5 Easy Ways to Update a Bathroom on a Tight Budget

There are two rooms in the house that tend to show the best return on investment when it comes to renovations: the kitchen and the master bath. But the kitchen will probably cost you about three times as much (or more). So if you’re looking to do some home remodeling, but you’re working with a budget, perhaps you should leave the kitchen until you can save a little more money.

In the meantime, you can start thinking about how to upgrade your tired, outdated master bath. Of course, your budget might be so small that you despair of completing all the renovations you want. In this case, there are several projects that you can save money on to get the updates you wish to at a price you can afford. Here are just a few easy upgrades that won’t break the bank.

Cabinets and counters.

A common problem in many bathrooms is the cheap construction where the cabinets are concerned. Or perhaps you’ve had moisture issues that have caused your cabinetry to warp and sag. Either way, you may be looking for a way to upgrade that won’t cost you as much as custom cabinets.

5 Easy Ways to Update a Bathroom on a Tight Budget

In this case, you might want to start by looking at reclaimed options. This could be a great way to get high-end cabinets at a low price. You might also consider pre-fab possibilities that come with a counter already attached (you drop in the sink and hardware).

And finally, if your cabinets are still in good shape, you might want to replace the countertop and update the base with a fresh coat of paint to give your bathroom a whole new look.


Adding lighting to the bathroom can indeed get pretty pricy, depending on the fixtures you choose and the amount of work your electrician must do. But if your master bath happens to have open attic space above it, for example, installing recessed lights should be a cinch.

Or if you’re replacing existing bulbs above your mirror with a brand new light bar, you can find a tutorial online (complete with safety instructions) and do it yourself for a lot less. The upside is updated hardware and potentially a lot more illumination.

Wall treatments.

Never underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint to completely change the look of your space. Rather than putting a dull coat of paint on the walls, however, you might want to use some painter’s tape to create a custom look like stripes, color blocks, or even geometric designs.

Of course, if you want to make it easy on yourself and get a fresh, custom graphic, check out the decals at whatisblik.com. You can easily add a flock of birds in flight, a floral motif, furniture silhouettes, or even some incredible artwork from the t-shirt shop Threadless.

Faux options.

Replacing your ugly linoleum with tile flooring and adding tiles to the walls in the shower can be expensive, no doubt. But you might be astonished by some of the incredible faux options on the market.

They are not only made to mimic the look of the natural stone you love, but they are low-maintenance (you can use common household cleaners on them, unlike real stone), and they are far less expensive than the real deal.

Water conservation.

If modern upgrades are your goal, bringing your bathroom up-to-date could be as easy as adding a few eco-friendly options.

Low-flow toilets and aerated faucets won’t cost you much more than the regular fare, and you may even be able to mail copies of your receipts to your local DWP for a rebate (call to see if this option is offered in your area). And they stand to save you money on your utility bill over time, as well.