23 Budget-Friendly Bathroom Remodel Ideas to Try Yourself

Remodeling a bathroom can be an expensive endeavor, with some projects costing tens of thousands of dollars. However, there are many budget-friendly ways to update your bathroom’s look and function without breaking the bank. With a little creativity and some DIY spirit, you can transform your bathroom on a modest budget. Here are 23 ideas for affordable bathroom remodels you can tackle yourself.

Give It a Fresh Coat of Paint

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to update a bathroom is with a new coat of paint. For just a few dollars and a Saturday afternoon, paint can make a huge visual impact.

Some paint ideas to consider for a budget bathroom makeover:

  • White or off-white: A crisp, bright white is a classic and timeless choice that makes spaces feel clean and fresh. An off-white like Alabaster or Swiss Coffee adds a subtle creaminess.
  • Light blue: Powder blues and sky blues feel soothing and airy in a small bathroom space. Plus, blue paint tricks the eye and makes walls appear farther away.
  • Green: Earthy sage greens or muted seafoam greens bring a sense of nature and tranquility. Green is also great for making dated pink or peach tile pop.
  • Gray: For a sophisticated look, various shades of gray from foggy to charcoal can add stylish neutrals. Beiges and taupes work similarly.

Painting the vanity, medicine cabinets, or other built-ins the same color as the walls makes the whole room feel unified and expensive. Don’t forget the ceiling – painting it white or a lighter tone than the walls can make a bathroom feel larger.

New Bathroom Flooring

Replacing worn and outdated flooring does wonders to help a bathroom look fresh and new. Budget-friendly flooring options include:

Sheet Vinyl

Sheet vinyl is affordable, waterproof, and easy to clean. It comes in countless patterns resembling stone, marble, slate, and wood. Installing sheet vinyl over existing floor means minimal prep work.

Peel-and-Stick Tile

Self-adhesive vinyl tile gives the look of ceramic tile without the hassle. Peel-and-stick tile sticks directly onto existing floors, making installation a breeze. It’s simple enough for DIY beginners to handle. Prices range from $1-5 per square foot.

Laminate Flooring

While not suitable near wet areas like the tub or shower, laminate flooring works well around the vanity and rest of the bathroom. It’s durable and mimics real wood. Many laminate options have water-resistant cores in case of splashes.

Update Lighting Fixtures

New lighting can make a bathroom feel bright and new. Consider:

  • Replacing an old fluorescent fixture with a new LED fixture or recessed cans for crisp bright light.
  • Adding wall sconces or accent lighting around the mirror for a spa-like feel.
  • Swapping out an old overhead fixture for a new vanity light. Horizontal mounted lights work well.
  • Installing a dimmer switch to set just the right mood lighting.

Many lighting upgrades are straightforward for DIYers, but be sure to turn off power at the breaker when replacing hardwired fixtures.

Refresh With New Bath Accessories

Sometimes all a bathroom needs are a few updated accessories like:

  • New shower curtain: Choose cloth shower curtains in canvas, linen, or cotton for an instant refresh. Install curtain rods that extend wider than the tub.
  • Towel sets: New hand and bath towels bring color, texture, and style. Stick to a color scheme.
  • Bath mats: Coordinate bath mats and accent rugs to pull the room together.
  • Mirror: Consider an inexpensive new frame to update an existing mirror.
  • Hardware: New metal finishes like matte black or brushed brass knobs and pulls update cabinets and drawers.
  • Storage baskets: Woven baskets or bins add warmth while keeping clutter organized.

Updating these minor details makes a bathroom feel put together. Shop places like Target or IKEA to stick to a budget.

Regrout and Re-Caulk

Replacing old, moldy grout and caulk goes far in making a bathroom look fresh. Old grout also allows moisture to seep into crevices and cause tile damage.

Regrouting tile is a straightforward DIY project. Use an oscillating grout saw or rotary tool to scrape out the old grout, vacuum up the dust, apply new grout with a rubber float, and wipe clean with a damp sponge.

