We bought our house almost 18 months ago now and did a massive renovation job before we moved in. Plaster was chipped from the walls and the house was taken back to brick by our builders before the process of renovating began in earnest.
The only room we didn't touch was the bathroom, so we could save the money to do what we wanted rather than make do. It was a really good lesson in waiting and it is made all the nicer by the wait now that it is finally finished.
Again we stripped the room back to the brickwork and started from scratch with new pipework.
You can see my inspiration on my pinboard, as it's such a small space we went for a simple scheme and white tiles with the thought that the colour of the walls can always be changed easily if we want to update it [I didn't have the nerve to go with a bright colour just yet!].