If you’ve ever bought an older home or lived in the same house for years, you know how awful an outdated bathroom can be. The idea of a complete renovation or simple update is a real mood-booster – until you start doing the math, that is.
According to Angie’s List1, Americans spend an average of $9,600 for bathroom makeovers. However, with careful planning, you can save thousands of dollars on a brand-new bathroom.
Here are easy ways to cut costs and save money on your remodel.
Find Cheap Home Improvement Stores
New floor tile, light fixtures, and hardware are pricey no matter where you shop, but you can find great deals at big-box retailers like Home Depot – if you know how to find the lowest prices.
A good-to-know fact: Consumer Reports2 writes that every Home Depot employee is authorized to give a discount of up to $50. But they’ll only give you this secret discount if there’s a good reason. If the sink fixture you’re eying on display is the last of its kind in stock, for instance, ask the clerk to mark it down.
Use Low-Cost Accessories
If your large bathroom fixtures are still in good shape, you can save significantly by simply changing out the accessories rather than replacing your entire bathroom.
Paint the walls a fresh new color. Get a new shower curtain and matching rug. Change out the towels and window coverings. You’d be surprised how many affordable vanity accessories you can find at retailers. Shop at dollar stores for jars, drawer organizers, and candles.
If you have bare wall space, hang industrial-chic shelves. Unlike bulky standing or wall cabinets, open shelving in a small bathroom creates the illusion of space. Use wire baskets to store pretty soaps, lotions, or linens. Wicker baskets with lids are ideal for personal items. A small potted plant adds a homey touch. These small tweaks go a long way to update your bathroom, both in style and value.
Buy Secondhand Materials
Surplus construction materials, such as plumbing fixtures, cabinets and vanity tops, are resold at a fraction of their original cost. Try reuse centers like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Since they only accept discards in excellent condition, you may even snag products that are still in the box.
Look for these items:
- Sinks and tubs
- Toilets or toilet seats
- Faucets and showerheads
- Light fixtures
- Hinges and drawer pulls
- Towel racks
- Tile and vinyl floor coverings
- Paint, stain and painting supplies
Reuse stores get new donations every day, so check back often.
Along the same lines, save on granite or other countertop materials by asking to see remnants first. If your vanity isn’t too long, the granite company will probably have discounted remnants that are just the right size.
*Best Option: Hire a Local Contractor
Finally, if you’re making significant changes, hire an affordable local contractor. It may seem easy enough to watch a video tutorial and retile your shower, but you don’t need the stress – or the potential mistakes. Do-it-yourself projects don’t save money if they have to be torn out and redone. An experienced professional can help you plan, stick to your budget and avoid costly errors.
Contractors also have access to resources you may not think of. They can locate far cheaper parts and address any unforeseen electrical or plumbing problems that may arise. Hiring a contractor will save you countless headaches no matter the size or scope of your remodel. And you can easily find one in your area.
Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.