how to decorate a bathroom

How to Decorate a Bathroom

Decorating your bathroom is a DIY job that almost anyone can do in a number of ways, including painting and tiling.

At some point, we all have to decorate the bathroom in some way. From sprucing up the walls with some paint to paying out for a complete makeover and everything in between. But what can you do? How do you decorate a bathroom?

Well, Plumbworld is here to help you out. We’re going to discuss the main ways you can refresh your bathroom by decorating the walls and floors. Plus, we’ll guide you through the processes of each one so you feel confident doing it yourself.

Read on to find how to decorate your bathroom and the different options available to you…

Which paint should I use in a bathroom?

Which paint should I use in a bathroom?

Painting your bathroom is a unique challenge which you won’t experience in other parts of your home, except for in your kitchen, perhaps.

There are few rooms in your house as challenging as the bathroom for decorating, especially with paint. The bathroom is frequently filled with steam, gets wet and it also gets cleaned with some of the harshest chemicals in the home. So, your paint needs to be able to deal with these things.

What are the types of paint to choose for the bathroom?

What are the types of paint to choose for the bathroom?

There are plenty of paints designed specially for bathrooms. Some have higher water-resistant properties than others and you need to choose the one which suits your circumstances. 

For example, if your bathroom is well ventilated and does not suffer from damp or condensation, you may choose a paint which is less resistant than others.

Flat Paint

These paints are not suitable for bathrooms. They are not really washable and tend to absorb moisture making them, therefore, not suitable for wet areas.

Matt Paint 

These paints have been designed for bathrooms. It is easier to apply than gloss and will work well.

Satin Paint 

This is suitable for bathrooms where there is little moisture in the air. This type of paint might be ideal for little-used, low-moisture rooms such as toilets or cloakrooms, where there is good ventilation.

bathroom paint types

Semi-Gloss Paint

This paint is perfect for most bathrooms. It has a high sheen and will repel moisture.

High-gloss Paint

This is considered to be the best paint for bathrooms because it is the best at repelling water. The only problem can be that it’s highly reflective sheen can show all the lumps and bumps in your walls. It can also be hard to apply for an amateur.

Mould and Mildew-Resistant Paints

In addition to the basic paint types detailed above, you can buy paint which is said to be perfect for rooms where mould is a problem. Modern paints are mould and mildew-resistant with an advanced biocide designed to actively fight all common types of fungal growth.

The downside is that some bathroom paint can be significantly higher priced. So, while it is a good idea to use a mould resistant paint, getting to the root of the problem should always be your priority. Try to discover why you have mould in your bathroom before you try covering it up.

How to paint a bathroom

How to paint a bathroom

There are two ways to paint your bathroom. You can start completely fresh with newly plastered walls, or you can paint over existing paint, and it needs to be treated in different ways.

Painting a Replastered Wall

If you have replastered a wall or an unfinished new build, you will be in a position to start over completely. However, that doesn’t always make the task of painting a bathroom any easier. You need to make sure that the plaster is completely dry and free of dust.

Next, you’ll need to apply what’s called a “mist” coat of paint. This is, basically, adding water to a cheaper emulsion paint that’s a similar colour to your topcoat. Around three parts paint to one-part water should be enough. Apply this to the wall and allow it to be absorbed into the plaster. This will act as a primer.

Then, apply your topcoat of paint and a second coat if you think it needs it.

Painting an Already Painted Wall

When you’re repainting a previously painted wall, you need to look for any cracks and imperfections. Fill any holes or cracks with a filler designed for use in a bathroom. If the surface has been painted previously with gloss paint, use a solvent designed to “de-gloss” paint. You could also sand it down. This will allow adhesion for the new paint.

Now, clean the walls with a sugar soap solution, being careful to wash off any residue. Then was it again with warm water to remove soap traces. You could also vacuum the wall to remove dust. Paint on a primer designed for bathrooms. These will prevent moisture from getting into the wall, particularly where you have fresh filler. Then, add your topcoat.

Bathroom Painting Tips

  • Cover all surfaces
  • Put masking tape around any fixtures that you won’t be removing
  • Paint the edges first
  • Leave the paint to dry before painting a second coat and removing any masking tape
  • Bathrooms can be small, so pick the colour carefully

Why should I buy bathroom tiles?

Why should I buy bathroom tiles?

Bathroom tiles have been popular in bathrooms for a variety of reasons, the main two being that they are easy to clean and their durability.

Tiles are usually water repellent and require minimal looking after once they’re installed. Any dirt or grime can be cleaned away. Plus, besides applying new sealant every so often, once the tiles are installed, you shouldn’t have to think about floors for quite a while.

