Bathrooms on a budget: 23 affordable ways to transform yours

Want to know how to design a bathroom on a budget? From quick and easy changes to bigger updates, we've got you covered...

Bathrooms on a budget: 23 cheap ideas to create a stylish space
(Image credit: Ikea)

Looking to learn how design or style bathrooms on a budget? Whether you are a renter looking for some inexpensive ways to improve your hand me down bathroom or just plain broke and in need of a cheap update, we've got you covered with these tips and tricks. We have pulled together a list of budget bathroom know-how, some ideas we have cost under £50, some under £100 and some under £500. You will then find some more practical advice if you are designing a bathroom from scratch and looking for budget-friendly tips. 

For more gorgeous bathroom ideas and for all the latest inspo, head over to our gallery. 

Bathrooms on a budget: under £50

Yep, we said budget and we mean it. All the ideas in this section come in at under 50 quid and most of them are super quick updates or little DIY jobs to anyone could do. That makes them fast as well as affordable. We approve.

1. Paint a bathroom ceiling anything but white

Bathroom painted in blue black

(Image credit: Dulux)

Painted ceilings are a massive trend at the moment and are a really great way to add interest to a space, especially a smaller space like a bathroom. If you are a keen DIYer and want to give this a go yourself, just check out our guide to painting a ceiling

If you're feeling brave and want to copy this gothic look, we recommend going for a combo of Farrow & Ball Down Pipe and Railings, and investing in good bathroom lighting. Designing a bathroom a bathroom from scratch? Head over to our feature for an in depth guide. 

2. Paint a bathroom floor for a quick and affordable update

vintage bathroom with green checkered tiles

Painting floorboards has also become a bit of a trend, so if you have floorboards in your bathroom, consider this as a cheap but chic bathroom update. You'll need to use wood paint (see our guide for the best), but if you can, use a paint designed for floors as it will be more durable and less slippery – if more limited in colour choices.

This is definitely a weekend job you could do yourself, just check out our guide to how to paint floorboards; you'll find more inspiring ideas over there, too.

3. Or paint bathroom walls an unexpected shade

Pale pink bathroom

(Image credit: Cult Furniture )

There are few cheaper and easier ways to update a space than by giving it a new lick of paint. We are loving pink at the moment, and softer shades are a space-enhancing choice for a small room. So if you are looking for an on trend bathroom update, we say go for a rosy hue. Something like Farrow & Ball's Sulking Room Pink, which despite the name is actually a really grown up take on the colour, would be our fave choice. 

For more pink room ideas to get you inspired, check out our feature. Find more bathroom paint ideas in our gallery, too, if pink's not your first choice.

4. Create an ombré paint effect

ombre finish blue toned bathroom with roller bath

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Experimenting with on-trend paint ideas is an easy and affordable way of creating a new vibe in a tired looking space. Copy this idea and pick two or three shades of varying tones (we'd recommend blues for a bathroom) and create a stylish finish with the help of our guide to painting an ombré accent wall

5. Experiment with bathroom wallpaper

Bathroom painted in Benjamin Moore Calypso Green

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Bathrooms and wallpaper? Surely that's not a good mix? Well, actually, it can work if you just follow a few extra steps when choosing and hanging your wallpaper. First, don't hang wallpaper anywhere that will be in constant contact with water – and if your bathroom isn't really well ventilated we would recommend sticking to wallpaper specifically designed for bathrooms (B&Q have a great selection). Otherwise, you can use any wallpaper you like, but make sure you use extra strong wallpaper adhesive; a layer of clear varnish can help protect it further.  

6. Invest in stylish bathroom storage to make more space

Peter Grech transformed his bathroom into a stylish sanctuary, and won our 2018 Real Homes award for best bathroom

(Image credit: katie lee)

Obviously, shelves are a good bathroom storage solution, but make them both practical and stylish by choosing open shelving that you could also make a bit of a feature of. Use them to store your essentials, your soaps, cotton wool, floss and what not (stick them in some pretty glass jars if you want), but also mix in some more decorative pieces like candles, house plants and cute folded towels.

Get some more tips of how to style shelves in our dedicated feature. 

7. Update towels – and how you store them 

a wooden ladder leant against the wall with towels hanging over

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Literally the cheapest way to update your bathroom is to get yourself a few new towels. Also think about mixing up the way you store them. You didn't spend money on new towels to fold them away in a cupboard, so get your fancy new towels out on show! Something like a gorgeously simple wooden ladder from would be perfect, for a similar look check out Tikamoon

8. Add simple bathroom accessories for a fresh feel

Floor standing tap in a bathroom with towels for guide to how to wash towels

(Image credit: Sheridan)

A quick, inexpensive (and often practical) way of updating your bathroom is with accessories. We are talking, soap dispensers, toothbrush holders, caddies, storage jars, all the fun stuff. Look out for cheap bathroom accessories when you next do your food shop; places like Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's all have really lovely and super affordable pieces. 

