and styling.

We love creating spaces that - quite simply - feel like home. Warm and welcoming spaces that evoke that ‘ahh’ moment. The feeling you get when you flop into bed after a long day; the glow of a lamp at night; a cup of tea in a quiet house.


Little moments of peace, comfort, reflection.


bottom of page