Do you feel like your bathroom needs a facelift? Are you on a budget but just itching to make updates to improve or completely redo your bathroom’s interior? If you are searching for bathroom remodel ideas to give a fresh new look to the space without breaking the bank, you have come to the right place.
We all know remodels can come at a steep cost, especially once you factor in professional installation, labor, and materials. While some bathroom remodel ideas are best done by a contractor, there are others you can easily do yourself. To assist you in your home improvement journey, we created the following cost effective remodel breakdown, including DIY vs professional remodel options, and a list of 10 bathroom remodel ideas to fit in with any budget.
What Is The Most Cost-Effective Way To Remodel Your Bathroom?
The first thing to do when considering bathroom remodel ideas is to perform a cost analysis of the work you plan on doing. There are plenty of ways to save when doing a remodel without skimping on essentials or quality materials.
A complete bathroom remodel in a median price range is typically around $19,000, counting contractor fees, labor, materials, and any other costs that may arise during the renovation. A remodel at that price point would include installing new lighting, flooring, and fixtures for a bathroom with average 5 x 7 foot measurements.
This number is definitely prone to variation based on the extent of the remodel you choose and whether you opt for a DIY approach, hire a professional, or use a combination of the two. Remodels can skyrocket way beyond that $19,000 figure or cost a mere percentage. The best way to perform a comprehensive cost analysis is to go over the typical remodel cost percentages associated with bathroom remodel ideas. Then, you can determine the remodel you want and how to go about doing it.
Hands down, labor is the highest cost you will incur with a bathroom remodel. In fact, labor costs for professional contractors to remove old bathroom features and install new ones usually comprise approximately 20% of the comprehensive remodel costs you will incur.
There are certain elements you can do on your own without the aid of a professional contractor which we will examine the pros and cons of further down. Unless you have a background in remodeling yourself, some changes are best done by a licensed professional.
The next largest expense associated with bathroom remodels after labor is the tearing out and installation of large fixtures such as vanities and cabinets. These comprise around 16% of most remodel costs. Toilets, tubs, and similar bathroom elements fulfill about 15% of your total costs, followed by 14% for plumbing and faucets.
Flooring and countertop remodels will take up about 9% and 7% of your total costs, respectively. Lighting and wall features comprise 5% of renovation costs, followed by design features, doors, and windows at 4%. The remaining 1% are miscellaneous expenses.
If you do a complete bathroom overhaul, these are the approximate percentage allocations you can expect to pay in the total cost of your renovation. If you only replace a few elements of your bathroom, this is an easy way to save on your remodel without sacrificing those updates you have been dreaming about.
Planning the Remodel
If you want to choose the most cost-effective route to implement your bathroom remodel ideas, you need to plan your remodel out in detail ahead of time. Set your goals and stick to them. Remember to focus on the usability and comfort of the eventual results and not make your bathroom updates based on resale potential alone.
Assess your goals and figure out whether you want to add a few fresh touches to your bathroom or do a complete remodel for a total update of the room. Things like installing a new light fixture, painting the walls a different color, or resurfacing your bathroom cabinets are easy ways to give a facelift to your bathroom without overtly straining your budget.
If you have an ill-constructed bathroom with outdated fixtures, flooring, walls, and other elements, you might consider a complete remodel. In that scenario, your expenses will be higher, so it is important to make a budget and decide if you want to make any changes yourself or hire a professional to do everything.
Your budget should include essential changes that need to be made and items that fit more into your wish list. Decide the total cost of the necessary remodeling elements and get the contractors’ estimates. After speaking with several professionals, you will have a strong idea of the full financial scope of the project.
Once your bids are lined up, decide if you have enough wiggle room to add those wish list extras to your remodel budget or not. If you have enough room in your budget, you are all set. If those extra items might strain your bank account, see if you can make any of these updates on your own.
If you choose a professional contractor to do your remodel, you can make the process more cost effective by doing your research beforehand. Initially, you may spend more with a contractor than you would by doing the remodel yourself. However, you will save in the long run by selecting someone whose installation stands the test of time and does not require fixing a few years down the line.
Take the time to scroll through reviews of the contractor’s previous clients and ask for referrals so you can speak with past customers directly. Read reviews of any products you are interested in installing in your bathroom to make sure you are getting the best quality for the right price.
Verify that any professional contractor you hire is bonded (and licensed if required by your state) by checking with your state consumer protection agency or local building municipality. Any contractor you hire should have worker’s compensation, personal liability, and property damage insurance.
When interviewing contractors to carry out your bathroom remodel ideas, make sure they have completed similar remodels before. Ask whether they finished these projects on schedule and according to budget guidelines. Invest the time needed to select a contractor for updates that require professional installation. Otherwise, cutting corners could double your costs and headaches later.
