How to Renovate an Old Bathroom On a Budget

by | Jan 1, 2024

How To Renovate An Old Bathroom On A Budget

Thinking about renovating your bathroom? If you’re put off by the potential high costs, you’re not alone. Many homeowners dream of giving their old bathrooms a new life but are worried about spending too much.

This blog is here to show you that it’s entirely possible to transform your bathroom on a budget. We’ll walk you through some smart, affordable strategies that will refresh your space without draining your wallet.

So, if you’re ready to turn your old bathroom into a charming and comfortable space without spending more, keep reading for some game-changing tips and tricks.

Strategic Assessment and Effective Planning for Bathroom Renovation

When you’re gearing up to revamp your old bathroom, the first critical step is to thoroughly evaluate what you currently have. This means taking a good look around and identifying not just what looks outdated but also what’s not working well for you.

For instance, are there any leaks, broken tiles, or areas that need more light? Maybe the storage space isn’t enough, or the layout doesn’t suit your daily routines. Understanding these aspects is key to figuring out which renovations are most necessary and will make the biggest difference in your bathroom’s functionality and appearance.

Next up is the all-important task of setting a budget. It’s the guiding star of your renovation project, helping you make smart choices that keep you within financial bounds. Pinpoint where your money will be best spent. If some elements, like cabinets, are still in good shape, maybe a simple update like a new paint job is all they need. And don’t forget to put aside a little extra cash—about 10–20% of your budget—for those unexpected expenses that often pop up in renovation projects.

Creating a mood board

Once you’ve got a clear understanding of what needs to be done and how much you can spend, it’s time to gather some design inspiration. This is where a mood board comes in handy.

It’s a visual tool that helps you collect and organise ideas for your bathroom’s new look. You can make a physical board with cutouts from magazines, fabric samples, and paint swatches, or go digital with platforms like Pinterest. Fill it with anything that catches your eye and speaks to your desired style, be it images of dreamy bathrooms, colours, textures, or specific fixtures. 

This board will not only inspire your design choices but also ensure that everything you select fits together well, creating a bathroom that’s as beautiful as it is functional.

Cost-effective Updates for Your Bathroom Renovation

Renovating your bathroom in Ireland doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. There are plenty of ways to make significant improvements without overspending. Here are some cost-effective strategies to consider:

1. Repaint for a fresh look

One of the most affordable and impactful changes you can make is repainting your bathroom. A new paint job can completely transform the space. In Ireland, a quality can of paint might cost you around €30 to €50, depending on the brand and type. Choose moisture-resistant paints specifically designed for bathrooms to ensure longevity.

2. Update fixtures within budget

Small details like faucets, showerheads, and cabinet handles can become focal points in your bathroom. Replacing these can give the room a more modern feel. Prices vary, but you can find good-quality faucets and handles starting from €20 to €100 at local hardware stores. Opt for stylish yet affordable brands to keep costs down.

3. Renovate rather than replace 

If your bathroom fixtures, like bathtubs or sinks, are in good condition but look dated, consider refurbishing them instead of replacing them. For example, re-enameling a bathtub can cost around €250 to €400, significantly cheaper than buying a new one.

4. Economical flooring options

For flooring, consider vinyl or laminate options, which are both cost-effective and water-resistant. Prices can range from as low as €10 to €30 per square metre, making them a great choice for budget-conscious renovations.

5. DIY where possible

Labour costs can add up quickly, so consider doing some of the work yourself. Simple tasks like painting, changing out hardware, or even installing new light fixtures can be done without professional help. This can save you a substantial amount, as labour costs in Ireland can range from €30 to €50 per hour.

6. Shop for deals 

Keep an eye out for sales at local hardware stores or online marketplaces. You can often find discounted items that are overstocked or last season’s models. This is especially true for tiles, where discounts can bring down the price significantly.

7. Accessorise wisely 

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of accessories. New towels, a stylish bath mat, or even a few well-chosen decorative pieces can give your bathroom an updated feel for a relatively small investment. Accessorising can be very budget-friendly, with many items available for under €20.

By following these tips, you can keep your bathroom renovation within a reasonable budget while still achieving a fresh, updated look. Remember, the key is to prioritise and spend on changes that will have the most significant impact on the overall look and feel of your bathroom.

DIY Projects for Bathroom Renovation

How to Renovate an Old Bathroom On a Budget 4

Tackling DIY projects for your bathroom renovation can be both rewarding and cost-effective. Here are some manageable DIY tasks you can undertake to refresh your bathroom:

Vanity makeover

Instead of buying a new vanity, consider giving your existing one a makeover. Sanding down and repainting or staining your vanity can change its entire look. Adding new knobs or handles can also provide a significant visual upgrade. The cost of paint, primer, and hardware can be relatively low, often under €100, depending on the quality and brand you choose.

Re-caulking and grout refreshing 

Over time, caulk and grout can become discoloured and mouldy. Refreshing these can brighten up the entire bathroom. Caulk tubes and grout refresh products are inexpensive (often under €20) and can make tiled areas look like new. Plus, they help maintain the bathroom’s hygiene by sealing out moisture.

