Because of the labor and material costs, a bathroom renovation is one of the most expensive updates you can make to your home. And if you're on a strict budget, this can mean just living with the bathroom you already have. There are a few ways you can give the space a whole new look, without going broke – here are some tips.
Keep It simple Before you start pulling out fixtures and counters, take some time to come up with your list of must-have changes, along with things you can keep. By holding on to more expensive items like your current tub or shower, you can save money or put more of your resources into other areas that need fixing. For many bathrooms, storage is the biggest issue. You may find that just installing some shelving or stackable drawers can make a big difference in how you feel about your room.
DIY for the win Unless you're an experienced plumber and electrician, you'll eventually have to hire someone to help you with more complex parts of your remodel. But there are many smaller fixes you can do on your own. Before bringing in the professionals, get as much done yourself as you feel comfortable with. Remove your old wallpaper, get rid of the old flooring and pull out the old fixtures before the contractors arrive. Once the professionals have finished their job, you can go back in after them and finish yours. Cleaning up debris yourself, rather than having your contractors take care of it, can save you on labor costs.
Start with a paint job Perhaps the quickest and most cost-effective way to dramatically change your bathroom's look is just by giving it a new color palette. At the very least, the fresh paint gives you a starting point for making the rest of your updates. Consider your colors carefully. Dark colors tend to give smaller bathrooms a cave-like feel, which is not what most homeowners are going for. Check with various home improvement stores, which may offer apps that let you view different colors in actual bathrooms.
Hit the floor Another relatively easy fix that can have a dramatic impact is your bathroom flooring. Changing out old flooring for ceramic or vinyl tiles to match your new paint job can make an outdated bathroom look fresh and new.
You'll need to shop around for deals if you go with ceramic tile, as it's more expensive than other flooring options. Whatever type of floor you choose, make sure it's easy to clean and resistant to water and stains.
Update current fixtures instead of replacing them The vanity is one of the first things to start looking dated in a bathroom. But replacing the entire thing can be expensive, so look for ways to give your existing fixture a makeover. Giving your vanity and counter area a paint job, or covering it with tile, can dramatically change the look of your bathroom for a fraction of the cost of a new fixture. Try changing the sink and faucet, and install a modern lighting fixture above. By using your imagination and a little elbow grease, you can create the bathroom you've always wanted, and stay within your budget.
About the Author: Angie Mansfield is a freelance writer whose work covers a range of topics for small business owners and consumers. Topics she writes about include small business management and home improvement, including bathroom ideas.