HDB bathrooms don’t get as much attention as other spaces like the living room, kitchen, and bedroom, and that’s mostly because the toilet is often limited to a certain configuration. But that didn’t stop Natalie and her husband from creating a bathroom that they can be proud of.
Inspired by the aesthetics of the Muji Hotel in Japan, the couple set about designing their 4-room HDB’s master ensuite all by themselves, and this was all done with a budget of just $5,000.
Inspired by the spa-like ambience at the Muji Hotel in Japan
This was the inspiration – Muji Hotel in Japan.
Image credit: Muji Hotel
During a trip to Japan, Natalie and her husband stayed at the Muji Hotel and the couple fell in love with the bathroom in their room. Everything from the big-format tiles to the wooden vanity captured their fancy, and they decided that this style would be the foundation of their new bathroom.
One feature that they wanted to add to the bathroom, which HDB bathrooms usually don’t have, is a bathtub. “The husband and I both enjoy soaking in tubs so it was a no-brainer,” Natalie told us over email. It also happened to be a mainstay in some of the larger rooms at the Muji Hotel, so all of this fit in perfectly with their ideal theme.
Budgeting around $5K for the bathroom
With the concept settled, the next part of this bathroom transformation is deciding the amount of money they’re willing to spend to make it Muji-like. Natalie and her husband had budgeted around $36K for the entire renovation, which meant that they had to keep costs down especially since this was just for a toilet.
While they did not come up with a specific budget for their bathroom per se, they sourced most things from the bathroom from online shopping portals like Ezbuy and Shopee where it can be more affordable than brick-and-mortar stores. The biggest splurge would be the large-format tiles from Hafary and Soon Bee Huat, with around $2,900 spent on the tiles.
“I dragged my husband with me to multiple tile shops before choosing the 3 different tiles from Hafary and Soon Bee Huat,” Natalie shared. The end result was a mix of slate-grey square tiles and rectangular wooden slabs to balance out the cool tones.
Image credit: Natalie/Latte Home
The pièce de résistance, however, is the bathtub. It has become part of Natalie and her husband’s routine nearly every day as they’ll take a soak in the cosy tub, and it only cost them $600 from Ezbuy, instead of over $1,000 if they would’ve bought it from a local shop. “It was a risk as there were no reviews, so we’re glad it worked out fine,” Natalie said in a Lemon8 post.
However, one small regret that they have is that the tub they picked out was too narrow and high. “A wider one would be more comfortable and a lower one would be easier to get in and out of,” Natalie explained.
With just the tiles and the tub, it has already cost the couple $3,500. The rest of the bathroom had to be nickel-and-dimed, while other “wants” like a built-in mirror cabinet and shower ledge had to be sacrificed to the budget black hole.
Image credit: Natalie/Latte Home
Instead, they settled on a cheap smart mirror from Ezbuy that cost $73 and had no shower ledge. Their vanity also sports a cast stone basin that looks eerily similar to the one at the Muji Hotel. Although in hindsight, they regret getting a basin with a flat base as water doesn’t drain as easily.
All in all, the total cost of the bathroom came up to just shy of $5,300, which was pretty good considering bathroom remodel packages can cost up to $10,000. It helped that Natalie and her husband skipped the interior designer middleman and went straight to contractors to get it done.
Designing a Muji Hotel-inspired bathroom with a bathtub for $5K
It won’t break the bank if you want to have your own bathroom look like it could belong in a hotel. Specifically, the Muji Hotel. By opting for affordable fittings online and DIY-ing the design process, you can also achieve a stunning hotel-worthy bathroom just like Natalie and her husband did.
“Most friends and family were surprised to see a bathtub and literally all said something along the lines of, ‘Wow, so high ah!’,” Natalie shared how her guests have reacted to seeing their master bath. “It reminds some of them of the deep soaking tubs that are common in Japan.”
Take a look at other cool HDB bathrooms:
- 8 pretty-in-pink bathrooms
- 7 HDB bathroom design ideas
- This modern Japanese HDB flat has an onsen-themed bath
Cover image credit: Natalie/Latte Home