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7 Ways to Update Your Bathroom on Any Budget

By Laura Gaskill, Houzz

When you’re ready to do more than just upgrade the towel situation, but you aren’t quite ready for a full bathroom renovation, consider planning a bathroom refresh. By not tampering with the layout (or adding square feet), you can bring costs way down while making some pretty major changes. Whether your budget is $100 or $10,000, use this guide to help figure out what to prioritize and what to put on the back burner, and give your bathroom an update that works with your space and your budget.

update your bathroom

The Brighton Bathroom Company, original photo on Houzz

If your budget is about $100:

Get a new shower head or bathtub faucet. Not only will a fresh shower head look better, but it also will improve your bathing experience every single day. If you’re a handy homeowner, you can even install it yourself and save on labor costs. If you have a little extra wiggle room in your budget, splurge on a fancier shower head. You won’t regret it.

update your bathroom

The Brighton Bathroom Company, original photo on Houzz

If your budget is about $400:

Get a new shower head, and then upgrade your bath linens and swap out the vanity light. Fresh linens (and a shower curtain, if using) and lighting will make the space feel cleaner, brighter and more stylish. To avoid installation issues, select vanity lights that mount to the wall in the same way as the old lights.

update your bathroom

The Brighton Bathroom Company, original photo on Houzz

If your budget is about $500:

Get a new shower head, fresh linens and better vanity lighting, and then update the toilet. Unless your toilet is very old, chances are a new toilet seat and flushing lever are all that’s needed to give it a brand-new look. Just be sure to choose a seat and hardware that will work with your existing toilet: Most toilets are either a round or elongated shape, and this determines which toilet seats will work. And while it may sound a bit silly, choosing a really nice toilet seat and lever can make the whole bathroom look classier.

update your bathroom

Innovative Construction Inc, original photo on Houzz

If your budget is about $1,000:

What’s next? After the shower head, linens, lighting and toilet seat, it’s time to refresh the vanity. If your vanity is in good shape, repainting it and adding new hardware may be all that’s needed. If you have the budget to take it a step further, make like Houzz writer Becky Harris (whose master bath is shown here), and give it a new countertop and faucets as well.

update your bathroom

Breeze Giannasio Interiors, original photo on Houzz

If your budget is about $5,000:

Refresh the shower head, linens, lighting, toilet and vanity, and then add new tile. Retiling is one of the costlier items in a bathroom remodel budget, but it can be well worth it if you’ve been living with dated tile for too long! And while more complicated tile patterns certainly require a pro, if you’re an experienced DIYer, it’s possible to tackle a small tile project (like a backsplash) on your own, if you feel up for it.

update your bathroom

Christen Ales Interior Design, original photo on Houzz

If your budget is about $7,000:

If you have more wiggle room in your budget, and your old vanity-sink combo isn’t cutting it, spring for a new setup and replace the mirror or medicine cabinet above it. Keep in mind that the direction of the plumbing (whether it’s directed through the floor or a wall) will influence how easy it is to install the new vanity. For the smoothest (read: cheapest) installation, pick a vanity that handles plumbing the same way your old one did.

If your budget is about $10,000:

New shower head, linens, lighting, toilet, tile, vanity and mirror … what’s left? If you have the room in your budget, it’s time to choose a new bathtub. Keep in mind that changing from freestanding to built-in or vice versa will require additional plumbing work (and it may disrupt tile work as well), and it can raise the costs significantly.

Still have a little money earmarked for the bathroom refresh? Pick out a statement light fixture, or round out the space with accessories like artwork and plants.

Related Links:

Start Off Right With a Brand New Shower Faucet

Get an Exhaust Fan to Ventilate Your Bathroom

The Pros and Cons of a Freestanding Tub

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