4 Steps to Remodel A Bathroom On A Budget

3Rs Construction Tips for Bathroom on a Budget

Get A New Bathroom Without Breaking the Bank


If your bathroom is looking tired and out-of-date, chances are you’re dreaming of a new room with all the bells and whistles!  Like most homeowners, the first thought for any remodel project is, “I wonder how much THAT is going to cost?”


Well, never fear! You can get an update even with a small budget.

Let’s walk through some basic steps to get you on your way.

STEP ONE:  Be Realistic


It’s important to know your boundaries. Nothing takes the joy out of an update than when everything gets out of hand, so evaluate these three important things first:

1.  Review your financial health and set your maximum spending budget.

*(This max budget should include a contingency buffer for those unexpected items that WILL arise or for items you decide to upgrade.)

2.  Review your workable time and schedule.

3.  Review your skills, abilities, and talents.


These three points work in conjunction with each other as you make decisions and choices in your bathroom remodel project.

{Return to this first step each time you are tempted to add to your project!}

STEP TWO:  Be Truthful


To make your money go the farthest, make a list of the things you NEED first. A heated floor would really be great but there may be other priorities that are more important. If your sink is cracked, that needs to rank higher on your list.


Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many people are using this room?
  • What items are broken and need to be replaced?
  • Are there plumbing or electrical problems to fix?
  • Does this room need to function better?


You may have other unique issues to consider as well. Make sure you aren’t avoiding the necessary fixes.

STEP THREE:  Be Imaginative


While steps one and two are the responsible steps, step three is the fun one! Most likely, you already know the wonderful things you want in your updated bathroom, but it’s helpful to literally write them down in order of importance to you. First on your list should be those features you want no matter what… lower on the list are the things you’d like, but could let go if you need to use your budget for the necessary things or have a cost overrun.

STEP FOUR:  Be Flexible


Achieving your goal of a new bathroom can come in a number of ways. Based on your budget, you may only have the funds for some minor cosmetic fixes. On the other hand, if you have a large budget, you could do a total gut-job and have new everything. (Yay!) Most people will find themselves somewhere in between and having a flexible mind-set will help you achieve your goal. No matter your budget, these cost saving ideas can help in any circumstance.

EXTRA:  Thoughts on Using A Skilled Professional Contractor ~VS~ DIY

If your budget allows you to get a total tear-out remodel, using a general contractor really is necessary. Professionals have the skills and resources to pull the correct permits; hire reputable trades and labor; and complete the job in a timely manner. A good contractor will work within your budget and listen to your wants and needs!

If you have skills in particular trades or have friends and family with construction skills, talk with your contractor about those options at the time of your estimate. Remember that your work will not be part of the warrantied work done by the contractor. If it fails, it’s on you. Weigh out the cost of your time and energy as well. It may not pencil-out for you to do it yourself if you have to take time off work to complete the project. Earning your wage may be more beneficial than using up your valuable time. (see step one!)

Also, never try to do something you’re not comfortable with… especially electrical and plumbing! There are methods and regulations required to install correctly and safely so that your home maintains its value and good health!

14 Flexible Cost Savings Options:

Bathroom Lighting with 3Rs Construction

LAYOUT — The cost of remodeling will increase greatly if you decide to rearrange or enlarge your bathroom. Keeping the footprint the same will save you lots of time and money!

PAINT — A fresh coat of a new color will go a long way. Do it yourself if you can. Choose a quality product and use a primer for best results. (Caution: Don’t paint over mold! It will grow through, Get it cleaned up first! If it is a serious problem, have a professional take a look at it)

FIXTURES — Lighting and plumbing fixtures do have a lifespan. Trends and function are always changing and upgrading will give you the feel of a new space. If you’re handy, you could do it yourself. Otherwise, an electrician or plumber can do it for you. (Caution: If you have very old or failing wiring or plumbing, take the time to get those updated by a professional. It will be worth it.)

Bathroom Remodel Shower and tile

4  BATHTUB — Your options will be determined by your space and needs. Resurfacing an old tub can be a great cost-saver if replacing an old tub requires breaking down the door! If you’re not a “tub user” maybe replacing it with a shower makes more sense for your lifestyle. As long as you aren’t moving the plumbing, you can keep the cost down with a little research on your choices.

