Baths That Don’t Break the Bank— Remodeling a Bathroom on a Budget

A homeowner envisions a bathroom remodel. Part of the picture is a photograph and the rest is a concept sketch. Remodeling a bathroom on a budget will be easy with out handy guide.

A bathroom remodel costs $10,387 on average. A low-end remodel typically comes in between $3,500 and $7,000. Some homeowners spend over $25,000. While it’s important to pay for quality, it’s also wise to stick to a reasonable budget and avoid overspending.

When you’re remodeling a bathroom on a budget, you may need to get creative with the process. Everything from the finishes you choose to the projects you undertake can help you save money. Budget bathroom makeovers can make just as much of an impact as more expensive projects.

Let’s review some tips for saving money on your bathroom remodel.

Set Your Budget

The first step for remodeling a bathroom on a budget is to have a budget! Pin what you plan to spend before you make any plans. Knowing a specific amount lets you divvy up the money to different projects.

Budgeting can also help you decide on the scope of the project. You might realize you don’t have enough money to replace your bathtub and vanity. Maybe you’ll decide you want to keep your flooring and spend money on other projects.

Think about your reasons for a bathroom remodel when deciding how to allocate the money. If your bathroom is outdated, focus on refreshing the most outdated pieces. If you’re worried about energy efficiency, focus on water-saving fixtures and energy-saving lighting.

Prioritize what you want to update. Decide what you really want to change, and put more money toward those features.

Create a Budget Cushion

When remodeling a bathroom on a budget, it’s always a good idea to keep a little money aside as a budget buffer. You might run into issues or unexpected expenses, such as plumbing that needs replaced or a rotten subfloor. Having reserves in your budget lets you complete those unexpected projects without cutting your remodeling plans.

Set aside a minimum of 10% of your budget for overages. If your budget is $5,000, that means you should keep at least $500 aside as a cushion. Bumping up to 20 or 30% gives you even more wiggle room if you run into problems.

Keep the Layout

Unless your current bathroom layout is completely inefficient, it’s best to keep it the same. Moving the toilet, vanity, or tub means you also need a plumber to move the plumbing. That means water piping and drainage piping has to be removed and replaced, walls or floors will have to be opened and repaired, and you may even need to move electrical wiring. All this comes with a significant cost.

In addition to the extra cost, changing the layout adds time to your remodel.

Pick a Few Higher-End Pieces

If your budget is too tight to allow top quality replacements for every part of the bathroom, one of the best ways to deal with the problem is to carefully choose some high-end pieces that will make a major impact in attractiveness, comfort, or both. 

One place you might splurge is the countertop. Since it’s a small area, you can get a granite countertop or similar high-end material without totally breaking the budget. You can save even more by choosing a granite slab that has imperfections. Find a piece with the imperfections where the sink goes, and the messed up area isn’t an issue anyway.

Another way to splurge is by adding a band of specialty tile on your shower surround. Use basic tile for most of the surround with a decorative or pebble tile band to draw attention.

Another wise choice is to choose a high quality tub and/or shower, since the right one will deliver luxury and comfort, while being an attractive design focal point.

Use Replica Materials

With an unlimited budget, it’s easy to choose high-end finishes and materials for all parts of your bathroom. When you’re remodeling a bathroom on a budget, choosing look-alike materials can give you the same feel at a fraction of the price.

Luxstone shower walls from Kohler, for example, come in a wide range of colors and textures that simulate high end finishes while being far more durable and easier to clean.

Quartz and laminate bathroom countertops are available in styles that look like real stone. They’re much cheaper and usually easier to maintain.

Tiles made of ceramic and porcelain come looking like more expensive marble, travertine, and other materials. You get the more upscale look at a lower price point. Just like countertops, the less expensive tiles often come with less maintenance.

Even your flooring can come in look-alike options. Many vinyl flooring options have an upscale look, mimicking tile or wood plank flooring. It’s often easier to install than the real material.

Freshen the Paint

New bathroom paint is one of the least costly ways to give your room a new look. Bathrooms are typically the smallest rooms in the house, so you don’t need much paint. Fresh paint makes the biggest impact when the current bathroom color is outdated or if the walls look dingy or stained.

Update What You Have

One way to save money (especially if your goal is to focus on a small number of high-end features) is to keep elements that are still serviceable. Is your vanity still in good shape? Consider repainting or restaining it instead of spending on a replacement. New hardware improves the look of your old vanity and costs very little.

Leaving the vanity base and only replacing the countertop and faucet is another option. The counter is more visible than the base, so it can make a big impact.

The same idea works for other bathroom features. If your existing tile is in good shape, you might regrout it to give it a fresh look. New caulk is another easy update that takes your bathroom from grungy to fresh and new.

Instead of replacing your bathroom floor, consider using a protective enamel paint or an acrylic layer to brighten the floor and protect the it from moisture in the bathroom. 

Buy Secondhand Accessories and Accents

One part of a renovation many homeowners fail to account for in budgeting is the need to decorate the space after the main work of the remodeling is finished. Often, they choose a lovely new color scheme, then find themselves prowling high end stores to match that new look with brand new accessories.

Consider buying an eclectic collection of items from secondhand stores. This can not only give your bath a whimsical or classic look, you get to do just as much shopping without emptying your wallet!

Remodeling a Bathroom on a Budget

Remodeling a bathroom on a budget project can get you amazing results with some creativity and strategic choices. Focus your money and attention on key elements to make the budget stretch. Then, enjoy your fresh, updated bathroom for years to come.

Are you ready for a professional bathroom remodel? Check out our financing solutions to fit your budget and request a free quote today.