15 small bathroom ideas on a budget - Lifestyle AU
15 small bathroom ideas on a budget

15 small bathroom ideas on a budget

The average bathroom renovation can cost upwards of $16,000, a fact which puts many people off much-needed work which only makes their bathroom situation worse. However, there are plenty of cost-effective ideas you can implement to update your bathroom that won't break the bank, especially if you're working with a small space.

Words by Yohei Guy

Small bathrooms should mean smaller budgets but this isn't always the case. Anyone who's tried budgeting for such a renovation will understand just how quickly costs can pile up. Luckily there are a few things you can consider and plan in advance to keep your costs down.

A space-saving Perrin & Rowe Wall Hung Toilet Pan

1. Bring in art

Assuming you're not mounting a Monet in your master bathroom, bringing in art can be a budget-friendly way to spruce things up. Art can liven up a small bathroom, add interest, and make your powder room feel designed rather than "just there."

Instead of leaving the walls bare, give yourself and your guests something to look at while they’re there.

2. Float everything

If you're looking at small bathroom ideas on a budget because you need to update the functionality of a small bathroom, now is the time to look into floating options.

Floating vanities are very of the moment, and can do wonders for opening up small bathroom spaces, creating the illusion of extra floor space.

If you need to replace the toilet you can also consider wall-mounted options. Wall hung toilets are sleeker, space-saving, and, like floating vanities, leave more visual floor space.

Related article - 10 versatile bathroom vanity ideas

A floating vanity in a bathroom renovation in Turramurra

3. Wallpaper for a cost-effective wow-factor

A bathroom is a great place to flex your bathroom decorating muscles and do something unexpected and bold. Wallpaper is an easy way to make a statement and turn your bathroom from run-of-the-mill into an experience.

If wallpapering the whole space will bust your budget, you can also consider doing an accent wall.

Estimated cost: $8 - $20 per square meter.

4. Try out tile paint

If your bathroom tiles are a little dated, one of the cheapest ways to remedy this is by giving them a paint job. Nowadays you can get a variety of tile paint products for giving tired tiles a makeover.

Retiling is one of the most expensive parts of a bathroom renovation, clocking in at about $30 to $150 per square meter. In contrast, a 1L tin of tile paint will run you less than $80 and cover up to 16 square meters.

5. Spray paint your hardware

While you're using the power of paint on your tiles, why not spruce up your fittings as well? All you need is a can of high-quality metallic spray paint and primer and you can breath new life into taps, vanity handles, railings, hooks and more.

Estimated cost: $30 - $40

The amazing look of brass tapware at Millers Point Home - Photography: Pablo Veiga

6. Repaint your vanity

Another area of your bathroom you can transform with a couple of coats of paint is your vanity. Painting a bathroom vanity is ideal if you're trying to update your bathroom on a budget, as it can make a big impact while still being very affordable.

If you do it yourself, painting a vanity shouldn't cost more than $50.

7. Revamp hidden wood floors

One of the more costly parts of bathroom remodels is floor replacement. Updating an ugly floor can easily send bathroom renovation bills into the thousands. Unless you're one of the lucky homeowners who have a wooden floor hiding under that unsightly linoleum.

Ripping out synthetic flooring and refinishing original wood flooring is a very budget-friendly route, and can yield stunning results.

If your bathroom is a landscape of linoleum, try to get a look underneath it. If you find wooden boards, you're in the money.

Estimated cost: $100 - $200

8. Focus on bathroom lighting

One of the most frequently neglected areas of interior design is lighting. Good bathroom lighting can instantly create an atmosphere and give your bathroom, no matter how small, that professionally designed touch.

The best place to start is by replacing that dreaded boob light with something a little more intentional. While you're at it, you might also want to invest in some sconces or pendant lights next to your mirror.

Lumi Sfera 9cm Wall Light from Special Lights

9. Utilise an existing concrete floor

Are you itching to rip out your existing bathroom flooring, but don't feel like laying out a lot of money on new flooring? If you have a concrete subfloor under the existing bathroom tiles or linoleum, you might be able to use it as a "new" floor, without having to spend an arm and a leg.

The cheapest way to do this is by grinding down any protuberances in the concrete and then applying a concrete sealer. A bucket of concrete sealer usually costs around $50, which is far cheaper than what you'll pay to have your concrete polished.

10. Get stylish with stencils

Another idea cost-effective idea for beautifying a bathroom on a budget is decorating with stencils. You can use stencils to create the illusion of a tiled backsplash or floor, or you can use them to create a design on an existing area of floor tile.

11. Splurge on attractive storage solutions

There's nothing that can take away more from a gorgeous bathroom design than unsightly toiletry items on display. One of the best decor ideas for transforming your bathroom into a space that feels designed is to decant things like hand soap into decorative containers.

While you're busy ditching the Dettol bottle for a nice dispenser, keep your eyes peeled for attractive storage solutions as well. Things like woven baskets and attractive bins can give you extra storage space while being decorative.

Related article - 17 neat bathroom storage ideas for Australian homes

Oku Bin from Città

12. Backlight your mirror

Another simple lighting tip that can really elevate a bathroom design is backlighting. Backlighting items like your mirror or even your vanity can take your lighting to a whole new level and be a subtle but powerful wow factor.

Estimated cost: $20 - $40

13. Make a bold paint colour choice

One of the cheapest ways to freshen up a bathroom is by repainting. One of the common problems with small bathrooms is the lack of light and visual space.

If you really want to make an impact in your small bathroom on a tight budget, a bold paint colour choice could be the route to go.

Estimated cost: $45 - $90

Bold paint colours at the Brook Tiny House - Photography: Derek Swalwell

14. Bring furniture into the bathroom

If you're not keen on tackling major bathroom renovations, but you want to switch things up, you can also consider incorporating furniture items into your bathroom design. Vintage dressers can be repurposed as vanities, footstools add a thoughtful touch, and a small cabinet could add extra storage.

15. Update your towels and shower curtain

Another thing that can really eradicate spa-like vibes in a bathroom is old towels and an old shower curtain. Buying a new shower curtain and towel set won't break the bank, and it is one of the easiest small bathroom ideas on a budget to implement.

Estimated cost: $80 - $180

Related article - How to choose the best bath towels for your home

Stripe Organic Cotton Bath Towel from Città

Small bathroom ideas on a budget can make a big impact

Not all bathroom renovations need to cost a fortune. As you can see, there are a lot of cost-effective changes you can make that will have a big impact. From a splash of paint or strip of wallpaper to a refresh of towels and storage containers, you’ll find plenty of fantastic solutions that will make a world of difference.

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