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Budget Bathroom Remodel: 7 Ways to Save and Upgrade

Recently Remodeled Gray and White Bathroom
By:Dana Shugrue| Last Updated:06/20/2023
Time to Read: 6 min

Project Overview

Time to Complete
2-3 days
Project Cost

7 Inexpensive Bathroom Remodel Ideas

The average homeowner spends 860 days of their life in the bathroom. Between showering, brushing your teeth and applying makeup, it’s a hard room to avoid. If your bathroom décor isn’t cutting it anymore, follow these seven tips to have a stylish and affordable bathroom makeover.


How Much Does a DIY Bathroom Remodel Cost?

The cost of your DIY bathroom remodel depends on where you’re located and the updates you’re making. For these reasons, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000. While you’ll save roughly 65% by avoiding contractor fees, remodeling costs add up fast. Installing new fixtures in your bathroom is far from cheap, and leaves little room in the budget to make other renovations.

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“The biggest secret to cutting the costs of a bathroom remodel project is to keep both the plumbing and electrical configurations in their current place and tackle the cosmetics of the space. The typical plumbing charge for a bathroom project is anywhere between $2,500-$4,000 which eats into the budget and forces clients to settle on lower quality materials.”
Devin Shaffer | Lead Design Expert, Decorilla


How Can I Make My Bathroom Makeover Affordable?

In most cases, you’ll spend more on a bathroom remodel than you originally planned, even if you go the DIY route. According to HGTV, you should set aside at least 30% of your original budget as a cushion. If you’re not completely gutting the space, there are many inexpensive ways to spruce up your bathroom without breaking the bank. Make the largest impact on the least amount of dollars with these bathroom remodel ideas.

7 Tips for an Inexpensive Bathroom Remodel

1. Shop Around for Affordable Alternatives

While tile is trendy and visually-appealing, it’s expensive and difficult to install. To cut costs, we recommend tiling either your walls or floors, but not both. Your bathroom remodel will be more cost-effective if you’re able to avoid tile completely. We’ll cover alternative options for your walls and floors in tips 2 and 3. When it comes to the finer aspects of your bathroom, like your light fixtures and toilet paper holder, try shopping at garage sales and local thrift stores. Who knows, you might find a refinished pedestal sink or claw-foot bath tub while you’re at it.

2. Use Easy-to-Install Bathroom Flooring

Want to update your bathroom floor without tiling it? Consider using engineered wood, peel-and-stick tile or laminate flooring. Unlike tile, each one is easy to install and can accommodate smaller budgets.

Man Looking Through Floor Swatches
  • Engineered wood. Hardwood floors aren’t great for bathrooms, especially since they’re not waterproof. If you want the authentic feel of wood floors in your bathroom, consider using engineered wood. It’s less susceptible to moisture, and can be installed with gorilla glue or a nail gun. Plus, with an average price range of $4 to $7 per square foot, it will keep you on budget.
  • Peel-and-stick tile. The visual appeal of tile floors for a fraction of the price? Sold! You can pay as low as 20 cents per square foot for peel-and-stick tile. Plus, this easy-to-install bathroom flooring will spare you countless hours of labor. And if you decide to change the pattern later on, it’s less difficult to remove than regular tile.
  • Laminate flooring. Unlike tile, laminate flooring snaps right into place. Measure your bathroom dimensions before installing it so you can easily gauge how many pieces to buy. And with prices ranging from $2 to $3 per square foot, it will be easy on your wallet as well.

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Man Painting Bathroom

3. Find Alternative Bathroom Wall Ideas

Your bathroom walls don’t have to be tiled, either. While paint is the most common alternative to tile, you can also opt for fiberglass or acrylic panels. Plus, these options are less expensive and easy to install.