How to Save Big When Remodeling
There are plenty of approaches you can take when considering bathroom remodel ideas to keep things cost effective. Divide your remodel ideas according to priority. If you cannot make all your must-have changes the first time around, consider the project an ongoing endeavor and have patience with the process.
Always make broken or nonfunctional bathroom features your first priority, then fix other aspects over time as your budget allows. Tearing out bathroom elements and reinstalling them in a different location in the room can spike your costs considerably.
For instance, moving your shower or toilet to a different corner of the room will definitely boost your final price tag. So, if you are on a budget, work with your current bathroom layout when implementing bathroom remodel ideas.
It is entirely possible to make “shortcuts” on your remodel without sacrificing quality or experiencing installation issues down the line. Consider purchasing the materials for the renovation on your own and hiring the contractor for installation only.
A vast number of designers offer just design services. You can hire a designer to create the vision of your remodel, then buy your own materials and hire the contractor yourself. This allows you to enjoy all the advantages of a professional remodel without incurring the same costs.
Simple tweaks to your remodeling ideas can also make your renovation more budget friendly. For instance, select stock features rather than custom fixtures. Consider buying vinyl planks instead of tile. If you know how to uninstall old fixtures, take them out yourself so you can save on those labor charges once the remodel starts.
DIY vs Professional Bathroom Remodel Ideas
Now that you have a better idea of the expenditures and cost-effective ways to implement bathroom remodel ideas, you might wonder whether it is better to go completely DIY, hire a professional contractor, or used a combined approach. Solo bathroom remodels are not for the faint of heart, particularly with all the tile, electrical, and plumbing aspects involved.
The slightest mistake can undermine a huge portion of the project. Plus, you never know what you might find once things get started, like deteriorating subfloors. If you do a DIY remodel, you will probably put undue pressure on yourself to finish the project as soon as you can.
Most homeowners do not choose a DIY remodel for the love of the renovation process, but because of the potentially steep costs of hiring a pro to do the work. So, which is the better choice?
Small bathrooms could run you a $20,000-$25,000 tab for a total renovation performed by a general contractor. High-end remodels typically cost around $250 for every square foot. By remodeling your bathroom on your own time, you could bring the bill down to $75 per square foot if you set a tight budget for yourself.
If you are dealing with the renovation of a 100 square foot bathroom, your total cost could be as low as $7,500. The cost of a DIY remodel is usually at least 50% less than a renovation by a professional contractor. The cost of materials does not change. The most significant cost, the price of labor, is where you save big.
Ultimately, the decision between DIY vs a professional contractor is personal. You will most definitely save a considerable amount on materials by going DIY. However, the project will probably take longer than if you hired a pro to do the work. If this is your first remodel and you plan on doing a complete overhaul, the quality of the work done will probably not be on par with that of a professional contractor.
In most circumstances, it is advisable to have at least some experience with DIYs if you intend to tackle a bathroom remodel. If you have never done a DIY renovation project before, you will probably be happier with the final project if you hire a contractor to complete at least the major features. You could still potentially do more minor installations and purchase the materials yourself to cut costs.
The Investment of Time
If you are on the fence between going DIY or choose a professional contractor for your remodel, the investment of time is a huge aspect you should consider. You will save a lot by doing the work on your own, but it is almost certain that the project will take much longer than if performed by a pro.
Hiring a professional could save you weeks or even months of your own sweat and labor. If you have a tight schedule and plan on doing a full bathroom remodel, the total renovation could take as long as 6 months to complete depending on the size of your bathroom.
It might amaze you to see how fast professional contractors can transition an outdated bathroom to a brand new look. If you have a single bathroom in your home, it is best to hire a professional contractor to complete the work so you can ensure that everything is back in working order as soon as possible. If you have some DIY experience and multiple bathrooms, having one inaccessible for the duration of the renovation probably would not be as big of an issue.
Plumbing, Wiring, and Framing
You should always have a professional contractor complete the plumbing and wiring aspects of your bathroom remodel ideas unless you are an electrician or home plumber yourself. Bathroom plumbing and wiring systems are governed by a host of regulations and local codes.
HVAC contractors, electricians, and plumbers are trained in and highly knowledgeable regarding these rules. Make it easy on yourself and select a pro to complete any plumbing and wiring changes for your remodel.
Framing involves less complex carpentry like building alcoves, walls, boxing a shower, or putting in vapor barriers and insulation. With some moderate DIY experience, you can easily do this yourself. Just pay close attention to the measurements of your cabinetry and other bathroom features to ensure accuracy.
