Like it or not, the bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your house. You will always end up in there at least once or twice a day, and it is one of the few areas of your home that needs to be good at handling water and humidity. Not only do you spend a lot of time there in your day-to-day routine, but the bathroom is second only to the kitchen in terms of how specific your design might have to be.
Of course, this also means that a full bathroom remodel can be expensive, especially if you are also replacing all of the appliances and having to adjust the pipework slightly. Even hiring a contractor won’t always be enough, especially if you only have one bathroom and can’t risk taking it out of action for a few days. If that is the case, then how can you remodel your bathroom without emptying your wallet, ruining your schedule, and grinding your other DIY or renovation projects to a halt?
Paint is the simplest solution to any problem. Whether it is a master bathroom, a powder room, or the only bathroom in your home, you can use paint to completely change a bathroom design without any real effort required. If you don’t like the walls of a room, you can paint over them with a new color and have it ready to use again in less than a day! You can also paint over your floor, your ceiling, or even re-paint certain appliances to make them look nicer without needing to buy something new as a replacement.
For example, you might have a home with an old powder room for guests that has an outdated tub design and color. Some bath-friendly paints can be used to completely re-color the tub however you like: it doesn’t have to be a white tub, and you are free to paint it however you’d like. If you are feeling stylish, you might even paint your tub in multiple layers to add a pattern or design.
Remember that paint doesn’t need to cover everything, too. You might decide that your master bathroom only needs one wall painted a certain color, or that you are only going to paint the outside of a tub and leave the inside white. You might even have a bathroom that uses a mixture of tile and painted wall designs, giving you the best of both!
White is the most common bathroom paint color, but you don’t have to paint your bathroom white if you’d prefer not to. Take some time to come up with ideas for how you could paint your bathroom, and don’t hesitate to copy a design from another room in your home. If you have more than one bathroom in your home, they don’t need to be the same color, either – one bathroom can be wildly different from another.
Use Alternative Materials
A huge part of any renovation process is changing how a room looks, so this can often be where the bulk of the money goes if your renovations are mostly focused on changing the atmosphere or ‘feel’ of your bathroom. Since bathrooms are generally designed with a limited set of colors and a heavy reliance on floor and/or wall tiles, you can expect a lot of the better and more appealing styles to boast much higher price tags. However, you can get around this problem quite easily – just cheat.
For example, if you are looking for a design that uses stone, granite, or some other flat surface-top material, you can find laminate alternatives that ask for far less money while giving almost the exact same result. The same can be said for tile flooring – instead of having to buy individual tiles and maintain the gaps between them, you can use a vinyl floor material to create fake tiles that still look just as good!
Of course, the best way to save money here would be to refurbish your floors and walls without replacing the material: the right products, wallpaper layers, decor, and lighting can make a surface look new even if you have had it for many years. Tile can also be a handy option for this since you can use tile for multiple different purposes: if you happen to have extra tiles from some other project or even a previous bathroom re-design, you can easily use them again.
Work Around Brand Names
Whatever kind of style you are going for, there are shortcuts to help you get there. This can be good for any ‘all rights reserved’ products since you will often have to pay through the nose for brand-name items. For example, an ‘all rights reserved’ vanity cupboard could be re-created by painting an existing set of countertops a different color. There could be some ‘all rights reserved’ tile patterns that you can create by combining two other companies’ tiles together, too.
The term ‘all rights reserved,’ in this case, doesn’t mean any brand, just the ones that might be too expensive for your preferences or budget. There is always a way to turn genetic items into something just as good as your typical ‘all rights reserved’ bathroom brand, even if you do something as small as painting white appliances a dark grey color instead. Even better, many of these ‘all rights reserved’ bathroom products have small visual changes that you can easily re-create yourself, such as different handles on a vanity unit.
Remember that it is sometimes a good idea to save the money for at least one or two ‘all rights reserved’ items instead of going for cheaper options, though. When you are setting up a bathroom, safety and quality come first, so new bathroom appliances and other important bathroom items should be a top priority.
Use Protective Coverings
Many people forget just how beautiful wood can look when you treat it properly. Instead of constantly replacing your wooden floor or buying vinyl tiles to cover up the dull surface, you can simply paint over it with protective enamels or other coverings. While wood isn’t a traditional surface for bathrooms, since water can damage it easily, this can be a good way to keep your floor looking good if you don’t have the time or money to switch to a material like marble.
This can also be really useful for tile wall, and floor pieces since your average subway tile won’t necessarily be that good at resisting water. Any cracks or gaps can cause leaks, and it won’t always be immediately obvious where they are coming from, especially if you have your bathroom on the second floor. By covering up these subway tile designs with a protective (and waterproof) coat, you can make them much more effective without altering your bathroom design.
The type of covering you use depends on the way you want your bathroom to look. Some people prefer visible coverings that leave a white sheen or tint on surfaces, while other people want the bathroom in their home to seem as “natural” as possible by avoiding any obvious covers.
