Bathroom Update On A Budget

A bathroom update on  a budget. Sounds  like a tall order. But it can be done. And I think the challenge of a budget makes it even more fun!

You don’t have to break the bank to update your bathroom and make it look great!(It doesn’t have to take a whole lot of time either!)

A few little changes can make a huge difference!

This past weekend, I was up at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The only day I could have slept late.,,but didn’t. Can’t explain it.

Don’t you just hate it when that happens? I was sick for most of last week, but pushed through…just hanging on for the promise of a beautiful, restful Saturday.

That was not to be.

Decided to go out to breakfast with the hubs, and arrived at the Huddle House around 7:30 a.m. No bathroom update on the agenda.

Sometime during the meal, the conversation turned to the current state of our daughter’s bathroom. Specifically, that the toilet was clogging continually and the faucet is falling apart. Literally. The knobs…or whatever you call them on the ends of the handles were literally falling off in the sink every time you turn on the water.

I accept full responsibility. 11 years ago, in the throes of first time home-building, I totally picked out the absolute cheapest of everything. (There is a difference between in cheap quality and inexpensive. Inexpensive is okay for a bathroom update! (Cheap not so much. You can stay on a budget with inexpensive, decent quality items.)

When I started the house, I was a single mom, and although I met my wonderful husband very soon after, I didn’t know for sure that he was the one until things with the house were well underway, with a strict budget that was already bursting a little at the seams.

We did a tremendous amount of the work ourselves, and even though we had just started dating, he committed to helping me finish the house regardless of where our relationship was going. (Thank God it led to the altar!)

Okay, I KNOW why I chose inexpensive fixtures, but WHY in the name of all that is tasteful and attractive, did I ever, EVER think it was a good idea to purchase BRIGHT GOLD EVERYTHING for the kids’ bathroom in 2006??? WHY?????

Long story short, a bathroom update was past due. And the issues with the toilet and the faucet were really bringing things to a head. I just had no idea we would jump in and do it in a day!

I have to say that what we accomplished in that day even beats sleeping in!

As soon as we finished breakfast, we headed to Lowe’s. We wanted to stay within a budget of $300, and I had found some good quality toilets on sale for $99. Sometimes, you just have to time these things just right.

We didn’t even consciously plan it, we just hit it at the right time.

Normally, we are planners.  Especially my husband. And I can’t recommend jumping into doing updates without planning, but this time, it worked out.

To  do a project like this on a budget, you can keep an eye out for everything you will need and purchase a little at a time or as it goes on sale.

Or, you can do it the way we did. We found one of the main things, the toilet, on sale. We then picked a very reasonably priced faucet. From there, we chose the rest by picking the least expensive items the store offered that would still match the faucet.

Below is one of the new light fixtures (left) and the old one (right). HUGE difference at a low price. (Less than $30 for pendant light and the glass globe.) The bathroom is SO MUCH brighter!

You can spend a lot of money at Lowe’s. But we didn’t want to. Bathroom updates can be really expensive, but ours wasn’t!

When you think about it, how many people are going to pay that much attention to your sink and light fixtures?

I don’t think anybody really does.

I couldn’t even remember what one of the fixtures in our master bath looked like as my husband described to me what he was looking for in the store!

So, that was our strategy. Everything of the lowest price among quality items available. As long as it matched.

And you know what? It all came together beautifully!

You can do some minor updates that don’t cost a whole lot, and that make a huge difference in the overall appearance of the room. You just can’t be too picky. I mean, don’t choose things you think are ugly, (Like the bright gold!) but there are usually some options available you could live with!

We were also fortunate that my husband could do most of the installation. He installed the toilet as soon as we got home, and had one of the light fixtures in as well by noon. (I leave all that to him, but I did paint this sign. Click here for a tutorial on painting on wood.)

Things were really moving along, but then we noticed that the other light fixtures we bought were not going to fit the beam they needed to go on, so we had to make another trip to Lowe’s.

Again, though, the end result was totally worth it!

Here are some tips for bathroom updates that won’t cost you an arm and a leg:

  • Choose fixtures that match. They don’t necessarily have to be the ones you like the best. Are you really going to spend a whole lot of time looking at your faucets or light fixtures? Quality and function are important, but beyond that, if it matches, it can work!
  • Watch for sales. Sometimes even big ticket items, like the new toilet we purchased, go on sale. If you know you are going to need an item, shop around and go to  online sites for stores like Lowe’s frequently to compare prices and look for the best deals.
  • Do as much of the work/installation as you can yourself. This saves a ton of money! If you aren’t able to do any of the plumbing or electrical work yourself, get three estimates and go with the lowest. You may ask around to find out who is really good in your area. We are having the faucet installed by a plumber my mom recommended. (It was worth it to us to pay for installation, since it’s hard on my husband’s back to lie in the floor and do jobs like this.)
  • If you know in advance that you will need to do a bathroom update soon, begin shopping around, picking up things you will need here and there as you come across a bargain. Store each item where you will be sure to be able to find it when the time for your bathroom update rolls around. (For you, this may go without saying. For me, things sometimes get lost in the shuffle.)
  • If you buy things ahead of time, make sure you keep all receipts, and check boxed items that contain items such as faucets to be sure everything you will need is in the box. (We opened a box with a faucet kit for the master bath that we are having installed as well when the plumber comes, and found that a part was missing.)

Bathroom updates on a budget are totally possible. Just shop smart and don’t sacrifice quality. Sometimes it takes some good sales or some DIY skill to stay within your budget, but it can be done! Don’t be afraid to jump in there and get started on  a project that will add value to your home and give you a great feeling of accomplishment once it’s done!

We came in $50 UNDER budget, and we are LOVING the how our budget bathroom update turned out!

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