Are you sick of your bathroom decor but don’t have a lot of money to remodel it? With just a few simple changes, you can have a “new” bathroom without denting your bank account.
I like to start any project with a couple of weekends at yard sales or garage sales. I find the best deals are at estate sales and moving sales. I only go to flea markets to get ideas on crafts that I can make myself for ½ the cost of what they are selling them for.
Some things you may be looking for are new (to you) artificial plants, light fixtures or light covers, mirrors, candle holders, magazine racks, leftover tile (that can be used as a border – not to retile the entire bathroom)- things of that nature.
Most things can easily be spray painted to match your colors. Spray paint is $2-$3 a can and it’s important to look for the rustproof type. Most importantly- do all of your spray painting outside or in a large, well-ventilated place- like a garage or the driveway. Having you unconscious on the floor is not part of the new décor. You’ll make a lumpy floor mat.
First, decide on what color you want your bathroom to be and add two shades of the same color, one lighter and one darker (or one totally different but matching color) for accents.
Strip everything out of your bathroom so you can start with a fresh, empty room. You should start with my other article “Making Spring Cleaning a Breeze- Part 1- Bathrooms” and deep clean before you begin your bathroom facelift.
Depending on the condition of your fixtures, you can polish them with a mixture of vinegar and a small amount of baking soda paste to make them really shine. Use an old toothbrush to get into the tight spots. You may need to leave the cleaner on for a few minutes if it’s really grimy or you need to remove a small amount of rust.
If they are in bad shape, they can be replaced relatively inexpensively at any discount department store- Target, Walmart, Big Lots, General Dollar, and Family Dollar stores. A new faucet set should cost about $10-$12 and a new shower head around $10-$15.
Fixtures are very easy to replace yourself with and come with detailed instructions on how to do them. The #1 thing you need to remember is to turn off the water before you start the replacement process.
Don’t ask me how I know that; just take my word for it. If you don’t turn off the water first, you will have an unintentional shower (and shower the small child standing behind you, watching to see what you are doing. Unless your goal in life is to make your small child terrified of the bathroom, turn off the water before you begin.)
You can also pick up a new shower liner for about $3.00, a new shower curtain, and new bathmats for about $10 (a set ) at the same stores-if you didn’t find them at a garage sale for less.
If you are not going to replace your towel rack, bathrobe hook, and toothbrush holder- you can take them down and spray paint them the color of your choice.
Small touches make a big difference.
If you have a large bathroom mirror, I have found accessory holders with suction cups at a discount department store. I use a small one for my make-up stuff and a larger one for deodorant, toothpaste, contact lens solution- things like that, to get them off the side of my sink. The cost for both was about $7.
I also found a netted, pocketed hanger that I hung inside my shower liner on the shower hooks. It will get all your shampoo, razors, and soaps off the edge of the tub and hides these things behind the shower liner. You can use a second, larger one for children’s bathtub toys (if you have small children). The cost was about $3.
The tile makes an interesting and dimensional border and is very easy to install yourself. You shouldn’t need a lot of tiles if you are just doing a border so the cost should be minimal. Just be sure to wipe away excess grout as you work because once it dries, it’s really hard to get off. Be sure to make a level mark to follow before you begin so your border doesn’t end up aiming for the floor ½ ways around your bathroom.
If you’re good at math, you can measure the distance around your room and measure the distance across the tiles. Do the math and skip a spot equal to the same size as the tile. If math isn’t your strong subject just find a 5th grader to do it for you.
Tea light candles around your tub will give it a romantic feeling and looks very pretty. Also, a small mirror on the back of your toilet with tea light candles is a nice touch. Who couldn’t use a nice-smelling candle in their bathroom anyway?
You can also use tea light candle holders for things other than candles. I have two that I filled with a small amount of sand and some tiny seashells that I found at a craft store for about $2. If you live near a beach, these things can be found for free.
If you are going with a seashell kind of décor, you can pick up a shadow box at a craft store for a few dollars. In the back, you can add a picture of the ocean (or whatever you like) then fill it 1/8 of the way with sand, tiny seashells, and sea glass. Just a little bit at the bottom of the shadow box is all you need. (This will work with almost anything; you just need to use your imagination)
Another fun look is if you have one of those bathrooms sinks with a cabinet, you can use ordinary ceramic drink coasters that match your theme and attach them at an equal distance to the blank spot or to the cabinet door. You can either use double-sided tape or glue them on with wood glue.
The possibilities are endless if you use your imagination. If you have more than one bathroom, rinse and repeat.
Inexpensive Design Ideas for Bathroom
When guests come to your home, do you silently hope that they won’t have to go to the bathroom during their visit? Does getting ready in your old outdated bathroom every morning provide a depressing start to your day? After enduring a blah beige-painted torn linoleum floored bathroom for years, I recently completed a mini-remodel. While I couldn’t afford to change everything in my bathroom, the following inexpensive design ideas that I incorporated gave me the beautiful results I envisioned.
Anyone who tries to put on makeup in the morning or get that perfect hairstyle knows the importance of good lighting in the bathroom. Changing bathroom light fixtures can add style to an otherwise plain bathroom and give you a better function. Update harsh older fluorescent lights with new vanity lights or pendant lights. Nickel, stainless steel, and oiled bronze finishes look great in bathrooms painted in warm neutral colors. Do you have a large soaker tub in your master bathroom? If so, think about showing it off with an inexpensive mini-chandelier.
I know what you’re thinking. Flooring is not an inexpensive update in any space. However, the bathroom is probably the smallest room in your home. Therefore, if you want to start replacing the flooring in your home, the bathroom will more than likely be your most inexpensive space to start remodeling. While porcelain, ceramic, and marble flooring are popular for the bathroom, they may not be practical or affordable for you.
I recently installed a Dura Ceramic floor in my bathrooms and am extremely happy with the result. With these tiles, you get the look of porcelain and ceramic for a much lower price. Dura Ceramic also has a softer surface than porcelain or ceramic and will not crack as easily. Because of its softer surface, it is easier on people with joint problems. In winter, Dura Ceramic will also not feel as cold as porcelain or ceramic flooring.
Of course, vinyl is always an option for the bathroom. Vinyl is certainly cheaper than the other aforementioned options, but sometimes gets a bad reputation for its appearance and durability.
If you want to update a bathroom without breaking the bank, replacing an old-dated mirror is a good option. Trade your big frameless mirror for a more modern framed one. Do you have two sinks in your master bathroom, but only have one large mirror? Think about purchasing two smaller mirrors and hanging one above each sink. If you really want to save money while completing a bathroom remodel, repurpose an old frameless mirror by adding a personalized frame of your own. For example, you could frame your mirror with worn reclaimed wood to create a rustic look or seashells to complement a nautical bathroom design.
You might be surprised how a few inexpensive accessories can transform a tired dated bathroom. If new countertops, vanities, and flooring are not in your budget, for now, think about bringing new life to your bathroom with the aid of accessories. New cabinet hardware might make your vanity look new again. Because a bathroom vanity doesn’t usually have many cabinet doors, you can update your hardware for a small cost. Add color and patterns with new rugs and shower curtains. Also, consider changing out your towel holder, toilet paper holder, and shower curtain rod. When I updated these three items in my bathrooms, I was amazed at the difference they made.