Even if you are new to DIY work, installing your own bathroom flooring is an easy way to save on professional contractor costs and give the remodel your own personal touches. Some kinds of flooring are easier to install than others, like vinyl planks.
If you are an experienced DIYer and take the time to review the primary principles of tile installation, you could even install porcelain and ceramic tile on your own. Installing your own flooring is a simple method to save on your overall bathroom budget without investing excessive time and effort.
The wall surfaces in your bathroom are a potential DIY project, but the cost of hiring professional dry-wallers is negligible. Plus, the final result will be consistent and unblemished when a pro completes it.
If you are unconcerned with a few flaws here and there in your bathroom’s drywall, you can do this part yourself. Consider installing green board that ward off moisture, which is easy enough.
Sanding and mudding is also fairly simple, but you are unlikely to achieve the same uniformity as you would if a pro did it. Again, if you do not mind few flaws in the surface here and there, you can save a tiny bit of your budget this way.
Countertops and Cabinets
If you are short on time and are dealing with a larger bathroom space, have a professional contractor install your countertops and cabinets. A crew of 2 subcontractors will easily have everything installed in no time at all.
If you have more time and are feeling like flexing your DIY muscles with countertops and cabinetry in a smaller bathroom, give it a go. Countertops are usually shorter in bathrooms and come with only a few cabinets.
If you purchase a bathroom vanity for a small bathroom in a set width, you can probably install it yourself with little trouble. Some vanities are sold with vanity unit tops you can snap into place, making the installation process even easier.
Shower and Tub
A professional contractor will typically be your ideal choice for a shower or tub installation. Unless you have prior contractor experience, tiling your walls and shower pan on your own will be a distinct challenge.
If you really want to keep it DIY, you might have better luck with a pre-fabricated shower stall. Otherwise, hire a pro. Regarding refinishing a shower or tub, hiring a glazing company skilled in this kind of work is your best bet.
Sink, Faucet, and Toilet Installation
Sink, faucet, and toilet bathroom remodel ideas are fairly easy to implement on your own. If your supply pipes are connected to your sink and the drain pipe goes out from it, you should be able to install your bathroom sink without incident.
However, if the project requires you to adjust plumbing lines, always hire a professional plumber to do the job. If you are hiring a plumber for other aspects of the remodel, the hookup process might be included in his overall service fees too. Also, if you already hired a plumber to install your sink and faucet, save yourself time and effort and just have them install the toilet too.
Otherwise, while a toilet is bulky to maneuver, you can definitely install one on your own. Basically, unless you need plumbing lines moved or already hired a plumber to work on the remodel, save on your total costs by handling sink, faucet, and/or toilet installation yourself.
Trim and Paint
Even the most fledgling DIYers can save money by updating their own trim and paint. These are some of the easiest bathroom remodel ideas you could choose.
If you have a steady hand, some painter’s tape, paint, a brush, and some time, you can update your trim yourself. Features like mirrors and towel bars are simple to install on your own, too.
Dark Hues Are the Latest Trend
Now you have a better idea of which bathroom remodel ideas are easy DIYs and which are the ones best left to the hands of the professionals, it is worth mentioning top renovation trends on the market. You can easily implement some of these on your own or choose a professional contractor to make more in-depth changes.
Gray has become an increasingly popular bathroom color in recent years, but darker hues are the latest trend to hit the market. You can go as dark as black without sacrificing the chic design of your bathroom’s interior. Dark hues are easily incorporated through fixtures, mirrors, and lights.
The good news is, save for wiring changes, you can install most of these DIY. A trendy bathroom need not break the budget. If you are uncertain whether you want to incorporate dark colors such as black into your bathroom design, gray is always a great option if you want to diverge from neutrals.
If you have a little extra room in your remodel budget, consider bathroom elements with extra tech features. Toilets featuring tech components like adjustable air dryers, automatic lids, deodorizers, and seat warmers are impressive choices. Unless you have installation experience under your belt, high-tech choices might be best left to the professionals.
Other tech bathroom elements have arrived on the scene, including automatic sinks, mini fridges, and smart showers. Voice activated temperature and lighting, Bluetooth speakers for hit shower tunes, and smart mirrors are just a few of the astounding tech options available.
With the increasingly gadget-oriented bathroom features of the modern day and age, you can turn a simple bathroom into your very own spa, fit for relaxation and enjoyment.
Gold and Brass Fixtures
An affordable design change you can implement that is easily done DIY is gold and brass fixture installation. While gold and brass may harken back to design elements of days gone by, they are making a huge comeback for updated interiors.
