interiors / tips

10 tips for a painless + inexpensive bathroom reno

07.10.17

before i reveal our finished bathroom, today i wanted to share 10 tips that made our lives a lot easier planning and executing a very low key and very inexpensive bathroom renovation, in partnership with delta faucet for their inspired living blog.

01. Plan as much as you possibly can in advance!

this is so crucial. no matter what, there will always be hiccups and delays during any renovation, so if you want to make sure you personally don’t contribute to any holdups — have everything ready to go before your contractor even begins. you don’t want to be deciding tile patterns while your contractor is waiting on you, so try to make all the decisions you can!

02. Get quotes from multiple contractors

especially crucial if you’re on a budget, it’s smart to get a couple of different estimates from different contractors, and this way you can get the general average of what it should cost, and you may even be able to tell the contractor of your choice if you got a lower bid — and hopefully he can match it and save you some money!

03. Think long term

while trends are super appealing and you might be obsessed with that loud patterned cement tile — it’s smart to avoid too many trends and take into consideration what might look dated in a few years, or when you sell your house. try to keep the design as timeless as possible for resale value and for you to not get sick of it later! We initially considered going with matte black fixtures, but in the end we chose delta’s trinsic® 14 series tub + shower trim and single handle lavatory faucets with touch2O.xt® technology in stainless instead. It looks so classic and I couldn’t be happier with the look.

04. Keep your footprint as is to save money

you might want to move your toilet to the other side of your sink or reroute the plumbing in your tub, but if your current layout isn’t too horrible, keeping it intact will save huge amounts of money and time! we thought about moving our shower fixtures to the other side, but in the end, we didn’t want the extra expense and it really didn’t end up mattering enough to make it worth it.

05.  Figure out where to save + where to splurge

for renovations on a budget, you can find places to be frugal and which items might be worth investing in. if you’re in love with an intricate tile, consider saving on your light fixtures — just try to balance it out when budgeting! we decided to go with an affordable standard subway tile, but modernized the look by going with a less standard pattern. we also kept our lighting under $10 (no, really) by going with cheap lamp holders and adding modern bulbs. all these ways to save ultimately allowed us to spend more on other items, like our delta faucets and a deeper tub.

06. Consider how much storage you want and need

if you’re one of those people that buys your shampoo in bulk, don’t forget that when purchasing your sink vanity. for those of you who collect (hoard) hotel bath products, consider vanities with multiple drawers, and don’t forget other options like a built in niche in your shower, wall hooks for towels, and possibly open shelving for a little extra storage space.

07. Accessories go a long way

if you’re worried about going too simple with your general design plans, don’t! you can incorporate patterns, colors or trends with towels, shower curtains and even soaps, while having a lot more flexibility! there’s also very little thats more exciting than accessorizing your bathroom when your contractor leaves and seeing it really come to life. my favorite renovation activity is secretly accessorizing the room at night and looking at everything in the new room, and then moving it back out before morning like i’m a crazy decor fairy! super fun.

08. Have everything ready to go

if you have the space in your home, fill your garage or a spare room and start purchasing everything you’ll need. Some items may take weeks to arrive, so its the most time efficient for you and for your contractor to have everything on hand. This is especially helpful if you’re shopping online for most of your items, you can check them as soon as they arrive and make sure everything looks right!

09. Think about your heights

something very minor can make a huge difference, so before installation of everything, you should really take the time to deliberate what heights will be best for everything. for a floating sink vanity, you have a couple inches of flexibility. for shower curtain rods, mirrors, lighting, towel racks, shelving, and even your toilet paper holder — take the extra time to really think about where everything should go based on your preferences, lifestyle and household. that kind of stuff really does matter. 

10. Expect delays

like any renovation, there will be hiccups and holdups — so make sure you allot enough extra time for that — a very simple bathroom renovation can take between 2-5 weeks, so you’ll want to mentally prepare yourself for the latter. if you only have one bathroom in your house, this will be a much larger deal! 

our bathroom reno ended up taking an extra week (we were told 3 weeks but it took 1 month from start to finish), but we stayed within budget and we are so happy with the room! the end result is so clean and simple and totally us!


come back tomorrow for the full reveal and stop by the inspired living blog for a couple more sneak peeks!

4 comments on “10 tips for a painless + inexpensive bathroom reno”

  1. I’m so happy to hear that you managed to pull off the reno before Arlo arrived!! I know that must have been a major relief…Can’t wait to see the full reveal (and more Arlo pics/vids on IG, pleaseeee!!)

  2. These are such great tips, Molly! I can’t believe you dealt with a reno while baking a human — you are a superhero! Can’t wait to see more pics! (Couldn’t find the post on the Inspired Living blog, you’re tantalizing me!)

  3. We are in the middle of one bathroom reno (practicing on the guest bath before the major master bath later on!) and I’m relieved that we seem to be on the right track according to this advice! Thanks for sharing it.
    One thing important to me with this bathroom was not going the easiest/cheapest route on everything. I think a lot of people get flustered when what they envisioned isn’t at one of the big box stores, so they just compromise… and that’s how everyone’s house ends up with the same ugly fixtures/vanity/etc. We knew we wanted a curved, wider tub because we’d had one at an apartment before and loved how lux the extra 6 inches felt. Yes it was more expensive than the most standard tub, but not extravagantly so- plus we got a good deal on a vanity on Wayfair that also came with a mirror., and are also going with an inexpensive subway tile for the tub (but added two niches with
    Walker Zanger scallop tile- it might be $40/sq ft but we only needed ~2 sq ft!)

  4. I love that you touch on considering how much space you need. This is a really practical approach to planning a renovation and I will definitely come back to this when I remodel anything. Thanks@

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