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Low: Buy less tile. If you are remodeling, tile only the shower area, or halfway up the wall and use paint to provide the rest of the finish. A few random tiles placed in your overall neutral scheme can also add a pop of color or pattern—without a huge increase in price.
High: Include a custom tile rug, consisting of tiles arranged in a distinctive pattern with an unusual border. You can also add a mosaic tile above the vanity or in the shower.
Low: Add wall sconces on each side of the mirror.
High: Replace your overhead fixture with a splurgeworthy chandelier. Even with the added expense of the fixture, it's a relatively quick way to upgrade a bathroom.
Low: Have the pros refinish your outdated tub for a fresh look in your bathroom.
High: Add a freestanding whirlpool bath. These roomy versions also require more water and electricity.
Low: Add function and convenience by installing a handheld sprayer, which makes it easier to rinse hair and clean the tub. Or switch out your shower controls and other hardware to create a unified suite look in just a few hours.
High: Remodel your shower with dual showerheads, handheld showerheads, and body sprays to make the shower experience invigorating and lavish. Wall-mount showerheads can be adjusted to spray high or low for people of different heights. Many handheld sprayers can be adapted to existing plumbing lines, making for easy installation. Or put in a shower that doubles as a steam shower, with a door that seals tightly on all sides.
Low: Basic white components cost much less than anything in a color because manufacturers sell more of these and therefore have a wider availability. One option is to install a new toilet seat and add a few matching accessories such as towel bars and a toilet paper holder.
High: Opt for a low-flow, low-energy version, or an electric-powered hatbox toilet.
Low: Repaint your existing cabinet (use moldproof and mildewproof primers and paints) with accent colors drawn from soap dishes and trays.
High: Install a medicine cabinet with a mirror that tilts and rotates to make grooming tasks easier.
Low: Increase cabinet efficiency. Add pullout shelves to existing cabinets, or a low-cost vintage find for a corner. Try paint or stain to update the piece's finish.
High: Paint or refinish the cabinet doors for a quick and easy update.
Low: Install new cabinet hardware to provide an instant visual impact at a minimal cost. An even lower-cost option: Paint existing unfinished wood knobs.
High: Provide the ultimate in luxury with heated towel bars.
Low: Find an inexpensive cushioned chair, ottoman, or bench for beneath a window.
High: Add shower benches in the shower, tiled to match the rest of the shower, or add a bench made of a contrasting material like teak or glass.
Low: Include a small CD or mp3 player on the shelf for mood-enhancing tunes.
High: Add an entertainment center. A small, low-voltage, water-resistant television, multipoint sound system, or fireplace can be a great enhancement to your bathroom.