Bathroom Remodel on a Budget: 12 Tips and Tricks

If you’ve spent any time at all watching property-flipping shows, you know that remodeling a bathroom can add significant value to a home, but it can also be an incredibly pricey and stressful endeavor. However, it is possible to give your bathroom a major refresh without breaking the bank or sacrificing your sanity.

Read on for a list of “bathroom remodel on a budget” money-saving tips. These tips can help you cut the cost of your remodeling project without cutting corners on the final result.

Don’t start work without a solid plan

Collaborating with a professional designer may seem like an easy expense to cut, but it can end up saving you money in the long run. An experienced professional can help you come up with a budget, figure out which improvements will give you the most bang for your buck and steer you away from potential money pits. At the very least, do your research and develop an overall concept and budget before you start pulling up tiles or buying new fixtures.

Avoid relocating your plumbing

Moving your toilet, sink or shower will certainly make your bathroom look different, but the cost can be staggering. Relocating your water supply or drainage instantly adds thousands of dollars to the cost of your remodeling project, and in most cases, it’s entirely unnecessary. If you must play musical chairs with your bathroom layout, add or move furniture, shelving or other accents and leave your plumbing where it is.

When possible, refurbish instead of replacing

In many cases, you can give your bathroom a much-needed face lift by simply enhancing the components that are already there. Instead of tearing out your existing vanity and installing a brand-new one, you could refinish or paint it and install new hardware for a completely different look. Likewise, simply replacing your existing faucet can be enough to make your sink look almost brand new. Adding a fancy frame to a plain mirror is another inexpensive way to enhance the look of your existing infrastructure.

Imitation materials can look as nice as the real thing

These days, the lower-cost alternatives to expensive materials can be difficult to distinguish from their pricier counterparts. If you love the look of wood plank flooring but can’t stomach the cost, consider wood-look ceramic tile or even high-end vinyl flooring instead. Instead of breaking the bank on granite countertops, try quartz or high-definition laminate as an affordable alternative. You can even find ceramic and porcelain tile for backsplashes that rival the look of luxurious travertine and marble versions.

Retouch or refinish your tub—don’t replace it.

Instead of immediately deciding to replace your bathtub, look into relining or refinishing it instead. This less expensive approach is ideal for addressing relatively minor cosmetic issues like staining, yellowing or small nicks or cracks. Surface blemishes may also be concealed with spot-fixing products like porcelain repair epoxy.

Consider installing a pre-fabricated shower

If a new shower is part of your plan, know that a pre-fabricated shower will cost you less than a tiled shower, especially a custom-built tile shower unit. If your heart is set on the tiled look, you may be able to combine a poly shower pan with tile to shave the cost a bit.

Install a new toilet yourself

If you plan to replace your existing toilet, consider installing it yourself to save on the cost of hiring a plumber. Toilets are actually relatively easy to install and involve minimal water line connections, although their considerable weight will require you to enlist a partner.

We have an extensive guide to the best toilets available, with five incredible toilet options that are all purchasable on Amazon Prime.

Use paint to create a brand-new bathroom mood

Changing up the paint color in your bathroom can have a dramatic effect on the look and feel of the space, especially if you choose an eye-catching shade that complements your tile or vanity improvements. Since bathrooms tend to be fairly small spaces, you can probably complete this work yourself, saving you even more money.

Change your vanity

A new vanity can make your bathroom look completely different, and they’re not only relatively inexpensive, they’re also easy to install. Most models come partially or completely assembled, and coordinating pre-assembled sinks and countertops save you the time and hassle of caulking and other installation work on your bathroom remodel on a budget.

Most important bathroom remodel on a budget: Lighten up

If your bathroom still contains the original builder-grade lighting, upgrading the fixtures is low-hanging fruit. Adding brighter lighting will do wonders for your bathroom aesthetic, and if you watch the sales at lighting and home improvement stores, you can snag some stunning new hardware for a decent price. If your home’s design allows, you may also want to investigate adding a low-cost skylight, such as Solatube.

Scour vintage, antique and salvage dealers for hidden gems

Reclaimed wood, vintage pieces and the shabby chic look are all enjoying a wave of popularity, and even better, they can often be obtained on the cheap. Take some time to browse flea markets, yard sales, vintage stores, auctions and consignment shops for unique items that may just need a coat of paint or a creative touch to become the showpiece of your new bathroom.

Don’t rule out doing your own plumbing

The idea of doing the plumbing work yourself may sound daunting, but many tasks can be relatively simple with the help of easy-install parts and some instructional YouTube videos. Gone are the days of fitting galvanized pipes and soldering fixtures; instead, plastic PEX pipes and push-tight fittings are the new normal, making them more accessible to amateurs and DIY enthusiasts. The staff at your local hardware and home improvement stores can also be a great resource, and they may even offer special workshops on home plumbing projects.

All in all, your bathroom remodel on a budget process doesn’t need to be as difficult as you would think. In fact, using the tips above can put your “bathroom remodel on a budget” project on track for success and profitability.

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