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Last updated: August 20, 2019 • Home Improvement

Bathroom Remodel Ideas on a Budget

One year, seven months and 15 days – that is how much time women spend in the bathroom during their life as revealed by a bathroom company a few years ago. Men tend to spend a little less time, however, with a smartphone in their hand, both may forget about the passage of time, making the statistics look a lot worse. But bathrooms are also the area of the home that takes quite a small space. This means that it can be easily remodeled to keep up with the latest interior design trends. The following bathroom remodel ideas on a budget will allow you to give your bathroom that Pinterest look you’ve been longing for.

No matter how little you have managed to save, you can still upgrade your bathroom and change it into an oasis for relaxation and rejuvenation. On a small budget, it is very unlikely that you will hire a contractor for the job. You’ll want to rely on things you can do yourself. Another option, though, would be to access a home improvement loan, but be aware that most lenders cap this kind of financing at about $30,000. According to thumbteck[dot]com, a bathroom remodel may cost anywhere between $3,000 and $25,000, depending on the size, but for smaller bathrooms, the cost is often below $3,000.

These bathroom remodel ideas on a budget can even help you sell your house faster. And if you happen to have a vacation rental, simply improving your bathroom can get you more bookings, as tourists could leave better reviews just for having a nice clean bathroom. A bathroom remodel should start in the exact opposite order to the installation, so when trying to deconstruct your bathroom, start in this order:

  • Painting
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Bathtub
  • Toilet
  • Vanity and sink fixtures
  • Tiles 
  • Subfloor

Change the color of your bathroom

beautiful pink bathroom interior design

Are you tired of your bathroom colors? One cheap way to add new colors to your bathroom would be to buy new towels and rugs. Go for strong contrasts or choose an interesting color combination. You may also rely on the color of the year announced by Pantone, which in 2019 is Living Coral.

But what better way to give your bathroom a new face than by repainting the walls? If you have floor to ceiling tiles, can you afford to replace them? These are usually the largest color blocks. Any change will automatically have a huge impact on the feeling you get when you step in the bathroom. If your bathroom is small, you may enlarge it by using light colors, such as white, ivory, soft pinks and blues. You may even replace an entire wall with a huge mirror. But we have an even more striking idea in mind – a mural painting of a coral reef or an ocean view. This can be done with tiles or wallpaper. For the latter, though, you need a really good ventilation.

What about the ceiling? Play with creative layering effects and LED lighting. In fact, by installing an ambient LED lighting strip, you may change the color of your bathroom by simply pushing a few buttons on a remote control. No need to cover yourself in paint!

Change the taps 

modern bathroom taps with running water

Did you know that taps are the brainchild of Alfred Moen, who invented the single-handed mixing faucet back in 1937? Since then, their design has constantly improved, while materials didn’t change much. Brass is still the main material used in their manufacturing. If you want to reduce the water consumption in your house, you may install faucets with motion sensors. Moreover, Japanese designers from TOTO, the largest toilet manufacturer in the world, came up with this interesting idea of installing a small sink for washing hands on top of the toilet reservoir. After you wash your hands, the water ends up in the reservoir until you flush it again later, resulting in a 70% water saving. 

Replace the toilet vase and lid

If you’re only looking for a change of color in your bathroom, replacing the toilet lid will be enough. There are countless colors and designs to choose from. And there are even heated toilet seats on the market! If you are after a smart toilet seat, you’ll be amazed by the innovative toilet seat created by Kohler®. It glows in the dark, it cleans the user with a water spray (don’t laugh!), heats the seat and flushes automatically after the user gets up. So, the bathroom of the future will be used entirely hands-free, allowing users to pick and leave fewer germs.

The toilet vase you choose depends also on your age. For empty nesters, any home improvement should be done with the anticipation of old age. So, when changing the toilet seat, choose a raised one. Add rails near the toilet seat and around the bathtub. Also, put a rubber sheet on the floor to prevent falls. 

Add a second sink

modern bathroom with a grey accent wall and two sinks

This will save you a lot of time! When you have only one sink, you may find an easy excuse to linger a few more minutes in the bed in the morning. So you let your spouse use the bathroom first. But in this way, you almost always rush out the door afraid of not being late for work or to drop your children at school. Once you install two sinks in the master bathroom, also purchase a makeup vanity in your bedroom. Now, you can be a better example for your kids by arriving on time at school, events or even at church.

Before installing a second sink, there are a few measurements that you have to make if you want your bathroom to be up to code. For example, there should be a space of at least 4” between the sink and the wall, and at least 30” between the center lines of the two sinks. Vanity heights may also vary between 32″-43″, depending on the user’s height.

