Bathroom renovation may seem like something you can’t do without breaking the bank, but this is
simply not true.
While it’s true that certain parts of bathrooms are more difficult or more costly to renovate than
others, there is no reason why a bathroom remodel must cost an arm and a leg.
The first step toward a successful bath makeover is to look at your budget realistically and set
achievable goals. In other words, it’s better to shoot for a bathroom makeover that will be
finished in six months rather than attempting a year-long renovation project with no end in sight.
With a clear idea of what you’d like to accomplish, you need to start looking for ways to cut
corners and save cash.
Here are our top budget-friendly bathroom renovation ideas.
1. Do it yourself
If you need to do a bathroom renovation, and if you have no experience with plumbing or
electrical work, it can be tempting to save money by doing the project yourself. But unless you
are very skilled, the result could be dozens of hours of frustration and hundreds of dollars in
The more complex your project, the more likely it is that DIY will be a mistake. That’s because
complex projects tend to involve several tradespeople. For example, for a total bathroom
remodel that includes new walls, flooring, tiling, new fixtures, etc., there are plumbers,
If your bathroom project involves multiple tradespeople and inspections, it probably makes
sense to hire professionals.
For simple projects like replacing old tiles or installing a new sink or toilet, however, you can
probably save money by doing the job yourself.
2. Reuse existing furniture
If you are thinking of remodeling your bathroom, it would be a good time to consider whether
you really need to replace everything.
The most common piece in most bathrooms is the toilet. A new one will cost at least $100,
perhaps $200 or more, plus installation. Consider keeping the one you have if it’s still in good
If your sink looks worn, refinish it with a coat of polyurethane varnish or putty and paint. You’ll
have a little work up front, but after that, the only cost will be for materials and brushes or rollers and those will probably be less than you’d pay for a new sink anyway.
3. Use pre-fabricated showers
There are a lot of options out there for shower pans. The most expensive option is to hire a
contractor to build a custom tile shower from scratch. This can reach well into five figures.
Prefabricated showers are less expensive and often feature more elegant designs than site-built
units. And because they’re pre-made, installation is easier and faster. They also come in a wider
range of sizes, from standard to extra-large.
Many prefab shower pans are made from fiberglass or acrylic with a smooth surface that must
be sealed with tile adhesive before you install your tile flooring. Other types use polyethylene as
their base material and have a textured surface that requires no sealing before tiling. Both types
should be installed on a solid subfloor to prevent any movement and damage to your walls or
4. Try not to move the plumbing
Moving the plumbing around makes it cost more money, and keeping it in its current locations
keeps costs low.
But there’s no conflict between them: you can keep the plumbing in its current location and still
move it to serve different functions for different purposes by installing new drain lines and
venting systems: moving the fixtures themselves but leaving the water and waste lines where
they are. This will save you a lot of money!
5. Study layouts and design the bathroom yourself
If you’re planning a whole-house remodel, it makes sense to hire an experienced designer to
guide all aspects of the work, including the bathrooms. But if your project is small, or if you just
want some ideas for doing it yourself, bathroom design can be surprisingly easy
For example, most people know the basics of what they need in a bathroom: a tub or shower, a
toilet, and a sink with countertop space for toiletries. That’s all there is to it. Because bathrooms
are small spaces, the choices about how to arrange them are more limited than they are in
So designing a new bathroom is not as overwhelming as designing other rooms in your house.
It’s also not as expensive as hiring someone else to do it.