Does your bathroom need a facelift? Whether you’re looking to personalize a new build or update an older home, a bathroom upgrade increases the value of the home and can be a really fun project to tackle.
As with any renovation, remodeling costs money. Can you complete a bathroom renovation for $20,000 or under? Absolutely.
You may need to roll up your sleeves, develop a few new DIY skills, and put in a lot of hard work, but sticking to a budget is possible when you’re willing to put in the hours.
The $20,000 Remodel
Remodeling a bathroom on a budget, regardless of what the budget is, is all about prioritizing.
If you have $20,000 to remodel your bathroom, start by determining the needs of your bathroom. A budget this size will go a really long way in a small bathroom, but it might be more of a stretch in a large bathroom.
If you have a small bathroom, look around and see what needs to be improved, and what you want to be improved, and try to Envision your ideal bathroom.
Take these same steps for a large bathroom, but understand that you won't be able to cross everything off your list exactly the way you want for under $20,000 if you're not willing to do a little bit of the DIY work yourself.
For instance, if you have a small bathroom that needs very little remodeling but you want to add a steam shower, you may still be able to do this for under $20,000. The same revisions wouldn't be possible for the same price in a larger space.
Before you rip up any tile or take that ugly builder-grade mirror off the wall, make a list of what actually needs to be changed in your space. Does the shower leak? Is the vanity warped? What in your space has to be changed?
The things that have to be changed get top billing, they are the first priority in the renovation. Make a list of those necessary changes and price them out.
There will be an expensive way and a less expensive way to tackle every portion of the renovation. Your expense can be chalked up to materials or to labor.
Shopping for less expensive materials can be a good way to save money, but so can learning to take on some of the labor projects yourself.
For instance, learning how to put in your own shower and tile can save you thousands of dollars compared to having a professional come out and make the changes for you.
After you've made a list of the necessities and made a rough estimate of the cost of those changes, and after you've decided where you can save money on those changes, then decide where it's most important to you that the rest of your budget goes.
Maybe their features you'd like to add to your bathroom to make it more luxurious or accessible. Or, maybe there are cosmetic changes that you've been wanting to make.
Then decide where to splurge and where to save on those changes. Go through your list until you've reached the end of your budget.
Be generous with your estimates, and always leave yourself a little wiggle room.
Chances are not everything will go to plan, and you may end up spending a little more than you expect even if you're estimating projects on the high end. A buffer is always a good idea.
Here are some samples of what could possibly be done with a $20,000 remodel budget, if you are willing to put in some of the work.
Sample One: New flooring and paint, a wall treatment like wallpaper, new vanity, and mirrors, plus new lighting. A bathroom closet with an upgraded layout and recoating of the tub with a new, tiled shower.
Sample Two: An ultra-luxurious claw foot tub, new shower head mounted on the ceiling, upgraded plumbing, new wall paint, new floors, and a new vanity.
Sample Three: A steam shower and sauna, new wall paint, upgraded fixtures on the walls, and new knobs on the vanity.
Sample Four: A new layout for the bathroom, a new vanity, new, budget friendly flooring, a tub or shower, and new paint.
How to Save Money on a Bathroom Renovation
One of the most significant expenses that people encounter when renovating a bathroom is the cost to rearrange the bathroom.
There are lofty costs associated with tearing out walls, putting new walls in, and rearranging the bathroom which requires that the plumbing be changed in your bathroom.
If you want to save money on your bathroom renovation, try and avoid having to remove the plumbing in your bathroom. This will save you thousands and thousands of dollars.
If you are able to DIY plumbing, this is a great place to let your skills shine, but if this is your first time tackling plumbing, you're going to want to hire a professional before you flood your bathroom in the process of trying to renovate it.
Another great place to save money is by learning to do some of the finishing work in your bathroom yourself.
Learning how to add your own trim, finish off molding, or complete the baseboards is something that most people can quickly pick up.
You'll need a few power tools and the ability to use a saw, but this is one place where you can save tons and tons of money.
Learning how to tile yourself is also really a smart way to save. If you're going to be tiling an entire shower, learn how to waterproof the walls as well. these skills together will combine to save you a ton of money.
You can also save big by being selective about where you splurge with finishes in your bathroom and where you save.
Instead of using real wood floors consider using luxury vinyl planks (LVP).
LVP is great for a bathroom because it's water resistant, less expensive than traditional wood flooring, and you have tons of options that make it easy for you to install the flooring yourself.
