How to Remodel a Bathroom on a Budget

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A good, clean-looking bathroom is optimal for a home to look complete. People spend a sizable amount of time and money to make sure their bathroom fits their needs and looks as good as it possibly can be. You might be surprised that many people consider their bathroom the most important room in the house, but if you spend some time thinking about it, you will know exactly why.

However, with time and perhaps some questionable modeling choices, bathrooms can end up looking a bit outdated and ugly. Fortunately, a complete bathroom remodel solves these problems, but it isn’t the cheapest thing to do, so rather than a full-on bathroom makeover, considering a more budget-friendly approach to your bathroom may be the way to go.

Start by Determining What You Want From Your Remodel

The easiest way to save on how much a bathroom remodeling will cost is by determining what needs to be replaced or fixed, whether your bathroom feels not functional, or if the issue is in the aesthetic (or both).

For instance, we know that the costs of replacing your old bathtub with a brand new walk-in shower that involves demolition, plumbing work, tiling, and perhaps even a glass door installation with improving the aesthetics of your bathroom will be higher than painting the walls of your bathroom. But we have a few tips for you to achieve whatever your needs are without breaking the bank.

Tips for a Functional Bathroom Remodel on a Budget

The essentials of a functional bathroom are the very basics that might be daunting in price but are necessary for long-term savings: plumbing, ventilation, and lighting. Let’s see how you can improve your bathroom without spending beyond your means. 

Plumbing

Even though it isn’t cheap, plumbing work in a bathroom remodel is a no-brainer. No bathroom can feel good with bad plumbing work done; the idea behind good plumbing is simply following the laws of nature on how water flows through gravity, pressure, and level.

If you notice leaks, drips, or inadequate water pressure in your bathroom, you most likely have a plumbing problem.

However, a typical service plumber may not be able to help with remodeling plumbing, so it’s important to hire general contractors who specialize in bathroom remodeling and have experience with plumbing.

You should keep in mind to prioritize plumbing issues as they can lead to the highest expenses possible in a bathroom through damages. Here are a few cheaper plumbing solutions for a more budget-friendly bathroom remodel:

  • Don’t Change the Layout: Layout changes in your bathroom will eat into your budget significantly. Consider not moving major bathroom fixtures around, as the replumbing costs will be quite costly.
  • Water Softener: Hard water (from heavy minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium) can cause mineral deposits and scale buildup to form in your pipes, leading to clogging, water-based damage to bathroom appliances that use water, and even health issues such as dry skin or hair after showers. A water softener works by preventing these heavy minerals from flowing or binding and alleviating all the symptoms mentioned before.
  • Water Heater Replacement: Water heaters should be replaced about every 10 years. So if yours is due for replacement and you’re planning a bathroom remodel, it’s a good idea to get it out the way at the same time as your remodel to save on extra labor costs afterward.
  • Focus on Small Upgrades: Small upgrades tend to add up when it comes to saving money in the long run, so when you’re thinking about bathroom remodel, consider newer, eco-friendly showerheads and faucets for your bathroom. It’s a good money saving tip.

Ventilation

While ventilation isn’t necessarily the cheapest aspect of a bathroom remodel, it’s definitely one of the most important for a functional and healthy bathroom.

Bathrooms are very humid places, and fungi can grow from the humidity levels that come from showering. If you do not control these levels, you’ll soon be exposed to excessive mold taking over your bathroom, which can cause respiratory issues for some people.

You can save up on bathroom remodeling costs by choosing basic ventilation fans without extra features, leaving room for upgrades down the road.

Lighting

Lighting matters for all of your everyday tasks and won’t cost much to implement as part of your bathroom remodel.

Here’s how good lighting can positively impact your bathroom:

  • Routine Ready-up: You shouldn’t overlook the effect good lighting can have on your getting-ready routine, such as applying makeup, shaving, hairstyling, etc. Your bathroom is where you spend most of your time to look as good as possible for your own sake.
  • Fund Saver: This fact is a bit of a broken record nowadays when talking about LED lights, but simply changing all of your bathroom lights from incandescent bulbs to traditional incandescent bulbs will save you up to 90% energy while also lasting 25 times as long in comparison.
  • Illusion of Space: Good light distribution gives the impression that the bathroom is larger than it actually is, shaping an area by eliminating shadows and adding depth to the space. So, get rid of your one lightbulb downlight and add a few more instead.

Tips for an Aesthetic Bathroom Remodel on a Budget

An aesthetic bathroom remodel is an easy way to breathe new life into and modernize your bathroom without spending a lot of money. 

We recommend the following three areas to focus on for an aesthetically pleasing bathroom remodel on a budget: Recoloring, Decorating, and Refinishing.

Recoloring

Recoloring your bathroom is easily the cheapest way to refresh it; here’s a few recoloring ideas:

  • Walls: This is a personal choice, but it’s recommended to choose lighter, more soothing colors such as light blue or light yellow to make your bathroom feel larger, or you can opt for bolder colors to show personality
  • Cabinets: There are quite a few choices for recoloring your cabinets a certain color: Any shade of wood-ish color works well for bolder people, with white, gray, and beige being the most popular choices for homeowners.

Decorating

Cute decorations make for a nicer bathroom experience; here’s a few ideas:

  • Artwork: This is certainly an interesting way to make a bathroom fancier and cozier, but remember that a bathroom can get messy and wet, especially when there’s artwork around. Choose moisture-resistant pieces and consider framing or protecting them to keep them looking their best in the bathroom environment, or you’ll find your bathroom walls dripping with paint.
  • Add a few frames: Adding some nice frames to your bathroom mirrors instantly boosts your bathroom’s appeal. Whether you choose sleek, modern frames or opt for ornate, vintage-style ones, framing your bathroom mirrors can give your bathroom a nice look.

Refinishing

Refinishes make your bathroom look newer as a budget-friendly option while also a sustainable option by not having to replace pre-existing fixtures and/or materials; here are a few refinishing options for your bathroom:

  • Shower or Bathtub Refinish: By doing a new coat refinish and repairing instead of a full replacement for your shower or bathtub will be more affordable while updating the look and feel of your bathroom.
  • Tile Refinish: If your bathroom tiles are structurally sound and there’s no visible damage to them, you can consider a simple glazing or painting for a new look, making it a considerably more affordable option than replacing them entirely.

Summary

A successful bathroom remodel won’t necessarily cost a fortune if you know what to look for. 

Knowing what you want from a bathroom remodel, how much money you’re willing to spend, not changing your layout, keeping ventilation fans simple and easy to upgrade, and having good lighting, recoloring, decorating, and refinishing can keep the cost of a bathroom remodel way lower.

By incorporating at least a few of these tips, you can save much more money than you think!

FAQs

  1. What’s the most important thing to consider before starting a bathroom remodel?

Determine what you want from your remodel. Do you need to improve functionality, aesthetics, or both? This will help you prioritize your spending and avoid unnecessary expenses.

  1. How can I save money on plumbing during a bathroom remodel?

Avoid changing the layout of your bathroom, as replumbing can be costly. Consider installing a water softener to protect your pipes and fixtures, and replace your water heater if it’s due for an upgrade. You can also save by choosing eco-friendly showerheads and faucets.

  1. What’s the cheapest way to refresh the look of my bathroom?

Recoloring your bathroom is the most affordable option. Paint the walls, cabinets, or even your tiles for a fresh new look.

  1. How can I update my bathroom fixtures without replacing them?

Consider refinishing your bathtub, shower, countertops, or cabinets to give them a new look for a fraction of the replacement cost.

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