Affordable luxury: 9 tips to remodel your bathroom on a budget

Remodeling a bathroom can completely transform the look and feel of your home. However, bathroom remodels can be quite expensive and can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. The good news is that with some strategic planning and savvy design choices, you can remodel your bathroom on a budget.

Moreover, a bathroom remodel provides an excellent return on investment for homeowners. According to the National Association of Realtors, bathroom remodels can recoup about 70% of costs at resale, while more extensive bathroom remodels can give you an even greater ROI! With the right approach, you can refresh your bathroom and add value to your home without breaking the bank. Follow these nine tips to remodel your bathroom in an affordable yet luxurious way.

Update the shower/tub area

The shower and tub area can really get worn out and even look outdated over time. An easy upgrade is to swap out your shower curtain for a fresh new one—it makes a huge difference. For a more spa-like vibe, install new sliding doors or a glass enclosure around the tub or shower.

Replacing missing or aging tiles or applying new grout and caulk around the tub and shower goes a long way in refreshing the space. If you have the budget for it, installing a new tub or prefabricated shower stall can totally change the aesthetic and functionality. But before taking on such a project, it’s important to know the bathroom remodeling cost for your particular project from your remodeling contractor. Understanding your investment upfront helps make informed decisions tailored to your specific budget and design style.

Update surfaces strategically

Surface updates are a popular and budget-friendly way to remodel your home. Instead of gutting the entire bathroom, focus on visible areas that need attention. For example, you can install new tiles on the floor and the lower half of the walls while painting the upper half. This creates a cohesive look with tile as the focal point. Opt for smaller-sized, inexpensive tiles rather than large-format tiles to save on materials.

If your bathtub and shower enclosure are still in good condition, reglaze them with new paint to make them look fresh and new for a fraction of the replacement cost. For countertops, marble or quartz may be too pricey, but reclaimed wood, concrete, or laminate can add stylish surfaces on a budget.

Replace fixtures with budget-friendly options

Replacing outdated faucets, showerheads, and other bathroom fixtures is a simple upgrade that can completely change the look of your space. Fortunately, you can find high-quality and stylish faucets and fixtures at nearly every price point. Matte black and brushed nickel finishes are trendy right now. For an affordable option, consider a set with the sink faucet, showerhead, and accessories all in one matching finish.

In terms of materials, ceramic and acrylic sinks and even vessel sinks can provide a high-end look without the high price tag of stone materials. Don’t forget the hardware – new matching towel bars, robe hooks, and toilet paper holders can give your bathroom a harmonious look.

Add or improve storage

One of the biggest complaints in bathrooms is the lack of adequate storage. When remodeling on a budget, look for creative ways to add storage without major construction. For example, add a stylish ladder shelf against a wall or floating corner shelves in the shower area. You can also repurpose a vintage dresser or cabinet as a bathroom vanity.

If your current vanity is in good shape, adding new hardware like knobs or pulls and painting the cabinets can give it a fresh new look. Consider adding a bath caddy or wall-mounted rack for extra storage. Use baskets and containers to hide clutter. Installing a new medicine cabinet provides hidden storage as well.

Update lighting fixtures

Lighting can make a huge impact in setting the ambiance of your bathroom. Swapping out an old fluorescent fixture for a new one can completely transform the space. Pendant lights, sconces, and vanity lighting all add style and visual interest. You don’t have to splurge on a chandelier – pendant lights with Edison-style bulbs are inexpensive and on-trend.

Make sure to get fixtures with energy-efficient LED bulbs to save on your electricity bill. Add accent lighting like under cabinet lights or a lighted mirror for task lighting. Proper bathroom lighting is key for both function and style.

Install new flooring

Installing new flooring is one of the most transformative updates you can make. Budget-friendly flooring options like vinyl plank, ceramic tile, and laminate can give you the look of more expensive materials for less.

Vinyl plank flooring is waterproof and extra durable for bathrooms. It imitates wood and stone for a fraction of the price. For tile, use mosaic sheets or smaller tiles rather than large tiles to save on square footage. Simple white or light grey grout keeps things fresh and clean-looking.

Paint the walls and ceiling

A fresh coat of paint in a new color is one of the easiest and most affordable upgrades. Use high-quality bathroom paint that will stand up to humidity. Neutral shades like light grey, beige, and soft blue are relaxing and soothing color schemes that won’t go out of style.

Upgrade accessories

The little details go a long way in taking your bathroom to the next level. Swap out your shower curtain, towels, rug, and other linens for new ones that match your new decor. Get new matching accessories like a soap dispenser, trash can, and toilet brush holder.

Floating shelves, wall art, and greenery like bamboo or orchids also help give your bathroom a spa-like feel. For a personalized touch, display your favorite photos, art, or meaningful objects. Luxury doesn’t have to be expensive – use accessories to add style.

Improve ventilation

Proper ventilation is important for moisture control and preventing mold and mildew growth in bathrooms. If your budget allows, installing a new exhaust fan that vents to the outside can make a huge difference in air quality. Another affordable option is to simply improve existing ventilation.

Make sure your existing exhaust fan is clean and working properly. Use a timer switch so it runs for about 20 minutes after showering. Keep the bathroom door open when possible and run ceiling fans to circulate air. Consider installing a small dehumidifier to control moisture levels. Improved ventilation can help make your bathroom feel cleaner and fresher.


With some smart planning and budget-conscious picks, you can remodel your outdated, tired bathroom into a relaxing oasis without overspending. Focus on high-impact swaps like new surfaces, fixtures, lighting, and storage to transform the vibe. Take advantage of affordable materials for the bulk of the project. The little details like fresh accessories and a new coat of paint can make a big visual difference. Use these tips to create a beautiful, functional bathroom you’ll love at a price you can afford.