(Inside: One of the most value-improving projects in your house can easily become a money pit. But these 11 Ways to Save Money on a Bathroom Remodel will really help.)
One of the easiest ways to add value to a home is by remodeling the bathrooms. But, remodeling your bathroom not only adds value, but it will give your home a new feel–hence why doing the project generally adds the value.
Buuuuuut, you’re probably thinking it’s going to cost an arm and a leg to get the bathroom you want.
Well, having remodeled more than just a few bathrooms in my time (I think I’m up to 5 at this point), I am here to tell you that while it CAN be costly, it doesn’t have to be–it’s all in the execution.
Seriously, a bathroom remodel can be done in a totally budget-friendly way and still have some amazing results.
If you don’t believe me, check out these 11 Ways to Save Money on a Bathroom Remodel and then get planning.
(no, seriously, this is going to be a great post, so you can go ahead and pin it–these tips are so good)
11 Ways to Save Money on a Bathroom Remodel
First thing first, lay out a budget. When you lay out a budget before you get started, you will know exactly where your money should go. This will keep you focused so you aren’t overzealous with your purchases.
While setting your budget be sure to include a cushion of somewhere between 5% to 10%. This cushion will give you room for any unforeseen costs. That could be anything from unexpected needed repairs to higher prices on items or shipping.
Where to start with your budgeting? How much are you willing to spend on the whole thing? Then, work down from there with the things you need, things you want and then things that would be nice in your “dream”. Then price everything online before you do anything else. This is going to save you headache after headache in stores.
Hire a Designer
This is probably the last thing you would think of when you are trying to remodel your bathroom on a budget. The designer will evaluate your budget, design plan and timeline to make sure that they are realistic.
The designer will be able to catch any potential issues that might be very costly if they aren’t avoided.
HOWEVER, you can find designers that will be happy to help you for FREE at most home improvement stores.
Yeah, you read that right.
You can get them to help you redesign your bathroom and consult on things like budget and timelines, all of that–for free. I’ve done this with kitchens and flooring–its easy, you just make an appointment and off you go.
Picking Your Contractor
First, let’s be clear–I like to do everything DIY in order to save the most. That’s my whole thing. BUT, I also recognize that remodeling a bathroom can be kind of daunting, especially for a first-timer.
So, you might want to hire a contractor for the project, or a portion of the project, or just to come in an consult with you on specific aspects of the project.
When it comes to hiring a contractor take your time. Interview all of your options. There is no such thing as too many questions. A few things you should make sure to ask are:
How many bathroom remodels have they done in the last year?
Do they often do they over their given budget?
How far over do they go over their budget?
A list of references – When you are given the list of references be sure to contact them
Buy The Supplies Yourself
Purchasing your own supplies gives you full control over what is being spent. You don’t have to buy everything but, if you buy as much as you can yourself that will help save you money in the end.
When you are purchasing your supplies, keep in mind that you don’t need to keep to local places. You can easily order things online just be sure that the sellers you are buying from are reputable.
And, by buying your own supplies, you can make decisions on the fly that cut costs for things like tile–because if you like the blue tile, but the teal tile is $1 less per square food, you may prefer the teal tile immensely more.
Your contractor isn’t going to know that–they’re just going to get the blue tile like you told them to before you knew the prices…
This is a serious way to save money–I once picked up some AMAZING tile for a guest bathroom that was “the last pallet” for 1/4 of the cost. And, if I’d sent the contractor to go buy it, I would have never have gotten that deal from the floor-guy…
Second Hand Items
Looking for items at second hand stores can save you a big chunk of money. Places like thrift stores, antique shops and salvage yards are perfect places to look. Finding things you can re-purpose will give your bathroom a unique piece that won’t be found anywhere else.
You can even look at local demos for things like reclaimed wood for your new cabinet faces.
While home improvement stores are convenient because everything is in one spot, they are definitely not the place to find deals every day.
Moving plumbing costs thousands of dollars. If you can keep the plumbing where it is, you will save yourself a lot of money.
AND, if you’re doing this DIY (which would save you the MOST money of all on a bathroom remodel), you can do the plumbing work yourself, without a permit, in most jurisdictions as the homeowner.
