8 DIY bathroom upgrades -- under $500

Ginger Dean

November 3, 2015

By: Ginger Dean, Home Finance Specialist

In: Bathroom RemodelingInterior Design

Between getting ready for work in the morning, relaxing in a warm bath, or brushing our teeth at night, we probably spend more time in our bathroom than we want to admit. So why not make it a functional space that also looks good?

If your space needs a total renovation, you should start saving for the plumbing and electrical costs that can get involved in a bath remodel. However, if there are no structural changes that need to be made, or if you want a remodel to tide you over while you save for the renovation, you can update your bathroom without the help of a professional.

If your bathroom needs a makeover, here are eight DIY ways you can give your space a fresh look:

Vanity fixtures

There's no need to buy an entire new bathroom vanity if yours is still usable. All you need to do is buy some new fixtures to give it a whole new look. Adding new drawer and cupboard handles can surprisingly take your bathroom from classic to modern, and all you need is a screwdriver or electric drill. Lowe's has a cabinet hardware buying guide that will help you find the perfect fixture to upgrade your style. Need some extra oomph? Try refinishing the cabinets with some paint.

Air vents

The metal cover that protects your air vents can be plain and boring. Shop around to find a more decorative option that can add some color and personality to your space. And don't forget to change out the air filter if needed! Nothing will make you feel better in your bathroom if the space is constantly damp or musty.


Sometimes all you need to make your space bigger is more organization. Shelves can help get the clutter off your counter. Floating shelves on the wall or a shelving unit behind your toilet can be a real space saver. Check DIY stores like IKEA to find the perfect fit.

Fresh coat of paint

A new color can be just what your bathroom needs to freshen up the space. Bright and neutral colors make small spaces look larger. It's easy to DIY paint your bathroom because it's usually one of the smaller spaces in your home. You should only need one can of paint; just make sure it's bathroom-friendly. The last thing you want is moisture damage to your new bathroom makeover.

Light switches and fixtures

Lighting is a big part of your bathroom decor. Add a pop of color into your space by changing light switches and fixtures - especially if you choose a neutral color for the walls. Fun, colorful accents can really brighten up your bathroom. If possible, you can also choose a brighter or warmer bulb to change the feel of the light, or swap out lamp shades or glass coverings if you have overhead or wall-mounted fixtures.


It may seem weird to think about decorating your bathroom since it's more of a functional space than a living space, but our advice is: do it. Add plants to liven up your space (just make sure you pick the right plants for the amount of sunlight and moisture in the room). You can also add art to personalize your bathroom; check out discount stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx to find inexpensive wall art.

Wallpaper is making a come back

You may be having 70s flashbacks, but it's true. Think about adding wallpaper to one wall in your bathroom to create a statement wall for the space.

All these DIY bathroom projects can be done over the weekend, and before you know it your space will be upgraded and have a whole new look.


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