This makes bathroom tiles extremely cost-effective, especially when combining the costs per square meter with the low maintenance required and their longevity, lasting for years.

Shop our bathroom tiles collection

How many tiles will I need?

To calculate how many tiles you’ll need, work out how many square metres you’ll need to tile based on the surface area. Then, add on 15% to allow for cut pieces so you aren’t caught out and need to order more halfway through the job.

The below calculation will help:

(Length of floor/wall ÷ length of individual tile) x (width of floor/wall ÷ width of individual tile)

If your result is a decimal point, always round upwards - it’s best to have too many than too few tiles.

How to tile a bathroom wall

How to tile a bathroom wall

Below is the process for tiling your bathroom wall, as well as the equipment you’ll need to do it.

If you want to know how to tile a bathroom floor, you can read about it in our dedicated DIY post: How to Tile a Bathroom Floor.

The equipment you’ll need includes:


  • Tiles
  • Tile adhesive
  • Sealant
  • Grout


  • Rule
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil or felt-tip pen
  • Adhesive trowel
  • Notched trowel (also known as a notched spreader)
  • Tile cutter
  • Tile file - if needed
  • Tile nipper
  • Hacksaw - if needed, to cut the tile trim
  • Grout spreader (also known as a grout float)
  • Grout finisher (also known as a grout shaper)
  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Spirit level
  • Sealant gun
  • Sealant smoother

The Process for Tiling a Bathroom Wall

Process for Tiling a Bathroom Wall
  1. First of all, always wear safety gear - safety gloves, dust mask and goggles.
  2. Prepare your walls by making sure they are as flat as possible. You may need to put up new boards. Make sure these are water-resistant if they are behind a shower or bath. Leave new plaster for a few weeks before tiling onto it.
  3. Plan carefully. Set out your tiles, thinking about where the eye is drawn, where the centre line should be and how many cuts you will need to make. Taking time to do this now, will save you time later.
  4. Use a spirit level to find a level point which runs all the way around the room. This should be one tile or less from your baseboard.
  5. This line will be your starting point and will ensure all tiles are straight with cut tiles being used close to the floor.
  6. Draw a vertical line as well so that you know your tiles are straight both up and down as well as across.
  7. Spread your adhesive on the wall with the notched trowel, working in small areas at a time.
  8. Press and twist the tile into place making sure it is fixed to the wall and even. Use your spirit level to check this and keep using it throughout.
  9. Using spacers, add another tile to the wall. Keep going until you have completed all of the full tiles. Remove excess adhesive as you go.
  10. Choose a cutter which suits the tile you have chosen. You may want to hire a large electric one if you’ll need to make several cuts or if your tiles are very thick or hard.
  11. Always place the cut side of your tile towards the wall or floor. 
  12. The best way to measure where to cut is to place the tile against the wall or floor and mark where the full tile meets with the already laid tile. 
  13. You may also want to use some heavy sandpaper to remove any sharp edges.
  14. Read about cutting tiles to fit around appliances below
  15. Cutting can involve some trial and error so expect some mistakes until you get used to the way your cutter works.
  16. An alternative tool to a flatbed cutter is a tile scriber as wall tiles are less robust than floor tiles.
  17. Finally, grout your tiles after a day or so. Simply spread the grout and push it into the spaces using a grouting spreader. 
  18. Use your finger or a groat finisher to even out and neaten the grout line. Wash the tiles down once the grout has hardened and you are done.

Shop our bathroom tiles collection

Cutting tiles to fit around appliances

Cutting tiles to fit around appliances

Unlike normal tile cutting, where you have a straight edge, you may have to deal with anything from toilets to basins. This means cutting curves in your bathroom tiles.

To do so, you’ll need a tile scribe and a tile nipper - like a clipper or plier.

Start by getting a piece of paper that’s the same size or cut to the same size as one of your tiles. Cut lines or slits in the paper so it has a frilled fan appearance.

Then, fit it into place like a tile - allowing a gap for your tile spacers - pressing your paper down and folding back the slits where they meet the appliance. Use a pen or pencil to draw a marked line where the fold appears. This line will act as a guide for where you need to cut.

Tape the paper onto the tile you want to cut and mark the cut line with a pencil. Use a tile scribe to score along the line several times. Then, get the nipper and start clipping small parts of tile away. Smooth the edge with a tile file or sandpaper and wipe any dust away.

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more bathroom advice…

Smart Thermostat Guide | How to Fit a Shower Tray | How to Unblock a Bathroom Sink