Refurbish Your Appliances
It doesn’t matter whether you have a walk-in shower or an old white tub: eventually, your bathroom appliances will start to wear out or show signs of dirt, and that might make it seem like you need to replace them. However, this isn’t the case – in fact, you can make something look brand new with only a few small changes. Completely replacing anything in your bathrooms should be a last-ditch option, not the first thing you try to do as soon as you notice a small amount of rust.
For example, you might have an old white sink that has started to leak when you use it in a certain way. Instead of throwing the whole sink out and making a new one, you can easily look up the best way to repair and re-paint the white sink so that it is as good as new. This skips the need to take the sink apart, remove it, buy a replacement, fit it, and test if it works: you don’t even necessarily have to remove the sink from where it is mounted in your bathroom!
The same can be said for your tub. Instead of replacing it entirely, you can use porcelain repair glues and adhesives to make sure that any leaks or gouges are filled in, and can even stick down paint that starts to peel off. A white bathroom appliance can easily be repaired with white bathroom adhesive and a few spare materials.
Think About Other Furniture
Even a small bathroom will have more than just appliances in it, whether that is a medicine box on the wall or a double vanity cabinet (with a vanity mirror) that takes up most of one wall. Your design isn’t just about the wall and floor tile options you use, and you should make sure that you are using furniture that works. If you already have old cabinets, you can easily refurbish them by painting over the old materials and adding a new waterproof covering just in case.
If you want another bathroom cabinet, you can take a spare one from your own home and add some waterproofing to save money. It costs much less to buy a few bottles of waterproof spray compared to buying a new cabinet entirely, and it might fit in with your bathroom design better than any other options you have seen on the market.
Remember that things like a bathroom vanity cabinet, large wardrobe, or big mirror can all be used to fill space that would otherwise need to be left bare. If you can cover up a wall enough so that it is not fully visible, this can save you from having to tile or paint over it without ruining the visual style you are aiming for. Plain white walls work well for home bathrooms like this since they provide a nice background for your furniture without standing out too much.
Use What You Already Have
A lot of people fall into the trap of buying brand new items for their bathroom remodel projects, even if it isn’t necessary. This can be especially obvious if the house has more than one bathroom since there might be more items in one bathroom that can be moved to the other. You might also be able to take items from other rooms in your home: this could be anything from a small dirty clothes basket to an entire cupboard, depending on what you need and how much space you have.
This is a good way to use up old furniture (either from a bathroom or elsewhere in your home) that you were planning to get rid of, too. You might have a freestanding white storage unit that is only taking up space in your home, but it could be refurbished and live a new life in your bathroom as a place to hold towels or other important items. This gives your bathroom an extra use, removes a space-filling object from your home, and can even contribute towards the style of the bathroom as a whole.
Obviously, bathroom appliances such as sinks are much harder to use in this way, but you can do it for a surprising number of bathroom items. Re-using what you already have can save you a lot of money, especially if the remodeling project is supposed to be a direct upgrade to your bathroom. This can be said for tile stacks, vanity cupboards, white paint, space bathroom appliances, or even small extra decorations that won’t fit anywhere else.
Create Your Own Design
A bathroom is a simple space, but they can be surprisingly complicated when you get to the design stage. If you are trying to save money, then you won’t be moving the plumbing around, which limits the number of items that can actually be moved. Your sink and tub will usually have to stay where they are, and a walk-in shower can hardly ever be moved at all. This means that you will have to factor them into your design if you are aiming to save whatever money you can.
Take some time to plan out bathroom ideas before you commit to anything. For example, if it is a powder room for guests, try to figure out how much they will actually need when they are in there: unlike a bathroom that is shared by the whole home, guest bathrooms are usually smaller-scale and don’t need to contain as much, but have to look nicer.
This can also be a good way of planning around your bathroom appliances. If you have a walk-in shower and a tub that take up a certain amount of space, you should plan around their measurements to ensure that you can fit all of your new items in before you spend any money on them. Bathroom ideas don’t always translate into real-life bathroom designs, and taking measurements can save you a lot of disappointment (and money) if it turns out that certain things won’t fit your bathroom.
Split Up Your Walls
Tile walls can sometimes cost more than you expect, and covering your entire bathroom up to the ceiling with tile designs can quickly drain your budget. Realistically, though, you are never going to need a full covering of tiles, and you can use this to limit how many tiles you are actually using. You might only place tiles on the bottom half or third of your walls and use paint for the rest of them, which can save a lot of time and money while still giving you a nice design and some practical protection from water damage.
Some people go a step further and only use tile around appliances. For example, a bathroom s sink, bath, and shower might all be surrounded by tile, but the wall that holds a large mirror and a vanity cabinet could stay entirely painted. This reduces the tile costs while still offering proper water protection and style where it is needed most. If you are replacing your bathroom tub that sits against the wall and can be attached to a corner, you might not even have to lay tile underneath it, reducing the costs even further.
White bathroom walls can be used for almost any bathroom design, so they are a good default option for any bathroom renovation project. If you don’t want to use up too many tiles, a bathroom with some white walls can save up plenty of your budget.