Similarly, slicing away old caulk and laying down a fresh, clean bead around the tub, shower, sink, and counters makes everything look crisp. White silicone caulk works for most bathrooms.

Allow 24 hours for caulk and grout to fully cure before using the bathroom.

Freshen Up Cabinets and Drawers

Cabinets with chipped paint or worn, dated wood can be revived affordably:

  • Clean thoroughly: Use a degreaser to thoroughly clean cabinet exteriors, interiors, and all hardware before painting or refinishing.
  • Sand and paint: Lightly sand cabinets and apply 2-3 thin coats of latex paint in a satin or semi-gloss sheen for durability and washability.
  • Stain: For wood cabinets with minimal damage, apply a stain or gel stain in a rich walnut, espresso, or charcoal color to make them look luxe.
  • Replace hardware: Swap out old handles and hinges with updated brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze ones.

Drawers can be lined with inexpensive contact paper or shelf liner for an instant no-paint upgrade.

Install New Faucet and Showerhead

Replacing old, leaky faucets and shower fixtures improves a bathroom’s functionality and appearance. Handheld showerheads with hose systems add convenience.

When choosing new bath fixtures, look for:

  • WaterSense-labeled models that conserve water.
  • Metal construction that feels weighty and built to last.
  • Matching finishes like brushed nickel or chrome for visual cohesion.
  • Positive customer reviews to ensure quality and longevity.

Many faucet and showerhead replacements are straightforward for DIYers. Shut off main water supply, detach old fixtures, clean off mineral buildup, attach new ones, and restore water.

Repurpose Existing Materials

Sometimes a few simple material changes can give a bathroom a new look on a budget:

  • Coat tile: Apply grout renewer or epoxy coating to surface the existing tile and grout lines. This allows you to choose a whole new tile color.
  • Resurface the tub: Reglazing kits or refinishing services make dingy tubs look brand new for a fraction of replacement cost.
  • Distress vanity cabinets: Sand, paint, and distress cabinets and drawers to achieve a cottage or farmhouse aesthetic.
  • Wallpaper the walls: Use peel-and-stick temporary wallpaper or removable decals to transform walls without painting.

Repurposing what you already have cuts significant costs while still making a visual impact.

Build In Open Shelving

Handy homeowners can build simple floating shelves or open shelving units to add storage and display space.

First decide on shelf depth and desired mounting height. Cut shelves from pine boards or plywood with a circular saw. Sand and finish edges and faces. Attach shelf supports or metal braces at stud locations on the wall. Add primer and paint shelves to coordinate with your color scheme before mounting on the wall.

Display rolled towels, baskets, candles, and decor on open shelves for a fresh organization system. Just avoid moisture-sensitive items near the shower.

Add a Statement Mirror

An eye-catching mirror instantly amplifies visual interest and light. Try:

  • Oversized round or oval mirror for spa flair.
  • Geometric hexagons or diamonds for bold style.
  • Frameless mirrored glass adhered directly to the wall for modern elegance.
  • Distressed antique mirror with chipped edges for a vintage aesthetic.
  • Mirrored mosaic tile or strip on a focal wall to reflect light.

Measure the wall space carefully so mirrors fit flush and centered. Hang securely with plastic wall anchors, screws, and hanging wire.

Install New Vanity Lighting

Vanity lighting makes all the difference in a bathroom’s overall look and function. Swapping an old fixture for new ones flanking the mirror illuminates better for tasks like putting on makeup.

Options like Hollywood lights, horizontal sconces, or modern mini pendants add stylish focal points and direct light where needed most. Dimmer switches create ambiance for baths.

When selecting new vanity lighting, consider the finish, size, bulb type, and brightness. Most electricians can install new bathroom lighting as long as there is existing wiring.

Add Wainscoting & Chair Rail

Wainscoting – a decorative wall covering on the lower half of walls – instantly gives a bathroom a more finished, expensive look. Traditional wainscoting is made from wood panels, but fiber cement boards offer a budget-friendly alternative.

