A bathroom upgrade can get expensive, fast. Because of all the fixtures — the shower, toilet, sink, vanity and tub — it is one of the more expensive rooms in the house to remodel, right after the kitchen. But not all bathroom remodels have to be so costly. There are ways to do a great budget bathroom makeover. Here are a few ideas to get your bathroom looking fresh on a budget!

1. A Budget Bathroom Makeover Means Refinishing, Not Replacing

The tub is one of the costliest items to replace, especially if you need to move plumbing around or if the bathroom has a non-standard opening for a tub, making it necessary to move walls or adjust the opening. If you have a worn, chipped or yellowed tub, consider refinishing it. This less expensive alternative works for both fiberglass and cast-iron tubs. A professional can be hired to do the job for less than the cost of tub replacement or if you are confident in your skills, you can do a DIY refinish to complete your bathroom upgrade!

2. Go Easy on the Tile — and Learn to DIY — for a Budget Bathroom Upgrade

These days, the big trend is to go for a fully tiled bathroom. Not just the shower but also the floors, walls, backsplash and other details. Tiling on this scale can become exorbitantly expensive, particularly if you hire a professional to complete the job. Fortunately, most tilework is a relatively simple DIY project, so for homeowners willing to learn and invest in a few basic tools, costs can be cut drastically by going the self-installed route.

To cut costs even more, prioritize the tilework that you’d like to do. For instance, is a tiled shower truly necessary or will a fiberglass surround work just as well? For flooring, consider less expensive vinyl tiles, which replicate the look of stone or ceramic without the cost. Perhaps all you need to give the space that upgraded look is a new tiled backsplash, a task that can be completed inexpensively over the course of a weekend.

3. Updated Lighting: A Quick, Easy and Inexpensive Fix

Sometimes all a bathroom needs to look its best is a new source of light. This is particularly true in bathrooms that don’t have much lighting to begin with or where the existing lights are dim. Consider adding an elegant new light fixture as the bathroom’s main source of lighting. Waterproof recessed lighting is a great way to upgrade the look of a shower and more lights around the vanity are always a plus. Look for lights that have a lot of output and that steer towards lighting with a daylight white color since that will give the room a fresher, more expansive look than yellow lighting.

4. Don’t Forget the Details!

If you really want to spruce up your bathroom on a budget, then pay special attention to the details:

  • Instead of replacing existing tile, think about replacing the grout, instead. Fresh new grout lines may make the tile look as good as new.
  • The same goes for old, yellowed or mildewed caulk. Remove it and replace it to make your bathroom feel fresher immediately.
  • A coat of paint goes a long way — and best of all, bathrooms are generally small, with not much wall space that needs to be painted. Get this job out of the way in a weekend and enjoy the updated look.
  • Is your vanity problematic? Instead of replacing it, consider painting it or, failing that, design pretty cloth curtains to hang around it.
  • Old, worn door knobs, drawer pulls and towel racks make a bathroom feel dated. Spend a few dollars on new hardware to make your bathroom upgrade complete!

A budget bathroom makeover has the potential to make your bathroom look and feel brand new! Use these ideas to help you prioritize the problem areas so that you can get this job done at an affordable cost.

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