5 Tips for a Cheap DIY Bathroom

I’m a little envious of all you people who have gorgeous new bathrooms. You know–the newly renovated or newly built homes that come with that big ‘ole jacuzzi tub that you never use but sure are glad you have “just in case” you ever want to hop in. You don’t have stale wallpaper. Oh–and your floor is ceramic or marble instead of crusty ‘ole peel n’ sticks vinyl.

The rest of us have to use tips like these to transform our bathrooms on a budget:

5 tips for a Cheap DIY Bathroom - Thrift Diving

Now……This is what my bathroom used to look like!

I know….I still can’t believe it, either!!


Horrific, wasn’t it??

I still think wallpaper should be banned. It’s a you-know-what to remove. But this pretty shade of Sherwin Williams Sea Salt paint was worth the trouble!





5-Tips-for-a-DIY-Bathroom-Thrift Diving

Before DIY’ing it, I’m embarrassed to say that we lived with a doily shower curtain up at the window for at least 6 months.

I know–total ghetto fabulous.


But after a lot of hard work, the result was astounding.


If you’ve got a bathroom that needs a lot of work and is outdated, here are some thrifty tips to help you transform it on a budget!  

5 Tips for a Cheap DIY Bathroom

TIP #1 Embrace Your Eye Sore!

So someone mentioned recently that they had PINK TILE in their bathroom when they moved in. YIKES. Do you also have an eye sore in your bathroom? For me, it was this turquoise shower. See it over there, with the outdated brassy door??


Now, in a recent post, I told you that I wish everything in my house could be turquoise. True enough. But my SHOWER?? Um, yeah, that’s a bit much. However,when we moved in, that’s what was here. And we don’t have tons of money yet to rip it out and install a new shower.

The solution? Decorated around your eye sore.

I simply love Sherwin Williams Sea Salt, but thankfully, it also compliments the “who-in-the-world-chooses-a-turquoise-shower-stall” shower stall. Now it’s no longer an eye sore. 🙂


TIP# 2 Just because it SAYS it’s a robe hook…….

…doesn’t mean you have to hang your robes on it. Have you seen the price of decent towel bars?! Expensive. So grab some cute robe hooks and toss your towels on it instead. Trust me, they rarely fall off. And for, like $12, you’ve got something cute to hang your towels from instead of paying double or triple for a towel bar.

5-tips-for-a-cheap-DIY-bathroom-towel hooks

TIP #3 Unleash your inner photographer.

This is seriously one of the cheapest ideas. First, let me say that I’m terrible about decorating my walls. If you were to come over to my house, you would see huge blank walls of nothing. I take tons of pics but rarely do they end up getting printed.

Don’t be like me 🙂

Go take some amazing pictures of flowers or landscapes (read my 10 tips for creating awesome wall art) , or whatever floats your boat, and then print them. Pick up some cheap frames from the thrift store. And then grace your walls with all your awesome shots!

Those 2 pics to the left?? Yep, I took them myself and framed them. Like 10 years ago. And I’m still rockin’ ’em…. 🙂


If you read my post 10 Tips to Create Awesome DIY Floral Art, you’ll be able to take some really awesome shots to get framed. Here’s one I took recently and plan to blow up. If you take shots like these, bathroom wall art would be super cheap.

Pretty Floral Pictures From Thrift Diving_9625



TIP#4  Get it all covered!

If you have ugly peel-and-stick tiles like me, but can’t afford to upgrade to tile yet, you’ve got to find a way to deal with whatcha got. Rugs will be your best friend. The more you can cover up, the better! And be sure to choose rugs that don’t contrast with your floor. Get something that blends in so that when people walk in, they don’t turn away disgusted. LOL

This plush rug I got from Home Goods covers up half of the little floor on this side. I chose white because it blended best.




But if you have the money, I whole-heartedly recommend SnapStone flooring to cover old vinyl tile. It’s a real porcelain tile that has a rubber tray on the back that allows you to go right over your old vinyl flooring. I’m pretty sure the two layers of vinyl I have here has some asbestos. Instead of removing it, which could be more expensive to hire a professional to do, I just tiled over it with SnapStone (see my kids’ bathroom makeover to see how it’s done). I’ll be posting on my YouTube channel soon a full-tutorial on how to install SnapStone flooring to cover a vinyl floor, so don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss when that video comes out soon.

