Clever Material Selections for an Affordable Bathroom Renovation

A bathroom remodel can completely transform the look and function of your space. However, renovations can also come with a hefty price tag if you’re not strategic about material choices. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to cut costs without sacrificing style or quality. Follow these tips to choose affordable materials for your dream bathroom remodel.

Assess Your Needs and Set Priorities

Before selecting any materials, take time to identify your needs and decide which aspects of the bathroom are highest priority for your remodel.

bathroom remodel checklist
  • Make a list of things you hope to change, like storage, fixtures, lighting, or layout.
  • Decide which areas will get the biggest makeover based on your budget. Focus on visible surfaces like flooring, countertops, and backsplashes.
  • Determine must-have features like a walk-in shower or soaking tub. Knowing priorities upfront prevents overspending in less important places.

Explore Economical Flooring Options

The floor sets the tone for the whole bathroom. Luckily, there are several budget-friendly flooring choices that offer both style and durability.

bathroom choosing the flooring

Sheet vinyl is an affordable and waterproof option. Modern sheet vinyl comes in stone, wood, and abstract designs. It’s easy to clean and install yourself. However, seams may be visible.

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) mimics wood or tile at a fraction of the cost. LVP resists moisture and stands up well to heavy use. Large planks click together for smooth, seamless installation.

Porcelain tile has a high-end look for less. Porcelain is dense, chip-resistant, and waterproof. Opt for smaller tiles to cut material costs. Add tile accents as borders or insets to save even more.

Choose an Economical Tub/Shower Surround

Since tub and shower surrounds endure moisture daily, materials must be water-resistant. Here are some wallet-friendly options:

Choose an Economical Tub/Shower Surround

Fiberglass surrounds are lightweight, making DIY installation fairly straightforward. They come in one-piece units or as multi-piece kits. White is the most affordable color, or opt for pastels.

Cultured marble consists of marble particles and resin that create beautiful veining like natural stone. Setup is quick compared to tile. Select a prefabricated surround or custom panels.

Acrylic surrounds are non-porous so they resist mold and mildew growth. Acrylic sheets are easy to cut to size and install over existing walls. Use silicone caulk for waterproof seals.

Laminate Offers An Affordable Countertop Solution

When choosing budget countertops, consider laminates which rival stone or quartz at a fraction of the price.

Laminate Offers An Affordable Countertop Solution

Laminate countertops consist of decorative paper fused to a plywood or composite wood core. The protective plastic coating resists scratches, stains, and heat. Hundreds of colors and patterns are available.

Laminate sheets can be cut to fit with saws or routing tools. Use silicone caulk to seal seams. Undermount sinks create a built-in look. Pair with a matching laminate backsplash adhered to drywall.

Save on Fixtures with Mixed Metals

While high-end plumbing fittings can be pricey, you can still add style on a budget.

Save on Fixtures with Mixed Metals

Opt for durable chrome for the essentials like faucets, showerheads and drains. Then incorporate black hardware, bronze, or brushed nickel accents for towel bars, hooks, shelves and other accessories.

Mixing metals adds depth and dimension. Keep accessories minimal for a sleek look.

Use Lighting Strategically to Stretch Dollars

Good lighting is crucial in bathrooms, but illumination doesn’t have to be expensive. Use these tips to make lighting affordable:

Place sconces or vanity light bars on each side of the mirror for even lighting during grooming. Pick simple designs or DIY conversions to reduce costs.

Use Lighting Strategically to Stretch Dollars

Add a recessed light in the shower to make cleaning easier. Use a downlight over the toilet area as well. Seal fixtures to prevent moisture damage.

Under cabinet lighting highlights the vanity for late-night visibility. Choose battery-powered or hardwired LEDs strips based on your budget.

Carefully Choose Wall Finishes and Paint

Paint and wall coverings must withstand humidity. Here are some affordable options:

Carefully Choose Wall Finishes and Paint
  • Enamel paint formulated for bathrooms resists mildew growth on walls. Use semi-gloss for wipeable finish.
  • Waterproof vinyl wallpaper adds visual interest. Use removable papers to refresh the look over time.
  • Beadboard paneling provides charming cottage-style appeal. Use paint-grade pine boards to reduce material costs.
  • Glass tile accents add a touch of luxury. Use sparingly as affordable accents near sinks, mirrors or in niches.

Don’t Overlook Small Details that Add Polish

It’s easy to blow your budget on the big stuff, but the finishing touches matter too. Look for small details that provide an upscale feel without upscale pricing:

  • Switch out tired towel bars, toilet paper holders and other hardware for simple, modern versions
  • Dress up windows with budget-friendly curtains, valances or frosted vinyl clings for privacy
  • Use neutral bath mats and shower curtains to stretch color palette dollars
  • Incorporate greenery with artificial plants that thrive in humidity
  • Display fresh folded towels decoratively on open shelves or in baskets
Don't Overlook Small Details that Add Polish

Pro Tip from Simply Built ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ

“When budgeting for a bathroom remodel, plan to allocate 50-60% for major elements like flooring, shower, vanity and lighting. Then use the remaining funds strategically for accents, accessories and details to maximize impact.”

The professionals at Simply Built have years of experience designing beautiful bathrooms while working within clients’ budgets. Their expertise can help you renovate your bathroom affordably and efficiently. Contact Simply Built today for a free consultation!


With smart planning and resourceful material selection, you can remodel your bathroom beautifully without blowing your budget. Focus first on the visible surfaces and high-use areas. Comparison shop to get the lowest prices on quality materials in your preferred styles. Add final polish with budget-savvy accents and accessories. With creativity and patience, you can have your dream remodeled bathroom while staying within your budget constraints.

David Castaneda
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