Transforming your bathroom into a spa-like oasis doesn’t have to break the bank. With some clever shopping and DIY solutions, you can give your bathroom an affordable makeover that looks and feels luxurious. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for upgrading your bathroom on a budget.
Use Paint to Refresh Walls and Cabinets
A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in a bathroom. Painting the walls, ceiling, cabinets, and even the vanity can give the whole room a facelift for less than $50.
Choose neutrals like off-white, light gray, or beige for a clean and bright look. Paint the ceiling bright white to make the room feel more open and airy. Use the same color on the walls for a cohesive feel or try painting an accent wall in a bold, dark color.
For cabinets and vanities, use a semi-gloss paint for durability and easy wipe-downs. White is a popular choice for a crisp, clean look but you can also liven things up with pale blue, sage green, or even black for dramatic contrast.
Use painter’s tape and drop cloths to protect surfaces and edges for a professional look. Lightly sand surfaces before priming and painting for best adhesion. Allow proper drying time between coats.
Update Hardware for Big Impact
Replacing dated hardware like faucet fixtures, drawer pulls, and showerheads packs a big visual punch for little money. Visit home improvement stores to browse budget-friendly options in finishes like brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and chrome.
Mix and match metals and finishes throughout the bathroom for an eclectic, collected look. Aged bronze or pewter knobs pair nicely with brass fixtures for vintage appeal.
Consider replacing just the handles or knobs on existing vanity and cabinet hardware. Spray painting is also an option for drastically changing the look of existing hardware. Use painter’s tape to protect surfaces and apply 2-3 thin coats of spray primer and paint.
Use Peel-and-Stick Solutions
Peel-and-stick materials make it easy to upgrade a bathroom without remodeling. Self-adhesive wallpaper, tile, and flooring can be applied directly over existing surfaces.
Wallpaper or contact paper with fun prints and patterns can refresh walls and hide imperfections. Geometric designs and natural textures work well in bathrooms. Use around mirrors, on cabinets, or behind sinks for quick updates.
Peel-and-stick tile comes in vinyl, plastic, and foam materials. It sticks directly to surfaces like walls, floors, and countertops with adhesive backing. Use it to create a dramatic backsplash, tub surround, or shower floor on the cheap.
Vinyl plank flooring clicks together like floating wood floors, but peel-and-stick options have adhesive backs for easy application. Cut pieces to fit around fixtures and edges with a utility knife. Choose waterproof options for bathrooms.
Display Plants and Greenery
Adding some greenery instantly livens up a bathroom’s look and improves the air quality. Try displaying trailing vines, succulents, or ferns in hanging planters or on shelves and windowsills.
Use the shower caddy to hold small potted plants for a splash of color while you bathe. Opt for low-maintenance plants that thrive in steamy humid environments.
Place a large statement plant like a snake plant or rubber tree in one corner to add bold texture. Use a plant stand or pedestal to elevate it.
Hang air plants in glass terrariums to add natural charm without taking up counter space. Let them soak in the sink or shower periodically.
Light It Up With New Fixtures
Better lighting can make a bathroom feel clean, bright, and inviting. Swapping out an old fixture for a new one provides big visual impact.
Install a new fixture over the sink or vanity to provide ideal lighting for grooming. Try a Hollywood-style lighted mirror or sconces for a glam vibe.
Change the main overhead light to a new flush or semi-flush ceiling fixture. Seek fixtures rated for humidity and moisture.
Under-cabinet lighting highlights the vanity area and adds a spa-like glow. Opt for battery-powered or hardwired LED strip lighting for an easy upgrade.
Dimmable lights help set the mood. Use smart bulbs to create lighting “scenes” like bright for cleaning, dim for bathing.
Use Natural Textures and Materials
Incorporate natural design elements like stone, marble, wood, wicker, and linen for a soothing spa aesthetic. These textures add cozy warmth and contrast to sleek ceramic and porcelain surfaces.
- Display rolled towels in wicker baskets for a rustic touch.
- Place a round stone vessel sink atop a wood vanity for an earthy feel.
- Add a marble or stone soap dish for upscale style.
- Use a wooden bath mat to add warmth by the tub.
- Hang a linen shower curtain for a refined, cozy look.
Visit thrift stores and yard sales to find charming vintage accessories like ceramic soap dishes, wicker shelves, and wooden trays to display toiletries.
Get Creative with Storage Solutions
Lack of storage is a common bathroom headache. Improvise storage solutions to clear clutter without big renovations.
- Use an over-the-toilet ladder shelf for rolled towels and toilet paper.
- Install a hanging wall cabinet or shelving to stash extra toiletries.
- Place a narrow rolling cart next to the vanity for makeup and hair products.
- Use the back of the door to hang mesh pockets or wall-mounted cabinets.
- Add a freestanding cabinet with doors to conceal laundry hampers and supplies.
Repurpose items like crates, jars, and baskets to corral smaller items. Make things easy to grab with open storage like wall-mounted shelves and racks.
