5 Slick Bathroom Updates You Can Do on the Cheap

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When my husband and I moved into our 1970s era home about 10 years ago, the first room we updated was the main bathroom.

We pulled up the carpet flooring (gross!), peeled hideous wallpaper, and then textured and painted the walls, replaced the toilet, laid new vinyl flooring and bought and installed a new mirror, shower curtain, faucet and bathroom light. We were able to update the entire bathroom for less than $1,000.

Fast-forward nine years and my decorating style has changed significantly. So a few months back, I decided to once again update the bathroom. I slapped a new coat (and color) of paint on the walls, painted and distressed the existing vanity and added new knobs, bought a new shower curtain, laid down new rugs and hung up new towels.

The total cost to update the bathroom the second time around was less than $100. But it’s a makeover that made a big difference.

Based on my own personal experience — I’m a fan of DIY projects and I’ve worked on seven bathroom updates — here are five simple (and cheap!) ways you can update your bathroom:

  • Paint refresher: One of my favorite ways to bring new life into a room is to grab a paintbrush and roller and break out a can of fresh paint. Paint is relatively cheap, and it can really change the look of a room. You can pick up a decent gallon of paint for about $30.
  • Let there be light: Do you have an ugly 1980s bathroom light fixture? They’re the long horizontal strip of Hollywood lights that were all the rage back when girls stood in the bathroom with a curling iron in one hand and a bottle of Aqua Net hairspray in the other. If you replace that dated light fixture you’ll see your bathroom in a whole new light. You can pick up a new light fixture for as little as $40 though you can easily spend $150 or more.

  • Spruced-up toilet: Is your toilet seat lopsided, stained or just plain gross? Give your bathroom throne a crisp, clean look with a new toilet seat. Toilet seats start out at about $10 and go up from there, depending on the features (slow close, nightlight, potty training seat, etc). If you want to take on a bigger project, you could replace the entire toilet — though depending on how good you are with basic plumbing, you may have to hire a plumber.
  • New fixtures: Upgrading your faucet and shower fixtures is a quick and easy way to update your bathroom. Depending on your personal style, replacing dated plumbing fixtures could get expensive. But if you shop around (I’ve found great fixtures for cheap at Overstock.com, Home Depot and Amazon) and choose affordability over luxury, you can replace your old, dated plumbing fixtures with shiny new ones without breaking the bank. Faucet fixtures start at about $20. Tub and shower fixtures start at roughly $50. For a put-together look, you may want to change your towel rods to match your new fixtures.
  • Express your style: A new shower curtain is a cheap way to change the look of your bathroom while expressing your own unique style. With prices starting at about $10 and more designs than you could ever dream of, a shower curtain can really tie your bathroom together. After you change your shower curtain, you may also want to purchase coordinating bathroom rugs and towels.

Have you renovated your bathroom before? Share your experiences and tips below or on our Facebook page.

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