Update Your Bathroom Without Breaking the Bank

Update Your Bathroom Without Breaking the BankA bathroom remodel recoups just 65.7 percent of the cost of the project, according to Remodeling’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report. And an estimate from HomeAdvisor puts the average bathroom-remodel cost at $9,348. Why are bathroom remodels usually so expensive? Installing cabinets and showers top the list.

A bathroom-remodel project might seem a little daunting and out of reach, especially financially. But we have good news: You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to make changes to your bathroom that will make you feel like you have a new space.

Here are some ideas that won’t break the bank:


If you have your eye on expensive tile, buy a limited amount and mix it with a cheaper tile. Or, check to see if there are seconds or overstock available for the pricey tiles you want. For instance, Heath Ceramics in Sausalito shares its overstock tile supply on its website, making it easy to shop for deals. Also consider limiting your use of tile altogether.

Countertops and Vanities

Think about using recycled materials for your new vanity, such as an old dresser. You can do this project yourself and save thousands of dollars. Here are 20 ideas for unique bathroom vanities from DIY Network. Did you know you could do that with a cow trough?

Shelving and Storage

Storage in a bathroom, especially a small one, can be a challenge. Sure, there are plenty of expensive shelving options, but if you think outside the box, you can save money and get a unique look. Consider using crates, ladders, piping, boxes, and baskets to craft storage solutions to hide and contain your bathroom essentials. Check out “30 Brilliant DIY Storage Ideas” on WooHome. And “12 Clever Bathroom Storage Ideas” at HGTV may provide additional inspiration.


“Creativity and four gallons of paint go a long way…” states the subtitle to a This Old House article called “A Bath Remodel for Only $439.” As shown in the article, you can refinish fixtures with paint; paint the ceiling walls, door, and trim; and even paint the floor to change and freshen the entire space. A durable satin or semigloss paint is a good choice, and some paints are mildew and stain resistant. Consumer Reports offers good advice in its article “Beautify your bathroom with a paint job that lasts.” And here’s a look at a DIY-ers’ experiences with painted faucets.

On DIY Network’s website, Matt Muenster, contractor and host of “Bath Crashers” and “BATHtastic!” shares his 10 favorite bathroom-remodeling trends, which include Mediterranean-inspired designs, smart storage, using classic whites, incorporating ease of use, three-dimensional tile, and adding speakers and electronics to the room. And if finances are on your mind, Money Crashers offers more ideas about designing and remodeling a bathroom on a budget, like freshening caulk and grout and updating fixtures.

Need more visual inspiration? Head over to Houzz for more than a million (really!) bathroom design photos. HGTV has a whole page dedicated to bathroom makeovers, with videos, galleries, tips, and more. Finally, Pinterest has a board dedicated to Cheap Bathroom Remodels.

(Photo: Flickr/DaveBleasdale)

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