How to Upgrade Your Bathroom on a Plumbing Budget

There’s always a good reason to upgrade your bathroom. Sometimes, you have free time and you’d like to try your hands on some DIY makeover. Upgrading your bathroom has many benefits.

First of all, it makes your home more beautiful and your bathroom more functional.

Likewise, it makes your home more valuable when you decide to move into a bigger and better house. You can always sell your current apartment for more.

However, it doesn’t need to cost an arm and leg to do this.

Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report shows that an average remodel will cost you about $10,500 while an upscale remodel will cost a huge $26,000. A minor upgrade could cost $9,400 on a larger bathroom.

average remodel cost

What if you do it yourself? This ‘Old House’ reveals you can achieve your bathroom remodel for $1,000 to $3,000 or less. The amount you spend will usually depend on how extensive your upgrade is.

You can renovate your bathroom while spending little. How do you do that?

That’s what you’re going to learn in this post.

  1. Decide on your new design

To do a good job of upgrading your bathroom, you need to have a design in mind.

You should be able to picture how your bathroom will look after the upgrade. Are you only going to install a few materials or will it be a major upgrade?

One of the major elements to consider is the color scheme of your upgrade. Will it maintain its current color scheme or do you want to change that?

You also need to consider how your color scheme will fit into the overall design of your house.

overall design of your house

There are basic fixtures that must be in a bathroom. But after those, the rest depends on the taste.

Do you want to replace an already existing fixture or do you want to add a towel rack or a sink? You have to specify the fixtures to be upgraded and those to be added.

You also need to know where utilities like plumbing pipes and electrical wiring are located. With this knowledge, you can avoid causing other problems while upgrading your bathroom.

  1. Have your tools and supplies in place

To upgrade your bathroom successfully, you need tools and supplies. You may already have some of these tools, but you need to look at all the tasks you need to perform and all the tools to get them done.

tools and supplies in place

With this, your work is easier and you can save time while doing a good job. Some of the tools you can use are:

  • Gloves
  • Chisel
  • Power drill
  • Tape measure
  • Spackle knife
  • Spackle
  • Hacksaw
  • Screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  1. Apply Paint

Paying a painter may increase the cost for your upgrade job. But painting is one of the activities you need to perform to give your bathroom that new look it deserves. The way to go about it is to carry out the paint job yourself.

However, doing a paint job is not as easy as other parts of the house.

This is because of all the fixtures like the window, tub or shower, sink, mirror, toilet, switchplates, etc. that you don’t want to smear with paint.

To pull this off, you’ll need a lot of painter’s tape to cover fixtures close to where you need to apply paint. Likewise, you need to be patient as you’ll need a lot of time to get the work done.

As much as a good paint job will make your bathroom beautiful, you also need to think of functionality.

Your bathroom is vulnerable to mold and mildew due to its functions. Moisture can also increase due to humidity and temperature change.

It’s advisable to use a paint with a satin finish to resist the growth of mold. You can apply the paint to the ceiling to have a regular color scheme and prevent mold.

  1. Reduce the number of Tiles

The cost of tiles can drive your upgrade costs up. This can even eat more into your budget if you need to hire a contractor to lay the tiles.

The alternative is to have tiles on the high impact areas like the floor and maybe a single horizontal strip on the wall rather than up the wall.

alternative is to have tiles on the high impact areas like the floor

You can paint the rest of the wall with paint that fits the color of the tiles and your general bathroom color scheme.

Another way to reduce the cost of your tiles is to combine the pricey tiles with the cheaper ones. This can make your design unique while you also save money.

  1. Save cost with cheap countertops

Your first thought might be to throw your money at a granite countertop. And you may see this as the only way especially as it's cheaper than a countertop you'd install in the kitchen.

However, you can still save on your countertop.

save on your countertop

One way to do this is to avoid popular colors like light beige, brown, as they're more popular.

These colors are also more expensive due to their popularity. To make a choice, consider a wide range of colors and their prices.

Another way to save on your countertop is to buy a slab with imperfections. With imperfections, the cost of the slab goes down.

The thing is that this part may be covered by your sink basin and doesn't affect the overall look of your countertop.

  1. Buy Used materials

Buying new materials can please your ego, but it will only drive up the cost of your bathroom upgrade.

You can always find used fixtures like sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, etc. on sites like eBay or Craigslist.

You can also improvise by using different accessories to replace your fitting. For instance, you can change a brightly colored vintage Tupperware into cool hanging lamps.

  1. Redo your tubs and shower instead of buying

If you plan to buy a new tub or shower, this could lead to an increase in the cost of your upgrade job. To reduce cost, you should have your tub refinished to give it a new look.

Redo your tubs and shower instead of buying

You can also do it yourself if your tub is made of porcelain, cast iron, or fiberglass. This will take time and you'll also need to buy a refinishing kit which can cost as much as $150.

However, you should replace your sink rather than refinish it. This is because the cost of refinishing it could end up costlier than the cost of buying a new one.

  1. Update your bathroom fixtures

To make your bathroom even more beautiful, you need to update small features. This could be drawer pulls, sink faucets, light fixtures, towel racks, etc. This would only be a small investment but it could raise the beauty of your bathroom.

You can also get some of these parts without paying for them. Many times, fixtures like these go to waste when a house is torn down for redevelopment. You can always get some of these fixtures from the home developers which they'll be happy to give you.

  1. Dress your windows with shades

To improve the beauty of your bathroom, you can add Roman shades to it. These shades come in different patterns and you can buy one to suit your bathroom color scheme.

bathroom color scheme

You can get shades with beautiful color patterns for as low as $100.

  1. Make a towel rack

A towel rack helps you to keep your towels in the bathroom. If your bathroom lacks this, you can build one using wood cut into small sizes.

Small wooden pieces are nailed to another wooden piece that will serve as the mounting strip.


towels in the bathroom.


After this is done, the mounting strip is attached to the wall and you can now keep your towels here.

  1. Install a self-closing toilet lid

Does your neighbor always have to know when you use the toilet? Well, you can put an end to that during your bathroom upgrade.

self closing toilet lid

A self-closing toilet lid will eliminate the noise that usually results after using your toilet.


You don't need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade your bathroom. You can always pull it off on the budget and still do a great job.

However, you need the right tools, patience, and commitment to the work to turn your bathroom into a beauty.


Written by Anta

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