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Update Your Bath on a Budget

Matt Crawford & Tricia Kincaid Crawford
Feb 8 4 minutes read

You get a lot of use out of this room — showering, brushing your teeth, fixing your hair, using the facilities, and so on. A Huffington Post article reports people in the U.S. spend about 30 minutes in the bathroom every day, which adds up to more than a week over the course of a year. Nearly all of your guests will get a little use out of it, too, don’t overlook its outdated finishings simply because they remain behind closed doors. You don’t need to break the bank to get a fresher, cleaner look. Here are a few tips to update your bathroom on a budget.

Wash & Paint

Whatever your plans are for the rest of the room, you’re going to want to give your bathroom walls a scrub and a fresh coat of paint. But don’t just use any paint — it’s imperative that you find a great mildew-resistant to prevent moisture from damaging your walls and wrecking your paintjob. Consumer Reports recently tested a bunch of paints in this category, finding that Behr Marquee, Valspar Reserve, Benjamin Moore Aura, Glidden Complete, and Clark + Kensington Enamel all repelled mildew, ranging from $26 to $54.

Deep Clean Tiles

If you have a sturdy tile floor that you’d really like to keep, giving a deep clean to remove years of grime and tile staining. There are a few harmful-chemical-free options to do this: Bob Vila recommends either a half-and-half solution of vinegar and water sprayed on the grout to soak for 5 minutes, or spread a baking soda and water paste over your grout and then spray the vinegar, followed by a scrubbing with a stiff brush. For a more chemical clean, try a muriatic acid cleanser, which can be very harsh and requires neutralization before you can walk on the surface.

Give Your Tub TLC

Replacing your tub, which can cost about $3,000, might be out of the question. But you can give it new life for far less cash. Old porcelain tubs (and sinks, too) can be reglazed to cover up old chips, scratches, and cracks and update that ‘70s-era puce to a gleaming white. While costing about a tenth of a full replacement — and taking only about two days — reglazing is a great way to spruce up your bathroom on a budget. However, it’s not a great DIY project, as it involves some very intense cleaning and chemical treatments that require adequate ventilation and materials. Alternatively, you can dress up your tub with a new surround.

Replace the Vanity

As we already noted, porcelain sinks can be reglazed for a brand-new look. But, if you just have a basic sink and cabinet, you can replace it altogether with a more modern vanity. If you’ve been lacking counter space, this can be an extremely attractive option. And it’s surprisingly affordable, with options starting as low as $100 — but, of course, you’ll want to pair that with a fancy new faucet.

Add New Lighting

While you’re rethinking your vanity, lighting is key. Was the room always a bit darker than you’d hoped? Or is it too bright to see the details when you’re up-close, flossing or applying eyeliner? Now’s the time to make the lighting what you’d always hoped, and add another modern touch to your bathroom.

With all of these details taken care of, your bathroom could be unrecognizable, and for a fraction of the cost of a full renovation. Start small, with a few simple projects at a time, and see where your room takes you.

 Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.

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