6 Ways to Spruce Up Your Bathroom on a Budget

These expert tips will help you refresh your living space without breaking the bank.

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Looking to refresh your bathroom without breaking the bank? With the right strategy, this dream can become your reality. ESTATENVY connected with Lisa McManus of Normandy Design Build Remodeling and Kristin Taghon of Kristin Taghon Interior Designs to get the scoop on updating your space on a budget.

Before you begin, it helps to determine your overall design goals for the space. Are you looking to change out the plumbing layout or are you focused on the more visual elements?

“If the idea is to make it prettier, replacing surfaces such as a backsplash, tiles in the shower and faucets are fairly low budget, as long as you choose materials that are within budget,” said Taghon. “There are many even less costly projects that can make a bathroom seem brand new.”

1. Upgrade your fixtures

McManus recommends updating plumbing fixtures and hardware finishes as a great way to upgrade a bathroom. Some of the current trends that she has taken note of include the use of brushed brass, rose gold, polished nickel and gunmetal.

These accents are a subtle way to spruce up the space, or introduce a bit of color. Taghan explained that these fixtures can help boost the overall color palette of the room. A monochromatic white bathroom gains a bit of visual interest when paired with matte black facets and black and white towels. Alternatively, brushed gold features can create a more romantic look.

2. Touch up the grout

Taghon noted that one way to make a bathroom look new again is to redo the grout. This trick can help to give off the impression that the tile is new! The grout can be done in a classic tone or the homeowner can spice things up by incorporating bolder tones.

A trend that is happening is to use a colored grout in tile,” said Taghon. “For example, a light gray, dark gray or black grout with a white tile is totally in. If you want to have a warmer look, try tan or brown.”

3. Keep cabinets simple

Simplicity is on trend when it comes to bathroom cabinetry, and this interior design trend tends to be reasonably cost-efficient. McManus noted that, “typically the less ornate the cabinet door, the less the cost of the cabinet.”

For homeowners looking to take advantage of the trend of prominent wood grain on a slab door, McManus recommends researching the cost of different wood grains. For example, a cherry cabinet may retail for less than walnut of white oak. These cabinets are great for adding a bit of warmth to the room and pair great with metallic accents.

4. Stick to a small color palette

Taghon recommends utilizing a simpler color palette, noting that this can actually make the living space feel bigger. She explained that a monochromatic space will feel less busy and appear less broken up than one with two or more colors. It can also be more cost-effective.

“Even though it's fun to add a border on the floor or a chair rail, it does break up the space so think about that before you do it. It also adds cost to the tile job,” she said.

5. Don’t be afraid of DIY

By completing some of the simpler touches yourself, you can save some money that you would have spent on a contractor. McManus mentioned that soft finishes can be great DIY projects for homeowners to tackle. These can include anything from installing towel rods, replacing towels, adding in accessories and updating paint colors within the bathroom.

For those looking to transform their space even further, Taghon recommends adding a decorative frame to larger, flat mirrors to refresh the space. In order to complete this project, “paint the molding and use a strong double stick tape found at Home Depot to adhere the new frame to the mirror. There are websites that you can order a frame from as well.”

6. Make a smart investment

Sometimes a splurge can save you big money down the road. While something may initially seem more expensive than you’d hoped to spend, it’s worth the extra cash to avoid replacing the fixture a few years down the road.

“Changes to a bathroom that are not surface cosmetic changes should involve the use of skilled tile setters, plumbers, carpenters and electricians. Employing these trades, who can do the job right the first time is the best investment that a homeowner can make,” said McManus.

Overall, you don’t have to break the bank to breathe new life into your bathroom. By thinking strategically about what elements to update and seeking out affordable materials, you can create a fresh and stylish look for your living space.

Look at the bathroom as a whole and determine what really needs to happen for you to be happy with it,” said Taghon. With that focus in mind, you will see your vision come to life.