BUT, even if you’re doing it DIY, it’s still a whip to change or move plumbing, so avoid it and you’ll save, for sure.
If this means having to compromise on your design for your new bathroom, compromise. For example, in my master bath, I desperately need to remodel–but when I’m done, I’m going to keep the toilet in the same spot, the bathtub and sinks.
The only plumbing that will change is the extension of supply to one spot and a drain to match for a new shower enclosure. It would make more sense to move the toilet, design-wise, but the cost of doing the plumbing is more expensive and more problematic with a toilet…so, that compromise is definitely being made.
Instead of paying for a large framed hanging mirror create your own frame. You can easily hide all the dings and flaking around the edges by framing it. By framing the mirror yourself you will save quite a bit of money.
Even better, if you can reuse the mirror you had in the bathroom before and just add a new frame, that’s even better. In order to do this, though, you’re going to need to be very careful when removing the mirror from the wall.
Often, they are affixed with those plastic clamps and glue that can deteriorate over time. So, you may have to build a wooden ledge to take the weight–because you do not want that mirror crashing down and shattering everywhere.
Even better, if you can just build the frame you want around the mirror while it’s still affixed to the wall, you can avoid all that worry.
New toilets aren’t cheap. If the bowl and tank on your toilet are still in good condition, think about only replacing the seat and lid. By replacing the lid and seat you can give your bathroom a fresh look with little out of pocket cost.
HOWEVER, if you have a toilet that always take 2-3 flushes and is costing you more in water than the whole bathroom remodel is costing you, it may be worth replacing the whole toilet.
If you choose to replace the whole toilet, consider the flush-capability and water efficiency of the new toilets available to you. If you can save in the long-run by having a more efficient toilet, it might be worth the full replacement cost.
Paint is probably the fastest way to give your bathroom a new look. You don’t even have to paint the whole bathroom.
Just add a few pops of color and it will make a big difference. You can go a little overboard easily in a small place, though, so keep the number of colors to a minimum.
But, nice news, because bathrooms are typically so small, you may be able to buy a quart (or just a sample container) of paint, instead of having to buy a whole gallon.
If you plan to update your lighting during the remodel pay close attention to sales at home improvement stores. Catching a sale can make a big difference in your out of pocket cost when it comes to new light fixtures.
You can also look in the clearance section of your home improvement store and find a great deal on a whole new fixture.
That’s what I did in my kitchen to turn a can light into a pendant light–which would ABSOLUTELY work if you have a can light in your bathroom and would be really cool…
But, my favorite way to save money on a bathroom lighting fixture is to make a wooden enclosure for those old lights above your mirror. It’s a simple project and you can just do a really simple 3-pieces of wood joined together and fit over the lights kind of thing. Simple changes like that can really make a big difference.
Help – Even if You’re No DIY’er
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. By helping the contractor you can save a lot in labor costs. While there are some things you won’t be able to do, there is still plenty that you are able to do.
I mean, think about helping first with the demolition–you can have that done before the contractor even gets his crews out there, for the most part.
But it doesn’t have to stop at the “easy stuff”.
For example, if you want heated flooring, once the contractor is about ready to lay down tile, you can go in an put in the heated flooring pads over the subfloor–I’ve had friends do this while their new home was under construction.
Or, you can go in and do the cleaning of the grout off the tiles when the tiling is done. Even better, you can do all the grouting after the contractor has set the tiles–because the grouting is the easy part!
Brainstorm with your contractor about these kinds of things ahead of time first, though, so you can keep them from being surprised.
In order to save money on a bathroom remodel, you don’t have to be a genius–just diligent with being inventive.
You can find budget-friendly ways to do everything but, don’t be afraid to splurge on a nice piece or two for the focal point of the room.
Definitely try to save money, but also, make sure you’re going to be happy with the outcome.
If you’re spending any money at all, you definitely don’t want to waste it with a bathroom you’re not going to love–if that’s the case, save the money now and come back to the project when you’ve got a little more in the bank that will allow you a little more freedom.
Now, if you’re all ready and fired-up to get your save money on a bathroom remodel, go ahead and pin this post so you can come back to it for ideas throughout your budget-building and let’s get started!