SHOWER — Replace tired and dated tile with quality shower surround. Give it a beautiful look with a glass door if it’s in your budget. If tile is your preferred look, you can tear out and replace it yourself if you feel confident. Save by using larger tile pieces rather than a small intricate pattern.  If you have space, replacing a single shower with a tub/shower combo will provide user options. Again, if you don’t move the plumbing, it will save you cash!

TILE — Save cash by not using tile. It can be a costly part of bathroom surfaces. If it is something you really want to replace or add, try to use it sparingly. You may find discounted products in small quantities or in close-out styles. Just make sure you have enough to account for waste and broken pieces.

Are you needing to renovate your bathroom on a budget? 3Rs Construction & Remodeling can help! Contact your local contractor today!

Bathroom Remodel Hardware Choices

VANITY — Painting the base cabinet is a great cost-saving option as long as it is in good condition. Success comes in the preparation and the quality of your supplies. Clean, sand, and repair the cabinetry as needed. When it comes time to paint, use fine brushes and quality primer. If replacement is necessary or desired, there are lots of standard size options available. It will cost more to get custom cabinetry but it may be on your priority list, so shop smart!

 COUNTERTOP — Stone surfaces can be very expensive. There are “look-alike” options that are very nice and are much more cost effective. You can find small pieces of stone in the discount area of your local granite store but large pieces will be harder to find. If there is a flaw, consider where the sink cut-out will be. That flaw could be where the sink will go! Better yet, if you can reuse your countertop, that will save you the most.

HARDWARE — One way to get a fresh look at a small cost is to add or update the hardware. New knobs and pulls on the cabinetry are like room jewelry! But don’t stop there… towel bars, robe hooks, and toilet paper holders can be swapped out too. Just remember to keep them in the same finish tones. A mismatched set will look very busy.

Bathroom Remodel Toilets

10  MIRROR — Ditch that old medicine cabinet mirror with a new extra large mirror. It will lighten, brighten and freshen up the look of the bathroom. If you already have a mirror, give it a new look by putting on a frame that suites the style of the room. The combination of a new mirror and a new light fixture can do wonders!

11  TOILET — Well, it’s not the prettiest feature in the room but it is the most necessary! Changing “the throne” may be a good choice if a newer, water-saving feature saves cash in the long-run. There’s actually great new technology in toilets in a variety of price ranges. If you’re keeping the toilet you have, this is a great time to check or replace the wax ring and seals.

12  FLOORING — Bathroom floors can take a beating! Replacing the flooring will make a big difference in the overall appearance of the room. Tile and stone works great in a bathroom because they hold up well to the moisture but they can also be cold. A few throw rugs can help but if your budget allows, you may want to consider a heated floor. Vinyl is more cost-effective and there are beautiful choices that look like stone! If your room is relatively small, you may be able to find some cost-savings by shopping for a remnant.

Bathroom Remodel Storage

13  SMART SHOPPING — Don’t limit yourself to shopping at just the “big-box” stores. Local Mom and Pop stores may have some special deals hiding in the back! Ask material providers if they have any product returns that may be on sale. Retail shops like Re-Store sell recycled building materials and help the community. Flea markets and antique shops may be a great place to hunt if you’re looking for something unusual but be careful. Sometimes a reproduction might be less expensive that the real thing so decide what is important to you. Local digital shopping such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace may be a good resource too. Just remember to study your product values to know if you’re getting a good deal.

14  COSMETICS — If you’re really in a budget pinch, updating the cosmetic look of your bathroom can be very satisfying. Lots of elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint will make a remarkable difference. Clean and organize the storage spaces, streamline the countertop, get rid of the old throw rugs, and buy new towels! Next, check Pinterest for some creative wall décor ideas that you can make yourself. Don’t forget to add a beautiful green potted plant to top it off!

When you need a professional contractor to help you get the bathroom of your dreams, contact 3Rs Construction & Remodeling! We'd love to assist you in your remodel.

Contact us today, 503-363-1059

Small blog photos were taken by 3Rs Construction at the 2020 IBS / KBIS Home and Construction Show

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About 3Rs Construction & Remodeling

We are your trusted Salem, Oregon general contractor with over 3 decades of experience in home repairs, additions, kitchen & bathroom remodels.