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20 Bathroom Remodel Ideas on a Budget

Written by Irena Martincevic

Published on March 21, 2023


20 Bathroom Remodel Ideas on a Budget

Here is a list of 20 bathroom remodel ideas that won’t break your budget.

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consult a number of sources when producing each article, including licensed contractors and industry experts.

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The bathroom is one of the most frequently used rooms in the home. It is also one of the most popular rooms to renovate, which comes as no surprise when considering that it has a decent return on investment of 58.9%. However, doing it up doesn’t come cheap. 

A bathroom remodel can set you back between $4,500 and $9,000 on average, so if you’re thinking about taking on this project but are restricted to a tighter budget, you might be looking for some effective and affordable ideas to spruce up your bathroom without breaking the bank. To that end, here are 20 bathroom remodel ideas on a budget, broken up into different categories for you to easily choose the best option for your home.

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Ideas to Refresh Your Bathroom Walls

1. Paint Your Bathroom Walls

Painting your bathroom walls is an easy, cheap, and effective way of updating the space. When choosing paint for your bathroom walls, make sure to opt for mold, steam, and moisture-resistant paint. Over time, the humidity levels in your bathroom could damage the paint, making the bathroom look tired and dated. 

If you decide to go for just an accent wall, make sure to consult your painter first. Some painters charge a minimum of $150, so the cost to paint such a small area could be higher than expected. 

Cost: It costs an average of $2 to $4 per sq. ft. to have your bathroom walls painted by a professional.

2. Opt for Ceramic Wall Tiles

If you’d like to add some dimension to your walls, ceramic tiles are an affordable solution to upgrading your bathroom on a budget. Experts say that ceramic tiles are the most popular affordable material for bathrooms in 2023. They come in various colors and shapes, allowing you to express your style through your chosen design.

Cost: The cost to install ceramic tiles ranges from $8 to $44 per sq. ft.

3. Try Wallpaper

Wallpaper has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and it’s also starting to appear in bathroom designs. When choosing wallpaper for your bathroom, you need to be sure that the material can handle moisture so that it doesn’t start to peel off over time. Unfortunately, due to the bathroom being such a high-traffic and humid area of the home, there’s a limit to the number of materials that can withstand these conditions. 

Solid-sheet vinyl, vinyl, and vinyl-coated wallpapers are moisture-resistant and good options for the bathroom. 

Cost: A roll of wallpaper costs between $58 and $84, depending on which material you choose, with vinyl-coated wallpapers being the most affordable option.

4. Paint Your Bathroom Tiles

If you already have tiles installed on your bathroom walls and want to spruce them up without reinstalling them, try painting over them. If the tiles are in good condition but have some discoloration or generally just look a bit outdated, adding a fresh coat of paint over them is a cheaper solution for reviving your bathroom walls.

Although you can paint over most tiles, keep in mind that they should not be painted if they are finished with clear urethane.

Cost: It costs an average of $250 to $500 to have your bathroom tiles painted by a professional.

5. Upgrade Your Mirrors

Mirrors are a cheap and easy solution to making your bathroom look larger, brighter, and more stylish. A large mirror will create the illusion of a bigger space and will in turn improve the overall lighting and appearance of the room. 

Cost: Mirror prices can vary depending on their size, but prices usually start from $10 and can reach up to $700. You can hire a handyman to install your mirror for an average of $60 to $90 per hour.

Ways to Upgrade Your Bathroom Storage on a Budget

6. Add Affordable Extra Storage

Storage space helps your bathroom look less cluttered, so if you have the space, adding more storage will neaten up your bathroom and increase its functionality. There are plenty of options when it comes to bathroom storage. Storage units are a more stylish option, but simple shelving is the most affordable and offers space to store your everyday essentials. 

Cost: Expect to pay between $50 and $140 to have shelves installed in your bathroom.

7. Refresh Your Vanity

Another way to update the look of your bathroom is to add a fresh coat of paint to your vanity. The vanity is the most expensive piece of furniture in the bathroom, so painting it instead of replacing it can save you a lot of money.

Cost: If you’re not comfortable doing it DIY, it can cost anywhere between $150 and $250 to have your vanity painted by a professional.

8. Upgrade Cabinet Hardware

It may only be a small detail, but upgrading your cabinet hardware can impact the look of your bathroom more than you may think. This is a quick and easy way to freshen up the space and costs relatively little for what it does to the room. 

Cost: New cabinet hardware can usually be found for under $100.

Affordable Bathroom Fixture Updates

9. Install New Lighting

A well-lit bathroom will completely change the atmosphere of the space. Adding some lighting to your bathroom or replacing outdated fixtures will give the room a fresh new look. There’s a wide variety of options when it comes to lighting, from wall lights to chandeliers or modern lampshades, so choose the one that fits both your bathroom and your budget. People tend to use recessed lighting because it is easy, practical, and affordable. It comes in various styles and evenly lights the room.

