Transforming a Bathroom on a Tight Budget

Posted on Dec 6 2014 - 4:29am by Housecall
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bathroom remodel











So your bathroom is boring, right? If it’s not in the cards right now to remodel, does something still need to be changed? You can’t live another day brushing your teeth at the same old sink, looking at the yellow walls (that were a cute idea for about 10 minutes), or showering with that shower head that only works half of the time. So what do you do? Here are a few ideas that range from totally DIY to "maybe you should get a little help from a pro." And they can all be done in one weekend or less. Sweet.

Paint your Vanity

With some sand paper, a little elbow grease, and a can of paint, you can turn that old oak vanity into thing of beauty. See some examples here.

Gray vanities are really popular these days, so perhaps you’d like to jump on that trend, or maybe something bolder like a bright pop of whatever-looks-good-with-your-floor-tile. Once the sanding and prep on the original vanity finish is done, you can repaint your vanity whenever you want, so don’t stress too much about getting the perfect color your first time.

And while you’re at it, swap out the hardware, too.

In about a day, your vanity will look brand new, and maybe more importantly…completely different.

Replace your Plumbing Fixtures

Swapping out your sink faucet and your shower head are relatively easy. All you need to do is make sure you buy a faucet that will fit the holes already cut in your countertop (faucets are sold as a single hole, 4”, and 8” spread). Also, buy yourself a roll of plumbers tape to make sure the threading on the parts is sealed.

If you’re only replacing one or the other, try to keep the finish consistent (i.e., buy a new polished chrome faucet if the shower head you already have is polished chrome).

Oh, and remember to turn off the water supply to the faucet before taking it all apart…

Paint your Walls

The easiest update of all. The only recommendation here is to use semi-gloss paint. It holds up to the moisture of a bathroom better than flat paint, but without the super shininess of glossy. Goldilocks would approve.

Replace your Tub Surround

Depending on your level of DIY handiness, this one might require some help.  Ceramic tile can be relatively inexpensive, as is grout, and if you have the tools and a little know-how, this is a pretty straight-forward update. However, if the thought of a tile saw makes you cringe, this one might be better left to a home repair expert (and if you decide to go that route, check out our big bro over at

Before installing your new tile, consider adding an extra layer of protection by installing a water-proof membrane on top of your wall board. We like to use a product called Kerdi.

So there you have it…three really easy, and one maybe-easy DIY ways to update your bathroom without breaking the bank.

Good luck and have fun.

TJ Monahan is the General Manager of, a design build firm based in Bethesda, MD that makes it easier than ever to remodel your bathroom through the use of the free software on their website.