Couple reveal how they gave their 'damp downstairs toilet' a stunning makeover for just £222

3 January 2022, 12:46

The couple didn't want to spend too much on the rental property
The couple didn't want to spend too much on the rental property. Picture: LatestDeals.co.uk
Heart reporter

By Heart reporter

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

After they were quoted £650 by local builders for labour alone, one DIY-mad couple decided to work together to transform their very grotty WC.

A couple sickened by the ‘damp, mouldy and stained’ downstairs loo in their rental property completely overhauled it for just £222.

Michelle Collett, 45, and her partner Sean Smalley, 36, grew fed up with the grotty WC, which they claim “leaked brown liquid” as well as being thoroughly unappealing to look at.

Michelle said: “We needed to renovate our downstairs loo. The whole room was damp, mouldy and stained despite trying to clean it and it leaked brown liquid. We had to keep the window open, use an air freshener and keep the door closed until we could do the work.”

The couple, from Durham, originally approached local builders who quoted them £650 for the labour alone before they decided to tackle it themselves.

READ NOW: DIY-mad mum redecorate 4 bedrooms for less than £1,500 - and the results will astound you

Michelle Collett
Michelle Collett and Sean Smalley decided to tackle the project themselves . Picture: LatestDeals.co.uk

They used materials from B&Q and Facebook Marketplace, and accessories from B&M, Poundland, IKEA and Sainsbury’s. 

Thankfully Michelle works as a bathroom and kitchen designer for B&Q so was able to bring her professional expertise to the project, as well as call upon skills from her side job working as an events decorator.

She told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "I have a huge interest in interior design and I work for B&Q designing kitchens and bathrooms.

The original toilet, and the leaking plumbing beneath
The original toilet, and the leaking plumbing beneath. Picture: LatestDeals.co.uk

"I also have a part-time wedding and events decor business, so I am very creative. I shop around for bargains and freebies all the time and collect things until I have enough to do a room up!

"While shopping for wallpaper last November online at I Love Wallpaper, I came across the Dalmatian print and fell in love so I bought one roll of it for £20 and knew exactly where it was going to go. 

READ NOW: This calendar will make 2022 the year you get decluttered

The floor before and after it was relaid with £40 lino
The floor before and after it was relaid with £40 lino. Picture: LatestDeals.co.uk

"I designed the toilet around the wallpaper. I got the basin free off Facebook Marketplace, the tap for £15 from IKEA and the accessories for £40 from B&M, Poundland, IKEA and Sainsbury’s.”

But it wasn’t as simple as just repapering the space - they had a fair bit of reparative DIY to do first, something Sean was able to do thanks to the skills from his job as a flat roofer.

Michelle said: "When we started to rip it out, there were huge holes in the walls, which needed to be filled quite deep.

The finished WC, with Dalmatian wallpaper and smart black accessories
The finished WC, with Dalmatian wallpaper and smart black accessories. Picture: LatestDeals.co.uk

“We had a load of leftover wood and MDF from previous tasks and old furniture, so my boyfriend decided to use it for boxing in and covering the high holes.

"The bottom half of the walls were in quite a bad condition and with it being a rental, we didn't want to spend a lot. 

Clever accessories and details make the space seem much bigger
Clever accessories and details make the space seem much bigger. Picture: LatestDeals.co.uk

“So we decided to fill and sand the holes and add some beading to give it a panel look and painted it black. We were very worried about painting it black in case it made it look too small but it has worked very well. 

"We used B&Q GoodHome Liberty Emulsion paint and the matching furniture paint for the wood. We spent £15 on the paint. The ceiling was in such a bad state that we got some PVC ceiling panelling from B&Q for £17 and used that. 

The couple used PVC panelling for the ceiling, inset - how it was originally
The couple used PVC panelling for the ceiling, inset - how it was originally. Picture: LatestDeals.co.uk

"We then went looking for lino and came across one for £40 a roll so I then decided to add gold into the theme too. The plumbing cost £30 and the toilet cost £45.”

Michelle told the money-saving website that she was most proud of the finished result because of her decision to slightly change the layout of the room.

Putting the toilet at an angle created more space
Putting the toilet at an angle created more space. Picture: LatestDeals.co.uk

She added: "We decided to put the toilet on an angle to give us more legroom and to be able to have a basin in as there wasn't one before. 

"I absolutely love it and am so glad that I went with my idea. "

But that's not the only way to make a smaller space look bigger.

She added: "Once I started putting all the accessories into the room, it totally transformed it and made the room look bigger. I would urge anyone with a small space not to be scared to go with a bold colour. The trick is to add mirrors for extra light and good lighting."