Cut panels to size and adhere directly to the bottom half of walls with panel adhesive. Use silicone caulk between panels for moisture resistance. Then install a chair rail molding where the wainscoting meets the upper wall to add polish. Prime and paint or stain the wainscoting to coordinate with the walls.

This classic detail brings elegance and sophistication to bathrooms without breaking the bank.

Install Exhaust Fan with Light & Heat

Having proper ventilation is key to preventing moisture buildup in bathrooms. An overhead exhaust fan sucks out hot humid air through an external duct. Newer models have handy features like lights, infrared heaters, and bluetooth speakers for ultimate function and ambiance.

Swapping a dated old exhaust fan for a new one provides better performance. Just be sure the CFM rating meets or exceeds the bathroom’s square footage. Hire an electrician if there is no existing venting. DIYers can install their own exhaust fan by running ductwork through the attic.

Proper bathroom ventilation prevents mold growth and dissipates odors. It’s a worthy upgrade for any bathroom remodel.

Update Medicine Cabinet Storage

Builder basic medicine cabinets can make a bath feel dated and boring. There are several easy upgrade options:

  • Add shelving inside the cabinet to double storage space for toiletries. Use adjustable shelves or DIY with boards.
  • Replace the plain mirrored door with a etched or beveled glass door for texture and style.
  • Install a frameless LED-lit floating cabinet for modern appeal.
  • Flank the mirror with two smaller cabinets for expanded storage.
  • Remove the medicine cabinet to open up wall space and store items in decorative baskets instead.

Edit contents and organize interiors so cabinets contain only pretty, useful items. The goal is optimized storage with a clutter-free look.

Paint or Re-Cover Vanity Stool

An often overlooked area, upgrading the vanity stool or chair brings new life to your bathroom. Try these easy updates:

  • Add a fresh coat of paint in a bold accent hue like navy or emerald green.
  • Reupholster the chair in a new stain-resistant fabric like faux leather or linen.
  • Order a loose cover to instantly change the look.
  • Attach wallpaper or a decorative fabric skirt to conceal chair legs.
  • Replace with a weatherproof wicker stool for earthy texture.
  • Swap the vanity chair for a more stylish bench with storage.

A colorful, comfortable vanity seat becomes part of the new bathroom design without much expense.

Install Board & Batten Wall Treatment

Board and batten adds rustic-chic texture suitable for many design styles. Use 1×3 furring strips for the vertical battens and wider 1×4 boards for the horizontal lines. Cut them to fit the wall width.

Space battens 16 to 24 inches apart and adhere horizontally using panel adhesive. Install the wider boards between them to create the recessed panel effect. Use silicone caulk between pieces for moisture resistance.

Paint or stain the boards and battens to coordinate. The contrast pops even more with white bathrooms. This easy DIY treatment brings warmth and dimension.

Update Window Treatments

New window treatments instantly elevate a bathroom’s style. Consider:

  • Cafe curtains: Short tiered curtains provide privacy while letting in light. Great for small windows.
  • Roller shades: Clean-lined roller shades roll up to any height. Manual or remote-control options available.
  • Roman shades: Soft gathered folds add a relaxed elegance. Stiffen fabric with foam batting for a more tailored look.
  • Curtain holdbacks: Accent draped curtains with pretty rope tiebacks or ornate holdbacks.
  • Natural bamboo shades: Woven wood shades evoke the spa vibe. Color options like honey or white to match decor.

Measure carefully and use blackout lining on privacy shades. Hang bars and rings securely in wall studs for safety.

Decorate With Plants

No bathroom remodel is complete without greenery. Plants infuse life and freshness into bathrooms. Go for these low maintenance varieties:

  • Snake plant: Tall, upright leaves thrive with low light. Tolerates some moisture. Clean air.
  • Peace lily: Dramatic white blooms emerge from dark leaves. Indicates when it needs water.
  • Pothos: This trailing vine grows quickly. Easygoing and low-light loving.
  • Orchid: Elegant blooms on bamboo-like stems prefer humidity. Let soil dry between watering.
  • Succulents: Hen and chicks, aloe vera, and more do well in dry bathrooms. Dramatic shapes and textures.

