Genius Ways To Stretch a Small Bathroom Budget & Still Love the Results

updated Dec 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Diana Liang)

Bathrooms are expensive. Currently, the average price for a mid-range bathroom remodel in the U.S. is just over $19,100. For an upscale bathroom remodel, the average price reaches almost $62,000. If that just gave you sticker shock, and you want to spend much (much, much) less, major cost-saving decisions are in your future. Here are the smartest, easiest ways to stick to a reasonable budget and stretch your renovating dollars.

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Keep the Same Footprint: One of the priciest elements of a renovation is moving plumbing and wiring around. So, if your current layout works well enough, embrace it and move forward. Because, by keeping the toilet, sink, shower and walls where they are, you’ll save a ton of money on plumbers and electricians —not to mention time.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Mix High and Low: Splurge on some high-impact items, and squeak by with cheaper items elsewhere. An IKEA vanity can still look great with an amazing sink fixture. Or, mix in some pricier accent tile to offset a room comprising mostly budget tile, especially when you strategically use a little bit in a highly visible area.

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Repair, Don’t Replace: Keeping original materials saves money, maintains the integrity and charm of an older home, and cuts down on waste. If your vanity is in good shape, try refreshing it with a fresh coat of paint. (Even cheaper materials like laminate can look like a million bucks when covered in a beautiful new color.) Similarly, refinish original hardwood floors, and give bathroom sinks and showers a good scrubbing instead of automatically ripping them out.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Use Inexpensive Materials in Clever Ways: Arrange subway tile in new patterns or create custom mosaic patterns with basic hex tile. Add molding, trim, and beadboard — both on the walls and on cabinets — for architectural interest. All these things will make your bathroom look more custom, for next to nothing, especially if you can do it yourself.

→ Remodeling Decisions That Make Budget Bathrooms Look Bespoke

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Shop Outside Bathroom Supply Stores: One of our favorite ways to make a special statement, without spending tons, involves looking for antiques and vintage items to incorporate into your remodel. Old dressers and cabinets are readily found for little money and easily modified into sink vanities or storage. Likewise thrift stores and online marketplaces are bursting with mirrors— and frames waiting to be made into mirrors — that look amazing, and work just as well, above the vanity. And if you really love the look, there’s always vintage fixtures as well.

→ The Complete Guide to Using Vintage Furniture as a Bathroom Vanity

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

DIY What You Can: It goes without saying (although we’re going to say it anyway) that the more you do yourself, the less you’ll have to pay someone else to do for you. Even if you don’t know how to plumb a sink, you might be able to demo, paint, or try your hand at tiling a small space. Just remember that you most definitely won’t save time doing the work yourself, so make sure that whatever you take on is reasonable, and won’t create delays that wind up actually costing you more money.

→ 7 Easy Ways an Average Person Can Save Money on a Remodel