Looking to refresh your bathroom? Here are some moderate-cost improvements to consider.
Although inflation has eased this year, the cost of home renovations is still substantial. If you’re looking to update a bathroom, prepare yourself to shell out a decent chunk of money to make a big impact.
But you don’t have to empty your bank account to give your bathroom a new look. Here are a few projects you can pull off for less than $10,000.
1. Install a New Custom Shower
Leah Tuttleman, an Allied American Society of Interior Designers member and interior designer at Re-Bath, suggests “getting the most bang for your buck with a custom shower.”
After all, you use your shower frequently, and replacing it could make your bathroom more functional.
Consider a shower with a prefabricated base whose features can be customized to your taste. This can be a lot less expensive than a labor-intensive tile shower, says Tuttleman.
2. Add a New Shower Door
Replacing a shower could mean having to make major changes to plumbing and ventilation. Depending on your bathroom, that may not be doable for under $10,000. In that case, you can upgrade your existing shower with a new door.
Quinn Babcock, construction and design operations lead at Block Renovation, suggests replacing an old or grimy shower curtain with a clear glass shower door. It’ll give your bathroom a whole new look – and potentially help you avoid flooded floors due to an unintentional shower curtain shift.
3. Replace the Toilet
A dated toilet can detract from the look of your bathroom, not to mention cost you money in terms of water usage. “Swap out an older toilet for a newer, water-saving model,” says Babock. If you can do the work yourself, you might cut your costs even more.
4. Update Your Bathroom Fixtures
New fixtures and accessories can breathe new life into your bathroom. “Upgrading your bathroom fixtures, such as faucets and showerheads, may significantly improve the overall appearance and usefulness of the area,” says Matt DiBara, CEO of The Contractor Consultants and DiBara Masonry, and founder of The Undercover Contractor. He also suggests looking for faucets and showerheads with water-saving measures.
Satsha Lopez-Jaimes, an interior designer with Freemodel, agrees. “Swapping out faucets, cabinet handles, and showerheads can give your space a fresh, modern look without breaking the bank,” she says.
5. Update Your Flooring
Over time, bathroom floors can fall victim to grime and wear and tear. That’s why Lopez-Jaimes suggests a flooring update for a midlevel bathroom remodel.
“Opt for cost-effective flooring options like vinyl or laminate that mimic the look of pricier materials such as hardwood or stone. These alternatives are durable, water-resistant and wallet-friendly,” she says.
Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight, has a specific suggestion when it comes to new bathroom flooring. “Go for basic white or light-colored subway tiles. They’re typically less expensive,” he says.
Meanwhile, Tuttleman says you may want to do the opposite, depending on your taste. “Try making a statement with eye-catching floor tile,” she says. “This is an area that you can really tailor to show your personality by embracing bold colors and/or intricate designs.”
However, when updating your flooring, Tuttleman warns to be mindful of the maintenance factor. “Tiles made of natural stone require more maintenance and upkeep, but they can bring so much warmth and character to the space,” she says. Additionally, Tuttleman warns about glass tile flooring due to the slip factor.
6. Refresh Your Paint
New paint in your bathroom could spruce it up and complement other improvements you’re making. DiBara says it’s a good idea to choose a color that goes well with your fixtures and decor. It’s a low-cost investment, and you may even be able to do the work yourself.
7. Regrout and Reseal Tiles
Depending on your existing flooring, replacing your current tiles could go beyond your budget. If that’s the case, DiBara says you can consider regrouting and resealing your tiles instead.
If you’re doing the work yourself, DiBara warns that the project could be time-consuming. However, he also calls it a “cost-effective choice.”
8. Upgrade Lighting and Mirrors
New lighting could give your bathroom a lot more ambiance. “Consider using wall sconces or fashionable pendant lights,” says DiBara. He also points to LED lighting as a cost-effective option that happens to be environmentally friendly.
You should also consider giving your mirror an update in conjunction with your lighting, says DiBara. “If your bathroom mirror is obsolete, try replacing it with a newer model or framing the existing mirror to give it a more personalized appearance,” he says.
9. Update Your Vanity
An updated vanity could make your bathroom more functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. DiBara says to consider not just your design preferences when choosing a new vanity but also your storage requirements. A vanity with added storage could help eliminate ongoing bathroom clutter.
Keep in mind that a vanity upgrade may require additional work, like plumbing. You’ll need to account for that expense when researching your options.
Meanwhile, if you really want to keep your costs down, Kropovinsky suggests a repurposed vanity. “Search local thrift shops or online marketplaces for an old dresser,” he says. “With some refinishing and a countertop, it can become your unique vanity.”