Renovate your bathroom on a shoestring budget

Renovate your bathroom on a shoestring budget

Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate. Good news though: it is also one of the best ways to turn a profit! Did you know that the Canadian Institute of Assessors estimates the return on investment in a bathroom renovation to be between 75 and 100%? That means you will get back more than three quarters of your invested amount when you sell your house. Whether you have a large or small budget, here are nine tips to help you economize and save money on your renovation:

1. Prepare for your renovation

There’s a saying: time is money. It’s true! You will save money by taking the time to plan your renovation and to choose your materials carefully, and also by finding the right people to do the work. Certain times of the year, winter, for example, when businesses are less busy, could be better for low-cost renovations.


2. Determine your budget and priorities

This may seem obvious, yet many people wind up in projects that are too expensive for their means. If you have a tight budget, there is even more reason to define your priorities. Compare prices of materials, plumbing, fixtures, and accessories before drawing up a budget. Make at least two possible plans for the project and create a budget allowing for an extra 20% of unexpected costs. If you don’t feel comfortable planning your renovation, don’t hesitate to call an interior designer. It will be money well spent.


3. Look for sales and discounts

One of the best ways to save money is to look for sales and bargains where you can benefit from discounted parts for your bathroom. La Tuilerie, in addition to having low prices year-round, offers certain tiles at special discounted prices. Also, make sure to look for discounted vanities, toilets, faucets, showers, and other decorative elements in renovation stores or specialized plumbing stores.


4. Salvage what you can

It can be tempting to get rid of everything from your old bathroom and to start over from scratch. Although sometimes this is the best solution, if several elements of your existing bathroom are still in good shape and you still like them, why replace them? Make an inventory of what you can keep. An example that you may not have thought of : it is sometimes possible to place new tiles on top of the old, as long as both layers aren’t visible. This is an extremely useful way to avoid extra demolition and work.


5. Transform what you can

You would be surprised to discover how much of your old bathroom can be transformed to fit into your new one. A wood vanity can be repainted and the handles can be replaced. Melamine doors can be wrapped in new vinyl film. Walls can be repainted and so can tiles! Sometimes, it is enough to change just the lights or fixtures in order to notice a huge improvement.


6. Avoid custom-made

If you decide to replace your cabinets, your shower, or your bathtub, you will save money by not choosing unique models. Vanities that are sold ready-to-go are much cheaper than those that are made to order by joiners. Verify that your dream shower can use standard size doors before completing its design. Finally, if you really want a tile shower, consider using a premade shower base, as it will save you money on labor. Products by the German brand Schluter are made to simplify tile shower installation and minimize expensive complications.


7. Choose good materials

Is it really necessary to spend 600$ to have a quartz counter top in the bathroom? Wouldn’t the mosaic of marble and stained glass that you wanted in the shower look just as beautiful in thin strips interlaced with cheaper tiles? The look of expensive materials (marble, granite, quartz, etc.) can still be achieved by using them in smaller quantities and with a lighter touch.


8. Avoid changing the plumbing or electricity

By avoiding all work related to plumbing and electricity, you will save on the often steep prices that come with these trades. By leaving the existing elements of your bathroom, it is also makes it easier to carry out certain parts of the project yourself. It is within the ability of any handyman to install a toilet or change a bathroom sink. And, of course, the best way to save money is to do something yourself.


9. “Spend more, save more”

Since the return on your bathroom renovation investment is between 75 and 100%, it would be smart to carry out a higher quality renovation instead of a cheaper one. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for savings in the process, but you should invest in certain quality items that can’t be skimped on. In particular, it is absolutely necessary to buy a good quality toilet and faucets or you will run the risk of having to replace them after only a few years.


Happy renovations!

Stéphanie Guéritaud
Author and founder of the Déconome blog, the blog of good ideas for cheap decorating