I’m finally winding down on my bathroom remodel. I’ve been at it since the end of January (although I haven’t been working on it exclusively for all of that time), and it was a complete down-to-the-studs remodel. My bathroom was seriously outdated and definitely needed an extensive remodel (in my humble opinion 🙂 ), but I’m sure many of you have bathrooms that are starting out with better “bones” and would require only a few relatively simple aesthetic updates to look like a brand new bathroom. If that’s the case for you, I’ve rounded up a few ideas for low cost bathroom updates.
If you’re living with one of those ubiquitous builder-grade oak vanities, the most obvious update is to paint the vanity. Painting cabinets can be intimidating for many new DIYers, but there are so many great tutorials available for getting a smooth, durable painted finish.
Many of those old vanities have plain doors. Before you paint, you can add some interest to those plain doors by simply adding a few pieces of decorative trim.
In the case of our condo bathroom, our doors and drawer fronts were beyond salvaging, so I made brand new doors and drawer fronts. I know that sounds difficult, but I came up with a way to make cabinet doors and drawer fronts without the need for any fancy cabinet maker tools.
If your entire vanity is beyond repair, you can just build your own open shelf vanity for around $100. It’s easier than it sounds, especially if you have a great set of plans and a Kreg Jig.
And of course, your newly painted/revamped/replaced vanity will need a countertop. You can turn your existing countertop into faux marble for a tiny fraction of the cost of the real stuff. I’ve seen a lot of faux such-and-such painted countertops over the years, but this one has to be one of the absolute best, not only in appearance, but also in durability because of the final surface treatment.
You can easily add some interest to your ceiling by adding beadboard to the ceiling and trimming out the edges. If you’re working on a small bathroom or powder room, one 4′ x 8′ sheet of beadboard will probably be enough for your entire ceiling. (This was actually the inspiration for my own bathroom ceiling, although I did mine a bit differently.)
If working above your head really isn’t appealing, you can add that texture to your wall instead using tongue-and-groove beadboard strips, beadboard panels, or even beadboard wallpaper. Out of those options, I would think the beadboard wallpaper would be the easiest option.
If you have seriously outdated tile, but you’re not quite ready to take a sledgehammer to it, you can paint the tile. Oh, what a difference paint makes! Just be sure to use a product that is specified for use on tile.
The moral of the story here is that you don’t have to live with an outdated bathroom. You can go a long way with just a couple hundred dollars and a free weekend or two.