Remodeling A Bathroom on a Budget: Where Should You Focus Your Money?

When it comes to remodeling, money is a huge factor in the process. And while bathroom remodels are usually more focused on function than style, there’s a lot to be said for taking the time to find pieces and designs that offer both. Those who are capable of taking the time to explore all the options for renovations will find a slew of fixtures, materials, and even completed design ideas online.  

Of course, most people do have a budget to consider when it comes to remodeling projects. How is that budget calculated? Where should people spend the most or least money? These are questions homeowners ask themselves during the process, often repeatedly, because they aren’t familiar with the trends and best practices.

For those who are on a budget, here’s what you need to know.

Related: How To Remodel A Bathroom On A Budget

bathroom remodel on a budget

Should I DIY My Bathroom Project?

In the bathroom, most people are unsure whether they should do the work themselves. It might seem simple enough to install a vanity cabinet or upgrade hardware, but the fact of the matter is that this will always be better left to the professionals. From a simple upgrade of fixtures to a full bathroom renovation, there’s too much for a homeowner to handle on their own.

The average bathroom remodel costs $10,000. However, some low-end projects have been done for under $2,000. Then, there are some people who go all out and spend $30,000, $40,000, or more, toward upgrading their bathroom to perfection. You can spend whatever you want on your project, but these are some averages to consider in thinking about which renovations to take on.

Make room in the budget for professional labor. Just do it. There’s no other option if you want a bathroom that functions and looks stylish, as it should. Even for those who do succeed at DIY, they may spend multiple times longer on the project, which will cost more in the long run. When it comes to bathroom remodeling, just leave it to the pros.  

Related: How To Create A Bathroom Remodel Budget

hiring a bathroom remodel professional

What Upgrades are Most Important When Remodeling a Bathroom?

When it comes to budgeting and allocating money for your remodel, it’s helpful to know which upgrades are going to be most useful or add the most value. The very first thing that people should be spending good money on is quality plumbing, electrical work, etc. The bones of the space need to be solid, or the design won’t matter.

Other effective upgrades that get noticed are things like lighting fixtures, showerheads and sink faucets, and any upgrade that is eco-friendly or somehow green. Right now, eco-friendly bathrooms are trending so those will be plentiful if you’re looking online for inspiration.

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Once you make sure that the plumbing and the rest of the structural elements are solid, you can allocate funds for the rest of the remodel. Perhaps you’ll want to spend a little more on a nicer vanity that includes double sinks, so you’re willing to compromise and choose a simple painted wall and single surface tub surround instead of the tiled look you originally planned.

Ultimately, the most important upgrades are the ones that matter most to you.

Related: Spring Bathroom Remodeling Tips

72 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity in Driftwood

72 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity in Driftwood

How Can I Save Money When Remodeling?

There are several ways to save money on a bathroom remodel, whether you’re just replacing the vanity or you’re redoing the entire space. You don’t have to spend any more than you want on this project, but you’ll also have to remember that what you spend reflects what you’ll get for the money. With that said, here are some money-saving tips for your bathroom remodel.

Always hire the pros to do the work. DIY bathroom upgrades might seem simple enough, but when things aren’t done correctly, they can create a domino effect that leads to several other problems. This is actually a double benefit when it comes saving money because you’re not creating additional problems while work is being done quickly and efficiently.

Related: How Long Should A Bathroom Remodel Take?

professional plumber

Another option is to ask your installer or bathroom remodeling team about discounts, scrap parts, and the like. For example, you might be able to get a great paint color from the discount bin at your local home improvement store because it wasn’t properly mixed and matched for the customer who needed it. If you want cheap flooring, get leftovers from another project when you know a floor guy. And so on.

While quality counts, decor and style aren’t necessarily priorities to some people. It can be easy to save money by choosing reputable brands for toilets, sinks, showers, and tubs, but by going with more basic models that aren’t as ornate or stylish. Some brands make budget-friendly products that look great in any space and never give away how affordable they were.

Cut costs by using like materials—instead of expensive marble, use porcelain to get a similar look at a fraction of the costs. Consider buying your own fixtures and furnishings, too. Some bathroom remodelers will offer to source all materials for you, but that could come at a much higher cost that you’re not even aware of until it’s too late and the budget is blown. Finally, make sure that you consider the bathroom backsplash and other details—do you want basic materials or something more stylish?

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Mixed Stone Mosaic Tile

Mixed Stone Mosaic Tile

Spend Less, Get More with Your Next Bathroom Remodel

As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot to find ways to save money. Even if you’re on a tight budget, a bathroom remodeling project isn’t necessarily out of the question. It might take a bit more planning and compromise for those who have less to spend, but it’s worth the effort because a new bathroom can change the way the entire house feels. When it functions better, it can also change the way the house functions, giving people more value and comfort in their home.

Keep these things in mind as you’re planning your next remodel and you’ll love where every single dollar ends up getting spent. Too often, people just assume they can’t afford to remodel without doing the math, but as you can see, it’s really an option for anyone willing to invest the time to figure out how to make it work for them.

Related: Master Bathroom Remodeling Trends

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80 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity in Dark Gray with Choice of No Top

80 Inch Double Sink Bathroom Vanity in Dark Gray with Choice of No Top


My name is Julia Ritzenthaler, Founder and President of Unique Vanities, started in 2005. I started this business as an extension of our residential remodeling business, which focused on the design and build of custom cabinetry and architectural trim. I also worked as a financial advisor for 10 years at Ameriprise Financial, helping clients make sound money decisions, including budgeting for home improvement expenses. This expertise led me to start Unique Vanities, which offers a handpicked selection of high quality bathroom vanities, sinks, mirrors and more. You can find me most days sitting in Starbucks, my second office, or in my car driving my daughter across Dallas to gymnastics training.

Resources

https://www.budgetdumpster.com/blog/budget-bathroom-remodel/

https://www.realhomes.com/us/advice/where-to-spend-and-where-to-save-in-a-small-bathroom

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/most-valuable-projects-2022-bathroom-remodel/

https://www.thespruce.com/surface-bathroom-remodeling-1821364

https://www.bobvila.com/articles/bathroom-remodel-ideas-on-a-budget/

https://www.graymalin.com/lifestyle/where-to-spend-your-money-in-a-bathroom-remodel

https://www.moneycrashers.com/bathroom-design-remodeling-ideas-budget/