You can purchase toilets, sinks, and other bathroom elements in every hue of gold and brass. Save for any complicated plumbing lines, you can install a gold -toned sink or toilet in your bathroom to give instant life to the entire room at a fraction of a pro’s cost.
If you prefer warmer tones in your bathroom, brass and gold elements are a great way to achieve this end. Many manufacturers offer brass and gold fixtures in matte, satin, and spun gold finishes so you can choose the level you like best. These finishes are also perfect to hide fingerprint marks and water spots.
The industrial design of sinks and bathroom elements with wood accents, metal finishes, and unique tile ornamentation has also made a huge comeback. If you are on a tight budget and want to keep your bathroom remodel basic, pick a funky accent feature to install that will update the look of the room.
For instance, an industrial sink and faucet pairs well with brass, gold, matte black, hints of color, and cool tile motifs for a modern feel. If you have a tiny bathroom, this simple upgrade may be all the remodeling you need.
Vinyl planks are a DIYers dream, while ceramic and porcelain tile should be professionally installed unless you have experience. Tiles and flooring are sold in a variety of textures and styles, so you can pick the design that suits you best.
Just changing your bathroom’s flooring can alter the entire look of the bathroom. Consider something funky like chevron, diamond, arabesque, and hexagon patterns. These designs can also be transitioned if you want to extend your remodel to your shower walls, bathroom backsplash, or ceiling accents.
For adventurous DIYers, contemporary wood sinks and cabinets are a fantastic option to incorporate into your bathroom remodel ideas without breaking the bank. If you do not want to tackle the project yourself or have already retained a plumber for other remodel aspects, leave it to the pros.
Wood shades look lovely alongside white, green, blue, and dark-hued bathrooms. They pair well with any bathroom style. You can easily choose out the materials yourself if you want to save on contractor costs.
Make the Most of Your Storage Space
Storage spaces like a cabinet or shelves installed above your toilet are another popular trend you might do on your own. Most of the prefabricated options come with user friendly directions perfect even for new DIYers.
If you purchase a new vanity or updated wall shelving for your bathroom, pick an option that makes the most of your storage space. Extra shelves and spacious vanities will keep your bathroom from looking overly cluttered and ensure you can keep everything organized.
A quick and easy remodel option is to choose a bright accent color for your bathroom. Whether this takes the form of an accent wall or wall accessory, you can probably make this update on your own in no time without making a big financial investment.
Pops of color complement other neutral elements in your bathroom, making things fun and modern. If you really want a color boost, blush and rose gold will be popular accent choices this year. Drawer pulls and faucets are an easy install to incorporate this trend without making a substantial commitment.
Underfloor Heating Technology
A professional contractor should definitely do this next technology trend. If you have extra room in your remodel budget, you might have underfloor heating technology installed in your bathroom. You can say goodbye to the days of freezing feet on your bathroom floor in those cold fall and winter months.
Install underfloor heating beneath a multitude of flooring options, including vinyl, wood, concrete, and tile floors. Underfloor heating systems do more than keep your feet warm. In fact, they muffle noise and could keep allergies at bay since no air flows through to spread dust around.
Underfloor heating technology is not a new phenomenon in bathroom design, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years. The trend has led homeowners to include other tech elements like under vanity refrigerators to store medicine, beverage stations to keep you hydrated while you get ready, and even drawers with heating technology for robes and towels.
10 Bathroom Remodel Ideas
1. Save on Tile
The first of our bathroom remodel ideas to keep your space modern on a budget is simple. You can save on tile expenses by limiting the number of tiles you purchase. If you plan on installing your flooring yourself, you might have more wiggle room with tile selections.
Otherwise, boost your budget by only purchasing tile for high-traffic areas. For instance, select tile for the floor only rather than the floor and inside the shower stall. You could also save on tile by having a single horizontal line of tile installed in the wall, then painting everything else.
If you already picked out tile that comes at a higher price point, consider using it as an accent piece paired with a more cost-effective selection instead of installing it everywhere. Expensive tiles with funky designs will make fantastic accents and save you plenty if you only use them as finishing touches.
2. Cut Costs with Counter Tops
It is possible to cut costs with counter tops when implementing your bathroom remodel ideas without sacrificing the quality of the renovation. Granite countertops are a frequent choice for homeowners looking to upgrade their bathroom counters.
Since most bathroom counters have minimal surface space, the investment will not be as high as it would be for a kitchen counter. With that said, you can still save. Neutral granite countertops such as light beige, brown, and tan are the most popular choices, so they come with a heftier price tag.
When picking out your bathroom countertop, look at a wide range of colors to see which is the best deal. If you prefer to stick to neutral granite bathroom countertops, save money by purchasing a slab featuring imperfections here and there.
