Nearly everyone has had the experience of walking into a bathroom at a friend’s house, a hotel or a restaurant and “oohing” and “ahhing” over the sink, the tile, the light fixtures and other features. This can make it harder to return home to a bathroom that is old, musty, poorly lit and – in short – in need of renovation. While popular estimates place average bathroom remodel costs at anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, if you don’t have this kind of spare cash, it doesn’t mean there is absolutely nothing you can do to brighten your bathroom space. In fact, even simple changes can have a dramatic impact, and often these changes don’t cost much more than your time and the inclination to shop smart for a bathroom vanity set, shower curtains, recycled materials and more.
If you have been wrestling with the question of whether your personal bathroom space can be both functional and fantastic, the answer is always “yes.” All that remains is for you to work within your unique parameters and budget to figure out how to successfully accomplish this goal.
Avoid These Don’ts
The first key to a cheap bathroom remodel is to avoid changing out the expensive items that you probably don’t even need to change. For instance, you may have been dreaming of moving your toilet or ripping out your shower to put in a spa tub with jets. Whenever you start to work with plumbing, though, things get pricey quickly. You will also then need to do other types of renovations, such as replacing tile and repainting, or changing out, wallpaper, which may not be in your budget. Thus, if you are on a budget, but still want to remodel your bathroom, leave the fixtures where they are. Rather, consider what you can change around the functional pieces to transform the overall look and feel of your space. If you must replace fixtures, use websites or stores to help you get as close to the same size and type of fixture as you presently have, so you have minimal changes to your walls, floors and plumbing. The second key to a cheap bathroom remodel is to decide upfront whether or not you can do the remodel yourself. If you are unsure whether you have the patience or skills, try one tiny piece, such as changing out the towel racks or repainting a single accent wall, before doing more. Otherwise, you will have to hire a professional to fix your work; this can add up quickly.
Start With These Do’s
The best place to start with adding “pizazz” to a bathroom, while sticking to your budget, is to make simple cosmetic adjustments. Look at your grout; is it old, gray and moldy? It is relatively easy and quick to dig out the old grout and lay down new lines. All you need are a few tools, a tube of grout and about 24 hours of drying time. Bright, fresh, new grout can enhance your bathroom and make it look cleaner as well.
Next, pick a color theme and shop for new bath towels, rugs, and a shower curtain in addition to vanity furnishings, such as a toothbrush holder and soap dish. Without changing the electrical wiring, see if you can upgrade your lamp covers or lighting fixtures to go with your new color scheme. Also, consider adding some favorite artwork to the walls. If you have particular frustrations, such as a tangle of cords that proves bothersome each morning when you blow dry and set your hair, then invest a few dollars in a hanging rack for your styling implements and a cord organizer.
Remember the Environment
One way to feel great about your fantastic new budget bathroom renovation is to add environmentally friendly bathroom and shower fixtures. These aftermarket fixtures, such as low flow control sink heads and showerheads, conserve water and often can be installed with a simple unscrew-and-rescrew action. Purchase your bathroom towels, rugs and shower curtain from environmentally conscious companies that use recycled products. Make a resolution to use recycled paper goods and energy saver light bulbs, for extra savings. You may even be able to afford a few additional bells and whistles for your bathroom upgrade, with the money you save on water and energy costs.
About the Author: Harmony LeClerque got her start in interior design and renovation as a frustrated college art student, when she decided to redesign her student quarters as a part of her master’s thesis. She often uses items from DecorPlanet.com for her work.