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5 Bathroom Refresh Ideas That Won’t Break The Bank

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

It’s the one room we all use every single day. At least I hope so :-). So it makes sense that it should be the most functional and beautiful room in the home. But the fact is that because they are the most private rooms, they are usually the last to get attention when there is a whole home that needs to be designed.

Let’s face it, bathroom renovations can be costly and time-consuming.These are the reasons that most homeowners would rather shut the doors on them and pretend that they don’t exist.

Katy Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designer

But even if a gut job is not in the budget. Or the idea of having to use the nearest truck stop restrooms for the next few months is less than appealing, they don’t have to go abandoned. Sometimes a refresh is all you need to breathe some new life back into your bathrooms.

Here is a great example of a bathroom refresh that I got to be a part of. My clients lived in their home  for over 20 years, and it was time for a whole house makeover. This meant that every bathroom, kitchen, and pretty much every surface had to be redone, plus the addition of new furnishings and repurposing existing ones. There were 3.5 bathrooms in this home that had to be redone, so my clients opted to refresh them all instead of completely gutting them, and starting over.

My clients brought in Katy Tile and Marble for the renovations, and I acted as the consultant for the plans, materials and finishes, to make sure they looked great together and flowed with the decorating phase that we did later.

My client preferred the earthy neutral tones to the really popular gray tones that we are seeing these days. Her biggest requirement was that it would be a neutral palette to work with any decor, and that we stayed within budget. Another key concern that I also shared with my client was to make sure we were not over-improving the home for the neighborhood. Resale is not a big factor for them currently, but it is always something to keep in mind when you take on a remodeling project.

This master bathroom was a great collaboration between myself, my clients, Katy Tile and Marble and Ferguson’s Katy

Katy Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designer

Katy Interior Designer, Houston Interior Designer

Here’s where we started.







And here are 5 Things that we did in this bathroom that you can use to refresh your bathrooms without breaking the bank

  1. Keep the same layout – One of the most costly parts of a bathroom remodel is changing the layout, especially when it involves relocating plumbing. If your current layout works fine for functionality, then just a few minor tweaks are needed. In this bathroom, ideally I wanted to remove the tub and do a freestanding bath tub underneath the window, but my clients decided to replace the existing one for a drop in tub instead. It is smaller, a bit more streamlined and takes up less space. We also opened up the wall between the tub and shower. We were able to gain several more inches in the shower (we even added a bench), and it feels so much larger now with a frameless glass enclosure.

  2. Change Door Swings – I have seen small bathrooms that have way too many doors – one for the room itself, one for the commode area, one for the linen closet, one for the storage closets. Sometimes just changing a door swing or removing a door altogether can help open up a small bathroom space. Imagine having all these doors I mentioned opened all at once in a small bathroom. In this bathroom, we had a pair of mirrored sliders leading into the closet. We opted to replace the double sliders with a pocket door. That made for a much cleaner  and current look in the bathroom.

  3. Paint or Reface Cabinets – Replacing cabinets is also a high ticket item. In most cases, simply painting out the cabinets or refacing them can make all the difference in the world. Before you go out to buy new cabinets, check if the boxes and frames are solid and in good condition. If they are, then adding a fresh coat of paint or changing out the doors will do the trick. In this bathroom, we chose to add a fresh coat of white paint.

  4. Change Out Materials – The countertops flooring, wall tiles are the first things you see when you walk into a bathroom. They have the biggest impact, so if you do nothing else, change out the materials to more up to date materials. In this bathroom, we replaced cultured marble with a quartz countertop. Very durable and the perfect solution for a heavily used space. We also changed out the floor and wall tiles to a lighter color. This helps to open up the space for a fresher feel

  5. Fixtures, Lighting and Finishing Touches – The plumbing fixtures and hardware are like the jewelry in the bathroom. With the help of Ferguson’s Katy, we chose some simple but elegant brushed nickel fixtures and hardware. We also upgraded the lighting in the bathroom and replaced the mirrors. The dated window covering was removed as well, and we kept the window open since it is a leaded glass. It lets in a lot of light while maintaining privacy. Of course all the decorative touches helped to make the space feel fresh and brand new. Er even had room to bring in a piece of furniture for additional storage

A bathroom this size could have easily cost at least $40K to $50K, but with careful planning, spending, and really figuring out needs and aesthetics, we came in significantly less than that. My clients are enjoying their new space, and they did not have to break the bank to get it.

Here is a the powder room that we also completed in the same home

Casa Vilora Interiors

And here’s a during shot (after the countertop and faucets were installed)

Casa Vilora Interiors

We applied the same money-saving principles here and kept the cabinetry the same. We added a new wallpaper which my clients were a bit resistant about initially, but were completely sold on the damask grasscloth we did.

If your bathrooms are in need of some renovations, before you bring in the wrecking ball, schedule a consultation with a designer to explore your options.

I would love to help you with your next bathroom, kitchen or whole house remodel. Book a consultation

Also, If you are local to the Houston area, join me for the upcoming LIVE Decorating Workshop

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!


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