One of the best pieces of advice I can give to anybody undertaking a bathroom renovation is to really plan well.  Aim to have everything you need purchased and on site before the builders even start.

When you’re renovating, delays cost both time and money on the job.  If tradespeople are caught on another job and can’t get to you, there’s not much you can do about it.  But if tradesmen come and can’t do their job because the materials they need aren’t ready – that’s something you can control.  Work out what you need to buy and have it delivered in advance.  That way when the builder announces that the tiler is coming tomorrow, you don’t have to madly run around getting the tiles and grout delivered only to find they need to come from Italy and will take 3 months.

Bathroom floor inspiration

Inspiration Image – Muse Interiors

I’m getting my ensuite renovated at the moment.  You can see the Before Tour here.  Over the past few weeks I have ordered most of the items I need and they are waiting downstairs for the builder and his team to arrive.  Here’s a look at my Ensuite Renovation Shopping List.

Floor Tiles

The whole reason we are doing this ensuite renovation is to waterproof and tile the floors, so tiles were on the top of my shopping list.  Often when you know exactly what you want, the hunt for that product becomes harder not easier!

ensuite shopping list marble herringbone tiles

Instagram Image @parkandoakdesign

This is what I wanted

  • I wanted marble look.  Not real marble as it’s to hard to look after on bathroom floors, but porcelain marble-look tiles.
  • I wanted to lay them in a herringbone pattern so I needed them to be a small long rectangle
  • I didn’t want them to have too much dark grey marbling in them or they would look too busy when laid
  • I didn’t want them to have an overly repeating pattern so they looked like printed tiles rather than natural marble
  • I wanted a more matt than shiny high gloss surface, so they looked like honed marble not tiles.
  • and I wanted them to be relatively non-slip as they are in a wet area

Can you see the challenge before me?  The one piece of advice I’ll give you for tile shopping is to find a tile shop and a salesperson in that tile shop that truely knows and understands tiles.  There’s a lot to know about tiles and matching grout colours etc… so get some good advice.

Thankfully my builder Luke from LAK Constructions put me onto Lynne at Amber Tiles in Albion.  Lynne knows her stuff.  I showed her some inspiration pictures of what I wanted to achieve.  This is a must.  A picture speaks a thousand words!  So save your images to your phone or iPad and take them to the tile showroom with you, together with your bathroom measurements.  If you are new to Pinterest, take my free ecourse Pinterest for Home Decorating.

Ensuite Renovation shopping list tile selection

As soon as I showed Lynne what I was after, she immediately grabbed what she thought I needed.  Luckily the floor tiles I was after were brand spanking new.  They had only just got the sample board a few weeks earlier.  The floor tiles are 75 x 300mm so are perfect for laying in a herringbone pattern.  Once the floor tiles were decided, we moved onto the wall tiles.

Ensuite renovation marble look tiles

Having had subway tiles in the shower, I knew I wanted a whole lot less grout lines!  I chose a 300mm x 600mm tile which we will lay horizontally (not vertically in the picture above).  This tile is from a different manufacturer than the floor tile, but they still work well together so don’t get stuck on the idea of ‘matching tile sets’.  Again is has a matt or honed finish which I think makes it look more realistically like marble.

Ensuite renovation shopping list tile grout colour

While I was in the showroom, I also chose the grout colour.  If you don’t specify a grout colour, your tiler will probably just use standard grey or white, and that’s not always the best choice.  I chose Cashmere grout for the walls and Palladium for the floor.  You can see 3 grout colour samples between my chosen floor tiles.  Just like Goldilocks, we chose the one in the middle.  Not too light.  Not too dark.

Lynne ordered the right quantity of the grout for me when we ordered the tiles.  So everything is here and waiting for the tiler.



With the wall tiles for the shower already chosen, it was onto the tapware.  I find mixers much easier to use than the traditional hot and cold taps.  Finding a pretty mixer was a challenge, but I did.

Ensuite renovation shopping list chrome nostalgia mixer

I bought the chrome Nostalgia mixer from Phoenix tapware.  Your plumber will need the mixer fitting when they do the plumbing rough in, so have it ready.

As much as I love classic decorating and a traditional look, I wanted a shower rail that was a joy to stand under, rather than one that looked pretty.

