Most everyone knows that there are two major rooms in your home that add immense amounts of value when remodeled: your kitchen and your bathroom. Unfortunately, the latter project is hardly DIY-friendly — especially to remodeling newbies. Thus, if you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to spare on a contractor, you might be resigned to living with your outdated washrooms.
Fortunately, you need not despair: There are a few relatively easy bathroom updates you can make even without extensive DIY experience or an unlimited budget. As long as you don’t try to move the plumbing, you can keep costs low, and by choosing specific renovations, your changes will be simple but effective at creating an all-new look. Here are a few projects you can consider to make your old, dingy bathroom shine.
The best place to start with DIY-friendly bathroom updates is storage. By updating or adding new storage solutions in your bathroom, you can transform the look and function of the space. Storage doesn’t have to mean new cabinets or boring shelves, and storage doesn’t have to clutter your bathroom and make it feel even smaller than it is. Here are just a few creative storage ideas to add to your water closet:
- High shelf. Install a shelf near the ceiling or over the door to place spare toiletries or items you don’t need every day.
- Repurposed wall pots. Head to your local garden store and invest in decorative pots to hang plants on the wall. In them, you can place hair and makeup tools, toothbrushes and toothpaste and anything else that might normally clutter the counter.
- Hanging baskets. Use small curtain rods, hooks and decorative baskets to make a cute, country-style storage system on your wall.
- Ladder shelf. Place large linens like towels on the largest, lowest shelf, then hand towels, then wash clothes, then loofahs, bath salts or other small and decorative necessities on top.
- Frame shelf. Take the glass out of an old, chunky picture frame and add thin dividers where you can store toiletries and other decorative items.
Adding new tile to your bathroom floor is surprisingly easy, and in small places and with affordable tile, it can add a fresh look at a cheap price. There are basically five steps to laying tile:
- Prepare the substrate. Tile can be installed over most materials, including old tile, plywood subfloor and cement board. However, you should sand the substrate and ensure that it is securely attached to what’s below before tiling.
- Cut the tile. After you determine your tile pattern, you should know where you need to cut various tiles to fit inside the room. You can probably have this done at the tile shop where you bought your tile, or you can rent a snap cutter from a local hardware store.
- Apply mastic. The mastic is the adhesive below the tile that sticks it to the substrate. Mastic should be spread with a notched trowel in 3-square-foot sections at a time.
- Lay the tile. You should work from the center toward the walls. You shouldn’t press down too violently; a gentle but firm tap should be enough to make the tile stick.
- Add grout. The mastic should set for a day, and then you can use premixed grout to fill the lines between the tiles. You should seal the tile before you grout to avoid time-consuming sticking.
While it isn’t a good idea to try to move the sink from one side of the bathroom to another, you can swap your current sink for a more stylish one without much hassle. You aren’t stuck with horrible pedestals or dull drop-in vanities; there are dozens of fun and funky bathroom sink styles to choose from. For example, you might want a vessel sink, which sits on top of your bathroom counter and can be made of a variety of materials, including natural stone or glass. While you’re at it, you might also consider updating the faucet to match the new look.
You will be working with the plumbing during this DIY, which can be nerve-wracking for some beginners. To ease your mind, you might want to check how you might be covered if your plumbing project goes wrong. Do home warranties cover plumbing? Will your insurer pay for water damage due if you DIY? These are good questions to investigate before you replace your sink.
Once you successfully install a new sink, you can definitely tackle the toilet. Your porcelain throne might be one of the most water-wasting appliances in your home, so the sooner you replace it with an energy-efficient toilet, the better. You should seriously consider a dual-flush option, which allows you to control how much water is utilized in a single flush. You can also choose from a variety of looks and features in your toilet, but those that deviate from the standard design will likely cost much more.
The bathroom isn’t the easiest part of your house to change, especially if you are a remodeling novice. Fortunately, a few small tweaks can revolutionize a small space, and small plumbing jobs aren’t nearly as difficult as they sound. Once you master these bathroom basics, you can move onto more advanced remodeling projects — but remember, you shouldn’t ever spend more on renovations than you can get back in sales!