How To Update A Bathroom
My upstairs bathroom was in serious need of an update. Although some of the quirky finishes were a good talking point, I was not fond of the outdated look. Like all my other home improvement projects, these bathroom updates were on a budget. The other goals for this project were to be quick, easy, and add value to my home.
The most exciting part about this project was spending under $700 to update and decorate this bathroom. The second most exciting part about these bathroom updates was the floor was so old that it had come BACK in style! Not having to replace the floor would save money and a ton of time.
Here I’m sharing the best ways to update a bathroom on a budget quickly. At the end of this post I’ll also break down the costs for this exact bathroom update and include links to make shopping for your bathroom update even easier.
Oh, and I’m even including a free bathroom printable, so keep reading!
Disclaimer: Please remember that I am a DIY enthusiast, not a professional. This article is for general information use and is not a substitute for professional advice. Before taking any actions, consult a professional! Additionally, this may contain links to affiliate websites where I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using my link. All opinions and recommendations are my own. I appreciate you taking my suggestions and using my links. Thank you for being so supportive!
Bathroom Updates on a Budget
The first thing I did when updating my bathroom was to look and see what I could salvage, what I could DIY, and what I was going to have to buy new. Keeping in mind the overall goal for my bathroom update was quick updates on a budget. As I mentioned, the floor in my bathroom was a keeper, making things easier.
Next, looking at the vanity and mirror-light combo thingy, these had to go! I had no interest in trying to build a vanity, so shopping for a new bathroom vanity was the remaining option. Have you ever shopped for a vanity?
I searched online and in-store and ended up with a sale vanity from Lowe’s. It was a little more than I wanted to spend, and honestly, there were less expensive ones, but they looked so cheap. I did a pretty good job balancing the budget with style. This vanity matches the floor (blue), has features and details that make it look more expensive (soft close drawers), and has a solid-colored countertop (some of the speckled countertops look very cheap, in my opinion).
Next on my shopping list was something more modern than the current mirror-light combo with the built-in cup holders. The biggest challenge was finding a large enough mirror to cover the hole where the fixture once was and a light fixture to match my blue and gold theme.
The DIYs I was able to tackle in this budget bathroom update was the walls and some decor. The walls were an easy update in this bathroom update since all I had to remove the wallpaper and then prime and paint. More details on this later, so keep reading!
Lastly, my bathroom updates on a budget included a new shower curtain, baskets, faux plants, hand towels, and a picture frame. These decor items add up quickly if you’re not careful, but later in this post, I’ll share how I DIY’d, and bargain shopped to keep this inexpensive.
Bathroom Updates DIY
When thinking about DIY bathroom updates, I think of paint! You can paint the tile floor, paint the vanity, and paint the walls. Painting is one of the easiest DIYs that creates an impressive transformation for very little money. Some other DIY projects that come to mind are tiling the floor, adding an accent wall with ship lap or board and batten, and decor.
The DIY bathroom updates I did in my budget bathroom update were painting the walls, a DIY towel bar, and a DIY decorative print using a $1 frame from the second-hand store (keeping reading for the printable!).
Unfortunately, the vanity in this bathroom was so terrible that it was beyond help from paint. Also, the floor was not tile, so I could not try this DIY, but I am itching to paint tile… so stay tuned! It’s still on my list of projects, I just need to find an outdated tile floor to try it!
Updating Gold Fixtures
The odds are good that you want to update those tacky gold fixtures in your bathroom (or the entire house, like in my case). The most inexpensive way – is spray paint! Using spray paint is a fun, easy, and affordable way to update gold fixtures. It, however, may not be the best solution in the long run since, depending on what you are spraying, it may chip or wear off over time.
I recommend spray painting items that are not a high-touch surface, such as light fixtures. I used matte black spray paint to update the bathroom ceiling fan-light combo for this budget bathroom update.
If having the added maintenance of touching up chips is not an issue for you, I’d also spray paint door handles and the faucet. I will say, I spray-painted the kitchen and bathroom faucet in my camper, which held up far beyond my expectations. It’s been two years and a few camping trips later, and there is not a single chip. I also used spray paint to update my front door handle, and the only flaws are from the door key nicking the surface.
The next best way to update gold fixtures is to straight-up replace them. Again, this can get expensive quickly, but with a bit of time and internet searching (thank goodness for Amazon!), I was able to find updated bathroom fixtures relatively inexpensively. Bargain shopping was my only option since this bathroom was so outdated that there wasn’t even a light to paint.
Quick Bathroom Updates That Add Value
Maybe you’re getting ready to list your house on the market and need quick bathroom updates, or you simply don’t have a lot of extra time to spend on a full bathroom remodel. Whatever your reason, if you’re looking for quick bathroom updates that add value, here are my best suggestions:
- Replace cabinet hardware
- Spray-paint light fixtures
- Paint the vanity
- Frame the mirror
- Update/replace window treatments with a more on-trend shade
- Replace the shower rod, curtain, and hooks
- Update/replace outdated towel bars with something more stylish
- Add decor through plants, artwork, and baskets
- Use bathroom supplies as decor- fill the baskets with toilet paper and towels
- Paint the entire room
- Get a new toilet seat. You don’t have to replace the entire toilet; a new seat is a quick bathroom update that will go a long way- trust me!
