Bathrooms are among the most popular rooms to renovate, upgrade, restore or redesign. Instead of spending thousands or tens of thousands for such a small room, simple, inexpensive projects will get the job done.
If the house will be sold at some future point, keep in mind not everyone has the same taste. Most people will be happy with a beautiful bathroom, but will pass if the tile colors, fixtures or cabinets look like something out of their nightmares.
Here are places to save money on your bathroom project:
Let’s start with the “throne.” It does have several other names, but this one will suffice. Thanks to design innovations, a plethora of sizes, shapes, colors and designs abound on the market. For a total bathroom renovation, old water-wasting thrones need to be replaced. That’s the current national building code.
Decide what height you’d like to have and compare the different colors and designs to the ideas you have. There are toilets for tall, short, heavy people, toilets for the handicapped and toilets made for children.
An important measurement is needed before the trip to the DIY store. Take a tape measure and record the distance from the wall to the hold down bolts. Take this measurement with you when you shop in the store or online. Different toilet models are made larger and some smaller. You don’t want to bring home something that’s too big for the space and have to return it- toilets are heavy.
If the tile is old, cracking or is stained, replacing it is highly desirable, particularly if you want to sell the house at some point.
My floor and wall tile is fine-except that I hate the plain, stark white color. I truly love marble, but my checkbook would run screaming down the street at the cost. The alternative is to paint it to look like marble. Faux marble on tile isn’t hard to do, and it’s fun. You can make any kind of marble imaginable.
One way to save money is to shop at building salvage stores. The Restore chain of stores is my favorite place to save on home improvement supplies. Tools, every kind of building material you can think of and a friendly staff abound. I bought my tiles for a fraction of their retail value. When I found I didn’t need them all, I donated the rest back for resale and got a tax certificate to boot. I also saw tiles in shapes and sizes not available at my local DIY store- so many ideas there.
Paint, tile, wallpaper, or wainscoting are all great ideas for bathrooms. Choose warm colors for large rooms, and light colors for small bathrooms.
Mirrors hung on walls make the room appear larger, and if hung behind a medicine cabinet, may help you get the back of your hair just right.
For a small bathroom, use glass shelves with few items on them to keep the room from appearing smaller. Small glass candles with tea lights sit on mine. During a power outage, I can soak in the tub to candle light – truly relaxing.
Painting cabinets is a great and inexpensive way to change the looks of any cabinet. Try replacing the knobs or hardware for a completely new look. If the doors are plain, check out molding at your local DIY stores and let your imagination run with you.
Replace the doors with new ones instead. This is far cheaper than replacing the whole cabinet, if it is in good condition.
Replace the cabinet top if it’s dated or worn out. Sometimes that alone can renew a bathroom.
Every time I go to my local DIY store, I marvel at the sheer number of different fixture colors, tones, designs and more. Brass, antique brass, gold tone, stainless and more offer more than my imagination can hold- almost. I can buy water saving showerheads and faucets that resemble those of days gone by.
The prices range from reasonable to yikes- at least for my budget. Then again, if I wanted to sell my home for more, I’d invest in the “good” stuff.
Here’s a place to really get your money’s worth. Sconces, overhead lights and more are available in CFL’s, (compact fluorescent lights) or LED’s, (light emitting diodes). Full-spectrum lights that imitate natural sunlight are made to fit just about any fixture.
I replaced the four-foot long CFL light (it resembled a cheap shop light) in my bathroom with a wall-mounted fixture featuring three lights that I can aim. I got it on clearance for less than $35.00 (the original tag on the box said $72.00).
The humble bathroom vent is mostly overlooked until it makes horrific noises or stops working.
Today’s models are available with the Energy Star designation, meaning they cost far less to operate than their power hungry predecessors. Some newer models are so quiet people forget to turn them off. As a result, many models are programmable to turn off after a certain amount of time, or on and off with motion sensors.
Make certain your bathroom vent is vented to the outside of the house- that’s standard code. In some older houses, such as mine, the bathroom vents were vented to the inside of the attic- sheer insanity. This fills the attic with moisture, ruining the insulation, promoting mold growth and destroying the roof from the inside. Totally nuts.
The tub or shower
If replacing a metal tub isn’t a financial option, consider a new paint job. Most DIY stores carry bathtub refinishing kits as well as new replacement shower walls.
Commercial companies offer services to re-enamel your existing bathtub for far less than a replacement. That’s a huge savings, especially if you own an old clawfoot tub. Refinished replacements are seriously pricey- not to mention shipping and finding someone to lift and install it.
My bathrooms are easily remodeled within my budget. A little at a time, something that fits “good-taste, within budgetary constraints, and within my DIY skills.”
Here’s one idea- “marble” floors, light pink and white walls, antique-looking sconces, gold-tone fixtures, a bathtub painted to resemble marble, and a cabinet painted the lightest pink with molding surrounding a decoupage of a bouquet of flowers. Matching molding patterns on the walls and similar designs inside provide the bather with a sense of royal luxury.
That’s only one idea. I think I would decorate a boy’s bathroom differently. But not with “monster-trucks.”
Source: staff article, “4 Tips when Measuring for Toilet Installation,” Do it Yourself.com website, no date given