Easy DIY Projects To Makeover A Bathroom On A Budget
If you’ve been exploring bathroom remodel ideas but don’t want to spend big bucks, this list is for you! Use these easy projects to update your bathroom on a budget.
Hiring a contractor to fully remodel a bathroom is expensive. How expensive? It costs about $10,000 on average. Opt for high end finishes and the price quickly doubles to an eye watering $20,000 (or more). Ouch, that’s expensive!
Affordable Bathroom Renovation Ideas
If you’re a DIY savvy homeowner, doing the work yourself can keep costs to a minimum. We’ve assembled this list of the top bathroom remodel ideas and trends for 2020 that will help you remodel a bathroom without breaking the bank. All of these projects are affordable, and with a little DIY skill, you should be able to handle them yourself!
1. Wood Mirror Frame
Adding a custom wood frame to your bathroom mirror is an affordable project that can be completed in few hours of work. Staining the wood frame adds some rustic farmhouse style to the space. Or, paint the frame white to achieve a traditional or modern look.
Installing a mirror frame is easier than you might think. With some careful measuring, and a few quick 45 degree miter cuts, the wood frame is ready to be installed. Follow along with the article I wrote called: Wood Mirror Frame Tutorial for step-by-step instructions with pictures. It’s glued directly to the wall using construction adhesive, no nails required!
This bathroom remodel idea only costs about $25 for boards, stain, and constructive adhesive.
2. Shiplap Accent Wall
Shiplap accent walls, popularized by Joanna Gaines, are a great addition to any bathroom remodel! They’re affordable, and easy to install.
An average wall in a small bathroom measures about 6 FT wide and 8 FT tall.Prices will vary by location, but covering 48 square feet of wall with shiplap will cost about $100 in lumber. Maybe a little less if you’re lucky.
The wood accent wall in the bathroom below is made from thin 1/4″ by 3.5″ tongue and groove boards from The Home Depot. The boards are nailed into the studs in the wall using 18 gauge, 2″ finish nails.
I wrote a step-by-step tutorial that details exactly how to complete this project – available here: How To Build A Shiplap Wood Accent Wall.
3. Upgrade Your Faucet
Does your bathroom has an ugly old faucet? It’s time to upgrade! Some remodelers think that bathroom remodel isn’t complete without a new sink, vanity and countertops. But that’s not necessarily true.
I’ll admit, an ultimate dream bathroom remodel would include new everything, including a vanity, sink, countertops and more. However, these items can be expensive, and aren’t exactly ‘easy DIY projects’.
Depending on the style and condition of your existing vanity, a new faucet can make all the difference. My favorite budget friendly faucet is this oil rubbed bronze bathroom faucet (Amazon). It’s available on Amazon for less than $40!
A new faucet combined a with fresh coat of paint on your bathroom cabinets can give the bathroom a whole new look. (See idea # 5 for more on painting).
4. Install Open Shelving
Adding open shelving in a bathroom is a good way to incorporate decor that you wouldn’t otherwise have room for. This is a must for any bathroom remodel (especially a small bathroom with limited space).
Building open shelving is one of the easiest DIY projects on this list. In the the bathroom below, a 1″ x 6″ pine board is used to create shelves that fit perfectly into a narrow wall space.
These modern looking shelf brackets from the Cascade Iron Co. website mount the shelf to the wall. Made from 1/4″ thick steel, the brackets are super strong, so you won’t have to worry about heavier items.
5. Paint Bathroom Walls & Cabinets
Paint is usually the easiest and cheapest way makeover a room. This is especially true in a bathroom. A small room with no natural lighting, such as a bathroom, can feel extra claustrophobic if the existing paint colors are bold, and dark. Believe me, the shadowy cave vibe is not what you’re going for.
White is a good color choice for bathroom remodels. If you want to change things up and try something different, I still recommend using white for all the walls except one. Bring your unique style to the room, and make a bold statement with an accent wall. This wall will contrast and pop against the other white walls.
Picking a white paint color can be overwhelming because there are hundreds (probably thousands) of white paint colors available. For a little help choosing the perfect color, checkout the article I wrote called: Best White Paint Color Guide. It has several of the top white paint colors, and will help you pick the right color for your unique space.
How To Paint Existing Cabinets
Painting existing cabinets is a great way to keep a bathroom remodel under budget. If the cabinets are in good shape and all the doors / drawers function properly, they might be worth keeping.
