When it comes to trying to combine remodeling and thrifty – it all comes down to DIY and hacks. That’s why we want to share with you 5 Bathroom Remodeling Ideas that are actually Thrifty Hacks to look like a remodel.
If you’ve ever thought your bathroom would be the perfect candidate for a DIY show focused on old bathrooms, then you’re in for some good news.
A bathroom gut job does not need to be on your to-do list. Sometimes, it’s more economical to skip the ripping-out and starting over in favor of simple updates for a new look. Using the existing fixtures is possible—with three old bathrooms in my new-to-me 1950s ranch, I know it can be done beautifully.
Bathroom Remodeling Ideas That Are Actually Thrifty Hacks
1. Cover the Tub
If your bathtub is just an embarrassment, get a liner made for it. One of my bathrooms had a tub with blue streaks embedded in its dirty surface. I think someone tried to clean the old tub with toilet bowl cleaner. Ripping out the entire tub and starting over would also mean ruining the tile floor and tile surround, both of which were in good shape.
Instead, we optioned for a custom tub liner. After measurements were taken, a precise replica of our tub was created and placed over the old stained one. It looks exactly like a new tub, but without all the construction costs we would have incurred. You can also find pre-made tub liners that would be a close fit to what you have now and the cost would be less than $200 with examples like these from Home Depot.
2. Hide the Tile
Even though we are pretty good at DIY repairs, we were stumped by our other bathroom. Some fist-size holes in the tile—1950s-era yellow and purple—were not repairable even if we could find replacements for the over-60-year-old pieces. Thank goodness for shower liners. Most tub relining services will also offer a shower liner to cover your old tile. The custom-designed liner will fit exactly over your old surface and hide the old tile. In our case, not only did it look like a new shower, but it also prevented any further water damage from happening. Again, there are pre-made shower liners even less than $100 that you can install yourself.
3. Open Up the Space
One trick we used to make our bathroom feel larger without moving any walls was to eliminate a shower curtain. Closed or open, it seemed to divide the small space to feel even smaller. We opted to add modern glass sliding doors for a fresh appearance. They really opened up the room and made it much more current.
Keep in mind glass shower doors or tub doors are their own entity. They can be replaced or eliminated. Replacing older doors with clear, modern ones is an easy re-do.
4. Swap New for Old
One of the easiest transformations involves the vanity and sink. It’s not complicated for a plumber or handy DIY person to turn off the water and disconnect the supply. You carry out the old vanity, carry in the new one and hook it up in an afternoon. It’s remodel magic!
We used a mixed bag of tricks for our old bathrooms. In one bathroom, a previous owner had retiled the floor around the built-in vanity. Removing it would damage the floor, and I didn’t think I’d find one with the same exact footprint. Instead of trying to find a new vanity, I found a new topper. I ordered a granite countertop cut to fit and replaced the laminate one. To the new topper, a pretty round sink and modern faucet were added. I covered the old pine cabinet with a deep seal-colored grey paint and added shiny chrome knobs. It looks amazing.
In our powder room, there was an original, tiny porcelain sink with exposed pipes bolted to the wall. The plumber removed it and we replaced it with a small vanity with a granite top. Since it was sitting on top of the tile floor, it was an easy choice.
Keep in mind all of these components are available separately. You can save money by salvaging what will still look good and just replacing the countertop, sink, hardware or faucet as needed.
5. Think Color and Clean
Clean has a lot to do with a bathroom looking its best. Give it a good scrubbing after you’ve done any remodel work. Consider adding a fresh coat of paint. Bring in new rugs, towels and accessories. Reducing clutter—leaving just the necessary toiletries—will help it look newer and bigger. Add storage pieces so you can store things out of sight.
You don’t need to break your piggy bank to update your old bathroom. Instead of starting over completely, consider how you might invest in a facelift that will do the trick.
See more DIY Ideas
Professional organizing expert Lea Schneider writes for The Home Depot about her experiences updating her 1950s ranch. Lea provides advice on the best ways to tackle remodeling parts of the bathroom instead of overhauling the whole room. Find more more info on remodeling your bathroom here.