10 Easy, Affordable Bath Updates That Give Your Bathroom a Whole New Look

Posted by: on December 19th, 2010 | 23 Comments
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The cost of a complete bathroom remodel can quickly add up.  Just like with the ten kitchen update ideas I shared a while back, there are several small, inexpensive projects that you can do to give your bathroom a makeover without breaking the bank.  Some of these projects can cost less than $50 and make a world of difference.

Here are ten ideas to help you maximize your budget and still get the bathroom style update that you are looking for to turn your bath into a cozy and relaxing retreat.

Update Your Bath Cabinet Hardware
These small items say big things about your bathroom style. Changing out your knobs and pulls to brushed nickel or bronze can create a whole new decorative touch.

Update Your Faucets
It’s one of the most frequently used items in your bathroom, so it’s important to select a faucet that truly reflects your style. Updating your faucet with a new low-flow model is a relatively inexpensive way to cut water consumption while adding a refreshed look to your sink area.

Replace Your Showerheads & Hand Showers
Showerheads and hand showers add a nice touch to your overall bathroom design, and make your showering experience more enjoyable. Replacing a showerhead can be a quick and inexpensive project. Hand showers can be used as fixed shower or hand-held and provide maximum versatility. Drill-less models provide easy installation.

Update Your Bath Hardware
A bathroom is not complete without hooks, towel bars and a toilet paper holder. Coordinating bath hardware items can liven up your old bath décor and add impact to your bath’s overall design. And for both style and safety, don’t forget to include decorative grab bars for your bathtub and shower.

Update Your Bath Light Fixtures
A new lighting system will add a touch of illuminating ambiance to your bathroom. Consider updating the existing fixtures or adding a few decorative sconces to complement your faucets and hardware.

Paint Your Bathroom Walls
Color is the key to any room’s personality. The right wall color will make all your other bathroom updates really stand out. For a look that takes center stage, choose a color that complements your countertop, faucet and hardware.

Add or Update Your Bath Fan
Bath fans play an important role in removing excess moisture and odors from a bathroom. Newer models are fashionable as well as functional, offering quieter operations and an assortment of decorative features to complement any bath lighting system.

Refresh Your Vanity Top
Whether you choose to go with laminate, granite or something in between, a new vanity top can add dramatic new texture, style and color to your bathroom. The variety of styles, materials and finishes make replacing a vanity top the ideal project for any budget.

Replace or Update an Old Vanity
Replacing old, outdated cabinets can transform your bathroom into an entirely different space. With styles ranging from eclectic to traditional, a new vanity can greatly enhance the storage, functionality and look of any bathroom.

Replace Your Toilet
Most people think of toilets as purely functional, but today’s models offer a level of performance, efficiency and style that wasn’t available a decade ago. Choosing an economical high efficiency or ultra low flow toilet offers substantial water savings without sacrificing performance or aesthetics.  Look for the WaterSense label for the most efficient options.

Check out 10 Affordable Kitchen Updates That Give Your Kitchen a Whole New Look to also help you update your kitchen on a budget.


Leave a Comment

  1. It’s nice to see that we’re still reading each other. Thanks for listing me! Cheers

  2. Barb says:

    I want to put a toliet in my cellar and have been told that I need to get a toliet that flushes up — what is this and how do I find one?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Barb, I took this question over to The Home Depot’s Community Forums for an answer. Home Depot associate PatInPaint offered this response:

      “A toilet that flushes up” is simply a manner of speech.

      Toilets install “below grade” are in a position lower than the drain to which they flush or evacuate.

      If this is Barb’s situation, she will need to install an effluent tank and pump with a back-flow prevention valve in the drain line above grade. These tanks are commonly installed in the ground at a level below the toilet and off to one side. So while the “saying” is that they “flush up,” they actually flush down and then pump up as the effluent tank fills.

      This system is complex and local requirements vary quite a bit.

      This project may be one of those beyond most DIYers’ skill level … particularly because of local requirements and the required inspection(s).

      Recommend that Barb check with her local regulating agency as well as a reputable, licensed plumber before beginning.

      Here is an image of such a tank and a link to the description.

      You will note that this kit contains the sealed pump housing, the pump, and the back-flow prevention valve.

      Hope this helps!

  3. Meghan says:

    I want to replace an old contractor grade vanity that is 53 in wide. That does not seem to be a standard size. The opening is sandwiched inbetween the wall and the tub, so I’m afraid anything that doesn’t fit the space exactly might look odd. I’m looking for suggestions on how to fill out the space.

  4. LucyK says:

    looking for options for updating my bathroom…the tub was removed years ago to make access easier for my mother who has since passed away. It was made into a bathtub length shower stall. The tiles don’t line up right and don’t match in color…1950 versus 1997…anyway, the shower floor is painted concrete that is constantly peeling and mildewing…and the ceiling is always peeling. HELP!