Ensuite renovation shopping list methane amid shower rail

I chose the Methven Amio Exposure 5 function Rail Shower.  Yes that’s right 5 different functions to stand under on cold winter mornings.  Although I’m mixing modern and traditional, by keeping all the finishes chrome, they’ll work together.  The shower rail has a diverter on it to alternate between the rain head and the hose shower.  There was no need to get a diverter on the mixer.  The hose shower head makes it much easier to clean the shower than a fixed head.

Although the shower rail has a soap holder, I plan on building a niche in the shower wall to hold toiletries.  You can read about Designing the Perfect Shower Niche here.

Shopping Tip:  Once you have decided on a make and model of a fixture or fitting you need, do a Google search of that model name or number.  When I was looking for the shower rail I searched Google and the difference in price from one retailer to another was substantial.  This one tip can save you hundreds of dollars.   Be careful to only buy from trusted sites, and take delivery fees and return policies into account.

Once the room is tiled, the builder will measure up for a frameless shower screen.  There’s not much to specify here, except the handles.

Ensuite renovation shopping list shower door handles

I’m thinking either one of these will work.


We are planning to re-use this existing vanity.  It’s only a few years old.  It was custom made by our neighbour, who’s a cabinet maker.  It has his and her sinks and great storage.  What I am planning to change is the mirrors.  I think the space needs taller and narrower mirrors.

Ensuite renovation shopping list Zeta beaded mirror

I wrote about my hunt for a new vanity mirror last year (this reno has been a long time coming).  I’ve ordered 2 of these medium size Zeta mirrors from Interiors Online.  These will replace the Art Deco ones that are there now.  Originally these mirrors would have been too tall and hit the wall belt rail.  Now we are installing a false wall in front of the original so I can use a taller mirror.

The reason we are installing a false wall is so we can add wiring for wall sconces.  With only a central pendant in the room and the window behind you when you stand at the vanity, there is poor lighting to put on make up.  Wall sconces mounted at eye level either side of the mirror will solve this problem.

Ensuite Renovation shopping list wall sconce

I’ve chosen simple candle wall sconces in a chrome finish to work with the chrome tapware.  I found a nickel finish light I loved, but decided to stick with chrome.  I’ve bought 4 of these Karioff Wall Lights from Mica Lighting.  Don’t forget to buy bulbs so your electrician can check the light fittings are working properly when they are installed.  The next challenge is to find some candle shades to clip onto the sconces!

To see some of the other lights I like read Ensuite Reno – Wall Sconces

The other thing I want to change about the vanity is the taps.  The existing taps are pretty enough but I find turning the handles much harder that just flicking a lever.  Also the tap on my side has leaked twice.  I don’t know if it’s a dodgy tap or if they’re just crap (I mean inferior) quality.

Ensuite renovation shopping list white porcelain lever taps

I’ve budgeted for 2 sets of Brodware White Porcelain Lever Basin Sets.  Of course if we didn’t already have white porcelain levers on the bath stand, I’d consider swapping the porcelain for crystal.

Crystal basin levers

I really liked some other taps but just couldn’t justify the price.  This is the one item I haven’t order yet.  Why?  Because what if Plan B?

Plan B Purchases

As I mentioned in my Ensuite Before Tour video, when the builders remove the vanity from the wall, there is a chance the marble will crack (gasp).  IF this happens, I need to have a plan B.  Unfortunately plan B means choosing a new piece of marble or other surface for the vanity top.  I’ve got my fingers crossed I won’t need to do this, but you never know.

The current marble bench has 3 holes cut in it for each basin.  If I have to replace the marble, I have the option to only cut one hole for taps and install mixer instead of a 3 piece lever set.  If that happens, instead of ordering the taps above, I might order these.

Ensuite renovation shopping list basin mixer tap

Brodware basin mixer with traditional swivel spout

You’ve always got to have a Plan B when renovating.  You’ll be glad to hear, the builder managed to get the vanity off the wall with the marble intact yesterday.  We couldn’t save the 150mm marble splash back glued to the wall, but the bench top is in one piece.

So there’s my shopping list for the ensuite renovation.  Luckily I didn’t have to buy the vanity cupboard, basin, bath, bath taps, toilet or towel rails as all of these will be re-used.  But the process if the same.  Plan what you want.  Check that it will work together.  Then order everything so it is delivered and waiting.  Ready for your tradespeople. It makes everybody live’s easier and less stressful!

Ensuite renovation shopping l ist