Cost: The cost to install recessed lights averages between $525 to $725.

10. Replace the Faucets

Faucets tend to get rusted and stained over time, making them look old and unsanitary.
Chrome finishes on faucets and accessories are trending, and it’s actually an affordable style since it tends to be the default finish for most faucets. 

Cost: The cost to install a new faucet averages between $300 - $840.

11. Upgrade Your Shower Head

As well as faucets, shower heads are also prone to rust and stains. This will not only make your shower head look unclean, but it can also decrease its functionality. Opt for a chrome showerhead to match your faucets for a trendy and cohesive look. 

Cost: Shower heads start from around $25 for a single setting and from $50 for a multi-setting.

12. Refinish the Bathtub

The bathtub is somewhat of a focal point of the bathroom, so refinishing it can really give a new look to the space as a whole. If your bathtub looks a bit old, you might be tempted to replace it, but it actually costs 75% to 85% less to refinish it instead. 

Considering the $200 to $1,000 it costs to remove an old bathtub and the $700 to $3,000 it costs to replace it, refinishing your bathtub is a much more affordable way of sprucing up your bathroom. Refinishing will also address issues such as bacteria buildup, limescale, and soap scum. 

Cost: Expect to pay between $350 to $650 to have your bathtub refinished

13. Touch Up Your Tub

If refinishing your bathtub isn’t an option, you can always take the DIY route and touch up any parts that may need fixing. You won’t get the same results as a refinishing job, but it will hide any previous damage and improve the look of the tub. However, if your tub has several chips on it, consider investing in refinishing the whole tub.

Cost: It costs, on average, between $100 and $300 to get bathtub chips repaired.

14. Opt for a Prefabricated Shower

If your shower has seen better days and needs replacing, but you’re looking for an affordable way to do so, opt for a prefabricated shower. Prefabricated shower stalls are cheaper and faster to install than some custom-built showers. There are various options in terms of materials when selecting a prefabricated shower, but fiberglass and acrylic are the most affordable materials out there. 

Cost: A fiberglass prefabricated shower costs between $675 and $1,380 to install, and an acrylic one usually costs between $675 and $1,780.

Cheap Bathroom Floor Ideas

15. Opt for Vinyl Flooring 

If you’re looking to replace your bathroom floor for an affordable price, there are some cheaper material options available that will help you achieve this. Vinyl is becoming a very popular flooring choice for the home, and it’s a great option for your bathroom as it is resistant to humidity. It’s also very versatile as it can imitate other materials such as wood, marble, stone, slate, or metallic. 

Cost: Vinyl flooring costs between $2 and $18 per sq. ft. to install, with labor costs included.

16. Refinish Your Wooden Floor

If you have wooden floors in your bathroom, refinishing them will significantly impact the space's appearance. It’s also a cheap upgrade since you simply need to apply a new color treatment and a top-coat finish to achieve the best results. The cheapest finish type would be an oil-based polyurethane treatment, which costs between $20 and $50 per gallon. This is also the most commonly used finish as it’s extremely durable, making it a great choice for the bathroom.

Cost: The average cost to refinish a hardwood floor is between $3 and $8 per sq. ft, with labor included.

Ideas to Refresh Your Bathroom Window

17. Paint Your Window Frame

If you have a window in your bathroom and the frame is becoming yellow or generally just a bit tired looking, you can paint over it to give it a bit of a lift. If your window is small and your bathroom lacks some natural lighting, try painting the frame a light color to make the space appear brighter. 

Cost: It costs between $35 and $50 per window for a professional paint job.

18. Add Shades

If you have larger windows in your bathroom, adding shades can be a great design feature for the space. They can also be a quick, easy, and affordable solution to hide any imperfections on your window frames. The best material choices for the bathroom are faux wood, vinyl roller shades, or aluminum.

Cost: Shades cost between $80 and $100.

Affordable Countertop Remodel Ideas

19. Vinyl Wrap Your Countertop

Your bathroom countertop will likely experience daily wear and tear over the years, so if you’re looking to spruce it up without replacing it, consider a vinyl wrap. It may not be a long-term solution, but it will give your bathroom the lift it needs for an affordable price. Vinyl wraps are moisture-resistant and come in various styles, such as marble effect, soapstone, wood grain, granite, and concrete. 

Cost: The cost per roll starts at $7, and it can go up to $180, depending on the roll size and style you choose.

20. Paint the Countertop

If you’re looking for a more durable option, painting your countertop will also give a fresh new look to your bathroom for an affordable price. However, remember that some countertop materials, such as copper, recycled glass, zinc, and soapstone, shouldn't be painted. 

Cost: Having your bathroom countertop painted by a professional costs between $225 and $400

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Irena is an industry analyst at Fixr.com. She analyzes and looks for visual ways to simplify data. She researches and writes about home improvement and personal finance.