Create a Chic Bathroom For Cheap

Boosting the value of your home value might be as simple as updating one small but important room.


If you’re looking for an easy and affordable weekend home project, the best place to get the most bang for your buck is the bathroom. For about $500 or less, you can dramatically change the look of the room as well as up your home value, without having to call in a plumber or demolition team. Some of the best bathroom makeovers are the simplest—and can be achieved in an afternoon.

Here are five ways to update a blah bathroom—for about $500.

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1. $15 to $30: Paint. Every room in the house benefits from a new coat of paint, the bathroom in particular. Not only are bathrooms victim to moisture and mold, they’re a high traffic room and walls look worn quickly. A fresh coat of paint will not only improve the look of the bathroom, but it will protect walls from further damage. A satin or eggshell finish paint, rather than matte finish paint, will hold up best to cleaning and moisture. If you have extra time, paint or restrain the cabinets or trim as well. You can purchase paint specifically created to protect cabinets against dampness.

2. $10 to $150: Hardware and faucet. Even if you don’t repaint the cabinets, new knobs or pulls will quickly freshen the look of the space. At $5 to $15 each, this is one of the most affordable and best updates. To take the upgrade further, consider replacing the faucet. For about hundred more you can find something that will fit with the rest of hardware and the room’s overall aesthetic.

3. $30 to $150: New or updated mirror. Although convenient, medicine cabinets don’t often provide more than a little extra storage in the bathroom. Try storing some toiletries in wicker baskets or on shelves, and replace the medicine cabinet with a framed mirror instead. If your bathroom already has a mirror above the sink instead, there’s no need to replace it. Instead, create your own frame by attaching wood, glass or tile trim around the edges of the mirror with liquid nails.

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4. $20 to $150: Update lighting. The bathroom is usually small and many powder rooms don’t often have windows. Stay clear of dingy, dark bathrooms with new light fixtures that will both brighten the room as well as match the rest of the room’s style. If you don’t have the time or know-how to put in new lighting features, swap out the glass shades for new ones for an easy update.

5. $10 to $60: Accessories. If you don’t do anything else, replacing your bathroom’s shower curtains, towels and rugs are the fastest way to make the room seem new. Go with a simple color palette and don’t overdo the accessories. Too many items on the counter or walls can make the room seem smaller. Organize any toiletries or other bathroom necessities into drawers, baskets or ornamental containers. Add a potted plant or cheap piece framed piece of art; some designers suggest framing prints from children’s books or magazines. Anything expensive could be ruined by the bathroom’s dampness.

Erika Riggs is a real estate correspondent for Zillow Blog, a resource for real estate and mortgage news. Follow Zillow tweets at @zillow.