Refresh with New Linens and Accessories
It’s amazing how small touches like new towels, rugs, and accessories can transform a bathroom. Swap out your old linens and accessories for easy updates.
Buy new bath towels and washcloths in lush materials like Turkish cotton. Stick to a unified color scheme or mix and match hues.
Get plush bath mats that feel great underfoot and tie the space together. Natural fiber rugs work well.
Display candles, jars of cotton balls, and trays of soaps and lotions for spa appeal. Keep things tidy in apothecary jars, bins, and baskets.
Hang a new shower curtain in a fun print or fabric like linen. Install curtain rings with clips for easy removal and washing.
Fill a decorative bowl or vase with items like bath bombs, epsom salts, and loofahs. Arrange artistically like a still life.
Give Fixtures and Surfaces a Deep Clean
A thorough deep cleaning can make your bathroom look brand new again. Scrub surfaces, fixtures, walls, vents, and mirrors until they shine.
Clean surfaces with a non-toxic bathroom cleaner or a solution of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. Use a toothbrush to scrub grout and tight crevices.
Descale showerheads and faucets with a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Soak clogged showerheads in this solution overnight, then rinse.
Scrub stains in the tub and toilet with a pumice stone. Spray with a non-abrasive cleaner beforehand to help lift stains.
Use a squeegee after showering to wipe down walls and glass doors to keep them pristine. Hang it nearby so it’s always handy.
Sanitize and deodorize with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol sprayed onto surfaces and fixtures. Wipe down with a microfiber cloth.
Add an Accent Wall or Wallpaper
An accent wall covered in wallpaper, tiles, or paint adds eye-catching style to any bathroom. Use it to highlight a feature like a clawfoot tub or divide a long narrow space.
Wallpaper accents work great behind sinks, on a shower wall, or as a feature wall. Opt for vinyl or other moisture-resistant wallpaper.
Paint an accent wall in a saturated hue like navy, emerald, or mustard yellow. Contrast it with neutral walls and white trim for a striking look.
Use peel-and-stick tile to create a geometric, striped, or decorative pattern on one wall. Arrange in funky shapes or keep straight for clean lines.
Try tongue-and-groove wood mounted vertically on one wall to add rustic warmth. Use faux reclaimed boards for a budget DIY accent wall.
Upgrade Bathroom Storage
Limited storage space is a common bathroom frustration. Improve organizational options with better bathroom storage solutions and products.
- Install pull-out cabinet organizers to access items in deep drawers. Use for toiletries, makeup, first aid, hair tools.
- Add a space-saving corner shelf unit or vertical storage tower to stash extra towels.
- Use the back of the door to hang a tall storage cabinet with shelves or a hanging organizer.
- Stack baskets or clear acrylic trays to corral items on open shelves. Designate spaces for categories of items.
- Get a freestanding storage cabinet with a hamper built in for laundry needs. Use a narrow option in tight spaces.
- Store backup supplies in under-sink organizing units or sliding pull-out drawers. Keep extra toilet paper handy but out of sight.
Make DIY Towel Racks from Ladders
Ordinary wooden ladders transformed into towel racks add rustic farmhouse style to bathrooms. This easy DIY project creates charming wall-mounted storage for towels.
Gather an old wooden ladder (or find one at a yard sale or home store). Make sure it has at least 3-4 rungs.
Sand and clean the ladder then paint or stain it in your desired finish. White works well for a crisp, clean look.
Mount the ladder horizontally on the wall using heavy duty screws and anchors. Place it anywhere towels are handy – near the shower, tub, or vanity.
Fold bath towels and drape them over the rungs. The ladder design keeps towels easily visible and within reach.
Lean lattice panels against the wall behind the ladder for an optional towel shelf and decorative backdrop.
Embellish with rope details by weaving and tying nautical rope along the ladder rungs for coastal flair.
DIY Concrete Sink Bowls and Vessels
With some basic DIY skills, you can create chic concrete sink bowls, planters, and vessels for the bathroom. Make your own for a fraction of the cost of designer options.
Make a concrete sink bowl – Pour quick-drying concrete into a bowl mold or rounded container coated in nonstick spray. Smooth the surface after pouring. Once dry, pop it out and seal the concrete.
Cast geometric and cylindrical vessels – Use cardboard tubes and taped cardboard shapes as molds. Coat the insides with Vaseline before pouring concrete.
Create textured looks – Press objects like shells, marbles, or fabric into wet concrete to imprint designs. Or use textured molds.
Tint the concrete – Add powdered concrete tints while mixing to color the concrete. Try earthy hues like terracotta, slate gray, sage green or pale blue.
Cure and seal the concrete – Allow pieces to fully cure for several days. Apply several coats of concrete sealer for water resistance and sheen.
Add drainage holes to planters – Use a masonry drill bit to bore a hole in the bottom before pouring concrete. Insert a piece of PVC pipe to create a drainage reservoir.
