Bathroom needs a makeover...

by Shelly

Hi Jane, Our master bath is in dire need of a makeover. Our house is almost 18 years old. In that time we have painted twice and replaced the carpet once. Everything else in our bathroom is original....ugh.

We would love to keep costs down but still have a drastic improvement. We currently have 2 sinks with white tile and white cupboards, a white soaking tub surrounded by white tile and a shower stall with white tile. The toilet has it's own little room With a white 6 panel door, and yes, it's white as well :)

We have white wood blinds and the walls are a light mocha color...had to break up the white somehow. Oh almost forgot, we have gold faucets that I hate!

I have heard of people spending $7,000 and up on their bathroom remodels and that has kept me from even researching it. Do you think it is possible to do a nice remodel for less than that?

I would love to warm it up and get rid of all the white. What are your ideas for a master bath and how much should we expect to spend?


Hi Shelly,

That’s a lot of white! Without seeing a photo of the room it’s hard to guess, but here goes. Frugal bathroom makeover ideas would be to keep most of what you have and make minor changes that can up the wow factor.

One idea would be to keep the white tile everywhere and paint your bathroom walls and vanities, plus put in a new floor (any color but white) to give some contrast. Changing out the sink hardware is relatively inexpensive if you go with chrome, but blackened bronze also looks great with white.

If you like “cool” bathroom color schemes, a beautiful aqua or sea glass green would offset the white tile. (think Caribbean sea colors) For “warm” bathroom color schemes, try a wall color with some gold in it, which goes really well with white. There are a lot of great faux paint techniques you can use to add movement and depth, and depending on whether your walls are smooth or textured, you can try stencils, linen look, or ragging.

Venetian plaster techniques and wall murals can also create a nice effect and there's two examples of this on my Small Bathroom Makeovers page.

Once you pick your main bathroom color scheme, assess the condition and paintability of the vanities, then choose a complementary paint color. It could be anything you like, from chocolate brown to charcoal grays, or more reddish or golden browns if you like warmth.

Another idea to break up the white, but would cost more is to put new tops on the vanities.
Bathroom countertops in granite or Cesarstone cost in the neighborhood of $40. to 80. per square foot installed. If you go this route, putting the same material on the top of the tub surround will pull the whole look together, but doing all the tops can cost you $1,500. or more, so think about it.

For bathroom flooring ideas, tile is pretty inexpensive and can mimic stone or just about any other material out there. Set it on the diagonal to make the room look larger. Laminate “wood look” flooring might be a good choice since it’s water resistant, and warmer on your feet, plus the warm wood tones can help balance the cold feeling of the white tile.

Overall, paint is the cheapest way to go and if you’re only buying a new floor, and fixtures it’s probably under $1,000. Throw in granite tops and new vanities and you may be in it for $4,000. I hope you find these bathroom renovation ideas helpful and that you get a fabulous new look on a frugal budget.

Best regards,

Fab Frugal Jane

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