Remodeling your bathroom is something you can do every couple of years, because it’s not necessarily expensive. In the past we’ve written about lighting and curtains, and how they can transform a bathroom’s appearance. Swap out recessed lights for soft lamps, and voila – your bathroom looks a lot different already.
So in this blog we’ll discuss how to do a bathroom remodel on a budget.
The first step: Single out unique elements
If your bathroom’s décor was based on a theme, you probably had a couple items here and there that really reflected the theme. It’s hard to dress up a space from top to bottom in a way that it makes sense for a theme, so most of the time we find a couple relevant pieces, and make the rest match in a patched-together way.
When listing bathroom remodel ideas on a budget, our first tip is this – look for themed elements. Unique elements. Things that, when removed, will make your bathroom generic and boring. If these are small, cheap items, that’s even better!
Now go out and look for replacements that fit a different theme. If you had steel towel racks for a modern look, for example, look for something big and homey, or for a vintage look try bronze. You could even consider getting a closed rack, or one made of glass.
The second step: Look for easily replaceable items
If you’re stuck with the theme, the next step is to look for anything which can be replaced easily. Curtains are one. Toothpaste holders, towel holders, lighting fixtures and the bathroom mirrors also qualify (unless they were super expensive).
Swapping out small items with replacements that have a distinctive appearance will change your bathroom’s look. The change won’t be dramatic, but it’ll be subtle and satisfying.
The third step: Pick the right colors
One of the things we tire of quickest in a design, is the colors. Rather than being detailed and specific, they’re vague, and they’re everywhere. If you have two wrought iron fixtures and two sea green accessories in your bathroom, guess which you’ll tire of quicker?
So, one of our best cheap bathroom remodel ideas is deciding on a bunch of colors you want in the space, to replace the ones you’ll remove. Look for colors that will match with the items you can’t (or don’t want to) replace, like the walls, floor and toilet. You could consider painting some structures, adding highlights that make the new colors pop, or you could go the easy route and choose colors that are really in your face, like black and gold.
Bathroom ideas on a budget
We listed a few general tips above, but if you’re out of inspiration, don’t worry! Here we’ll go over some ideas which you can implement in your bathroom, going from the cheapest to the most expensive (relatively).
Deep-clean your bathroom
If you’re low on funds but have plenty of time (and energy), this might be the solution you need. This works especially well if you’ve rented a new place and the bathroom there looks horrible. Water stains everywhere, rusted faucet, crusty drains… It doesn’t need a remodel, it needs a good, deep cleaning.
Get a good scrubbing pad, some vinegar, a strong cleaning agent, and some good old soap. If the bathroom has tile floors and ceilings, you could even get a power washer. Then with all these tools (and elbow grease), you can have the bathroom sparkling clean in a couple days. It’ll set you back 50 dollars, maximum.
This offers the dual advantage of having a clean bathroom, and one that looks radically different from what you first had. Switch out the curtains and lights, and voila! You’ve just given your bathroom a nice little makeover for well under $100.
Re-paint your bathroom
If the bathroom’s walls are painted, giving them a fresh layer of paint will brighten up the space and won’t cost you much. What it will cost, however, is lots of time, effort and energy. If you’re out of things to do on the weekend and don’t have a super demanding job, it’s a match made in heaven!
Grab some paint which’ll add more light to your bathroom. See if you can find some budget accessories that work with the color. Get plenty of painter’s tape, and make sure you have a hefty supply of newspaper in your home. This is one of our favorite bathroom remodel ideas on a budget, since it’s so DIY-friendly.
Wear some old clothes that you don’t mind having ruined, and take your time to slowly paint the bathroom from top to bottom. Make sure you have a spare bathroom, and take plenty of breaks so the paint smell doesn’t get to you.
Buy used to save money
If you want to give your bathroom a major update you can still change things – just buy them used. Visit local stores and stalk through websites to find the right deals. Bear in mind that when you can’t spend money, you usually need to spend a lot of time – it’s a fair trade-off.
With patience, you can find a good sink, mirror, faucet, and other fittings for your bathroom. Grand or simple, they’ll be different, and they’ll make the space look fresh. If you’re good at cleaning and repairing, you should be able to pick up damaged items for cheaper still, and fix them.
If you have bathroom fixtures made of porcelain, fiberglass or cast iron, you can get them refinished for a fairly affordable amount. You can also find refinishing kits online for $150 or so. This’ll give the fixtures a completely new look. It’s great for those who don’t want to change the fixtures (if they’re expensive or striking), but want a subtly different look.
We’d recommend hiring someone to do it instead of trying to refinish yourself, because apart from the kit you’ll need other tools (such as a spray gun, a sander, face masks, etc.), and if the job isn’t done properly you won’t be happy with the results. It’s hard to find detailed guides online. However, if you learn quickly and enjoy DIY projects, give it a try!
Small bathroom remodel ideas on a budget – minimalism
If your bathroom’s small, your options are limited. I mean, how much can you change in a tiny bathroom that only has a couple accessories? Our suggestion is that you keep things simple and stick to variations of a minimalistic theme.
Try to have most items in white. You might want the floor in grey and white, so it doesn’t get dirty as quickly – think stripes or marble tile. Other large items – walls, toilet, windows – should also be white.
Now, when it comes to smaller accessories which can be changed every couple years, get them in easily replaceable options (i.e., nothing fixed or expensive). So the countertop material, mirror, towel rack, soap holder, corner racks, towels, etc. can all have traces of a highlight color. This should ideally be a cool, light shade of green, blue or pink. You can try a second highlight for the countertop – granite tile, metal, or maybe even wood.
Now every couple of years, you can switch these items out with something in a different color (sky blue, mint green, pale peach, coral pink). Super cheap, works for small bathrooms, and looks great!
So these were our bathroom remodel ideas on a budget. We hope you found them helpful. For more bathroom-related articles, scroll through our archives. We post regularly, so make sure you follow us to be alerted of new posts. Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!