7 Ways to Cut Costs on a Bathroom Remodel

Ready to make a big change to your home? A bathroom remodel could be a great project.

Bathroom renovations can completely update the space, including changing the layout, making the room bigger, updating the fixtures, and changing the paint and décor details.

But bathroom renovations are also known for being expensive, especially for larger-scale projects.

You can get a beautiful, functional bathroom without blowing the budget. Here are some tips to save money on a bathroom remodel.

How Do You Save On a Bathroom Remodel?

man installing countertop in bathroom
The national average remodel cost for a bathroom is $10,788, but the typical cost ranges from around $6,000 to more than $15,000. Larger bathrooms or those with bigger changes or fancy finishes can cost more than $25,000.

A bathroom remodel is an investment, but it adds value to your home and improves your quality of life. Outdated bathrooms can lower the value of your home. On average, bathroom remodels recoup only 64.8% of their cost in increased home value, meaning that pouring tens of thousands of dollars into the project isn’t likely going to increase your home value by the same amount.

Instead, be intentional about the improvements that will make the space more functional and comfortable, not just about what will sell to potential buyers down the road.

The first step to saving money on a bathroom remodel project is to have a plan. Last-minute changes can destroy the budget and lead to paying more to get supplies under a time crunch. Before you start your project, set a budget and create a plan of what will be included in the remodel and how much it will cost.

Be sure to add a cushion to your budget of things costing more than expected or taking longer than scheduled. Even the best plans tend to have unexpected costs, so plan for them from the beginning.

It’s still possible to get a beautiful, updated bathroom without spending a fortune. Here are seven ways to save money on a bathroom remodel.

Keep the Original Layout and Size

bathroom renovation showing bathtub, shower, and sink
Some of the highest costs of a bathroom remodel come from changing the size and layout of the room. Even something that seems simple like moving the toilet requires moving numerous pipes and fixtures.

Moving plumbing and electrical, as well as taking down and moving load-bearing walls, can be very expensive.

To significantly reduce the cost of your bathroom remodel, update the space without changing the layout. Simply changing the tub and flooring can make a big difference in the space while still keeping costs down.

If you do want to move things around for a more functional layout, prioritize the biggest changes and talk to a plumber about the impact of each move.

Reuse as Much Original Material as Possible

replacing partial shower tiles in bathroom renovation
Instead of trashing everything in your current bathroom and replacing it with new items, shop from what you already have. It’s almost always significantly cheaper to refinish or update an existing piece instead of buying something new.

Almost anything that isn’t damaged can be reused in a new bathroom, including tile, sinks, flooring, towel bars, and cabinets. Paint or refinish a vanity instead of buying a new one.

Add a new countertop to the existing cabinetry instead of completely replacing the entire unit. Refinish an existing tub or add a frame to the current mirror for a new look that helps your budget and the environment.

Shop Recycled Products

woman and man shopping for second hand furniture for bathroom renovation
In a similar vein, shop recycled products before jumping into something brand new. Vintage and second-hand shops often have cabinets, mirrors, and other bathroom décor for a fraction of the cost of brand-new items.

Many home improvement and furniture stores also have as-is sections for budget-friendly items that have been returned or are slightly damaged. With minor repairs, you can turn a recycled cabinet into something beautiful and customized to your space.

You can also check online to see what gently used or leftover items people are selling. People often buy more tile, flooring, or drywall than they need and then try to sell the extras online for a discount.

Before jumping into your project, spend some time on local re-sell groups and marketplaces to find break materials (often brand new) at a steep discount.

Install a Standard Tub and Toilet

bathroom renovation with appliances
A fancy or oversized tub, toilet, or shower can seriously impact your bathroom remodel budget. That oversized soaker tub you might want is not only more expensive than the standard size but also impacts the design of other areas, including the drywall and flooring.

Using standard sizes of the major fixtures gives you more options at a variety of price points and ensures that the pieces fit into the space instead of requiring more expensive changes.

Even moving from a standard toilet to a larger or more upgraded version can require plumping changes that increase the cost of the project.

Standard tubs, toilets, and showers can still be customized to match your design without the expense of a fully custom version. As a bonus, these cost-effective options also tend to be more readily available instead of having to wait for a custom piece.

Limit Tile

man installing shower tile for a bathroom renovation
Tile can have a big impact on a bathroom, but the cost can quickly add up. To save money, limit the amount of tile you use or choose a more economical design. A bold tile design can still have a big impact when used in smaller quantities. Instead of tiling an entire wall, only tile part of it to save on costs.

You can also look for tile alternatives for walls and backsplashes, such as wooded beadboard or board and batten, for a much less expensive but equally stylish look. These options add texture and visual interest to the bathroom for a fraction of the cost of tile.

For bathroom flooring, there are a number of waterproof and water-resistant options that are less expensive than tile, including laminate or cork. If you want the look of tile floors, vinyl plank flooring gives a similar look for a fraction of the cost. These types of flooring also often require less upkeep, which can save even more money down the line.

If tile is important to your bathroom designs, consider a lower-priced tile like ceramic or travertine instead of materials like marble or quartz, which tend to be much more expensive.

Use Paint to Add Style

new paint on the walls of a bathroom renovation
One of the most cost-efficient ways to update any room is with a fresh coat of paint. New paint can completely transform a space. Use a lighter color for a fresh, airy feeling that can make even a small bathroom seem bigger. For a more dramatic look, use a dark, trendy color to add style. No matter your choice, paint can totally change the look and feel of a room for a low cost.

Don’t be afraid to use paint on more than just the walls. Use it to update an old vanity, breathe new life to picture frames or other décor, or update a mirror or accent wall. With paint, the possibilities of limitless to the personal stamp you can put on your bathroom for a budget.

In a bathroom, be sure to use glossy or water-resistant paint. It may cost a little more than the typical eggshell finish, but the small investment is worth it for paint that lasts with all the water in the bathroom.

Make the Details Count

modern bathroom renovation with accents and new light fixtures
Instead of a fully custom bathroom makeover, focus your budget on smaller, less expensive items that make a big statement and make the space uniquely yours.

Updating an old lighting fixture can transform the space by making it brighter and newer while also adding a stylish detail. Lighting fixtures tend to be fairly inexpensive, especially when compared to other elements of the room.

Similarly, handles and knobs for the cabinetry, as well as towel bars and other small fixtures, can make a big statement and tie the bathroom together without costing very much. Replacing the tub or shower could be out of the budget, but replacing the knobs can breathe new life into the space without costing very much.

Other details like a statement mirror, coordinating towels, and other décor can make a room look put together and fresh without breaking the bank. These items are much more cost-efficient than major upgrades like a new shower or new tile, and they can easily be changed and updated if you want a refresh in a few years without going through a full remodel again.

An updated bathroom not only increases your home’s value but also adds function and style to your home. Don’t feel you have to blow the budget and empty your bank account to get a beautiful bathroom. These tips can help you save money on a bathroom remodel.


Let’s get started on your dream bathroom renovation now!