bathroom mirror remodel

13 Bathroom Remodel Ideas On A Budget

Originally contributed by • last updated 4/1/2021

House Method

An ugly, outdated bathroom may feel like the pimple you can’t pop — painful. Bathroom remodels are notorious for racking up jaw-dropping costs, so you're going to need a few bathroom remodel ideas on a budget.

You can actually update the bathroom faster (and cheaper) than you might think if you know where the bigger and hidden costs lie.

Take it a piece at a time, and before you know it, that unsightly blemish of a bathroom might become your favorite room in the house. 


Use Cheaper Look-Alikes

Phil Hearing

Wouldn’t we all love to have marble or slate bathroom floors? Unfortunately, not every budget has room for natural stone, but luckily, vinyl isn’t the unsightly nightmare it used to be.

Today’s vinyl can very convincingly imitate much more expensive flooring like marble, granite, and hardwood. Vinyl resists water and has the durability to withstand years of wear and tear.

It comes in different grades, so although you’re trying to save a few dollars, buy the best grade vinyl your budget affords.


Save The Tub!

Joshua Bartell

Bathtubs are a costly upgrade, so save the tub if you can. Clean it, buff it, or refinish it. Refinishing a bathtub may sound like a daunting task, but it can save you some serious cash.

If you’re an adventurous DIYer, you can give it a try on your own and there are a number of kits on the market. Just be sure to do your homework to make sure it's a job you're willing (and able) to do yourself.

You might have to call in the help of a professional, but refinishing will still be almost half the cost of buying and installing a whole new tub.


Keep It And Spruce It Up


One of the easiest ways to stay within your budget is to save and reuse what you already have. Of course, if you have bright pink tile all over the bathroom, there’s not a lot you can do.

Sometimes all an unsightly bathroom needs is a little TLC. For example, did you know that you can remove hard water stains from the bathtub with a buffing pad and an electric drill?

There are also special cleaners to remove hard water stains from shower doors and toilets, too. A little sweat equity will save money and make your bathroom look shiny and new. 


Focus On Accessories

Karolina Grabowska

When you’re thinking about bathroom remodel ideas on a budget, sometimes you have to look beyond the large pieces. Bathtubs, toilets, and vanities can get pricey.

However, organization and storage can enliven and uplift the bathroom without you having to touch a major remodel project. A matching bathroom set with a soap dispenser, toothbrush holder, cup, with a few cute containers for odds and ends can liven the space.

The addition of a storage tower or over-the-toilet cabinet can also be an inexpensive way to update the bathroom and get clutter off of the counter.


Pick One Splurge Item

House Method

You don’t necessarily need to cut corners everywhere. Your money will go further if you pick one splurge item, while you go for the inexpensive options everywhere else.

It could be the sink or vanity, or something like a statement mirror. Make it a piece you love so that every time you walk in the bathroom it makes you smile.


Paint The Vanity

Nathan Van Egmond

Here’s another spot where sweat equity can save you a ton of money and make the bathroom look brand new. Paint costs far, far, far less than replacing the vanity. 

Don't rush the process. Take the time to do it properly so that the painted finish will last. Thankfully, vanities are usually are relatively small, so they don’t take long to paint.


Change The Hardware

Fran Hogan

Hardware can seriously date furniture. If you’re not replacing the vanity altogether, update the hardware.

Replacements give you an opportunity to update and add personality to an otherwise boring bathroom. You can add eclectic flair, sleek contemporary lines, or vintage appeal. Just make sure the hardware fits with the rest of the bathroom design.


Add Greenery

Intan Indiastuti

The simplest things, like houseplants, can add so much to a small room. Houseplants bring life, color, and organic shapes to the bathroom.

If you get the right varieties, you'll do very little watering because of the bathroom’s natural humidity. Of course, plants also rid the air of indoor pollutants for a daily health boost too.


Refresh The Faucet

Watermark Designs

A faucet upgrade can completely change how a bathroom looks, feels, and functions. It’s the perfect place for a single remodel splurge.

Most of the time, if you have a little DIY experience, you can replace the faucet yourself. Of course, if you choose a design that’s outside of the box or you have an under the countertop sink, you might have to enlist the help of a professional.


Replace The Toilet (Yourself)

Giorgio Trovato

Chances are if you can lift a toilet, you can replace one, too. In general, toilet plumbing isn’t that complex.

Make sure to completely drain the old model before removing it. Otherwise, you could end up with a gross (and smelly) mess.

With all that said, wall-mounted toilets are another matter. That’s an upgrade that requires more skill, so you either need some DIY plumbing experience or a professional to successfully and safely install a wall-mounted unit.  


Install A Prefabricated Tub And Shower

Christa Grover

Custom tile looks gorgeous but comes with a high price. Prefabricated tubs and showers, on the other hand, can save you a bundle.

The installation is usually simpler, so cost of professional help tends to cost less too. You obviously won’t have as many custom options, but your remodel budget will go further.


Keep The Plumbing In Place

Erik Mclean

Bathroom remodel ideas on a budget should always include leaving the existing plumbing in place, if at all possible.

Moving pipes requires opening drywall or flooring and removing insulation first. Then, you have to move the pipes and put everything back together again. You'll keep more cash in your pocket if you work within the existing layout. 


Install The Vanity And Countertop Yourself

When it comes down to it, the more you can do yourself, the more money you’ll save. Vanities and countertops are a good project for DIYers. It takes some strength and little plumbing know-how, but you’ll save on installation and plumbing costs.

If you’re planning on doing the installation yourself, be mindful of the kind of vanity you choose. Try to keep the vanity’s installation type within your skill level. For example, freestanding models are simpler to install than a floating, wall-mounted vanity.