Giving your bathroom a makeover doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars or weeks of intensive labor. Updating finishes, from the tub surface and tile color to cabinet hardware or the toilet, can retrofit an outdated bathroom to modern tastes for hundreds instead of thousands of dollars.
“Remodeling your bathroom can be overwhelming, but it can also be one of the best returns on investment," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "You can get up to 85 return on the investment, but you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars. You can do some simple upgrades like changing that pink tile or blue tile to a more neutral color or update the handles on your cabinets to make the bathroom more modern."
Angie’s List tips: 4 Simple bathroom updates
- Give grout a new look: Homeowners don’t have to rip out their bathroom shower tile or tile floors to make it look new again. If your tile is in good shape you can hire a company to re-grout, clean, seal, or stain grout to make it look like it did the day it was installed. Costs are determined by the amount of work, but generally range from $100 to $400. If your tiles are in good shape, but you are not fond of the color – you can reglaze them. A trick to test if your tile is good or needs to be repaired/replaced: knock on the tile, it if rattles or if you find cracks, call a professional before water gets behind the tiles, which can cause further damage.
- Bathtub refinishing/reglazing: Over time, the bathtub begins to show signs of wear – stains, scratches or a dull finish. Refinishing an existing bathtub can achieve the look of a brand-new tub and consumes much less time and money than replacing one. Bathtub refinishing is an option that can return a bathtub or shower enclosure to like-new appearance for about $500. However, homeowners need to maintain the tub with proper cleaners. Steer clear of beach or abrasive cleaners, and avoid dripping faucets and leaving down wet rubber bath mats – which could wear down the finish over time. This project also requires proper ventilation – ask which methods the company uses as well as what type of materials/chemicals/coatings they will use before you sign a contract and begin work.
- Faucets & other bathroom fixtures: Updating your sink’s hardware or other bathroom fixtures such as the tub handles, control knobs or shower head are a great way to give your bathroom a newer look without spending a lot of money on a total remodel. There are a number of finishes available for sink faucet fixtures and other bathroom fixtures, including chrome, brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, and steel. Styles and finish should be chosen carefully because of the strong impact faucets make to overall decor.
- Update your toilet: Toilets with colors like avocado green and coral pink were once in vogue, but today may make your home's bathroom appear hopelessly outdated. Or perhaps you have leaky bowl. It may be more cost-effect to replace that toilet than find and repair leaks – which not only cause damage, but consume water and increase your utility bill. Many models cost less than $200, but you have to factor in cost for removal and installation. Replacing a toilet is best left to a qualified plumbing professional because porcelain can be extremely heavy and you want to be sure the unit is properly plumbed to the existing drain system to prevent leaks.