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Fabulously Frugal Bathroom Renovation Ideas

Bathrooms can be a bit of a challenge to renovate sometimes, especially when they're small, but given how much time some of us spend there, it pays to give this room a little more thought.

You don't need to rip everything out and start over if you get creative and think about reusing and refashioning what you already have, plus throw in a few of our bathroom decorating ideas.

Do you have a bathroom makeover story you'd like to share? We'd love to hear what you've done!

Counter Tops

Replacing bathroom counter tops is a great way to spice up an old vanity. In this example (right), a textured glass sink and bronze lavatory faucet complements the warm tones in the granite.

granite bathroom counter top with textured bronze glass sink and bronze faucet

With more decorative sinks like this, your granite fabricator may ask to take the sink and/or faucets with them in order to cut the holes to the proper size. Sometime's they'll just ask for the manufacturer and model if there's a published template they can use.

 

Small Bathroom Vanities

This small bathroom vanity was painted brown and the countertop was replaced with verde bamboo granite, vessel faucet in a bamboo design and a clear glass sink, so you can see the granite through it.  The medicine cabinet was removed and replaced with an inexpensive mirror brushed with bronze paint

What do you do when you have a bathroom vanity base cabinet that's too low or outdated? Why not try adding a vessel sink like the one in the photo below? This is what I did to remodel my bathroom rather than install an under mount sink, which would have been way too low for the average adult.

The blonde maple doors on this small bathroom vanity were showing gray spots from years of hot steamy showers, so they were painted a warm chocolate brown. Asian inspired knobs were added at $4 each.

The white tile countertop was replaced with a granite bathroom counter top fabricated from a remnant ~ and at a great savings!

A clear glass vessel sink is great for small bathroom makeovers. It lets the beauty of this Verde Bamboo granite shine through and was a bargain at $69. from Tuesday Morning. (Using bar soaps on glass sinks can create a film so try liquid hand soaps instead)

Get a Zen look with this Pegasus vessel filler lavatory faucet in Heritage bronze ($158.) with small pop up bronze sink stopper ($20.)

The cheap, outdated medicine cabinet was replaced with an inexpensive gold framed mirror that I brushed with bronze paint to "age" it, and better match the faucet. ($75)

Rustic Bathroom Vanities

One of my favorite bathroom renovation ideas is to use furniture as a vanity.

this rustic wood batroom vanity looks like fine furniture and has a gold and brown vessel sink, with gold lavatory vessel filler

What was once a heavy wood sideboard is now a rustic bathroom vanity, with a rich, amber colored glass vessel sink mounted on top.

Consignment shops are great places to find bargains on gently used tables like this, and your plumber can drill the openings for sink and faucets. You can even use old dressers by taking out the top drawer and attaching just the drawer front to hide a sink bowl.

Notice the thickness of the vanity mirror frame and how it helps to balance the larger piece below? Speaking of bathroom wall mirrors take a look below!

 

Replace or Update Bathroom Vanity Mirrors

 

When decorating a bathroom, using an elegant mirror give will you a lot of bang for the buck. Look for rich woods, carved frames, or interesting shapes like ovals. You can even mount a wall faucet so that it comes through a bathroom wall mirror.

oval mirror with wall faucet mounted inside and beautiful blue glass sink.  The sink is mounted on a glass shelf

Mounting the glass sink on a glass shelf keeps the room feeling light and airy. Notice how the faucet seems to float above the sink?

What if you already have large plate glass bathroom wall mirrors and the edges are starting to look old, or you want to add more character? Why not add a frame to your existing mirror? You can DIY if you're handy, or purchase a kit from a company like mirrormate.com.

Wider wood frames can be a bit pricey, so check your local consignment stores. I picked up a two gorgeous mirrors with 8" wide carved wood frames that were 68" wide. One was $89. used and the other $149. new, what a bargain!

Ideas For Medicine Cabinets
Graber dark wood shutters with an inside mount were used to cover these alcoves and turn them into a medicine cabinet

My master bathroom had no medicine chest, instead, the builder put in alcoves with glass shelves. With no doors, all the personal items were in plain view. (Not pretty!)

After straining my brain for quite some time, a simple bathroom decorating idea came to me. What if I pretended that alcove was a window?

For $140. each, installed, I was able to buy Graber real wood shutters finished in a dark stain, which matches the dark brown paint on my bathroom vanities. They're easy to open, have magnetic latches, and when closed they give the illusion of a window.

inside view of alcove with glass shelves and wood shutter to act like a medicine cabinet

Ordering shutters turned out to be a lot less hassle than hiring someone to build me custom recessed cabinets or make doors for the existing alcoves.

Fabulously Frugal Tip: Since custom wood shutters are priced in inches, an inside mount will cost less because the overall dimensions are less.

Replacing Bathroom Flooring And Tile

One of the best bathroom renovation ideas in terms of payback is to replace outdated flooring and wall tiles. Big box stores run sales all the time on ceramic tiles starting at $1.- $2. psf (per square foot), while stone typically starts starts at $2 to $5. psf, depending on the quality.

One tip to make the room appear larger, is to lay bathroom floor tiles on the diagonal. If you have the extra cash in your budget, inset decorative tiles in the shape of a rectangle to give the illusion of a rug border.

To renovate a bathroom with a retro look: use white marble on both floors and countertops, and subway tiles on walls. White is also a popular choice in modern bathroom designs, but keep in mind that white shows every spec of dirt, every hair shed, and white grout is hard to keep clean. Light colored floor tiles or those with slight variations are better at hiding dirt than pure white.

Standing in front of tile displays can make you feel dazed and confused unless you can narrow down your choices ahead of time. I recommend a visit to www.CountertopSpecialty.com, where you can do a comparison on the different types of bathroom floor tile, as well as countertop materials.

 

Share Your Bathroom Renovation Ideas And Decorating Tips

What type of bathroom floor coverings, tub, shower, or fixtures did you choose and why? How about you're favorite bathroom lighting, sinks, countertops, cabinets, or color schemes?

It could be one aspect of your bathroom remodel or all of the above. What do you want to share?


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I hope you enjoyed these bathroom renovation ideas, but don't stop here. My small bathroom makeover page is jam packed with tips and examples for powder rooms using Venetian plaster walls, glass shelving, murals and more. There's also a couple pages of bathroom design photos and more that can be accessed from the links below.