While each remodeling budget is different, the amount of time and energy that you want to put into updating your bathroom can help offset some of the costs–especially if you are willing to a little bit of extra research, DIY, and creative planning.
We’ve put together some cost-saving ideas to help you remodel your bathroom on a budget.
Do Some Research
Prior to getting started on your bathroom remodeling project, it’s important to research not only how much the changes you want will cost, but also how to plan out and reduce costs. If you want a full bathroom remodel on a strict budget, there are some areas that will require sacrifices.
Start by looking at bathroom remodeling projects that have similar features and updates as what you would like to do to your own bathroom. This will help you get a general idea of how much your remodel will cost and which aspects tend to be most expensive to update. You may also want to speak to a remodeling company or design expert to determine your options for fulfilling your must-haves while keeping costs low.
A bit of research will help you go into the bathroom remodeling process with realistic expectation as well, so you aren’t left disappointed with the outcome or surprised by estimates you may receive.
Create & Plan Your Budget
It’s easy to get carried away and splurge on an item here and there, but those small costs tend to add up fast. While having a budget is important to reining in costs, planning out how you will spend the money goes an even longer way towards remodeling your bathroom on a budget and ensuring you don’t break the bank.
Even if you haven’t created a bathroom remodeling budget set in stone, creating a rough budget can help you narrow down remodeling choices and start conversions with designers and remodelers. A fixed budget also allows you to determine which aspects of your bathroom need to be updated and which parts you’re alright with keeping.
You will need to either adjust your expectations or your budget to find the perfect give and take solution to ensure the best possible outcome.
Sometimes a room can feel old and outdated because it doesn’t appear as new as it used to. A thorough professional cleaning can leave your bathroom looking just as great as when it was new and could save you a lot of money on repairs. You may not need a new bathtub or updated tile, if the only problem is a bit of dirt or staining.
Before you jump to replace those old tiles or remodel your bathroom flooring, deep clean the areas that you would like to update and determine if an update is still necessary. Many times, a thorough, professional cleaning can make parts of a bathroom feel brand new again.
Something as simple as hiring a professional cleaner to come and clean your bathroom can help you determine which aspects of a remodel are essential and which were purely aesthetic and just needed a bit of deep cleaning.
Buy Used or Reclaimed Materials
Many bathroom remodelers can help you get ahold of reclaimed or only slightly used materials for your bathroom remodeling project. In the U.S. there are many secondhand shops and materials stores that offer surplus materials for home improvement projects, such as the Habitat for Humanity Restore, along with discounted or older materials from remodeling companies. Before buying brand new materials, consider whether a slightly used or reclaimed material would serve the project just as well.
In addition to looking for materials at second-hand stores, and online buy/trade/sell websites such as Craigslist or Freecycle, tell friends and family about your bathroom remodeling project and ask them if they have any extra materials or ideas for keeping costs down. You never know, you might find that perfect rustic farmhouse sink or gorgeous porcelain accent tile to incorporate into your bathroom.
Best of all, reclaimed materials are usually a fraction of the cost of buying new or special orders. Professional remodelers have experience getting quality materials for less and may be able to help you select items that cost less money but still look and function great.
Focus on Fixtures
Update faucets, vanity pulls, lights, and other small details that can change the look and feel of a room. You’d be surprised at just how different a small bathroom feels with updated lighting, new drawer pulls, and a modern sink or faucet. Not only do these small details really help a space feel new, they are also inexpensive and allow you to put your own flair and personality into the room.
Here are just a few items that you can replace to make your bathroom look and feel new:
- Sink Faucet
- Vanity/cabinet pulls
- Overhead or vanity lighting
- Bathtub Faucets
- Toilet tissue holder
- Vent covers
- Updated mirrors
- Storage baskets/cabinets
Part of the fun of remodeling is putting your own design preferences and stylistic choices into the space, so have fun with the new features you decide to incorporate.
Update the Paint
Paint is an effective way to make a room feel updated without spending too much money. If you do decide to DIY painting your bathroom or bathroom cabinets, get all the materials you will need handy and watch a few video tutorials before you begin painting. If you aren’t a great painter or would prefer to have a professional handle the work, painting is still an affordable way to update your bathroom and ensure it looks incredible. Either way, it’s easy to give your bathroom a fresh face with new paint. Whether you are changing the color on your bathroom walls or updating your vanity cabinets with a new color, paint is an inexpensive way to freshen the bathroom and make it feel like a new space without breaking the budget.
Painting your bathroom walls offers a simple way to change the look and feel of the room, especially when coupled with small hardware changes and accessories. Painting cabinets or wall trim allows you to save room in the budget and get rid of any unsightly cabinet chips, stains, or peeling.
If you’re tired of an all-white bathroom, add some color. Conversely, if you hate the outdated color or want a more sophisticated space, go monochromatic with grays and whites.
Refinish Instead of Replacing
Outdated finishes can bring down the appearance of your bathroom. However, it you need to save money, consider refinishing your floor, sink, shower, or bathtub instead of replacing them. While it will still require using some of your remodeling budgets, refinishing an older material or appliance can be much more affordable than replacing it.
For inspiration, check out some home improvement shows of online tutorials, and speak to a local remodeling business to get a better idea of what services they may offer. While it might be possible to DIY some aspects of refinishing, such as sanding, staining, and painting, others, such as a bathtub re-glaze, will require professional assistance.
Here are a few refinishing tasks to make your bathroom feel new:
- Refinish hardwood floors
- Re-grout tile
- Re-caulk shower and bathtub linings
- Re-glaze bathtub
- Sand and paint rough or older walls
Go Green with Updates
In order to get the most out of remodeling your bathroom, select appliances, plumbing, and electric features that conserve water and energy, and that will save money in the long term. While newer, more energy-efficient appliances may cost more upfront, they will also help save more money in the long term.
Consider the following “green” updates for your bathroom:
- Install a low flow faucet, toilet, or showerhead
- Ensure plumbing is conserving water
- Switch to LED or smart light bulbs
- Add ventilation to reduce mold/mildew
- Add skylights to reduce energy usage
Another simple “green” fix is to bring more of nature into the room with bright lighting, green plants, and natural materials, such as wood, cork, and bamboo.
Sometimes with a limited remodeling budget, you can only afford to update a few items that really need to be fixed or replaced, but redecorating can also go a long way towards making your current bathroom feel like a new space. Adding new décor items and swapping around the smaller details in your bathroom can make the space feel brand new-especially if you manage to integrate new colors, textures, and materials.
Something as simple as covering the floor with a laminate sheet or stick on boards can create the feeling of a luxurious new floor. Some new wallpaper or pain can brighten up the space and costs less than you might imagine.