5 Items That’ll Upgrade Your Bathroom for Less Than $10, According to A Home Stager

updated Jun 24, 2024
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There’s no way around it — bathroom renovations are expensive. According to Home Advisor, depending on where you live, it can cost an average of $125 per square foot to redo a bathroom, which has the potential to turn even a tiny powder room remodel into a big investment. If you’re on a budget, this might seem like bad news, but there’s hope.

“Updating a powder room does not have to cost an arm or a leg,” says Mattie Sheppard, an accredited staging professional, or ASP, and strategic interior design advisor at Real Estate Bees. “For $10 or less, you can make that half bath look fresh and amazing.”

Whether you’re looking to welcome guests or woo buyers, you’ll find some quick, easy, and inexpensive ideas to revamp your half bathroom below.

Fancy Light Bulbs

Light bulbs are utilitarian, but they don’t always have to look the part. If you’ve got exposed bulbs in your light fixture, Sheppard suggests swapping them out for ones that are more decorative. I happen to like these half-dipped bulbs that cut down on glare while still providing ambient lighting.

New Art or Framed Photos

New pictures are an easy way to change the look of the bathroom, but super stylish wall decor can get expensive. Sheppard says you can shift into thrift mode by framing a piece of printed fabric or even a decorative shopping or gift bag. “It will look amazing and no one will ever know it’s a shopping bag,” she says. If you need an inexpensive frame, she suggests shopping at Dollar Tree.

Upgraded Vanity Accessories

A new soap dish or dispenser might distract from an older vanity, but it doesn’t have to be brand new. “Just purchase a roll of your favorite ribbon or bling and wrap it around the soap dispenser, soap dish, or towel holder,” says Sheppard, who notes a hot glue gun might come in handy for this DIY project.

An Accent Wall

You might be reluctant to commit to an accent wall for your living room because of the amount of work involved, but an accent wall in a small half bathroom is a much quicker DIY project. Whether you go with paint or wallpaper for your focus wall, there’s only one thing to remember: “Make sure it’s a color that pops,” says Sheppard.

Printed Hand Towels

Aside from being useful, hand towels are a quick and inexpensive way to revive an old or plain bathroom. If you’re looking for new ones, Sheppard suggests picking ones with a pattern to add a pop of fun. You could also consider holiday-themed ones or simply go with ones that coordinate with the rest of your bathroom.

A Fresh Scent

Here’s a bonus idea: A clean bathroom is always a good look, but a scented one can be a game changer, says Brittany Farinas, CEO and creative director at Miami-based design studio House of One. “Whether it’s a candle or oil diffuser, [a beautiful scent] completely transforms the way they can experience their home,” she says. And it can be inexpensive too. Just gran some reed diffusers and drop them in a small container filled with your favorite essential oil. You can go with your own signature scent here, or pick from among bathroom-friendly ones like lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, orange, mint, or rosemary.

Need more inexpensive inspiration for your powder room? Sheppard says to pop into a thrift store like the Goodwill or Salvation Army for items to add. For discounted fabric and items, she likes Joann Fabric, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, and other similar retail outlets.