8 Ways to Save on Your Bathroom Renovation

A collection of paint chips and granite samples over a home's blueprint.
What You'll Need
What You'll Need

Financing a home renovation is overwhelming even for the best budgeter. Kitchens and bathrooms are usually the most expensive to redo, however they are also the most likely to add value to the home and offer the best options for customization. Just like any other project with a budget, there are many ways to cut costs while keeping a sense of style.

1. Make a Big Impact With Paint

Paint is generally at the top of any expert renovator's list. It quickly updates a room and changes its look without professional assistance or extravagant costs. This is especially true for bathrooms since cabinets, mirrors, and tub/shower installations consume much of the wall space. This will equal out to less preparation time, fewer tools, and less paint needed to finish the job.

2. Shop Around for Tile Deals

Replacing outdated or damaged tile is another fantastic way to update a bathroom. The two best ways to save money on tile shopping are to choose basic squares for large areas and shop for deals. Floors, backsplashes, and shower/tub walls take up a lot of square footage and must be durable. It is more cost-effective to buy plain, sturdy tile for these large areas and then add in custom trim pieces or fancy accent tiles in moderation.

Several stores will sell the same tile for a range of prices, so check around to find the best ones. Online purchases are also cost-effective and there is a larger pool of discounted surplus tile available, as well.

3. Replace Fixtures for Easy Sparkle

Fixtures can brighten and add customizations to any bathroom. They add sparkle without breaking the bank. Most fixtures only require a screw driver and possibly a wrench to install them, making them an easy DIY afternoon project. Anything metal in the bathroom is replaceable including faucets, knobs, handles, cabinet pulls, shower heads, toilet paper holders, and towel racks.

4. Renovate Over Time

Consider only renovating part of the bathroom. For example, re-tiling a shower area and giving it new fixtures and lighting can modernize the entire bathroom as long as the changes do not clash with the rest of the room. Partial renovations can also be ongoing projects as the household budget allows. Usually it is easiest to complete the largest job first such as replacing the sink and the cabinets. Then portion off the rest of the bathroom into sections and renovate to match over time.

5. Purchase Remnants

Purchasing remnant materials is a perfect way to cut corners. Many of the materials used in the bathroom are also used in kitchens, making it convenient to purchase unused portions at a discounted rate. For example, granite countertops are popular for kitchens and bathrooms alike. Achieving decorative cuts for a kitchen countertop requires starting with a large piece of granite and cutting it down. The leftover pieces are too small for another kitchen, but will look beautiful in the bathroom.

6. Consider Relining / Re-glazing or Replacing

Older sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers are inexpensively updated with a process called relining or re-glazing. Sometimes a color that was fantastic a few years ago becomes outdated, and having them re-glazed is less expensive than replacing them outright. This usually requires a professional to complete the job and can take several days but for a few hundred dollars it will make a world of difference.

You may also want to consider removing the tub to create a bigger shower. According to ClearChoice, Hometalk.com experts in bathroom design and remodeling, "Contrary to many people’s beliefs, removing the tub from the master bathroom and replacing it with a large shower actually adds to the value of your home, as long as there is another tub in the house. Nineteen out of twenty bathroom remodels that we do in San Antonio don’t want or use the tub in the master bath. They want a large luxurious shower so they feel pampered."

7. Limit the Amount of Tiling

Tile is beautiful and it is tempting to cover the entire bathroom with it, however, if the budget is tight remember that tile is only essential in areas prone to water damage. Tiling only certain areas will create interesting detail and cut back on the square footage of tile materials needed. It will also leave more drywall open for painting, which is quite a bit less expensive.

8. Change the Ambiance With Lighting

Replacing lighting and playing with different styles is a fast bathroom renovation trick. Just like any other feature in a bathroom, lighting styles can become outdated, but new lights also allow the homeowner to literally see the room in a whole new light. They change the mood and tone of any room for a relatively inexpensive cost. Used light fixtures are easily found through contractor surplus sales and online, which reduces the expense even further.