Use a drainage tray under pots and avoid overwatering. Add a pop of color with flowers like bromeliads or African violets. Plants enhance bathrooms with their tranquil beauty.

Add Bathroom Wallpaper Accent Wall

A bold or colorful accent wall covered in wallpaper makes a strong style statement with little expense. Use removable peel-and-stick wallpaper to avoid permanent changes.

Some ways to incorporate wallpaper:

  • Entire vanity wallpapered in tropical print or other motifs.
  • Graphic black-and-white print for contemporary flair.
  • Metallic gold, silver, or copper for glam touch.
  • Floral print surrounding framed mirror for romantic cottage vibe.
  • Weathered subway tile or herringbone print with cool visual texture.

The options for temporary wallpaper patterns, colors, and textures are nearly endless! Add this inexpensive design detail over a weekend.

Display Pretty Bathroom Storage Baskets

Woven baskets and bins add warmth while hiding everyday clutter. Try adding:

  • Wall-mounted macrame hangers or rope shelves for rolled towels and toilet paper.
  • Wicker under-sink cabinet baskets for cleaning supplies or hair tools.
  • A floor standing bin tucked in a corner for hamper use.
  • Countertop trays, jars, and crocks for bath salts, cotton balls, and Q-tips.

Look for water-resistant options like coated wicker. Mixing natural textures like rattan, bamboo, hemp, and jute creates an organic feel. Incorporate baskets in natural hues like tan, brown, and grey or painted ones. This is an easy upgrade for a cleaner, more organized look.

Incorporate Removable Wall Decals

Removable wall decals let you customize a bathroom simply. Consider:

  • Waterproof vinyl phrases like “Soak” or “Renew” for the tub surround.
  • Botanical leafy branches stenciled up one wall.
  • Geometric or Moroccan-style medallions as artistic accents.
  • Monogram or family name decals on the wall or mirror.
  • Whimsical animal silhouettes like birds, deer heads, or butterflies.
  • Encouraging quotes, lyrics, or mantras for inspiration.

Measure carefully so decals fit flush on surfaces. Slowly peel off backing and smooth onto cleaned walls. Gently remove by pulling up one corner when ready. Have fun designing!

Install Towel Warming Racks and Radiators

Turn your bathroom into a relaxing spa with warming racks that toast towels and radiators that heat the space. It’s an affordable luxury.

  • Mount an electric towel rack near the shower or tub on its own switch. Set timers so towels are warm right when you get out.
  • Under-sink inline water heaters connect to hot water and recirculate it through pipes so it stays warm. Enjoy instant hot water.
  • Wall-mounted radiators with integrated heating elements make bathrooms feel cozy after showering. Programmable thermostats control temperature.

Follow manufacturer instructions carefully for electrical and plumbing products. Enjoy little luxuries that make bath time more comforting.

Add Stylish yet Functional Bathroom Storage

Pretty yet practical storage keeps clutter contained and the bathroom zen. Try these solutions:

  • Freestanding metal shelving units or utility carts for a movable organization station. Great for renters.
  • Tall narrow shelving towers to utilize unused vertical space beside vanities or toilets.
  • Extend short cabinets upward with matching wall cabinets for more space. Good for small baths.
  • Under-sink pull-out baskets on casters hide messy products but keep them accessible.
  • Corner mounted caddies with suction cups in the shower to hold bottles tidy and upright.
  • Makeup organizers with compartments for all those little products on the vanity.
  • Pretty boxes, canisters, and trays to corral cotton balls, soaps, etc.

Functional storage that looks great brings balance and serenity to bathrooms.

Add Architectural Interest With Molding

Installing trim molding transforms plain drywall into an elegant space. Picture frame the mirror, add wainscoting, or try:

  • Crown molding where walls meet