But regarding cost, SnapStone can be expensive. If you have the budget, go for it. If not, stick with rugs until you’ve saved up money for it.



TIP #5 If you only did one thing in your bathroom, do this:

You see this mirror? Okay, some of you that really love vintage things may “ooh” and “ahh” over it, but I had another reaction that was more along the lines of doubling over and holding my stomach. LOL


My real estate agent/friend gave me THE best tip for cheaply sprucing up any bathroom.

And that is: change out the mirror.


I went to Home Goods and chose a mirror for $60 that traditionally goes in the living room or something, and put it up in the bathroom. It was a WORLD of difference! Doing that, with fresh white paint on the vanity (which didn’t get changed out), and it looks like a whole new bathroom!

The Bottom Line

This bathroom makeover only cost just under $200 for all the supplies/materials. Just paint…..decorating around your eye sore……and covering up the old floors can make a world of difference. Just think outside the box a little 🙂

If you want to read more about some of the other crazy work that I had to do in this bathroom, you can see the original post here.

I Also Made Over My Kids’ Bathroom!

Since doing my master bathroom, I have did my kids’ bathroom makeover on a budget. You won’t believe the before and after!





See My Readers’ Bathroom Makeovers

Here at Thrift Diving, my readers and I have done room challenges and have made over even more bathrooms. Check them out!


Join the Next 30-Day Room Challenge

Do you have an outdated bathroom that you are struggling with? Considering joining my 30-Day Room Makeover Challenge (it’s free), where my readers and I band together and tackle one room in our house in 30 days. If your bathroom is a rat hole, now’s the time to do something about it :). LOL


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About the Author ()

Hey there, I'm Serena, a 38-year-old working mom of 3 young boys who can't get enough DIY! If you actually made it to the bottom of this post to read this, it means you're really enjoy my blog. That means SO much. If I can inspire just one person through my passion and energy for DIY, then I'm fulfilling my life's purpose. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you'll subscribe so we can keep in touch! ~Serena

Comments (47)

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  1. Ed MacDonald says:

    Your tips are just awesome, Well i m finding tips for my bathroom and your tips are that one so i will trying this for my bathroom i hope your tips works for me 🙂 Thanks for share, and please also share more ideas for making bathroom more beautiful.

  2. Ayla says:

    This site & another really helped my bathroom! here’s the other site: http://72ef661kdtaodncxsfpbtc4b2z.hop.clickbank.net/

  3. Steven says:

    I loves the Kids’ Bathroom transformation. It’s very nice…you done a really good job. I think it’s get a very low cost to redecorate.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Sharon G. says:


    It’s so true about the bugs, fruitflies or gnats” They can be horrible and what a nuisance. The vintage chair makeover looks incredible. What a GREAT job and the piping looks very good!! KUDOS to you!!!!
    My chair makeover is almost complete. I’m leaving out the piping though.Gotta try to send you pics if I figure out how(not too savvy with that kinda stuff) You should see the round lawn table I retrieved from a neighbors trash this morning after I finished my morning walk. My husband saw it as I was backing out of the driveway so I sped off so he wouldn’t question me (lol) It’s perfect at the end of our paved driveway off the deck in the back. My little indoor but outdoor space. Gotta to replace a few small tiles around the edge. Otherwise, its in good shape. Maybe, I’ll walk in the morning to see what else I can find.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Simply brilliant Serena.. I absolutely loved this DIY tips especially the one with giving birth to your inner photographer. I tried it just after reading this post. And can’t believe how different it looked. It’s amazing how a couple of pictures change the scene of a bathroom. I’m definitely going after the other hacks too & signing up for the newsletter .. Thanks Serena 🙂

  6. Great Post, I just loved each design style. It’s so beautiful and stylist. The design idea is very nice and it gives a wow feeling. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

  7. Steve says:

    The key to getting the most out of your bath spaces is to embrace vertical space. You can add open shelves to improve storage or place a few baskets and decorative boxes for storing extra necessities. Another option is to go for a pedestal sink to add more floor space.

  8. Great website. Lots of helpful information here. I am sending it to some buddies ans
    also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you in your sweat!

  9. In love with your blog! I am sharing and planning on some classes in the future. I love to make things beautiful again. Congratulations!

  10. great put up, very informative. I ponder why the other specialists of this sector
    do not realize this. You must continue your writing. I’m sure,
    you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  11. Potinkliniai says:

    What a great renewal! I especially like color of bathroom walls, it has green and grey shades, which creates a relaxing and refreshing atmosphere.