You can have two sinks installed even in your kid’s bathroom, but if you’ve been blessed with girls, then they might need more counter space in the future. Need we tell you why?

Also, if you think that adding one more sink in a secondary bathroom could increase your home’s value, you are wrong. However, you can expect a higher price for your house if you have a double-sink vanity in your master bathroom. And if you change the sink, why not add a new frame to your mirror, or replace it with a new one?

Upgrade the shower

rain shower head with running water and LED ceiling lights

There are so many shower heads that you may want to buy and try them all. From oversized rainfall shower heads to hydrotherapy cabins, and everything in between, your bathroom can rival any hotel spa.

What about the bathtub? As you get older, you may embrace a different interior design style. Don’t you like the freestanding clawfoot bathtubs? This kind of bathtub does need more space to showcase its beauty. But if your master bathroom has plenty of space, you can even consider a Jacuzzi or at least a bubble bathtub. 

Mask the sounds

noise-cancelling speaker in the bathroom

This is a lifesaver! Haven’t you tried to cover the weird sounds that let everybody know that you’re on the loo? Did you let the water flow? Or did you flush the water several times thinking that nobody’s suspicious? Well, instead of flushing good water down the drain, you can install a motion-controlled sound player that makes enough noise to cover yours. Now, this smart home device can serve for multiple purposes, including security. You can record a warning message that will activate whenever someone approaches your property. But we can see some amazing viral pranks made with it, too.

Change the lighting fixtures

replacing the lightning bulb in the bathroom chandelier

We have mentioned the LED strips above. Using these allows you to change the color of the bathroom from the remote control. If you feel like your bathroom is too dark, you can add a fixture with more bulbs. However, LEDs are very economical and provide the right shade of white you need, though you may prefer incandescent or halogen bulbs as these rank highest with a CRI (color rendering index) of 100, which means they don’t distort the colors.

What about adding a window to your bathroom for natural light? Well, you must be aware of the building code requirements. According to the IRC (International Residential Code), windows with the bottom edge above 18” must be tempered. Roof windows and skylights also come in different sizes. Adding natural light to your bathroom will definitely cut on your electricity bill.

Add storage spaces

amazing wooden storage space under the stairs

What may bother you (but you’ve never really found the right words to put it) is the clutter – the overcrowded countertops, too many bottles of cosmetics, makeup products floating around, towels and so on. Changing the vanity or adding more overhead bathroom cabinets are two cheap solutions for dealing with the mess. Now is the time to replace your laundry baskets, too.

Add a half-bathroom to your home

very quit new half bathroom

Is your house overcrowded? Are you constantly fighting over the bathroom? Or do you entertain often? Then, you need an extra bathroom. The National Association of Home Builders informs us that adding a half-bathroom will increase our property’s value by 10%. Where to find the right place for it? On the ground floor, you can do without a pantry, for example. If you have stairs, there might be enough space for a sink and a toilet under the stringer. In larger bedrooms, you may steal some space to install a half bathroom, however, you have to check the building code requirements. For example, there must be at least 15” between the toilet seat and the nearest wall.

Financing your bathroom remodel 

If you don’t plan to do anything extravagant, only a few minor changes, then you should wait until you save enough money. However, if your bathroom remodel is more ambitious and requires more funds than you can save in a short time, then there are at least five options:

  • Home equity loans
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC)
  • Personal loans
  • Title I home improvement loans
  • 203(K) rehabilitation mortgage insurance

With the first options, you’re tapping into your home equity. Both loans are secured by your house, so in case you don’t make the payments on time, or you end up in arrears, the lender may sell you house to close the debt. Home equity loans or HELOCs are usually easy to obtain and are cheaper.

Personal loans are unsecured debt, with a fixed monthly cost that can be easily included in your monthly family budget. 

All renovation loans over $7,500 insured under Title I by HUD must be secured by a mortgage. Financing through Title I home improvement loans don’t take the size of the project into consideration – big and small DIY bathroom remodels are accepted. Ideally, the improvements that you make must substantially improve your quality of life.

Knowing all these bathroom remodeling ideas on a budget, you can make the best decision for the most intimate space in your house. What do you want to achieve in the end? More light? More space? Or maybe both. Home improvements should make your life easier and when it comes to bathrooms, these spaces must help you de-stress and forget about the daily troubles. Do you find these tips useful? What else would you like to add or change in your bathroom? Leave a comment and let us know!

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