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You want your bathroom to go from meh to magnificent. But your budget may not have the muscle to do a complete overhaul. After all, bathroom-remodeling projects can drain your bank account quickly. According to the experts at This Old House, a typical bathroom remodel carries an average cost of around $5,500, but can climb as high as $18,000.
That’s enough money to make anyone stand under a leaky shower and cry.
If you don’t have easy access to that kind of cash, don’t lose hope. It’s time to think creatively and maybe invest a little sweat equity to give your bathroom a meaningful upgrade on a budget!
We found many projects, ranging from small to large, that you can tackle in the bathroom to give it the update it so desperately needs. You can do many of these on your own or with a partner, while you may feel more comfortable hiring someone to complete a few of them, depending on your level of experience with these types of projects.
Each of the eight affordable refresh options here will gradually transform your bathroom into the relaxing oasis you’ve been wanting.
Replace Your Shower Curtain and Liner
One of the first things you see when you walk into any full bathroom is the shower. If the shower liner and curtain are old and faded, they draw negative attention right away. Plus, shower curtains and liners collect mold and mildew over time, which can cause a variety of breathing issues.
The best shower curtain liner will provide a durable barrier between the water and the shower curtain fabric, as well as soap and shampoo that can cause buildup. Most shower curtain liners cost less than $20 and some even include built-in pockets for holding bottles of your shower products.
Once you’ve chosen the best shower curtain liner you can find, then you get to have some fun with the shower curtain. This is where you can add a pop of color and extra style to your bathroom.
Prices for shower curtains start at less than $20 but can go up to nearly $100, depending on the design and material you choose. But, this is still a low-budget way to tie a bathroom design together. Don’t overlook it and invest wisely!
Grab a Grout Pen
This may be one of the least expensive refresh ideas out there. Thinking about bathroom grout may not sound exciting but dingy tile grout makes a bathroom look rundown and dirty. And, cleaning grout doesn’t always get the stains out, no matter how hard you scrub.
Typically, many people think of removing and replacing the grout on bathroom floors and walls. That’s a long and exhausting process. That’s why we highly recommend picking up a grout pen to simply refresh your grout’s color.
A grout pen uses water-based paint so your refresh can withstand typically damp bathroom conditions. The pen’s paint dries within 30 minutes and you do have to let it cure for about a day. At less than $20 for a two-pen kit, this is an amazing deal to make a big impact with very little financial investment.
Refresh the Caulk
Caulk is another often overlooked cosmetic item that’s essential in bathrooms. Take a look at your bathroom sink and tub. Is the caulk dry, cracked or lined with mildew? It’s bringing down the room’s appearance, if so!
Re-caulking only takes a couple of hours and less than $50 worth of materials to do. Not only does it give the bathroom a fresh, clean look, but it also prevents moisture from seeping into cracks, which prevents mold growth and can limit any longterm damage.
Not sure how to properly caulk? There are lots of video tutorials online to help you get the job done.
Replace Your Bathroom Vanity
Now we’re getting into the statement piece of the bathroom: the vanity! Swapping out your long-standing vanity for a new one will change the entire look of your bathroom.
Most home improvement centers carry a wide range of bathroom vanities. You can find anything from the basic, traditional models to the latest trend in bathroom style: floating vanities, like the one shown below.
Vanity prices range from about $175 for a standard, single-sink model but can obviously climb into the thousands of dollars if you want a custom model. You can install these yourself or have a professional do the job, depending on your budget.
Replace the Fixtures
If you’re thinking about replacing the vanity, you’ll probably want to look into replacing your sink’s fixtures. After all, you’ll want them to match your new furniture’s style and sleekness!
You’ll be able to go to your favorite home improvement center and find new sink fixtures starting at about $50. But, to get the more modern and trendy fixtures, look to spend between $75 and $150. Again, it’s a seemingly small detail that will give your bathroom a whole new look with a small investment.
This seems like it would be a challenging DIY project but, in its online rundown of how to install new bathroom fixtures, The Home Depot grades it as “intermediate” and says it should just take a couple hours.
Frame Your Bathroom Mirror
Add a little dimension to your bathroom by framing your existing mirror. This is an easy alternative to pulling out the current mirror and then running the risk of having to paint the wall behind it.
There are lots of styles to choose from including wood, plastic and stainless steel in a variety of colors. Frames can be as plain or fancy as you’d like. Most mirror-framing kits cost between $50 and $250, depending on the size of the mirror you’re framing and the materials you select.
Change the Paint Color
You probably already know the value of adding a new coat to the walls of any old room. You can completely change the color of any bathroom for less than $300 (including paint and materials) according to HomeAdvisor.
When choosing a paint finish for the bathroom, Consumer Reports recommends a satin or semi-gloss finish for maximum durability and mold resistance.
Add a Tile Backsplash or Accent Wall
Maybe your paint is in good shape, but you want to give your wall some flair. Try installing a tile-accent wall.
You can go as big or small with this decorating idea as you wish. Better Homes & Gardens has suggestions for different tile projects to give you some inspiration. You can choose from peel-and-stick backspace mosaic tiles (about $7-$12 each) to granite tiles (up to $32 each).
Mix and match these ideas at will or just pick a single one and tackle it over a weekend and you’ll have a refreshed bathroom in no time.