  12. Dionicia says:

    Hi Serena,

    I absolutely love all of the “diy” projects. I definitely would love to add some personality to my bathrooms and need some inspiration which I found here. I’m going to try the wall art as you did by taking pics of the things I like and then hanging up on my walls. Thanks for the great tips!!!!

    Glad to see you are following you dreams. Be blessed

  13. Great website, been exploring forever for tips on the very
    best rattan furnishings for our home and in our patio.
    This website sincerely helpedgreat blog some great info here

  14. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much,
    However I am going through problems with your RSS. I don’t understand why
    I can’t join it. Is there anybody having similar RSS issues?
    Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  15. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails with
    the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Bless you!

  16. Sherrie says:

    Hey there, You’ve done a great job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

  17. Debbie E. says:

    Your bathroom is beautiful. I love it.
    When we got married, I only had $$$ for the discontinued paint. I went to thrift stores for material for curtains. But, I always had charming rooms.

    • Debbie, that’s how my mom decorated, too! When we were younger, we had no money. Everything came from the thrift store, my mom said. But she always put it together tastefully and you’d never even know! I think I must have inherited that from her. LOL. I’m convinced that there is no price that says what is a nice room. It’s all about how you work it together 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

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  19. You did a great job. Now I am envious with your newly renovated bathroom. Wish our bathromm is like that. Nevertheless, I’ll keep in mind all your tips. Thanks.

    Mommy Maye

  20. Jodi says:

    Great tips! Budget DIY decor is my favorite thing to read. It’s amazing what paint can do!!

  21. Teri says:

    Oh my what a stunning little makeover. I adore the clean lines and the paint color you selected as your focal point. The little RELAX over the mirror was a sweet touch!

  22. Jan says:

    This is a wonderful post. The difference in painting the cabinet base/adding a new mirror is amazing! Great job!!!

  23. Angela says:

    What a transformation!!! I love how it turned out!! AWESOME job!!!

  24. Hey Girly! Lot’s of improvement for not a lotta moolah! Great Job!!! I loved meeting you at Haven thanks for doing the link up to the posts on the Haven page! I’m going to check out that SW color in my color deck when I drag my butt off the bed!

  25. Karen F says:

    you did a “bee-u-tee-full” job on that bathroom! I like the idea of your darker wood mirror frame with the white vanity! it looks fresh, clean and new! good job! paint in gorgeous!

  26. Great job! You already figured out the number 1 cheap diy update….paint! It is the first thing I think of when I am ready to update a room. I have lots of room updates on my blog if you want to check them out, but they all start with paint. And I was stuck with peel and stick tiles too but I covered them with much nicer peel and stick tiles. I didn’t do it because I didn’t know that you could but on Addicted to decorating’s blog, she actually grouted between peel and stick tiles! It looked awesome. The other cheap update trick I ALWAYS use is thriftstore decorating, but you already do that too. You did a great job!

    • Now that’s a great idea: “tiling” over peel and stick! That’s a way to think outside the box! Thanks for sharing that tip. I may have to do that in a couple rooms that we are no where NEAR thinking about putting in tons of money to renovate yet! Thanks for that!!! 🙂 And for commenting, of course 😉

  27. I could never get away with white paint with my messy boys. It looks great!

  28. Sarah says:

    Great before and afters! It looks beautiful!

  29. Kimberly D says:

    Absolutely gorgeous Serena!! You did a fabulous job!

    BTW, this is one of your roomies from 2012 BlogHer 😉 You’ve come a long way baby!!

    I wish you’d publish some of your poetry too **nudge nudge**

    • Kimberly!! Hey!!! Girl, it’s been a while! How are you?? Did you attend BlogHer ’13? I complained a little about it, but it really was a great experience! I’m doing my best to push this little engine that could called a “blog.” LOL. How’s your blogging coming along?

  30. Connie says:

    Your bathroom turned out beautiful. I wish that mine was that big enough for double sinks. I’m with you, there are many things that you can do to update your home without breaking the bank. You’ve done a marvelous job on yours, Bravo!!!

    • Hey there, Connie! The double sink thing is pretty awesome, especially when you’ve got a family of 5, like mine! The downside is that you’ve got more sink to clean! UGH! 🙂 Thank you for the compliments! And you rock for leaving a comment. Thank you!

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