Installing Shelves for Extra Storage

Adding extra storage space can be both practical and aesthetically pleasing. Floating shelves or simple wall-mounted racks can be used to store toiletries and towels, creating a more organised look. Basic shelves can be found for around €20–€50, and installing them is a straightforward task that requires basic tools.

Updating Light Fixtures

Changing out light fixtures can drastically change the feel of your bathroom. Many contemporary lighting options are available that are both affordable and easy to install. Prices can range, but you can find stylish options for €50–€100. Always ensure you follow safety guidelines when dealing with electrical installations.

Applying Peel-and-Stick Tiles

For those not ready to commit to permanent tiling, peel-and-stick tiles can be a great option. They are easy to apply and can dramatically change the look of your floor or walls. Prices vary based on quality and design but generally start at around €10–€20 per square metre.

Decorative Painting

If you have a steady hand and a bit of creativity, consider adding a painted design to your bathroom walls or floor. This could be a border, stencils, or even a faux tile effect. All you need is some painter’s tape, brushes, and paint, and you’re set to create a unique look.


Finally, the simplest of all DIY projects is accessorising. Adding new shower curtains, bath mats, plants, or artwork can make a significant difference. It’s all about choosing items that reflect your style and complement the bathroom’s colour scheme.

DIY projects not only help save money but also offer a sense of accomplishment. With a bit of time and effort, you can make significant changes to your bathroom. Remember, always take proper safety precautions, and don’t hesitate to consult professionals for advice on more complex tasks.

Maximising Space and Functionality

When remodelling your bathroom, it’s important to think smartly about space and the environment. Start by choosing wall-hung sinks and toilets. This not only saves floor space but also makes your bathroom appear larger. Utilising corners efficiently with shelves or cabinets is a great way to organise your essentials without cluttering the area. Sliding doors can be a smart addition too, as they don’t require extra space for opening.

Incorporating built-in storage solutions like wall shelves or small compartments in your shower for toiletries can help keep your space tidy and functional. If the bathroom lacks natural light, installing large mirrors can create the illusion of a more spacious and brighter room. Opt for lighter colours for the walls and efficient lighting to enhance the feeling of space.

Environmental Considerations

For the environmentally conscious, integrating water-saving fixtures such as low-flow toilets and showerheads is both eco-friendly and cost-effective. Choosing LED bulbs for lighting can also reduce energy consumption and lower electricity bills.

Using sustainable materials like bamboo for flooring or cabinets contributes to an eco-friendly design. Recycled materials can also be an attractive and responsible choice for bathroom renovations.

By focusing on maximising space and incorporating eco-friendly elements, your bathroom renovation can be both stylish and sustainable. This approach ensures a comfortable, efficient, and environmentally responsible space that aligns with both your aesthetic and ethical values.

In A Nutshell

Renovating an old bathroom on a budget is entirely achievable with strategic planning and smart choices. By carefully assessing and planning your bathroom’s renovation, you can make cost-effective updates that significantly enhance its look and feel. Tackling DIY projects not only adds a personal touch but also helps control the budget. Maximising space and functionality ensures that every inch of your bathroom is used efficiently, while incorporating environmental considerations brings in sustainability and long-term savings.

Remember, a successful renovation doesn’t necessarily mean big spending; it’s about making informed, creative decisions that align with your budget. If you’re looking to renovate your old bathroom on a budget but need some expert guidance, consider hiring Coastal Homes. With our experience and expertise, we can help you transform your space into the bathroom of your dreams, all within your budget. Contact us today to get started on your budget-friendly bathroom renovation!


Can I do a bathroom renovation myself?

A: Yes, many aspects of a bathroom renovation, like painting, installing shelves, and updating hardware, can be DIY projects. However, for complex tasks like plumbing or electrical work, it’s safer to hire a professional.

What are the best ways to maximise space in a small bathroom during renovation?

A: Utilising vertical space with wall-mounted shelves and cabinets, choosing multifunctional fixtures, and installing sliding doors are effective ways to maximise space in a small bathroom.

How can I make my old bathroom more environmentally friendly?

A: Opt for low-flow toilets and showerheads, use LED lighting, and choose sustainable materials like bamboo for cabinets or flooring to make your bathroom more eco-friendly.

What should I prioritise when renovating an old bathroom on a budget?

A: Prioritise updates that will have the most significant impact on the bathroom’s look and functionality, such as improving lighting, updating fixtures, and maximising storage space.

How can I keep my bathroom renovation within budget?

A: Start by setting a clear budget, prioritising essential renovations over cosmetic ones, doing some DIY projects, and shopping around for the best prices on materials and fixtures.

Are there any low-cost updates that can significantly improve a bathroom’s appearance?

Yes, simple updates like a fresh coat of paint, new cabinet hardware, and updated lighting fixtures can significantly enhance a bathroom’s appearance without requiring a large investment.

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