More noticeable granite imperfections equals a lower price tag. Since the basin of your sink will typically cover most of your countertop’s surface, the imperfections will probably stay hidden once installation takes place.
If you have some DIY prowess, another option to cut costs with countertops is to take an old dresser to use as the pedestal of your sink. All you do is cut the top of the dresser so it fits against the sink insert, take out drawers as needed, and make holes in the rear of the dresser to accommodate plumbing.
3. The Power of a Simple Paint Job
This choice from our list of bathroom remodel ideas is probably the most cost effective change you can make. It requires less time than other renovation projects and can update the entire look and feel of your bathroom.
Depending on the size of your bathroom, you might have to give yourself a couple days to paint the whole room. You will need to take care when painting around the sink, mirror, toilet, tub or shower, corners, and floor. With some patience and enough painter’s tape, though, this is easily done.
Be sure to purchase quality paint for your bathroom with a satin finish. This is the best selection to ward off mildew and mold. If you have a little extra time, consider using a paint meant specifically for bathrooms to touch up the ceiling for mold resistance.
4. Replace Outdated Fixtures
Replacing outdated fixtures with new ones is another remodel idea that seems simple but can make a huge difference in the room’s appearance.
You can hire a contractor to update the light fixtures and faucets in your bathroom if any wiring or plumbing needs to be done. Otherwise, towel racks and drawer pulls are small fixture changes that will go far aesthetic wise.
5. Add New Grout and Caulk
This selection from our list of bathroom remodel ideas might appear insignificant, but adding new grout and caulk is just as important as any other change you might make. Once your grout and caulk wears down, it can dull the entire look of your bathroom.
Cleaning the old grout and adding new caulk lines where needed around areas like your sink and tub will brighten your bathroom for just dollars and cents. Caulk and grout are cheap buys, so if you are short on time and working with a tight budget, this is a great place to start.
6. Refinish vs. Replace
If you are considering having a new shower or tub installed, you might have another option available to you. Instead of replacing the entire unit, you can have it relined at a much lower price.
Refinishing is a worthwhile consideration for showers and tubs, but you should not do it with shower fixtures or sinks. It is actually cheaper to replace shower fixtures and sinks altogether than it is to refinish them.
If your bathroom has vintage fixtures you would rather not replace, you could try a DIY refinish project if they are made from fiberglass, cast iron, or porcelain materials. Besides a refinishing kit (which typically costs about $150), you will require supplies like paint brushes, a face mask, spray gun, and sander. We only recommend doing this on your own if you are a seasoned DIYer.
7. Consider Used Fixtures
Another incredibly cost effective remodel idea is to buy used fixtures instead of new ones. Websites like Craigslist or eBay are great choices to find used fixtures (including showers and toilets) still in excellent condition.
Check out your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for elements like toilets, sinks, mirrors, tubs, and doors. If you want to find fun, funky accessories for your bathroom, browse Etsy for an endless assortment of artistic options. Upgrading your fixtures is a great opportunity to tap into your creativity without hurting your bank account.
8. Environmentally Friendly Updates
One of our favorite bathroom remodel ideas is to make environmentally friendly updates. These are not only great for the environment but actually more affordable to boot.
Shower heads, sinks, and toilets with low flow rates save water and often have a lower price tag than standard choices.
9. Open Concept for Showers and Bathtubs
If you have extra wiggle room in your budget, open concept showers and bathtubs are a sleek bathroom remodel idea that will change the entire feel and design of the space.
Larger bathtubs are perfect for a relaxing soak after a long day at work. Open showers are the popular contemporary choice for more and more bathroom renovations. They give you additional shower space, are easily accessible, and have no hazardous edges to trip over.
10. Unique Mirror Shapes
Our final bathroom remodel idea is a delightful touch to any size space. Unique mirror shapes with asymmetrical designs are always a good option.
If you want to incorporate tech elements into your bathroom mirror, there are even mirrors sold with USB charging stations, smart touch recognition, and anti-fog capabilities. If your bathroom is too dark for your taste, pick a sleek mirror design with back lighting to brighten the entire room a notch more.
Remodeling your bathroom need not be a stressful endeavor. If you are on a tight budget but tired of the current look of your bathroom, you have plenty of options. Start with some simple DIY projects like painting the walls or installing new bathroom accessories. You could also hire a professional to install an updated sink and light fixtures.
For those who intend to do a complete remodel, outline your budget and design goals so you can prioritize changes accordingly. If you hire a contractor for part or all of the renovations, do your due diligence, research, and interview multiple candidates to ensure you make the best choice.