A bathroom — especially a master bathroom — is the perfect room to escape to and snag a moment of peace or indulge in some self-pampering — but not if the space is screaming for an upgrade.
Features such as poor lighting, dingy tiles, tired textiles and outdated fixtures can all make your bathroom a place you only visit when necessary. And although you might want to improve the way it looks, you likely don’t want to remodel bathroom areas that will dig deep into your wallet. Fortunately, there’s no need for a full bathroom remodel or overhaul. You can still take advantage of these classy bathroom ideas that will have your space looking its best in no time.
New Bathroom Sink Faucet
For less than $100, you can swap out your old bathroom sink faucet for a new one, which can become an elegant focal point in the space — and it doesn’t matter if your sink is dated.
“…Even an old sink looks newer with a new faucet. This is an easy fix to give a bathroom an inexpensive facelift,” said Noemi Bitterman of Warburg Realty.
Cost Estimate for a New Bathroom Sink Faucet
- Cost Estimate: $76 to $334
Expect to spend around $76 for an elegant faucet to class up your bathroom space. You can either DIY the installation or hire a licensed plumber, which will tack on an additional cost to the project. According to Home Advisor, a typical starting cost to install a faucet is $156.
Add a Unique Sink
If you feel like your sink is too outdated or worn to simply add a new fixture, consider purchasing something unique, such as a vessel-style sink. Although this design fix is undoubtedly more expensive, it could be well worth it: “With a little idea and exploration, your sink can be one of the most exciting things,” said interior designer Amira Johnson.
Cost Estimate to Add a Unique Sink
- Cost Estimate: $532
An all-in-one vessel sink kit costs about $325, and if you install it yourself, the cost stops there. If you need or prefer a licensed plumber’s services, the typical installation fee starts at $207, according to Home Advisor.
If installing a unique sink is on your wish list but the price would strain your budget — or you want to do all of your bathroom makeovers at the same time — you might want to consider applying for a personal loan. Banks and credit unions such as PenFed offer personal loans that can help you afford all your remodeling expenses at once, with no origination fee and competitive APRs.
A cost-effective way to bring elegance and style to your bathroom space — especially during a small-bathroom remodel — is by adding decorative tile stickers, according to Eva Bowker, home improvement coordinator and writer at Fantastic Handyman Australia:
“The least expensive way to completely transform the look of your bathroom is to add tile stickers. Peel-and-stick tiles come in different colors, patterns and styles. You can find them in bold or pastel colors, in square or hexagon shape.
“The stickers are really easy to install. You just have to clean the area, measure the space, remove the backing and attach the stickers on the existing tiles. The stickers work great in rental spaces because they’re easy to peel off without leaving a mess,” Bowker said.
Cost Estimate for Tile Stickers
- Cost Estimate: $10 to $50
Depending on the amount of tile you have in your bathroom, you might have to buy more than one package of stickers. But at the low price point for this item, this upgrade is easy on the budget. Expect to pay around $10 per pack of 56 3.9-inch square tile stickers.
Update the Mirror
Ditch your boring builder’s grade bathroom mirror for a reflective glass with an unexpected feature.
“Exchange your rectangular mirror with a round or oval mirror with built-in lights, they aren’t very expensive, and you can buy used if the price is still a concern,” said Bryan Stoddard, director of website Homewares Insider.
Cost Estimate to Update the Mirror
- Cost Estimate: $330
Expect to spend around $180 for a round mirror with LED lights. If you’re retiring a light fixture above your bathroom vanity, an LED mirror can be a classy replacement using the wiring that’s already there. However, if you want to leave this job to a licensed electrician, that adds around $150 in installation fees to the overall cost for this upgrade.
Change Your Textiles
When it comes to small-bathroom remodel ideas, an easy and quick way to class up a bathroom is to invest in some new textiles. Not that this won’t work in a larger space, but in a smaller bathroom, it has more of a visual impact.
“The bathroom mat, the bath towels and hand towels can get drab over time. If you want the bathroom to look classy and together, pick something in a bold color all in the same hue. This is a chance to pick popular trending colors in vibrant tones for an instant ‘pow,’” said Isobel McKenzie, editor at interior design webzine Nonagon Style.
Cost Estimate to Change Your Textiles
- Cost Estimate: $80
You could spend around $40 or more for a good quality set of bath towels and another $40 or more for a set of coordinating rugs. You might be able to pick up these items for even cheaper if you’re willing to poke around in the shelves and bins of off-price department stores or thrift stores.
Incorporate Design Into Storage
Storage doesn’t have to be solely based on utility. Instead, look for opportunities to marry design and function when storing bathroom items by using ideas like these.
“Get creative with storage space. Less-used items, like extra bath towels and shampoo bottles, can sit on a shelf mounted above the door or in woven baskets underneath your sink,” said Kealia Reynolds, editor for home improvement and interior design at House Method.
Cost Estimate to Incorporate Design Into Storage
- Cost Estimate: $60
Expect to spend around $35 for a floating shelf you can install over the bathroom door or elsewhere and about $25 for a few cloth or woven storage baskets.
If you’re dreaming about a slightly bigger bathroom remodel project or want to do all these at once, keep in mind that with a personal loan, you could afford all of the bathroom upgrades on this list without having to pay the entire cost upfront.
Update Your Vanity Sconce
By either changing out your vanity sconce or opting for stylish bulbs, you can lend an elegant look to your bathroom.
“Update your sconce. This can make new bathroom design cohesive with your new[ly] acquired aesthetic. Or even simpler, swap out bulbs for industrial looking bulbs, or half-dipped gold bulbs for an easy transition. Just keep in mind that the Kelvin temperature of the bulbs coordinate[s] with any other existing bulbs in that room. (That just means that all bulbs should be either a warm tone or a cool tone),” said Kemdi Anosike of Warburg Realty.
Cost Estimate to Update Your Vanity Sconce
- Cost Estimate: $7 to $207
Expect to spend anywhere from $7 for a single gold-dipped bulb to $50 or more for a new vanity sconce, which is available in a variety of bathroom designs. If you are replacing a sconce, the existing wiring can be used. According to Home Advisor, an electrician will charge you a typical installation charge to install a new light fixture, which is a minimum of $150.
Clean and Stain Bathroom Grout
Although it might not seem like the most exciting project, cleaning and staining the grout in your bathroom can make a huge visual impact. “If your grout looks less than fresh — even after regular cleaning — take time [to] deep clean it and then apply a grout stain to return it to its true color,” said Amber Harris, a Washington, D.C., realtor and interior designer.
“There are products you can buy to DIY, or you can hire a local company to take this on for less than you’d think. The before and after can be quite dramatic.”
Cost to Clean and Stain Bathroom Grout
- Cost Estimate: $29
Cleaning and staining the grout is a budget-friendly way to upgrade the look of your bathroom, but it will take some time and elbow grease. Expect to spend around $7 for a bottle of grout cleaner, $3 for a cleaning brush, $5 for a grout sealer applicator bottle and $14 for the grout stain.
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About the Author
Cynthia Measom is a Texas-based writer specializing in finance, business, parenting and education. With almost a decade of online writing experience, her work has appeared on websites such as Chron.com, The Bump and The Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.