Bathroom Vanity Updates
Let’s talk more about bathroom vanity updates that are quick, easy, on budget, and add value to your home. Phew, that’s a lot to ask from a little ole’ vanity!
As I mentioned earlier, your new best friend is paint when updating a bathroom on a budget. Painting an old vanity is super simple and will provide years of use if you follow these simple steps. I painted my kitchen cabinets over two years ago using this technique and don’t have a single chip on my painted cabinets.
Another bathroom vanity update is to replace it. In my case, this is the route I took because the current vanity was not salvageable. Replacing a bathroom vanity can be expensive- take your time shopping around and wait for it to go on sale. I scored this gorgeous bathroom vanity for only $400- while the original price was several hundred dollars more. The vanity sat in my garage for quite some time before I could install it, but I didn’t care since I scored such a great deal on it!
I like to shop ahead and watch for sales or coupons. My trick is to add the item to my cart and periodically go back and check if there had been a price drop or to see if any new coupons would apply to the item.
An example of this is a vanity that I had my eye on was this white vanity with a black top; however, only the grey was on sale, and I was not about to pay over $1500 for a vanity. So, I waited. It took about two months, but finally, the color combination I had my heart set on went on sale. I snagged the vanity for closer to $1000. Now, I don’t know when I’ll start this bathroom update, let alone install the vanity, BUT that is beside the point!
Bathroom Wall Updates
I think the best designs include some sort of accent or texture on the wall. Giving your bathroom a fresh coat of paint is definitely going to update the space, but if you’re looking to take your bathroom to the next level (without a high price tag), then consider these bathroom wall updates:
- Ship lap – when in doubt, ship lap. No further explanation should be needed!
- Sponge paint accent – I envision making faux tiles using a sponge. How inexpensive and cool would this be?!
- Board and Batten – I love the look of board and batten, especially in a smaller bathroom. If you’re wondering what is board and batten, what material to use, or how to build a board and batten wall, then make sure you check out my super helpful board and batten tutorial!
Bathroom Updates Before and After
Sources Used In My Budget Bathroom Update
As promised, I’m sharing all the sources for my budget bathroom update.
- Here is a link to my entire collection of budget bathroom fixtures and decor.
Flooring: No link’s here since this floor is the original.
Primer: My go-to is Zinsser – you can’t beat the coverage!
Paint: The walls are Sherwin Williams City Loft 7631, and the trim is SW Alabaster 7008.
Vanity: I purchased one from Lowe’s, and they have since re-designed the drawer configuration. This vanity is no longer available; however, I have linked a few similar ones here and here.
Faucet: I took a risk and ordered this off Amazon. Wow, this gold bathroom faucet far surpassed my expectations. I love the modern, sleek design, and I couldn’t beat the price at $70! The gold on this is perfect, not too brassy, and not too bright. It also comes in black, which I used in my other bathroom makeover.
Frame and Printable:
I snagged this gold frame from Re-source and designed this fun little printable myself – click here to download a copy of this bathroom printable for yourself! This DIY decor added the perfect touch of fun and finished, and it cost me all of $1.
DIY Towel Bar: I’ve used these farmhouse hooks for three other projects throughout my home, so I can honestly say they are the best!
Shower Rod and Curtain Hooks: These items never last as long as I would like. Being the bathroom is such a hot and steamy place, especially mine, where I take scalding hot showers. A simple bathroom update is to swap out the shower rod and hooks.
Shower Curtain: I snagged this light blue and white shower curtain at Home Goods, so I don’t have a link, so sorry! But, here is a link to the shower curtain I used in my downstairs bathroom remodel which is equally as adorable.
Light Fixture: I initially bought this gorgeous gold fixture; however, it clashed with the hardware on the vanity. So, I decided to mix metals and went for a black light fixture. I snagged this two-light fixture from Lowe’s – I love the look and price!
Plant: Adding greenery to any space to instantly create cozy vibes. I found this faux plant and planter for $15 at Walmart. Here is the link to this exact faux-plant.
Baskets: I knew I didn’t want shelving above my toilet because I didn’t want to decorate that much space! Also, I feel like you can never have enough storage, so the baskets were more functional, in my opinion. I have these exact baskets in black in my mudroom and love them! These gold baskets are budget-friendly, functional, and in this case, add a little decor and design to my bathroom update.
You asked for the best and most affordable bathroom update ideas, and I delivered! I hope you feel more confident about tackling a bathroom makeover now that I’ve covered all the essentials.
I’m no expert, just a girl building a life I love with a passion for sharing what has worked for me.
- If you’re thinking about updating your home, you need to check out my Ultimate Guide To Home Improvements.
- You might also like these 3 Super Affordable Bedroom Makeover Ideas.
- To see all my DIY home decorating projects, visit my shop my home page.
- Here is where I go for home improvement and decorating inspiration.