Marilyn is a seasoned professional who contributes to a wide variety of respected print and online publishers with a focus on interior design and décor, home improvement, DIY, crafts, and other lifestyle topics. She has authored and edited numerous books on various aspects of architecture, design, and money-saving ideas.
Remodeling a bathroom can be done on a dime. With creative and inexpensive ideas, you can redo a bathroom, or even part of it, well within your budget.
While remodeling may mean gutting the entire bathroom, to others, it may mean swapping out a vanity, replacing all the towels and rugs, or freshening up the paint. An average bathroom remodel costs thousands of dollars if you make it a full-fledged home improvement project that involves purchasing materials plus hiring out labor, both of which are hefty portions of the total cost. But when you creatively tackle the upgrades yourself, you can save plenty.
Keep in mind that a vanity and sink, the tub, and the tile, are usually the biggest ticket items that most people spend much of the budget upgrading. Splurge on one, not all, and opt for basics on the others to make a splash but puts the plug on your budget.
You’ll find various inexpensive bathroom remodeling ideas that you can implement right away or integrate into your overall reno plan. But sometimes, just changing a few details is all it needs to rejuvenate your spirit, at least while you’re in your bathroom.
Investing in new and high-quality sink faucets, towel racks, and cabinet hardware to update the room takes a little more money than you may expect, but the impact will be substantial. A bathroom remodeling trend that will brighten your bath is the gold-toned fixture. Not flashy or brashy, the newer gold fixtures have just enough sparkle to bring a bit of luxe to your space. If new fixtures are not in the budget, upgrade your existing models with spray paint. Be sure to opt for spray paint for metal objects and use the recommended primer for best results.
Who would have thought that the once utilitarian medicine cabinet can transform your bathroom? Today’s models can upgrade your space because they add storage and potentially lighting in one highly stylish package. If you have the space, place two side-by-side.
The reality of a marble bathroom is costly. But you can mimic marble, granite, and even hardwood with other materials. For example, there’s a lot you can do with a bathroom countertop to reduce costs. Though it’s tempting to use high-end materials on small bathroom countertops, the costs still add up. But it’s easier to get away with imperfect granite or marble for a small bathroom. Opt to cover your existing one with a vinyl self-adhesive peel-and-stick film for countertops that look exactly like marble. Try ceramic or porcelain tiles that mimic marble’s veining patterns for bathroom floors, shower stalls, backsplashes, and countertops. If you pine for hardwood floors, even in the bathroom, try tile that mimics wood planks.
Sometimes a dull, scratched, and moldy tub can age your bathroom. One of the most popular upgrades is installing a prefabricated liner over the tub and stall area. If it’s simply the tub surface that needs a helping hand, opt for recoating or reglazing. It’s an advanced DIY project, and there are off-the-shelf refinishing kits you can try, but you can also have a professional reglazer come to your home to recoat the tub. If the tub surface is fine, it could be you need to freshen up the moldy caulk and dingy grout. A clean, bright line of caulk and grout is the least expensive upgrade but offers maximum sparkle.
You’ll have several paths to take if you want to upgrade your vanity and sink and it’s one of the most inexpensive bathroom remodeling ideas to implement. Since it’s the main piece of furniture in the space, going big on style will make it feel like you renovated the entire room. If you’re an experienced DIYer and want to take advantage of a trend while saving a sink load of money, turn an old dresser into a vanity and top it with a vessel sink. This type of vanity sells for thousands of dollars in the store but if you have the vision and skills, it can be done for a fraction of the price.
Just like a tub, a sad old toilet can drag down the look of your bathroom. Replacing an old toilet with a modern, streamlined model can instantly update your bathroom. Toilets come in all types of styles, just like furniture, from classic to modern, many with tanks and pedestals that look like they have built-in custom trim. You can also choose configurations that range from tankless to smart to wall hung models, any of which will propel your bathroom into the most recent century.
From paint, tile, wallpaper, or stick-on murals, take one wall and renovate it so that it offers the most wow factor in the bathroom and boom, it’s one of the most impacting and inexpensive bathroom remodeling ideas you can think of. Painting is naturally the least expensive way to give your bath a new look though you’ll need to choose the right type of mold-resistant paint that’s formulated for a humid and wet space. To give your bathroom that wow effect, opt for a three-dimensional or graphic peel-and-stick mural or moisture-resistant wallpaper on one wall behind a freestanding tub. Enlarged photos of flowers on a moody background provide the perfect dramatic backdrop to this modern freestanding tub.
Did you know you can paint your bathroom’s tile wall and floors? It’s true, you don’t have to rip it all out to remodel your bathroom. If you have outdated tile that’s still in good condition (no chips or cracks), it’s possible to brighten it up with the right paint products. For wall tile, use a tub and tile refinishing kit that has an epoxy acrylic formula. It goes on smoothly over undamaged tiles. For the floor, use a specially formulated home floor coating or a garage floor paint that glides smoothly over tile flooring.
Tile is beautiful, and costly, especially if you hire a professional to lay the tile. You don’t need a bathroom entirely wrapped in tile. Use tile in a few areas, such as only the floor, or only the shower stall walls. Try an elegant tile mural above your tub. Choose artisan tile as an accent alongside less expensive basic tile.
Wainscoting and beadboard walls give a bathroom that beachy look, but you may worry about what the heat and humidity can do to the paneling. There are a couple of types of wainscoting material that’s fit to use in the bathroom. One type is exterior grade wainscoting that needs to be primed and painted before installation. Other types of wainscoting that can withstand the bathroom heat include moisture resistant MDF wainscoting panels and vinyl beadboard panels. The classic bath faucet in this bathroom is set off beautifully with the gray beadboard wall paneling in the background.
Besides your toilet and shower, your bathroom mirror is the star of the space. But when the edges of a frameless mirror that’s glued or clipped on to the wall begin to mar, or the frame has seen better days, there are ways to makeover and upgrade this major piece of wall décor without ripping it off the wall. If you are up for a DIY project, frame your builder-grade frameless bathroom mirror by gluing on any number of materials, such as wood or metal strips or brackets. Frame your mirror with tile or build and attach a narrow shelf instead of a full-frame. There are plenty of sites that help you custom design a frame that you can add to your mirror.
The bathroom shown above had a once-frameless mirror that disappeared into the wall. Its wood frame is one of the elements of this wood-themed space. Just this one addition can be one of the most creative and inexpensive bathroom remodeling ideas that make your space look refreshed.
Upgrade your bathroom storage with style. Use the wasted space on your countertops to add hutch-like storage pieces, much like you would do on a dining room credenza.
If you want to remodel your bathroom so it has a spa-like atmosphere, focus on your walk-in shower stall. Besides covering it in tile, there are other accouterments you can add, like a custom shower bench, multiple rain or waterfall shower head spouts, and adding recessed shower shelves (a great DIY project, by the way).
By far the least expensive, easiest, and most fun-to-shop-for bathroom upgrade would be a new set of bath towels, a new shower curtain (if you use one), and new accessories to hold your toothbrush, soap, and other sundries. But what can bring your bathroom to a new level without gutting it is a new curved shower curtain rod that gives you more room to stretch out in the shower without being trapped by a curtain caving in on you while you’re showering.