Budget Small Bathroom Remodel Cost [Luxury for Less]


I buy houses for a living in Denver, CO. Then I renovate them to either resell or rent them out. 

Because of this most of the time, I write about how to renovate something to sell it to cash buyers for a profit and how to do it FAST!

If you’re thinking of selling your home for cash, we buy houses for cash.

For example, I wrote an article titled:

Budget Small Bathroom Remodel For Profit [Best Expert Tips and Advice]

But today I want to change my focus just a little. 

Today I want to share some advice for you to enjoy for years to come.

Let’s not make it all about the money.

Instead, today let’s talk about how to remodel a small bathroom on a budget for you! 

How to make your bathroom a place you can enjoy and relax in. 

Not to sell your house for a profit. But for you to enjoy!

Sound good?

How to Remodel a Small Bathroom on a Low Budget [And Enjoy It!]

I am super excited.

I have been remodeling houses for over 20 years. I have done pretty well in my real estate career.

Of course, my taste might not be the same as yours but this article should give you some inspiration to renovate your bathroom and create that space you deserve!

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Your Bathroom is Your Sanctuary [You Deserve This!]

The best advice about remodelling a small bathroom is do it for you, not for someone else.

Long day, kids screaming, boss yelling, sound familiar? You need a break, peace and quiet, a moment for yourself.

Because most people have at least some measure of respect for individual privacy regarding bathrooms, the bathroom affords us a level of privacy no other room in the house can equal. It is one of the very few places where we can quickly and easily get away for a bit. The bathroom is a quick-release button on the escape hatch to a personal sanctuary.

A sanctuary is defined as a place of refuge or protection. The term sanctuary is often used to refer to a sacred or holy place.. While the bodily functions we tend to in our bathrooms may not seem so sacred, the truth is your bathroom is a place for self-care in all forms. Your bathroom is where you most likely start and end each day.

When you decide to invest in and improve the style and function of your space, you recognize the importance of self-care and making an investment in your well-being. You acknowledge yourself as sacred.

No matter what you are starting with, when you consider a bathroom remodel, you can rest assured that there are plenty of ways to get it done without breaking the bank.

Creating a sanctuary isn’t as much about designer fashion or luxury tiles as it is about how the space makes you feel. The colors, textures, patterns you choose, and the functionality and placement of your selected items, will all serve to create a supportive atmosphere where you can nurture yourself. Taking the time to upgrade your environment dramatically improves your ability to bring your best self forward.
Before we discuss how you can give yourself the space you truly deserve, we first need to address the practical consideration of money. 

How much can you expect to invest to accomplish your goal of creating the sanctuary you deserve?


How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Small Bathroom?

There are varying degrees of bathroom remodeling, each incurring a different level of expense.

You probably won’t need to knock out any walls or change the layout of your bathroom to create your sanctuary. Gutting the bathroom and rearranging everything can require a relatively large budget, upwards of $10,000.

Still, if you plan to install the new fixtures in the same place as the old fixtures, you can usually stay between $8,000 and $15,000. If your current fixtures are not working correctly, it may well be worth the investment to replace them. Otherwise, you can transform your existing space with a surface-level remodel.

A surface-level remodel will involve changing the tile, flooring, walls, faucets, and lighting, which can be done for as little as $2500 if you plan to do the work yourself.

Useful resources: remodel estimators

Here are a few outside resources to help you get an idea of what a small bathroom remodel can cost you.

Bathroom Versus Other Rooms?

Generally, the bathroom is the second most expensive room to remodel.

The most expensive room to remodel is the Kitchen. Kitchen upgrades involve demo, electrical, plumbing, cabinetry, flooring, tile, and appliances. Because of these items, the cost can run up very quickly. 

Bedrooms are probably the cheapest rooms to upgrade. This is because there is not nearly as much involved. Often people will just paint the walls and call it good! This can cost less than $100 if you do it yourself.

BUT today it’s all about upgrading your bathroom so let’s do it!

If you have a smaller budget, consider starting with a surface-level remodel.

Creating your sanctuary can involve a fresh coat of paint, a newly tiled floor, a resurfaced bathtub, new tiles in your shower, new faucets on the bathtub shower and sink, updated decor, and a few plants. 

You can also consider wainscoting or beadboard for the walls. The ceiling is another consideration. Adding tiling to the ceiling can freshen up the room considerably, as can adding crown molding and updating baseboards. All of these can be done at a reasonable cost.

Wall Tile

The tile you choose doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive to provide the fresh, clean, invigorating feeling that you should get when you start your day in the shower.

Adding or replacing the wall tile in your shower area can make a world of difference at the start of your day.

Subway tiles are a solid choice for any bathroom, and they are available in nearly infinite color choices. Since they are designed to repel water, they are effortless to clean and mildew resistant, which on its own is uplifting. In addition to being low maintenance, subway tiles are also very affordable.

You’ll feel incredibly savvy when you realize such a big difference from such a small investment.

Floor tile

A small investment can go a long way when it comes to floor tiles. You’ll find floor tiles in an almost endless variety of patterns, textures, and colors.