Instead of using expensive marble countertops or tiles, use more affordable alternatives that have been created to have the same look.
You can also tackle a few DIY decor projects to bring the space together instead of heading out on a shopping spree.
The decision to consciously upcycle and reuse your materials is not only better for the planet, but it's better for your pocketbook.
Maybe you can't reuse everything in the space that you're renovating currently, but saving materials for a future renovation can save you money there.
Do your demolition carefully as you renovate your space. Try and preserve what you can so that it can be used either in the same space or in a different space.
For example, we removed upper cabinets from our bathroom that just felt out of place during our last renovation, but we were able to refinish them and add them to our laundry room where they now feel really special, and they're getting a lot of great use.
We were also able to use tile from a previous project to add a unique tile border in our shower. We didn't have a ton of leftover tiles, but what we did have we were able to put to really good use.
Saving what you can from previous projects and giving it a new life somewhere else is always going to be a win.
Even broken tile pieces from a bathroom floor being ripped up can be reused, believe it or not.
One of our favorite DIYs is a tabletop for a coffee table with old tiles smashed up and put back together on top. It creates a beautiful Terrazzo-like effect when sealed with mortar or concrete.
Other everyday items can be upcycled into candle holders, light fixtures, or small decor items in your bathroom. It's just about getting creative and having fun with the process.
Unusual Bathroom Upgrades
Maybe you're looking for a way to make your bathroom truly unique, or you're just looking for that unusual upgrade that takes your bathroom from basic to luxury.
We have seen dozens and dozens of stunning bathroom renovations in our day, but there are a few tweaks that you can make, big and small, that definitely qualify as out-of-the-box upgrades that make your life that much more enjoyable.
One upgrade that's a little out of the box is creating a spa room within your bathroom. this can be done on a big scale or in small ways, but it always feels luxurious.
When creating a spa room in your bathroom make sure you use materials like stone, wood, or anything that has a strong connection to the earth.
You'll want to splurge on some spa experiences like a high-end bathtub or a steam shower.
Putting a separate entrance to your spa area will make the spa feel secluded and exclusive, and will add that much more peace to your in-home spa experience.
In the last bathroom spa we were in they had surround sound speakers wired in, which was definitely a luxury that took this renovation over the edge.
Another unusual upgrade is the inclusion of a door that connects your bathroom to the laundry room. Now, a lot of times if people are going to connect their laundry room to one room it will be the primary suite closet.
We have seen a primary suite bathroom connected to the laundry room, and it's definitely something that we consider a little bit of an unusual upgrade, but one that makes a big difference.
If your bathroom is less of a spa and more of a family bathroom, connecting it to the laundry room is a good idea because it gives you easy access to go throw all of the dirty clothes from the floor after bath time right in the washer.
Another unusual upgrade for your bathroom that goes a really long way, especially with resale value is adding in-floor heating to your bathroom.
A heated bathroom floor is very luxurious, especially in the winter. Heating in your bathroom floor will also keep surrounding rooms warmer in the cold months.
Depending on the size of your bathroom, this upgrade can be pretty pricey, but if you're looking for an unusual upgrade that makes your bathroom feel amazing, consider this.
Baby Budget Upgrades
If you've got an itty bitty budget, don't worry there are still upgrades that you can make in your bathroom.
One of our favorite bathroom upgrades, that's purely cosmetic, is the addition of some sort of trim work to the walls.
In bathrooms, we love a chair rail with paint on the bottom and wallpaper on the top half of the wall. if you're willing to put in a little sweat equity, this whole project doesn't have to cost more than a few hundred dollars.
Last year, we got creative and used fence posts from Home Depot to add board and batten to our bathroom. because our walls have little texture, we skipped the board and just used the fence posts, cut down, as the battens.
The posts cost less than $30 and the rest of the supplies (glue and nails) cost under $15.
The whole project cost less than $50 to completely upgrade a tiny space. It was an afternoon of hard work but it was very much worth it.
Another budget upgrade for a bathroom is a new paint job. New paint goes such a long way.
And if you’ve got a color you love from an expensive paint brand, just go to Home Depot and have them color-match it for you. We like the Behr Premium Plus paint. It’s budget-friendly and durable.
If you have a little more to spend on walls, try wallpaper. There are tons of wallpaper options for different price ranges. The right wallpaper can completely change the way a space feels.
If you aren’t ready to commit to traditional wallpaper and paste, try peel-and-stick wallpaper.
Regardless of your budget, when you're willing to put in a little work, your money goes a lot further.