Remodeling a bathroom can blow through a budget fast – unless you know how to avoid unnecessary expenses. Mr. Rooter Plumbing experts install plumbing in hundreds of newly renovated bathrooms every year, and we’ve gathered plenty of ideas for clever, inexpensive updates along the way.
Before you start your budget bathroom remodeling project, make a plan with these recommendations in mind:
- Choose just one item to splurge on, such as a quality countertop or built-in cabinets.
- Plan for unexpected costs in your budget, such as dumpster rental or uncovering water damage.
- Work with what you have, if possible. Transforming is almost always less expensive than replacing.
- When you do replace something, instead of buying new, try to source from thrift / consignment stores.
- Consider renovating in stages so you can save up additional money between each stage.
- Remember: Sometimes look-alike materials, such as vinyl instead of hardwood, can look just as good as the real thing and even be easier to install and maintain.
Budget Bathroom Remodel Tips: Piece by Piece
Vanities – You don’t have to buy a brand-new vanity to dress up your bathroom. You can fix up your existing one, source one from a used furniture store (and update it), or make a new one yourself. Often, a coat of quality primer and paint does the trick. A semigloss sheen is a good choice for bathrooms, as it hides imperfections such as water spots. You can play with different painting techniques, such as overlaying two colors or using chalk paint, to get an antique look.
To find options for a new vanity, head to a used furniture store. A bedroom dresser or cabinet can be modified to fit your sink and plumbing. If you prefer a shelf-style vanity, you can make one from reclaimed wood – old doors or barn wood boards are excellent options! Find a basin sink that sits right on top. Whatever option you choose, be sure to finish your materials so they’re waterproof.
Countertops – If you prefer to buy a new countertop, consider granite tiles, paper composites, modern Formica or another affordable option. However, even the least attractive of countertops can be salvageable. Paint could be the answer to updating the countertop you already have. Dated laminate countertops can be easily transformed with primer, paint and a thick polyurethane topcoat. Some store-bought countertop paint kits (sometimes called “stone paint”) give you the right tools to create a convincing granite look. What about tile countertops? Paint those too! Just make sure you buy paint that’s compatible with ceramic or porcelain.
Interested in a more textured look? Tile right over your outdated countertop. Or cover it with a few layers of patch and skim-coat concrete, and top the dry concrete with a sealer made specifically for concrete countertops.
Storage & Décor – Instead of buying new décor, you can spruce up what you already have. For example, reframe your old mirror or paint the existing frame. Paint your shelves in a beautiful accent color. Look around your house for neglected items that could add texture and style to your space, such as baskets and plants. Need framed art? You can frame scrapbooking paper or textured fabric that matches your décor instead of buying expensive pieces.
To add more style to a spare space, hit the thrift stores near you, and upcycle whenever possible. Reclaimed wooden crates can make great shelving. Salvaged vintage light fixtures can be re-wired and installed. An old ladder or unique curtain rod can make great towel racks. If you need a new mirror, consider upcycling an old door or picture frame and having mirror glass cut to fit. This can be cheaper than buying a fully framed mirror, and nobody else will have anything like it! Talk to Glass Doctor, a Neighborly company, about custom mirrors.
Another simple update that can transform a bathroom inexpensively is purchasing new towels, rugs and a shower curtain in matching colors. You can go for muted tones or an accent color.