Glossy wood cabinets are notoriously difficult to paint because most paint does not adhere to the polyurethane finish.
This problem can be overcome by removing the polyurethane with sandpaper. However, sanding cabinets is extremely time consuming. Sanding is extra difficult if they have raised panel doors or other fine details that are difficult to get to.
An easier option, is preparing the wood by washing with TSP Heavy Duty Cleaner (Amazon). TSP is an industrial strength cleaner that is preferred by painting professionals.
After washing with TSP, paint the first coat on the cabinets with bonding primer. This specialty primer is designed to adhere to difficult surfaces. We’ve had great success using Kilz Adhesion Bonding Primer (Amazon).
When you’ve finished priming, it’s time for the final coats of paint. Our favorite white paint colors for cabinets is Benjamin Moore White Dove (it’s #1 on our list of the Best White Paint Colors!) Read the article to see all the other top picks.
Bathroom Before And After Paint
6. Paintable Beadboard Wallpaper
Paintable beadboard wallpaper… really? Yep! This wallpaper has 3 dimensional raised grooves that look exactly like beadboard. Give your bathroom some classic character with the wainscoting look.
The best part about this wallpaper alternative is that it’s more affordable than real beadboard, and looks just as good. I was sceptical at first, but ended up being impressed with the final results.
The beadboard wallpaper looks good up on the wall, but once you’ve added a coat of paint, or two – it looks amazing!
Wallpaper can be tricky to install, but once you get the hang of it, the project goes quickly. The most difficult parts are making sure everything lines up properly.
The wallpaper comes in 20″ wide rolls. This width is nice because if you make mistakes – we made several – it’s easy to remove a small section before it dries, and start over. The wallpaper is inexpensive, so it doesn’t have to be stressful if you end up needing a second attempt to get it right.
Paintable prepasted beadboard wallpaper made by Graham & Brown (Amazon) is high quality, and costs under $20 per roll. Each roll is 20″ x 396″ which works out to about 55 square feet of coverage per roll.
7. DIY Mason Jar Light Fixture
Replacing a dated bathroom light fixture needs to be on your list of remodel ideas! A little DIY elbow grease and about $20 in supplies is all that’s required to complete this project.
For more information, see the full step-by-step tutorial I wrote on how to make a DIY Mason Jar Light Fixture.
These LED Edison Style light bulbs (Amazon) look great installed inside the mason jar light fixture. The are rated to last for 25,000 hours, and are extremely energy efficient. To learn more about choosing the perfect LED light bulb, check out this guide I wrote called How To Choose An LED Light Bulb | Color Temperature, CRI, Lumens.
If this DIY isn’t for you, but you still like the idea, checkout this similar Mason Jar Light Fixture on Amazon.
8. Wallpaper Your Bathroom
Wallpaper is a trend that seems to be making a comeback! While it was extremely popular in decades past, wallpaper started losing popularity in the early 2000’s.
Recently, the wallpaper trend seems to be gaining momentum. The classy looking bathroom in the image below is from the parade of homes in Bozeman, Montana, and features a stunning geometric wallpaper design.
The creamy white solid background and copper colored geometric pattern pair nicely with the copper faucet, and the oil rubbed bronze wall sconce light fixture.
9. Subway Tile Wainscoting
I absolutely LOVE subway tile – it’s one of the ultimate budget DIY solutions. Subway tile is relatively easy to install, and believe it or not, it can be cheap. Win, win!
Subway tile wainscoting is the perfect addition to any bathroom makeover. It brings a really high end feel, without the huge price tag.
Although some tile can be expensive, classic 3″ x 6″ White Subway Tile from The Home Depot usually costs less than $4 per square foot.
When I’m installing any type of tile, I always opt for pre-mixed mortar, and grout. It costs a little bit more, but it takes the guess work out of mixing.
Inexpensive DIY Bathroom Makeover Ideas
When planning a bathroom remodel, remember: you don’t need to spend a fortune to update a bathroom! Use the project ideas on this list to make a big impact without breaking the bank.
If you’re willing to do the work yourself, it’s possible to complete a stunning makeover while keeping the budget well under $1,000. What could be more satisfying than enjoying a freshly updated bathroom, and knowing that you saved a ton of money in the process?