When homeowners think about bathroom remodeling, cost is likely the first thing that comes to mind. That is because kitchens and bathrooms are well-known to be the two most expensive rooms to remodel. However, your bathroom renovation doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag.
Here are a few money-saving tips to help you get your remodel done on a budget.
1. Develop a Budget and a Plan
The No. 1 best way to save money on a bathroom remodel is to develop a thorough plan (and budget) and stick to it. If you know how much money you have to spend on the project, then you’ll know how much you can devote to various aspects of the upgrade. Use your budget to develop your plan, making sure to go over each detail, such as tile work, a new vanity, paint and decor. This way, you won’t have any surprises when it comes to cost or the finished project.
2. Make Your Own Mirror
Finished mirrors and medicine cabinet can add a great value to your remodel. If a new finished mirror is outside of your budget, one great way to save money is to make your own mirror. Simply purchase an industrial-grade mirror, hang it and frame it with moldings. The result is a beautiful, custom-designed mirror at a fraction of the cost.
3. Go Thrifting!
Thrifting is an excellent way to save money on a bathroom remodel. Look for items such as a dresser or standalone vanity that can be converted into a sink, shelving or a mirror. Expert thrift shoppers will be able to turn up objects such as reclaimed lumber that can be used as wainscoting or a cheaper alternative to tiled backsplash.
4. Paint Goes the Distance
Don’t underestimate the value of paint. Painting is one of the least expensive parts of a bathroom remodel, but a new coat has the power to completely remake the look and feel of a bathroom. Add vibrant pops of color for a fresh, bright look. Once the painting is complete, re-assess the project. You may find that the bathroom needs few upgrades beyond the new color.
5. DIY Where You Can
Some tasks — such as plumbing upgrades — are best left to the professionals if you don’t have the knowledge or tools to do it yourself. Other tasks, however — such as tiling or hanging wainscoting — are easy to learn and complete in a weekend. Consider doing some of these tasks yourself to cut costs on your project.
6. Shelving Is Less Expensive Than Cabinetry
Cabinetry can be one of the more expensive portions of a bathroom upgrade, particularly if you want lots of storage or if you have a lot of cabinetry to replace. Shelving is a nice alternative that will give you the same storage, but for far less money. Consider wall-mounted shelves for behind the toilet or floor-standing units for free walls. In addition to providing the storage space you need, shelving offers decorative options. Store necessities including toilet paper and towels in pretty boxes, or use some of the shelves to display decor items such as vases and pottery. If shelving is out of the question, consider these storage options.
7. Toilet Updates, Not Upgrades
A toilet can cost between $100 to $300 or more for higher-end models, plus supplies to install it and the labor costs of a professional to do the job. In many cases, however, there is nothing wrong with the existing toilet. All it needs is a bit of a refresh. Instead of replacing, consider swapping out the toilet’s lid and seat. You’ll be surprised by how this simple fix makes your toilet look like new again. However, if you do need to replace your toilet, follow these instructions to help with the process.
8. Skip Tile in Favor of Less Costly Alternatives
Tilework can get expensive, especially in modern bathrooms where showers, floors, walls and backsplashes are often tiled. Consider the following alternatives to save money on this portion of your project:
- Tub surrounds are a fraction of the cost of tiled showers or tiled tub surrounds — a great alternative if you need to replace a surround on a budget.
- For the flooring, consider vinyl tile. Shop around and you’ll find that modern vinyl tiling not only mimics the look of ceramic beautifully, but it is also designed to last.
- Tiled walls are costly. Wainscoting will give your walls interest and variation for a much less expensive price — and this is a project that is easy to DIY.
- There are a few ways to cut costs on tiled backsplashes. Certainly, you can go the DIY route to save money. You can also shop online for overstock tiles or visit builder surplus stores to find smaller batches of tile at a discount. Finally, you may decide to skip tile entirely in favor of cheaper alternatives such as lumber or bead board.
9. Tile Your Countertop to Save Money
In most areas — including the above-mentioned shower stalls, floors and backsplashes — tile is the more expensive route to choose. However, when it comes to countertops, granite and other solid stone surfaces are all the rage — and they’re expensive. A tiled counter can offer a similar look and feel to natural stone, provide all the water resistance you need, and it will be less expensive than solid stone.
10. Don’t Move Plumbing
Moving plumbing is where the real expense occurs. To move a shower, toilet or sink, you’ll need a professional to complete the job — and it’s a job that will leave your bathroom out of service for a few days, at least. If possible, keep your plumbing where it is. You’ll save hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your upgrade.
Bathroom renovations are notorious for their expense. However, if you use these tips to complete your project, you’ll be surprised by how easy and inexpensive your remodel is!