  • Paint. While paint might seem boring at first, you can use it to customize your bathroom. Try painting an accent wall or add wainscoting for another pop of color. Plus, it only costs between $1,000 and $2,000 to paint your entire bathroom.
  • Fiberglass. Typically used for shower inserts and the wall above your bathtub, fiberglass gives your bathroom a touch of sleekness. There are multiple patterns to choose from, including marble, brick and solid colors. And with an average price range of $611 to $811, you can easily avoid overspending.
  • Acrylic panels. Like fiberglass, acrylic panels are commonly used in showers as well. You can install each panel with basic woodworking tools, and it’s 100% waterproof. If you use acrylic panels in your bathroom, expect to pay between $1,100 and $1,360.
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“Paint is an easy way to save money while adding style to your bathroom. Choose the perfect color for a bold accent wall or add some drama with a painted ceiling.”
Leslie Eiler | Design Manager, CRD Design Build


4. Choose Your Wall Art Wisely

Your bathroom is a difficult room to decorate. Due to excess moisture in the air, valuable artwork can damage easily. We recommend choosing anything aside from paintings, which are often warped by steam. In general, framed photographs and posters fare well in bathrooms. You can also choose ceramic pieces, like a decorative plate or metal wall art. If you’re remodeling your bathroom on a tight budget, put your family and loved ones on display. Just make sure the frame is completely sealed and has a solid backing before hanging it up.

Large Bathroom With Navy Blue Double-Vanity

5. Redo Your Bathroom Vanity

You can easily spruce up your bathroom by updating your vanity. From choosing new countertops to repainting the wood, there are many ways to tackle this project. Here are a few inexpensive ways to redo your bathroom vanity:

  • Replace the hardware. If you’re getting new doorknobs for your bathroom, update the hardware on your vanity as well. Make sure they have the same color and finish.
  • Paint it. Use semi-gloss latex paint to change the color of your vanity. As you repaint it, make sure to cover the door, drawers and wood around the mirror. Once you’re finished, apply a shiny topcoat.
  • Change the countertop. Marble countertops are far from cheap, but you can get the same result with peel-and-stick alternatives. Plus, it’s waterproof and simple to install.
  • Install a new light fixture. No vanity is complete without a fashionable light fixture. Rather than redoing your entire bathroom vanity, change the lighting above it.
  • Shop new-to-you. Is your bathroom vanity beyond repair? Get rid of yours and browse for a new one on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
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“Renters and homeowners alike find themselves stuck with unsightly vanities, most of which are constructed in a way that doesn't allow for easy updates. Surprisingly enough, no matter how unsightly the vanity is, the design dilemma can be solved for under $100 - even for a double vanity. We really love the repurposed look of vintage and antique mirrors for smaller vanities in powder rooms and half baths. For larger bathrooms, such as the primary bath in the bedroom suite, having a mirror custom sized (which is as simple as cutting in a glass shop) and hiring a pro to frame and mount the piece is a great vanity update that you can likely keep under $400.”
Devin Shaffer | Lead Design Expert, Decorilla


6. Reorganize Your Bathroom

Sometimes, the easiest way to upgrade your bathroom is to reorganize it. Using space efficiently can make your bathroom feel larger and inviting to guests. Try the following tips to reduce clutter and make the most of your budget bathroom remodel.

  • Use baskets. Store lotion, extra toilet paper and other toiletries in a basket on your toilet. This will give you more counterspace.
  • Use your bathroom door. Hang towels and your bathrobe behind your door to keep them out of sight.
  • Install shelves. Have a bare wall above your toilet or next to your vanity? Install shelves to use that space efficiently. In addition to storing toiletries there, you can put pictures and other decorations on display.
  • Use drawer dividers. Keep your bathroom drawers organized and clutter-free with dividers. Designate each section to makeup, tooth brushes, hair ties, etc. The last thing you need is another junk drawer!
  • Deep clean your bathroom. Cleaning your bathroom is the best way to get rid of unnecessary clutter. Check out our cleaning checklist to get started.

7. Focus on the Details

Already content with your walls, floors and vanity? Try updating your bathroom with a new shower curtain or hand towels. We recommend saving this until the end of your bathroom makeover, to ensure the finishing touches match your other design choices. And if you have extra room in your budget, invest in a new mirror or medicine chest. You can even shop for used ones online.

Looking to complete a full bathroom remodel? Get the guide here.