They say that bathrooms and kitchens sell houses.

Why is that?

A bedroom or a living room can be updated at very little cost merely by changing the wall colour or replacing a rug. But kitchens and bathrooms -well, they are a whole different story.

So how do you update a tired or dated bathroom without resorting to selling your first-born in order to pay for it?

#1 Don’t remodel, repaint!

There is definitely something to be said for neutral shades. Whites, creams or greys are very forgiving and age well.

But what if your bathroom suite is avocado, or pink – or another colour which screams 1979?

If the tiles, bath and basin are all doused in one of these unforgivable shades, then simply repaint them. You will need some heavy duty primer and a strong arm in order to clean and prep the surfaces. But once that is done, a clean and fresh coat of paint in a bright white, or a cool grey, will make all the difference. Grout pens are fairly cheap to buy and can add a nice sharp line to your “new” tiles.

#2 Don’t remodel, update!

If your sanware is fairly classic and easy to work with, but your bathroom still looks stuck in another decade, then take a look at your taps and accessories.

Old, lime-coated taps and rusted towel hooks can be updated at very little cost. A sleek new mixer for your bath, a funky shower head and a chunky towel rail will bring your old bathroom galloping into the 21st century.

#3 Don’t remodel – Create a diversion!

If you really are on a budget and you don’t mind a little, shall we say, personality – then consider wallpaper.

Drawing the eye away from a sickly beige tile colour can be done by using a simple yet bold choice of wallpaper. Large patterns and simple shapes can easily overshadow a dull, tiled wall.

If you are considering wallpaper, be sure that your bathroom is well ventilated to prevent peeling or lifting.

#4 Don’t remodel, make it functional!

All too often, and older bathroom will suffer from a lack of storage space.

Without splashing out on made-to-order cabinets or replacing the old pedestal sink with a cupboard, you can create character by using wall-hung options. Trendy wall hooks, glass shelves and free-standing little tables are a great start.

Old crates can be repurposed into shelves for fresh towels or plants.

#5 Don’t remodel, work with it!

Do you (secretly) like the pink bath? Then work with it!

Perhaps retiling the floors in a fresh and modern pattern, a bright white coat of paint and a jazzy new shower curtain will set your bath and basin off nicely.

The old wooden cabinets can be refreshed with new doors or a coat of paint, and even window coverings can be freshened up to set off the bold colours of your bath or tiles.

For many people, the problem with an older bathroom is the collection of zany patterns, colours and shapes. Simplifying even one of these elements will make the world of difference, and still let you inject a little of your personality into your home.