A mum has transformed her dull downstairs toilet into a stunning dinosaur bathroom for just £264 using high street bargains.
As any parent will likely testify, waving goodbye to dealing with dirty nappies is a happy milestone. So one thrifty mum decided to help her son bypass potty training and go straight to the loo by creating a friendly, dinosaur-themed bathroom on a budget.
Dawn Sheppard, 42 from Oxford, mum to three children aged five months, three and seven, says the family moved to their current home in July 2020, but it required a lot of work.
At the time, Sheppard was pregnant with her third child and realised she didn't want to be changing nappies for two children at the same time.
"So I decided to decorate our downstairs toilet with a dinosaur theme to help our little boy potty train," she told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk.
"We are a dinosaur-loving family so I knew exactly what the theme would be!" the NHS nurse adds.
The first step was to source supplies as cheaply as possible, with Sheppard turning to online stores and Facebook Marketplace.
At B&Q, she bought green metal and wood paint for £15, followed by some emerald-green metro tiles for just £30.
Sheppard also benefited from a 20% off sale in the hardware store, picking up a toilet for £47 and a vanity unit with a basin sink for just £67.
Next was the purchase of the beautiful Portuguese tile-effect vinyl flooring for £50 from Best 4 Flooring, before Sheppard sourced the main attraction - the dinosaur wallpaper.
The mum-of-three was thrilled to bag two rolls of the unusual print for £12.49 each from World of Wallpaper, but her biggest bargain was to be found on Facebook Marketplace, where she discovered a brand new radiator cover for just £30, reduced from £95.
In total, the supplies set her back just £264, and having gathered everything she needed, it was time for the toilet transformation.
"The toilet and sink in that room were disgusting, so I went into overdrive to get them out of the house as soon as we moved in," she explains.
This left Sheppard with a blank canvas to work with.
The first job was applying the green paint to the pipes and the door frame, which she painted in the same shade, to begin creating the prehistoric theme.
The wallpaper was applied along the top half of the bathroom walls, neatly placed around the window above the toilet.
"I’ve done both wallpapering and painting many times over the last 20 years, so this part was easy," Sheppard says of her DIY skills.
A wooden shelf was then fitted on the back wall, which would also hold the toilet and act as a solid base for the tiling.
Then the vinyl flooring was cut to size before Sheppard tackled the tiling.
"I watched YouTube for the tiling and grouting techniques," she explains.
The tiles were placed along the back wall behind the toilet, underneath a small wooden shelf, and on the wall opposite the radiator, while a few rows of tiles were also placed above the sink to create a splashback.
"It was literally a labour of love, as I was heavily pregnant and having to squeeze into the small space to work," Sheppard says of the tricky job.
Thankfully Sheppard's husband then stepped in to install the sink and toilet, having learnt the skills from watching his dad and asking family members for advice.
Watch: How to make a pressed flower shadow box.
The final job was adding the radiator cover. "It was a bit of a pain to get it to fit as it required cutting down, but it really finished the room off to hide the hideous radiator and pipes!"
To complete the transformation, Sheppard turned the light switch pull into a fake ivy vine and made use of dinosaur ornaments she had purchased from TK Maxx.
Extra touches include a matching green liquid soap dispenser, a green towel and little bunches of fake ivy scattered around. The two cupboards even have green handles!
Thankfully, the project met with the approval of the family's middle child, for whom it was originally designed.
"He loved it," Sheppard explains. "He saw it as his toilet and we needed to get his permission to use it! With gentle encouragement, getting him to use the toilet worked a treat. He went straight from nappies to the toilet aged two and a half!"
Commenting on the impressive themed transformation Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, said: "This transformation is roar-some! No wonder Dawn’s son is reluctant to let people in there - it’s a room to be proud of.
"The temptation to ‘play it safe’ with home decor can lead to us having neutral colours we get bored with, so it’s great that this family has stuck to what they love and ensured their house reflects their tastes."