Fabulous Fog-Free Mirror Ideas
Nothing ruins a nice relaxing bath or shower faster than a mirror that fogs up. Luckily, there are easy solutions for keeping bathroom mirrors clear and fog-free.
- Apply shaving cream to the mirror and wipe off. This leaves behind a thin protective layer.
- Use soap and water to thoroughly clean the mirror, then wipe it dry with a coffee filter. The extra-fine fibers polish the glass.
- Rub a raw potato over the glass then wipe dry. Something in the starch makes it resistant to fog.
- Shave foam or gel also works the same way as shaving cream. Apply a thin layer and lightly buff off.
- Buy a fog-free mirror made with special mineral-embedded glass or a protective film/coating on the surface.
- Install a defogger – Small heaters inside the mirror prevent condensation and fogging up.
Creative Bathroom Storage Solutions
Bathrooms often suffer from lack of storage space. Get creative with storage solutions to maximize every inch and keep clutter at bay.
- Attach a metal bath caddy with suction cups inside the shower or tub. Use for shampoos, soaps, loofahs.
- Install wall-mounted corner shelves to use awkward empty corners. Great for extra toilet paper rolls.
- Use over-the-door storage options like hanging shelves and mesh pockets for toiletries, first aid, and grooming tools.
- Store supplies in the cabinet under the sink in pull-out drawers and slide-out trays. Keep it organized with bins and turntables.
- Place a narrow rolling cart or standalone shelving unit near the vanity for towels and grooming products.
- Mount a cabinet or shelving above the toilet tank to stash extra toilet paper rolls and personal items.
- Use the backs of cabinet doors to attach mesh pockets to hold small bottles and toiletries.
Simple Bathroom Upgrades
Give your bathroom an upgrade with these easy DIY improvements you can tackle in a weekend:
- Replace old lighting fixtures with new wall sconces or a vanity light to brighten up grooming tasks.
- Refresh walls with a fresh coat of matte paint in a cool gray or greige tone for a relaxing vibe.
- Update cabinet hardware with modern matte black or brass handles and knobs. Spray paint existing hardware for quicker change.
- Remove an old dated medicine cabinet and install inset shelving on each side of the mirror for a built-in look.
- Replace a worn vinyl or embroidered shower curtain with a new fabric one in linen, cotton, or subtle pattern.
- Swap out an old hollow-core door for a new solid-core one to reduce noise and increase privacy.
- Add trim accents like wainscoting panels or framed mirrors using adhesive PVC boards for easy application.
- Freshen up the vanity by applying new contact paper with stone, marble, or geometric patterns.
Improve Bathroom Ventilation and Airflow
Proper ventilation keeps bathrooms comfortable by reducing humidity and preventing mold and mildew growth. Improve airflow with these handy tips:
- Run the exhaust fan for about 20 minutes after showering to remove moist air.
- Keep the bathroom door open when possible to allow air circulation to the rest of the house.
- Use a dehumidifier to actively draw excess moisture out of the air. Empty the reservoir daily.
- Install a ceiling fan to improve airflow. Choose a humidity-resistant one rated for bathrooms.
- Open a window after bathing to let steamy air escape. Keep windows closed during showers to avoid potential water damage.
- Make sure the exhaust fan duct is properly connected and venting moist air outside, not just into the attic space.
- Upgrade to a high CFM exhaust fan (70-110 CFM) if the current one is too weak or noisy. Install an ENERGY STAR model.
Make a Bathroom Feel Like a Spa
Create an at-home spa oasis in the bathroom with these tips for a relaxing and rejuvenating ambiance:
- Use calming cool color tones like blues, grays, and greens on walls, tiles, and textiles. Avoid bright whites.
- Incorporate natural elements like wood shelves, stone surfaces, and linen towels. Display live plants and flowers.
- Install dimmable lighting so you can adjust the brightness levels as desired.
- Play soothing nature sounds or instrumental spa music to set the mood.
- Place candles around the tub and shower. Turn off the main lights and relax by candlelight.
- Display neatly rolled towels and fresh bathrobes for a luxury hotel vibe.
- Use aromatherapy with essential oils in diffusers, bath salts, soaps, and scrubs.
- Organize toiletries in labeled apothecary jars on shelves or in a caddy. Keep visibility tidy and clutter-free.
Give a Bathroom Spa Style on a Budget
Indulge in spa luxury at home without the steep costs. Use budget materials creatively to get the look for less:
- Paint ceilings sky blue and walls pale green for serene, cooling hues. Use sample pots for small spaces.
- Hang sheer linen curtains around the clawfoot tub for a soft, billowy look.
- Place a wooden bench at the tub’s foot for toweling off or resting drinks/bath items. Find affordable benches intended for mudrooms.
- Arrange white pillar candles of varying heights along the edge of the tub and vanity. Include candle holders of glass, stone, and metal.
- Use pebble tile or sheet vinyl with a stone look for shower walls and flooring. St