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Upgrade Your Bathroom Without Breaking Your Budget

Retiling bathroom floor

Post from MilitaryByOwner

They make it look so easy! Watch any HGTV home renovation show from the comfort of your couch, and you might be lulled into thinking it’s a simple matter to rip out your 1970’s-era tub and tile surround (complete with some ancient insulation as a bonus) and replace it with a vintage claw-footed bathtub that you conveniently found for a steal at a nearby estate sale.

Most military families can’t relate. What we’re more likely to face are the plain white walls, basic laminate countertops, and what I fondly refer to as military housing style trim (those god-awful metal baseboards often found in military houses), or if we’re home buyers or renters, bathrooms that are functional but perhaps a bit dated. Most often missing would be the space for claw-footed bathtubs.

Still, whether you’re selling your home or simply desire a redo for your washroom, you don’t have to go through a mountain of cash — or effort — for an upgrade. Start with these tips for a DIY bath remodel on a military family budget.

1) Avoid Trends in Favor of Classic Choices

Bathrooms and kitchens are proven selling points in a home. With that in mind, don’t opt for features that may soon look outdated. For instance, choose to bypass the currently of-the-moment “mermaid” or fish scale tiles for more neutral, classic touches such as white subway tile. And use subtle accents in your preferred shade rather than going for ceiling to floor, tile to paint color.

2) Go for Little Changes That Match Your Budget

You don’t need a complete bathroom revamp to change the look. Try some quick upgrades you may be able to accomplish on your own.

  • Change out a small vanity mirror for a larger wall mirror. Check your local home reno or resale store for bargain and clearance items.
  • Frame a large mirror with decorative molding for a custom look.
  • Add interest with a round or starburst mirror in older or “cozy” (i.e, small) powder rooms.
  • Change out showerheads and fixtures. Metal finishes should all be the same for a sleeker, modern, and more cohesive look.
  • Painting floors is a thing. DIY tutorials abound for tackling ugly old linoleum with paint designed for this purpose!

3) Lighting Matters

While “hollywood lights” were once all the rage with home builders, many homeowners and renters are now choosing to cover up this look for a quick and easy update. It’s easy to find shades designed to cover this strip of bare bulbs or, even better, create your own with materials like dowel rods and curtain sheers. Pinterest ideas abound!

Want to lose the ugly fluorescent box light? This will require a little more know-how (and perhaps a professional), but consider removing the box entirely and replacing with a decorative light fixture.

If yours is a small, dark bathroom, add under-cabinet light strips to help illuminate and open up the space.

4) Prioritize Your Must-Haves

If there’s one feature you’re really wanting, such as a seamless shower stall or double vanity, plan to splurge on one item and make concessions in other areas. Some ideas:

  • Make a list of what you can do yourself and where you might need the help of a professional. Be realistic.
  • If you feel several items are a must but your budget doesn’t match, check in at your local home maintenance store to find classes for skills in everything from laying tile to replacing cabinets.
  • Make changes over time instead of attempting to redo the whole room at once.

5) Transform with New Paint and Accessories

The fashion industry has taught us not to underestimate the power of a well-placed accessory, and the same holds true in home decorating. Little touches can equal a big change!

  • Perk up the space with fluffy new towels and matching shower curtain, bath mat, and accessories.
  • Freshen up the grout for a clean, brand-new look.
  • Add new shelving for storage rather than replacing the vanity.
  • Paint existing cabinetry.

While you may not have time, money, or energy to completely gut your bathroom Property Brothers style, make a few simple changes to help create your own beautiful retreat!

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