I’ll never forget the first night in our new home. I was so excited to be experiencing all the firsts in the new space. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth before bed and that’s when it struck me; our master bath vanity was built for Hobbits. Not that the previous owners were Hobbit-sized. Actually, a 30 inch vanity in the 80’s was pretty standard compared to the newer standard of 34 inches tall. I’m 5’9″ and Brooks is over 6ft. That extra 4 inches makes a HUGE difference. We spent the next three and a half years hunching over the sink, cursing the makers of short vanities, and scheming our master bathroom renovation.
Bathroom Remodeling on a Budget
Bathroom renovations do not come cheap. I became a student of bathroom remodeling on a budget. I planned, and Pinterest-ed, and consumed every blog I could find on bathroom remodeling. I pinned the best ideas, and refined those ideas until I came up with a firm game plan. Here are my top tips for saving money on your bathroom remodel:
- Be your own general contractor. I was lucky enough to have a network of service providers that I could call in for the project including an electrician, a shower remodeler and a plumber.
- Work with your existing layout and plumbing. We thought about swapping out our shower and toilet locations and it would have added $2000 to our bottom line.
- Know when to call in the experts. Showers are tricky business. You need to make sure that the shower is sloped for proper drainage. You need to make sure that everything is waterproofed correctly so you don’t get mold. We knew we would need experts for this. We also wanted our shower tile set in a herringbone pattern. Fancy tile installation is best left to the experts.
- Price shop everything! From the comfort of my own computer I was able to price shop every single thing we bought by typing in model #’s and keywords. Don”t forget to factor in tax and shipping. Buying online from sites that offer competitive prices, no sales tax and free shipping is the way to go.
- Paint your existing vanity. If that’s not going to work, like in our home, buy a vanity with the sinks and countertops. Trust me on this. I shopped vanities for three years. It would have added about $1200-1500 to buy them separate for our double vanity.
- Check Craigslist Daily. I found our bath vanity on Craigslist. It was being sold by a local warehouse that buys returns and old stock from Home Depot. I got my vanity for HALF PRICE. Same story with the medicine cabinets.
- Be flexible. All of my design boards included marble countertops, but at the end of the day I couldn’t pass up the deal on the vanity with the sinks and countertops included.
- Buy tile with straight edges. I loved Hex tile, but it was going to cost a few hundred dollars more to install it because it requires additional cuts. The cheapest tile to install is individual tiles with a straight edge. The mesh backed tiles are also more expensive to install because of multiple cuts per sheet. You could save even more money by doing the tile installation yourself.
- Use a shower curtain instead of glass doors. This would have saved us about $1000. In the end we opted to go ahead with the seamless glass doors, but this is something you could always add later.
- Spray paint is your friend. We loved the idea of using unlacquered brass in the bath, but it is expensive. We were able to spray paint our existing curtain rod, clip rings and toilet paper holder.
- Get Free Advice from anyone who will share. I work with a lot of home builders and designers. I totally picked their brains on everything from tile selection to toilets.
Here are some before photos of our bathroom.
Here are the after photos by Geinger Hill.
Here is a video of the before and after of our master bathroom.
Products below contain affiliate links.
- Grout- Oyster Gray
- Shower Head
- Shower Floor Tile
- Floor Tile
- Shiplap Siding on a budget
- Vanity Hardware
- Vanity (We got ours at a warehouse discounter)
- Medicine Cabinets (We got ours at a warehouse discounter)
- Vintage Lights
- Shower Installers- The Shower Pros – Highly Recommend
- Paint Color- Sherwin Williams Alabaster
- Brass Spray Paint
Budget: Around $9000
- Demo- $650
- Shower Door- $1000
- Electrical- $250
- Plumbing- $500
- Tile- $451.30
- Vent Light- $116
- Toilet- $200
- Pendant Lights- $220
- Double Vanity with countertops and sinks- $750
- Medicine Cabinets- $100
- Shower Head- $161.26
- Faucets- $205.39
- Vanity Hardware and hooks- $90
- Shower and Tile Installation- $3500
- Shiplap materials and Installation- $800
In the end we are in love with every single choice we made for this bathroom. And, it feels GREAT to not have to hunch down to brush my teeth. We are not professional bathroom remodelers, we just love design and remodeled spaces. But….we are professional decorative painters. We specialize in the painting and glazing of bathroom vanities and kitchen cabinets. If you’d like to get a free email quote on a cabinet project, please fill out the form below.