Update a Bathroom for Less with These Money Saving Tips


Who else wants a more up-to-date / beautiful / convenient / luxurious / fill-in- the-blank bathroom? And who else wants all this on a microscopic budget? We thought so. Well, people, your dream of a better bath can come true. Just follow these (easy-peasy) money saving bathroom update tips.

  1. Keep the existing bathroom footprint. If you are going for a complete bathroom remodel, have fun! Luxurious home spa-style baths are very on trend right now. Just remember: if you keep the basic footprint as is, by not altering your current floor plan, you’ll be able to spend less on redoing basic plumbing … and that means more for cute bathroom tiles and accessories. Whee!

  2. Add one little luxury. Even if a full scale bathroom renovation is not within your budget (or you’re renting and don’t want to invest big bucks), try to incorporate at least one decorating touch which will make this much-used little room feel like an oasis. For some, that might be a newfangled showerhead, such as a rain shower. Call me prissily pragmatic, though, but I’d rather replace my throwback-to-the-80s oversized mirror (topped by 8 – count ‘em! – lightbulbs) with an abundance of lovely storage.

  3. Choose cheaper lighting. Speaking of lighting, here’s an easy avenue for dedicated money savers. We know, we know, recessed can lights are so on-trend and all, but you can install good-looking wall- or ceiling-mounted light fixtures for approximately one third of the price.

  4. Reglaze and regrout your tile. Tile is a central feature of just about every bathroom we know. When it starts growing dull and dingy, it makes the surrounding room look old. Pep up tired tile by having the glaze reapplied and the grout redone. This works out to be a heck of lot less expensive than buying and installing new tile from scratch.

  5. Refinish the tub. By the same token, an ugly tub can -- and will -- drag your whole bathroom down to its depressing level. Besides its unattractive appearance, the worn-out surface of your bathtub can act as a dirt magnet. (Eew!) Have your present porcelain, cast iron, or fiberglass fixture refinished on the cheap, using a process of etching, priming, and spraying with special enamel paint.

  6. Paint. Another use for paint is … well, er … painting. This is perhaps the oldest trick in the budget home decorator’s handbook, and works just as well in the bathroom as it does in any other part of your house. Do be sure to purchase durable, high quality, moisture-resistant paint, and ventilate the room well during the process.

  7. Update, don’t replace, your vanity cabinet. If the vanity is in essentially good shape -- just a little unappealing -- haul out the paint can once again. Bling that baby up with some reasonably priced new hardware as well (the subtle sheen of brushed brass looks modern right now) and voila! A speedy bathroom update on a dime!

  8. Put up a backsplash. Install a tile backsplash for huge impact paired with minimal cost. Practical as well as pretty, the backsplash will protect the wall behind your vanity from (wait for it …) splashes.  Get an up-market look for less by mingling a few statement-making, high price tag tiles with more moderate ones.

  9. Save money over the long run, also. Don’t focus your economizing efforts only on the immediate, in terms of minimizing expense. If you are going to install new bathroom fixtures, whether as a matter of choice or of necessity, save cash on future utility bills by making sure that they are water-efficient.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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