Bathroom Remodel? Try These Budget Friendly Options

Needing a little sprucing up in your bathroom, but worried about the cost? The average amount spent on a bathroom model in 2018 was about $19,000 according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs Value report. For most, dropping 20K on a home improvement project is not in the card—or the wallet. But you do not need to pay an arm and a leg or your child’s college fund to transform you outdated and underwhelming space into a gorgeous oasis. You can easily remodel on a budget.

If you do a lot of the work yourself and make sure to shop around for materials you can save a pretty penny. Leslie Plummer Clagett of Today’s Homeowner estimates that you can get away with doing a bathroom remodel for as little as $1,000 to $3,000.

Still unsure if you want to drop the Benjamins? Just remember that a bathroom remodel, or any other home improvement project will ultimately add value to your home. In fact, you could even end up recouping up to 100% of the costs if you ever sell your home. As with every home renovation project, determine your budget and all of the changes that need to happen. Make a list of changes that are absolute musts, ones that are more on the “this would be nice” side and others that can stay put. With this list, mark which ones you could probably do yourself and ones that you would prefer a professional to do.

If you have a smaller budget, you may need to do more work yourself than you had originally planned, or you will just have to stick to cosmetic changes (paint is a lifesaver in these instances). If you are still wondering “how to make my small bathroom look better?” Here are a few budget-friendly remodeling ideas are:

  • Go with paint
  • Install your own vanity
  • Leave your plumbing
  • Update your hardware
  • Upgrade your linens
  • Buy used

Go with Paint

Repainting is by far, the cheapest and most effective way to give your bathroom a refresher. Even if you just want to go from white to white, bathroom walls can start to look dingy and small dings and knicks can make your space a little too lived-in. A fresh coat of paint will brighten up your space. Try a bluer white this time to give your space a cooling effect. Just remember to use a paint that resists the growth of mold. Bathrooms are areas that are extremely susceptible to mold and mildew because of the constant moisture. There are paint options today, however, like Kilz that are perfect for a bathroom. They will resist the growth of mold.

Be sure that if your bathroom is already experiencing issues with mold that you eradicate it completely before repainting, otherwise you will just be putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.

Install Your Own Vanity

There are so many options for bathroom vanities and sinks that you can find fully assembled units at just about any hardware store. Save some extra dough and install it yourself! Want an even more creative option? Lots of the fashionable vanities from today look like dressers. Find an old or vintage dresser from a flea market or estate sale for dirt cheap and transform it into a brand new vanity with sink all on your own.

Leave Your Plumbing

A huge cost in bathroom remodels is when homeowners want to move where the shower or tub goes. You can really save on costs if you leave your plumbing where it is and work within that configuration. In addition, rather than replace your shower, tub, toilet or sink, try resurfacing or refinishing. Try these ideas instead:

  • Update your toilet by changing out the seat and lid instead of the entire thing.
  • Install a prefab shower rather than going with tile.
  • Refinish your tub with a liner.
  • Update your shower system.
  • Convert your tub into a walk-in shower.

Update Your Hardware

A really cheap way to give your space a quick and easy update is to switch out your hardware. If you have antique fixtures, try to have them refinished to bring them back to life. Everything from drawer handles to light fixtures to faucet handles can be replaced to bring a little more brightness into your bathroom. Do not forget to replace towel racks, toilet paper holders, and switch plates.

You can also re-grout your current shower tiles or around your sink to give the area a new look. These are really inexpensive renovations that will make a huge difference on a tight budget.

Upgrade the Linens

Another small but budget-friendly bathroom remodel idea is to switch out your linens for new ones. Ditch your old shower curtain, towels, rugs and even decorations and find ones with brighter, livelier patterns. This kind of cosmetic change can help tide you over until you have a little more in the budget to do a bigger remodel. The decorations and linens in your bathroom will be the first thing your guests see when they enter the room and if you find a design or print that is bold and exciting (does not have to be bright!) you can distract them from other outdated elements in your bathroom.

Buy Used

Surprisingly, you can buy used fixtures including showers and even toilets on sites like Craigslist of eBay. Try your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to find mirrors, sinks, tubs and doors. Think of these items as upcycled. In fact, head over to Etsy and search “upcycled” or “bathroom” and you will be surprised by what you can find on there.

Final Thoughts

If you have items that are physically broken, moldy or on their last leg, it will definitely need to be replaced. You cannot cover up something that is broken hoping to save a few dollars. But there are so many other creative ways to update a bathroom without completely tearing your room down to its studs. Make sure to carefully plan everything out as this will help you avoid any hidden costs or unexpected issues. And always take the time to shop around for prices, if you go with your first option you could end up paying far more than is necessary.