Selecting and installing the floor tile that is right for you is guaranteed to put a spring in your step that you can’t get from stepping out of the shower onto your current outdated, worn-out flooring, especially if that flooring happens to be carpeting!

If you are replacing carpeting in your bathroom with tile flooring, you will have zero regrets about that. It’s not possible to keep the carpeting completely clean in any room, so it’s a terrible choice for a bathroom for obvious reasons. Replace it, and you’ll absolutely feel (and be) much healthier.


A vanity isn’t just a place to wash your face. Firstly, in a small bathroom, the right vanity will provide much-needed space for the tools you use to keep yourself beautiful and healthy.

Having the proper space to keep your morning and nightly routines free of clutter will definitely reduce your stress level. Feeling more organized will give you a noticeable sense of confidence that you will carry with you as you go about your day.

Adding a small bench can transform the vanity area into a relaxing space where you can have a seat and pamper yourself, creating a spa-like atmosphere in any bathroom.

There are so many styles to choose from. Depending on your personal preference, you can opt for anything from a rustic to a vintage look.


It may not be immediately apparent, but enough can’t be said about having suitable faucets and showerheads.

Suppose you are currently suffering with a short, immovable tap, like the contractor-grade 1980s model I had before I got wise and upgraded. In that case, almost any replacement will give you exponentially more happiness.

Sufficient flow of water and control over its direction should be a non-negotiable, as should easy temperature adjustment. You can find inexpensive faucets that offer superb functionality.

Easy to use is easy to get, and of course, the aesthetic improvement that your shiny new faucet will make will speak for itself.

You really owe it to yourself to upgrade.


If you have ever looked at yourself under bad lighting, you understand the importance of good lighting.

Lighting has an undeniable impact on the ambiance of any room, including the sanctuary of your bathroom. The proper lighting can be energizing or soothing, depending on its function.

For example, task lighting is appropriate in the vanity area. For a warm, healing bath, you may prefer sconces.

Small bathroom remodel ideas on a budget [Spa Like Upgrades]

Music (Bluetooth speakers)

Music’s ability to profoundly affect the human psyche is a long-established fact. When you add Bluetooth speakers to your sanctuary, the power to shape your own mood is in your hands.


Whether LED or natural flame, candles bring an ambient glow to any room. You can create a zen-like atmosphere in your bathroom, transporting yourself to another dimension by adding candles scented with lavender, sandalwood, or any scent that you find soothing or uplifting.

As noted in the earlier section on wall tile, subway tiles come in many colors, but the basic white subway tile is timeless in its simplicity. Nothing complicated about it; adding these tiles to the wall space surrounding a pedestal sink or lining your shower walls is always a classic look and can work with any style.

Timeless Chic – White Subway Tile

As noted in the earlier section on wall tile, subway tiles come in many colors, but the basic white subway tile is timeless in its simplicity. Nothing complicated about it; adding these tiles to the wall space surrounding a pedestal sink or lining your shower walls is always a classic look and can work with any style.

Subtle highlights

Selecting the perfect hardware can really pull everything together for a coordinated look. Fancy toilet paper holders, towel racks, and robe hooks all have the potential to bring a sense of glamour and style to your bathroom. You can also change the hardware on an existing vanity. You could use stencils to add accents to the decor if you are artistic. Add a splash of color or elegance with the right wallpaper border. These are just some of the subtle highlights that can significantly impact the look and feel of your bathroom.
Soft, Gorgeous, Towels and Face Cloths
You’ll feel like royalty when you wrap yourself a luxurious towel suited to your specific preference. Whether combed or ringspun, 100% cotton towels are the softest and most absorbent. If softness is your thing, look for large loops in the weave. If you prefer the quick-drying variety, look for towels with a low pile. Either way, you’ll have no regrets when you show appreciation to your body and mind by selecting the towel that is just perfect for you.

The perfect soap

Citrus soaps in the morning instill energy and make your skin glow. Lavender and eucalyptus soaps restore vitality to both body and mind. By including small details like the perfect soap in your bathroom remodel budget, you’ll make a significant impact with just a tiny fraction of your total budget.

Low-Cost Look-a-likes {Nobody will ever know!]

You can refinish your current bathtub for a fraction of the cost of buying a new one. Instead of stone tiles, you can get ceramic tiles that look like stone for much less.

Wainscotting is another easy, low-cost way to cover imperfections; it’s easy to install and gives any room an expensive look.

With a variety of textures and colors, the right wallpaper can accomplish the same thing. Just be sure the wallpaper you choose is made to withstand high humidity and moisture.

Do it Yourself! Bathroom Home Improvement 101

Plumbers are expensive. You can hire one to install your toilet, or you can keep the $250 – $500 a plumber would charge by doing it yourself. If you have the time, you could save yourself a ton of money and get more bang for your back by doing at least some of the work on your own instead of hiring a professional. There are plenty of tutorials online that will walk you through everything from installing a toilet to tiling your shower. The sense of pride you’ll get when you do it yourself is an added bonus.


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