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How to Do an Affordable Bathroom Makeover

Is that older bathroom of yours looking a little…tired? With all the inspiration from home renovation shows and magazines, you probably have plenty of ideas on how to make an older space shine. The problem? Room renovations can be expensive—especially in places like the kitchen or bathroom.


Luckily, small improvements can make a big difference, and there are a lot of ways to simply and inexpensively upgrade the look of your bathroom without breaking the budget. The key is to look for features that are easy to change and don’t require a plumber or a contractor, but can still pack a visual punch and increase the quality of the room. It’s your chance to change the room’s style by working with what you have. So, if replacing those blue tiles is just too big a project, use it to your advantage, like considering a coastal theme.


Here are some ideas to get you started:


Shower Head

A new showerhead can make your bathroom shine—literally—and give you the feel of an instant upgrade. Don’t be intimidated by the project; with just a couple of basic household tools and some DIY initiative, you can replace that old showerhead with a fresh new look yourself. Remember that you have options when it comes to the type of showerhead; some come with a separate handheld sprayer, while others provide the feel of a “spa” rainfall, or provide multiple spray setting options so you select a full or fine spray or even an energy saving option.  Not to mention the choices of metal finishes: chrome, nickel, rubbed oil bronze, which should match the rest of your bathroom fixtures.

To remove the old showerhead, grab the end of the shower arm with a pair of Channelocks (use a cloth to prevent damage to the pipe’s finish) and use an adjustable wrench near the base of the showerhead—it should unscrew without much trouble. Clean the threads of the shower arm and wrap a bit of Teflon tape around the threads—this will prevent leaking. Then simply screw on your new showerhead—simple!


Shower Rod

Now that your showerhead is shiny and new, that old shower rod might look out of place, so take a measurement and pick up a new one in a style you love (how about a curved rod?) Talk about a simple upgrade—especially for tension rods, which can often be removed and installed without tools. A non-tension rod—like a curved rod, for instance—will need holding brackets, but again, this is fairly simple DIY stuff. If you’re at all familiar with hanging framed pictures (installing screws into studs or wall anchors into drywall), you should feel comfortable with this upgrade.


Shower Curtain

A great way to add some new color and style to your bathroom is with a quality shower curtain to replace that faded and worn-out one. Because of its dominance, the shower curtain is a main focal point of your bathroom, so your choice of color and style will dictate what you do with the rest of the room. For instance, you can go contemporary with a cool, geometric design, or something a bit more romantic with a floral print. Even shower hooks come in lots of designs to complement the look you want to achieve. And if you prefer a sleeker look, consider hookless shower curtains, which are easy to install. Don’t forget to replace that grungy curtain liner too, and to carefully measure the length and width when shopping for a new curtain.


Bathroom Hardware

Another task that anyone with some knowledge of basic tools can handle is replacing general bathroom hardware, like towel hooks and towel bars, toilet paper holders, and even magazine racks. Installing these items is often simple. As with most cosmetic hangers and supports like these, installing with screws directly into a stud is your best (and sturdiest) bet. With proper wall anchors, installation into drywall is possible, too. Simple tools (level, stud finder, screwdriver/drill and a hammer) should get the job done.  Bathroom hardware comes in a wide variety of styles and metal finishes which can easily translate into your desired look. You won’t have to spend a lot, but you’ll get plenty of that “wow!” effect.


Pulls and Knobs

The goal here is to renovate the bathroom without a huge amount of work and without spending a lot. Does this mean you’re stuck with the old style of those cabinets? Not necessarily—you can still easily upgrade the knobs and pulls for a new look. Pick something that suits the old cabinets and the rest of your bathroom’s hardware. For a modern look, stick to metal finishes. More ornate or crystal knobs will add a touch of luxury.


Finishing Touches

For that final upgraded feel, evaluate your bathroom’s décor and select a new ensemble of towels, rugs, and bath accessories that complement your chosen bathroom’s theme and color scheme. If you’re after a spa-like feel, consider adding a teak wood shower bench. And if you’d like to add a musical experience to your bathroom (and why not?), think along the lines of a wireless shower-safe speaker. Everything will feel so nice that you might forget how easy it was.

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