Low-Cost Bathroom Updates

Bathroom Lighting
Refresh your bathroom in a weekend or less with these affordable makeover ideas.

Add Some Wow

Add some glam into your powder room with affordable new features, such as a dramatic mirror and glass and chrome accent shelves and towel bars. Create wainscoting with wall covering that looks like white painted beaded board and paint the upper half of the walls a rich contrasting color.

Paint Refresher

When your existing vanity cabinet offers good storage, nice lines, and sturdy construction, renew the look with a fresh coat of paint or stain. For a previously stained cabinet, sand off the old finish and apply updated stain color. You should also sand the gloss off a previously painted cabinet and smooth out any damage with filler, and then apply a coat of primer. Finish with a topcoat of color.

Boost Cabinet Efficiency

Add pullout shelves to deep cabinets to keep necessities in order and viewable. Equipping cabinet interiors with these sliding surfaces helps you avoid digging around in the dark or buying more of the things you already have on hand.

Fields of Possibility

Low-cost white field tiles are an affordable choice to finish a shower surround and the lower portion of bathroom walls. Spice up the look with a band of accent tiles, such as these sleek black liner tiles that visually link the shower and vanity area.

Rustic Win

Snag a flea market console or occasional table for just a few dollars and convert it into a stylish primitive vanity. A table also offers a comfortable surface height to support a vessel-style sink. Retrofit the top to accept a faucet. Or, use a wall-mount faucet, and there’s no need to cut into the table. Moisture-proof and protect the wood top with several coats of clear polyurethane.

In a New Light

You’ll see your bathroom in a whole new light if you change out a dated light fixture for something that’s new and dramatic. Glass features and a layered look give this new light fixture mysterious sparkle.

High-Style Vanity

Turn an existing piece of furniture into a vanity. Save on expensive cabinetry by cutting a hole in the top of a dresser or chest for a drop-in sink and faucet.

Update a Medicine Cabinet

Get more out of your medicine cabinet with quick and easy storage ideas from this video.

Top Tactic

Replacing the countertop, when the vanity is solid, refreshes the bathroom overall. For affordable options, consider preformed laminate, or check out costs for a remnant granite slab for a luxury look for less.

Easy Enhancers

Paint or refinish the cabinet doors for a quick and easy update. Also, install a new toilet seat and add a few matching accessories such as towel bars and a toilet paper holder. Switch out your shower controls and other hardware to create a unified suite look in just a few hours.

Give Walls Texture

Add architectural interest to a basic bath with beaded board. Installing panels is quicker and more affordable than installing individual boards. The panels are virtually indistinguishable from authentic beaded board and are sold in lightweight 4x8-foot sheets for about $20 each.

Vintage Charm

Find a great deal and inject a dose of personality into your bath with flea market gems. Architectural salvage yards and Internet auction sites are great suppliers of vintage tubs, sinks, countertops, flooring, benches, and unique accents.

Add Function

Make taking a bath and maintaining the tub more convenient by installing a handheld sprayer. It eases chores such as rinsing hair and cleaning the tub.

Repurposed Storage

Add stylish storage using flea market finds. If your bathroom is too small for a freestanding piece of furniture, consider adding a vintage shelf or old drawer backed with pretty paper that hangs on the wall and stores bath essentials. Clean and give it a fresh coat of paint. To hang a drawer-turned-shelf, drill through the back and into studs in the wall.

Declutter with Organizers

Use spring-loaded separators, valet trays, and small acrylic trays in vanity drawers to keep lipsticks and other cosmetics in order.

Multifunctional Furniture

Bring in furniture to add utility and character. An old shelving unit updated with paint provides a bath-side perch for towels, soaps, and accessories.

Panel Discussion

Smartly patterned fabric curtain panels stand in as shower curtains to give this bathroom a designer touch that’s easy and budget friendly. Pair fabric panels with a clear plastic shower liner to block splatters. If your bathtub and flooring have seen better days, consider having the tub surface professionally refinished and opt for a new tile floor.

Stylish Storage

Trick your bathroom into storing more while upgrading its style with open shelves, baskets, and pretty containers.


Beat the Band

Glass mosaic tiles look sharp but can be pricey. Incorporate a thin band among field tiles on a floor and instantly give your bathroom an expensive custom-designed appearance.

Storage Convenience

A medicine cabinet can fit neatly between wall studs above the bathroom sink, adding storage and style right where you need it. Add a mirror to the inside back to brighten the interior and make belongings easier to spot.

Home Spa

Pamper yourself and give your shower a luxury spa feel by switching out the old showerhead for a large rain-style showerhead. Many affordable models are readily available from home centers and thread easily onto existing plumbing.

Embellish a Vanity

Give an ordinary vanity or ready-to-assemble dresser star power in your bathroom by gluing lightweight decorative fretwork panels or overlays to drawer or door fronts. The expanded-PVC-foam overlays are 1/8 inch thick and come in standard sizes that can be trimmed with a utility knife, then applied with clear silicone adhesive. Paint the overlays to match the cabinet or to contrast for standout style.

Think White

Pick out basic white components for your must-have bath features and save thousands in remodeling dollars. White sinks, tubs, and toilets all cost less than those in colors because manufacturers make and sell more of them.

Spice is Nice

Square 6x6-inch white porcelain or ceramic tiles cost as little as 50 cents each so you can cover a lot of wall space for a paltry sum. No one will ever suspect you spent so little, however, when you kick up the look by mixing in a few decorative bands of sleek glass liner tiles that lend color and sparkle.

Pattern Play

Jazz up a boring bath with fabric and wall covering in two prominent patterns. In this bath, bold geometric zigzags on the fabric shower curtain and crisply tailored Roman window shade form an unexpected but successful partnership with a nature-inspired wallpaper, replete with butterflies, birds, and meandering vines.

Share the gallery

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.