Small Bathroom Improvements Can Make a Big Difference

According to Remodel Magazine, the average bath remodel cost $13,000. When the expense of a full bath remodel is too much for your budget, consider making minor improvements, or making improvements in stages as you can afford it. A remodeled bathroom will increase the value of your home, so whether small changes or a full remodel, it’s worth it.

Prices shown are from a home improvement center on the east coast and do not reflect shipping or taxes.

Do It Yourself

These bathroom updates can be accomplished by the do it yourselfer ready to take on a moderate to challenging task. You can learn through DIY books, videos, or online tutorials. In addition, major hardware/home improvement centers (e.g., Lowes or Home Depot) offer free classes to teach you how to perform household repair and update tasks. Check with the customer service desk for scheduled classes.

And if you choose not to tackle the updates yourself, you can hire a handyman or take advantage of the home improvement installation services.


Carpet may seem a good choice for softness and warmth under foot, but for a wet place like a bath carpet is unsuitable. Carpet dampened from bathers or messy hand washers can mildew. And dare we mention the sanity issue around the toilet, particularly if little boys are in the house. Non-slip backed area rugs that are washable can comfort bare feet.

If you have linoleum or carpet or other out-dated or detraining flooring, take it out. Ceramic or porcelain tile, or the newer vinyl tile that looks like stone are good choices.

Price range per square foot: $1 – $2 for vinyl; $2 – $5 for porcelain or ceramic


Replacing old sink faucets, spigot, even the drain plug mechanism is a fairly inexpensive update. Try to match the finish that’s on the tub/shower fixtures, keeping a theme of chrome/shiny, brass, or burnished nickel, for example. Aside from the choice of finish, pricing depends on design, i.e., single mechanism for hot and cold or two separate faucets, and short neck spigot versus a long, swivel neck.

Price range: $20 – $200.


Pulling out the current sink (and vanity) and replacing it with a new pedestal sink or sink/vanity combination will make a striking difference in your bathroom.

Price range, 30″ vanity: $250 – $350

Price range, 31″ vanity top: $100 – $500

Price range, pedestal sink: $100 – $600


Check the current trend for lighting by looking at magazines or visiting your local home improvement center. If you are switching from sconces to strip-type lighting, it would be wise to call in an electrician.

Price range, 3 light strip or pair of sconces: $65 – $125

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