So you’re ready to redecorate and redesign your bathroom. But dropping $20,000 on a deluxe spa retreat is light years away from what you can afford to spend. You don’t need mega-bucks to transform your bathroom into a relaxing, cool space. There are plenty of ways to renovate and redesign on a budget.
According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, an average bathroom remodel costs around $10,500 while an upscale remodel is going to run you a hefty $26,000. However, if you do the work yourself and get creative, This Old House estimates that you can do a remodel for $1,000 to $3,000, or even less, depending on how much you want to change.
Moreover, updating a bathroom to your home is a home improvement project that adds value. In other words, you’ll recoup a significant portion of costs when you sell your home, as much as 100 percent.
Determine how much you can afford to spend on your remodel to determine the extent of the changes you can make. If your budget is on the low end (i.e. $1,000 or less), you’ll want to stick to cosmetic changes. Again, it all depends on your budget.
If you’re planning to add a completely new bathroom or decide major changes need to be done to an existing bathroom, consider a home equity line of credit.
So what can you do to save money on your bathroom redesign or remodel?
Limit Your Tile: Tile gets expensive, especially when you hire a contractor to lay it all out for you. To save money, limit the amount of tile and focus on high-impact areas like the floor (instead of the floor and inside the shower stall walls).
Save on Counter Tops: A popular trend is to splurge on granite countertops. Because the bathroom counter is so small, the investment is often fairly low compared to what you’d spend on kitchen counters, for example. So how can you save here? First, look at the color. Neutral colors like tan, brown, and light beige are more popular, which means they’re more expensive. To save money, consider and price out a wider swath of colors.
Paint: If you don’t have a lot to spend, then repainting will be the cheapest and, perhaps, the most effective way to give your bathroom a new look. It’s going to take more time than you think. Your bathroom may be the smallest room in the house, but you’re going to have to paint slowly and gently around the window, the tub or shower, the sink, the mirror, the toilet, the switchplates, the wall corners, and the floor. Since mold and mildew develop easily in a bathroom, and humidity and temperature change often, it’s a good idea to invest in high quality paint with a satin finish. You may also want to go over the ceiling with a special bathroom paint that helps resist the growth of mold.
Update Fixtures: Next, you can update light fixtures, sink faucets, towel racks, and drawer pulls for a relatively small investment. These items may seem insignificant, but updating them can make a big difference in your bathroom’s look.
Redo, Don’t Buy New: Replacing your old tub or shower is going to cost you a pretty penny. Instead, have it professionally relined, which is much cheaper. However, let’s say you have some vintage bathroom fixtures or an old tub you don’t want to get rid of. The good news? You can refinish them yourself if they’re made of porcelain, cast iron, or fiberglass.
Buy Used: Scour sites like eBay and Craigslist or head over to the nearest Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which specifically sells home necessities such as doors, mirrors, sinks, toilets, and tubs.