  5. My husband and I live in a house which is 40 years old. We would like to replace the towel racks in the bathrooom, but they’re built into a ceramic wall. Is this something that can be done without cracking the tile? Thanks

  6. Dorothy Gerhart says:

    I have two rooms (laundry room and bathroom) that have the peal and stick tile over plywood. I want to replace it with ceramic tile. After removing the peal and stick tile, will I need to put Hardibacker down or can I tile on plywood? Or do I remove the plywood all together and lay Hardibacker?

    • Darren Ryan says:

      Thanks for visiting Dorothy! If you do indeed find that your subfloor is plywood, it is the best option to add cement board after you remove all of the peel and stick tile, as it will make your tiling project much, much easier. Also be sure to check the subfloor for water damage and if you find damage or rot, it will need to be repaired before you lay the cement board and your tile. Hope this helps!

  7. DONNA says:

    I would like to know if there is a less expensive route to get the luster back on my cabinets in kitchen. refacing is way out of my league and so is the nuance suggested.. Not sure if painting is a good solution. Help.. Plus what glass do you use to replace center of the cabinet doors.. thanks for any help

  8. Lauren says:

    I can’t find a 60″ bathroom vanity and top for less than $750, which is not affordable for me. So, I would like either refinish or replace the doors and drawers in my existing vanity. Anybody know the easiest way to do this?

  9. Faith says:


    I am looking to remodel my childrens bathroom which presnetly has a 60 L x 32 W cast iron alcove tub- as it is a tub shower combo with tiled walls. My soon to be 6ft growing boys want to keep the tub shower combo and I want to re tile the space not use and insert – the space can accomodate a 66 L X 32W tub. I have two questions; First is ther a cast iron tub made that will work in my space that is of the size I am looking for with a protective tile flange. Second , after spending some time looking online at tubs with flange is the hieght of the flange standard or are some models better- I cant tell?

    • Darren Ryan says:

      Thanks for stopping by Faith! Here is some information that may help you get started. We have a few tubs that will fit that size area, both Kohler (Villager) and Bootz make similar sizes in cast iron tubs. We also have an option from Kohler that may or may not be what you are looking for as fars as style goes. It is a clawfoot and you can see it here.

      One question…are looking for more depth as well?

      I am still working on getting you info on the protective tile flange! Thanks for your patience!

  10. Kerri says:

    We live in a older house with a tile on our walls in the shower. My husband was replacing the calk and teh tiles came off in some areas. The concreat wall behind the tile is like sand so we know it needs to be replaced. But do we need to take off the concreat wall before we put up the new sides of the shower?

    • Darren Ryan says:

      Kerri, It would seem as though you would have to replace the wall, but I can’t couldn’t begin to give you a definitive answer without seeing it or having more details about the issue. Take some pictures and take them to your Home Depot store. Our associates in the store will be able to give you sound advice, but they would need as many details as possible and the pictures would help them help you determine what your best course of action would be. I know you wanted an instant answer, but this is your best path to get the right advice to fix your problem the right way!

      Thanks Kerri!

  11. de says:

    Want to remodel my tiny BR. have the old BR sheets on wall like paneling that are glued on. behind wall is the old chicken wire and plaster, not drywall. Do I have to take these old sheets off or will wallpaper stick to them? Or possibly paint them. Afraid to remove sheets for fear of what wall looks like behind them. I don’t have a lot of money to mess with but want to have a nice BR.

    • Darren Ryan says:

      Thanks for visiting de! This is a tough one without know all of the details. It could get really messy to remove the glued on panels because depending on how they were glued on and what type of glue was used, you could cause some damage to the plaster. If you had a larger budget, you could easily patch the plaster or remove it and update it with drywall. The budget friendly option would be to paint. My suggestion would be to stop by your Home Depot and pick up a sample of BEHR Ultra Primer and Paint in One. Paint a small patch to see how the paint will cover. If it covers well, which it should, then you know you can paint it successfully and change the whole look of the room. I would stay away from wallpaper just because of the budget issues.

      Hope this helps! If you want to share more details, by al means, please do and I will get you a more detailed answer!

  12. Alison says:

    to Rosalind:

    the easiest way is to get a spray bottle of warm water, spray it and scrape it, and continue util all is gone. Make sure not to wet too much as to mess up the sheetrock. This is a messy job, we removed popcorn from my den and kitchen ceilings this way. Once it dries, sand rough areas, and repaint

  13. Rosiland says:

    Is there an easy way to remove the “popcorn” from the ceiling of a bathroom? Do you have a video for explaination. I’m not a typical DIY.

  14. John Rusk says:

    Is a 30″x 48″ x90″shower stall available?

    • Darren Ryan says:

      John, I have asked a number of our experts here and the consensus is that a shower stall at that height would have to either be custome made (really expensive) or you can special order height extensions. The extensions may be your best route, however, they are only available via special order. You can stop into your favorite Home Depot and take a look at some of the options available to you and to place your order.

      Thanks for visiting and thanks for asking!

  15. Donald says:

    Replacing the bath/shower walls that surround the tub. The wall is made of plastic covering with built in hoders/sheveles.