9. Brighten and enlargen a bathroom with a mirror

Bathroom with large mirror and dark blue door

(Image credit: Fritz Fryer)

It's interior design 101 that mirrors can add a ton of space and light to a room, which is obviously going to make your bathroom feel fresher. So, you know what we are going to say: buy a new bathroom mirror. Go as large as your space can handle to bounce as much light around as possible. 

Have we persuaded you to invest? We've rounded up the best bathroom mirrors in our buying guide, so go and have a scroll through those.

10. Decorate with tile stickers

Tiles in shower

(Image credit: Drummonds)

We only recently discovered the life-changing properties of tile stickers. They mostly come in at under a tenner a pack and you can use them pretty much anywhere. Look out for ones that are water-resistant (most of them are), and you can stick them over the existing tiles in your shower to recreate this look – no messy grout or expensive patterned tiles needed. 

(Image credit: Simon Whitmore)

Oooooh look you can use them on the floor too! Check out  Dunelm's selection for similar tile stickers to the ones below. 

11. Or just freshen up your existing tiles 

A family bathroom with white metro wall tiles, monochrome patterned floor tiles and a bath-shower with painted deep blue panel

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

You'd be surprised how much of a difference giving your current tiles a good clean can make. When your grout gets grimy (yum), it can bring down the whole look of your bathroom, so get yourself some rubber gloves, a toothbrush and a good cream cleaner, and start scrubbing. Get the paste into all the nooks and crannies and then leave for about 30 minutes to let it work its magic. Once you’ve left it for a while, simply rinse off with clean water and wipe up any residue with a microfibre towel.

Top tip: Baking soda and vinegar mixed makes for a great natural cream cleaner that will leave your grout sparkling. We actually have a whole feature on natural cleaning hacks, so make sure you go and check that out too. 

If even after a deep clean your grout still looks a bit dull, you are going to want to pick up a grout pen to brighten it instead. It takes minutes to apply but makes a dramatic difference. 

12. Fill your bathroom with house plants

Bathroom filled with houseplants

(Image credit: Nest)

Another easy, affordable and non-space-stealing way to up the style factor in your bathroom is to display house plants. The bathroom below might be taking it a tad too far (although, personally, we don't think you can ever have enough house plants), but just adding a couple to your shelves or hanging up a few in baskets could be all your bathroom needs to feel like a new space. 

Top tip: If your bathroom is windowless, we recommend opting for fake plants. You'll find a load of fake (and real) options in our round up of the best indoor plants

13. Switch up your shower curtain

Shower curtain by H&M Home

(Image credit: H&M)

Throw away that yellowing, ever so slightly mouldy shower curtain. Go on, do it now. And get yourself a gorgeous shiny new one. H&M Home have a huge selection, each one as gorgeous as the next (we literally couldn't decide on a favourite). Plus, they start from as little as £8.99. 

We love the simplicity of on a blue and white striped shower curtain; they would fit in any style bathroom for sure. 

Freestanding bath in dark painted bathroom with gallery wall

(Image credit: Waters Baths of Ashbourne)

Treating your bathroom decor and styling like you would that of your living room or bedroom is one of the quickest shortcuts you can take to giving it a bold new look. Hanging a gallery wall is one way to do this – and you needn't even spend to get this finish; simply repurpose pictures you're not using or want to swap out from other rooms. Use our guide to creating a gallery wall to find out how to get the perfect look.

Bathrooms on a budget: under £100

So, you've got a bit more of a budget to spend on your bathroom, but still want to keep your spend under £100? Here are some ideas that will have more of an impact, but still won't break the bank...

15. Buy some new pieces of bathroom furniture

simple folklore trend items in a white bathroom

(Image credit: Barker & Stonehouse)

We aren't talking a new bath here, or even a new sink – something like a side table or a new statement stool will do. Look for pieces that aren't necessarily made for bathrooms that will add more interest to your space. We love these rustic wooden stools from Etsy, which could actually be pretty practical for chucking towels over or keeping things handy near the bath. The gorgeous little cabinet in the bathroom below is definitely on our lust list and you can find something similar at Graham and Green

16. Switch up your bathroom window treatment 

Moroccan print black out blind in a small bathroom

(Image credit: Hillarys)

How much does a blind cost? It's deffo under £100 quid, right? So give your space an update with this budget but beautiful idea – switch up your window treatment. Choose a roller blind in a on trend pattern, or for a softer look go for a more traditional Roman blind; you could even just add a pretty window film for some extra privacy. 

If you are after more bathroom window treatment ideas, head over to our gallery. 

17. Put up some wallpaper for a cheap bathroom update

Bathroom with yellow freestanding bath and yellow wallpaper

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Just like paint, a single roll of wallpaper can make all the difference to a space. If you have a large bathroom that is well ventilated, you could get away with using any wallpaper, but we recommend looking out for those suited to high-moisture rooms that are labelled ‘extra washable’ or ‘highly wash-resistant’.

18. Upgrade your bathroom lighting

Orginial BTC light in a bathroom

(Image credit: Orginial BTC)

Lighting can make or break a room so switching it up could be all your bathroom needs to make it feel brand new(ish). Get rid of any harsh overhead lighting you might have and replace it with softer shade or, if you have the budget, add some warm wall lights that could completely change the vibe of your room. 

For a full guide on how to choose bathroom lighting check out our in depth feature. 

19. DIY a bath panel 

colourful geometric panelling in a white bathroom

(Image credit: Genie)

Revamping a plain white tub with a bright bath panel is easy to do and a quick way to refresh a tired-looking scheme, injecting a bit of pattern and colour. Think you can't DIY this look for under £100? Think again. Just head over to our guide for how to DIY a bath panel for everything you need to know. 

Bathrooms on a budget: under £500

Still not blowing all your budget, but if you've got a touch more to spend on your space, here are some affordable ideas that still come in at under £500...

20. Choose bespoke bathroom pieces

Wooden vanity with marble top from Neptune

(Image credit: Neptune)

Opting for unique or bespoke pieces can be a great way of adding character into a bathroom. If you're an experienced DIY-er, consider customising pieces you have already got; we love the idea of turning a cabinet into a washstand and it's much more straightforward than you might think. Simply cut out a hole where the basin should be – most come with a template.

If you are on the hunt for a vanity unit, we have load of inspiration over in our ideas gallery. 

21. Or trawl online marketplaces for one off finds

arts_and_crafts_style_cloakroom_with_panelling_sink

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

Buying a whole new bathroom might not quite be in your budget, but you'd be surprised what cool pieces you can find second hand. We know, you are probably thinking, 'Err... I don't want anyone's second hand toilet, thanks'. But how about a reclaimed freestanding bathtub with ball and claw feet? Or a vintage Victorian sink? A hand-me-down bathroom doesn't sound so gross now does it? Keep an eye on sites like eBay and Etsy for these kind of unique pieces.  

22. Replace your bathroom fittings

white scheme bathroom with black accents photographed by Chris Snook

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

If your bathroom fittings – taps, showerheads and the like – are looking a bit worse for wear, maybe it's time to get them replaced. They aren't really something you notice until you change them up and realise you've put up with that gross showerhead for way too long. Black fixtures are bang on trend at the moment and there are loads of affordable options out there (check out this one from Victoria Plum ). Or, for an equally trendy but slightly warmer look, try bronze or copper fixtures. 

23. Update your bathroom with wall panelling 

Blue painted bathroom

(Image credit: Graham & Green)

Panelling is a more affordable alternative to wall tiles, especially if you can fit it yourself, which most experienced DIYers would be able to do. Just be aware when using panelling in bathrooms that although, MDF designs painted with an oil-based finish are water-resistant, they shouldn't be used where they will be soaked. 

Check out more wall panelling ideas in our feature. 

Practical tips for designing bathrooms on a budget 

Work with the bathroom you have got

The first rule of renovating any room on a budget is to salvage whatever you can from the current design. This could potentially save you £££s in replacing items that are serviceable but just need a little TLC. However, don't keep something if it will have a cost impact in another way. For example, it might be cheaper to replace a whole bathroom suite than try to find replacements to match one another.

The most important thing though is to try to maintain the existing plumbing layout if possible. Keep the waste and water inlets as they are and try to place sanitaryware accordingly to keep plumbing costs down. Acquainting yourself with the rudiments of bathroom plumbing can help you make the right choices for your budget, too.

Take on bathroom renovation work yourself

Take on DIY tasks that you feel confident with, but leave anything that involves the cutting or adjustment of expensive materials to a professional.

Choose sanitaryware on a budget

Other than shopping around online or waiting for sales, what can you to do maximise savings on sanitaryware?

When it comes to choosing bathroom sinks, a pedestal model or wash-stand, which has legs, is usually less expensive than a vanity unit or cabinet and makes a striking standalone piece. If you need more storage space than this type of sink can offer, add simple shelves to an alcove and supplement with smaller bathroom storage solutions such as baskets, caddies and hooks.

To make savings, you may be tempted to mix and match sanitaryware from different brands. This can work where styles are similar, but do check the colours very closely, as not all whites are the same. This also goes for adding a pristine new item into an existing, slightly aging suite.

If you are buying the fittings for your builder to install, before purchasing double check the practical matters, such as changing an old-fashioned high-level cistern over to one that is close coupled, or if the position of bathroom taps and/or waste is due to change. Moving taps and waste pipes will involve extra work and expense. Our plumbing guide will give you a better idea of what might be involved.

Looking for more bathroom inspiration?