How to Make a Bathroom Modern on a Budget?

Farnan Culkin
July 2, 2023

Is your bathroom looking a bit outdated and dull? We understand how frustrating it can be to crave that modern, stylish look but feel restricted by budget constraints. Interestingly, lighting is an effective yet affordable element that can remarkably transform the bathroom's aesthetic in no time.

In this article, we'll guide you through inexpensive yet impactful techniques to revamp your bathroom into a sleek sanctuary without breaking the bank. 

Key Takeaways

  • Painting walls and cabinets in trendy colors can instantly modernise your bathroom on a budget.
  • Replacing outdated hardware, such as cabinet knobs and showerheads, can give your bathroom a fresh and stylish look without breaking the bank.
  • Updating lighting fixtures with energy - efficient LED bulbs can create a brighter and more modern atmosphere in your bathroom.
  • Adding stylish accessories like mirrors, storage containers, towels, and decorative items can enhance the overall look of your bathroom without spending a fortune.

Budget-Friendly Bathroom Updates

To give your bathroom a modern update on a budget, start by painting the walls and cabinets in fresh, trendy colors. Replace outdated hardware with sleek and stylish options to instantly elevate the look.

Update lighting fixtures with energy-efficient LED bulbs for a brighter and more modern feel. Install a new showerhead for an affordable way to improve your daily routine. Finally, add some stylish accessories like decorative storage baskets or chic soap dispensers to complete the transformation without breaking the bank.

Paint walls and cabinets

Giving a new splash of colour to your bathroom walls and cabinets can instantly modernise and freshen up the space. Here's how:

  1. Start by choosing paint in a trendy colour, like grey tones that are right on trend.
  2. Invest in good quality, moisture - resistant paint designed for bathrooms to ensure longevity.
  3. Remove all hardware from cabinets before painting them - it makes the process easier and results more professional.
  4. Do-it-yourself (DIY) is an affordable option, but don't hesitate to employ a professional if you're unsure about the task.
  5. Use different colours on walls and cabinets for contrast or match them for a streamlined look.
  6. Consider updating cabinet handles and knobs after painting for an extra touch of modernity.

Replace hardware

Replacing hardware is an affordable way to update the look of your bathroom without breaking the bank. Here are some budget-friendly options to consider:

  • Swap out old cabinet knobs and drawer pulls for modern and stylish ones.
  • Upgrade your faucet with a sleek and contemporary design.
  • Replace outdated towel bars, hooks, and toilet paper holders with new ones that match your desired aesthetic.
  • Consider installing a new showerhead with adjustable settings for a luxurious bathing experience.
  • Don't forget about the door handles and hinges – replacing them can make a big difference in the overall appearance.

Update lighting fixtures

Updating the lighting fixtures in your bathroom is an affordable and effective way to give it a modern and stylish look. Consider these budget-friendly options:

  • Install energy - efficient LED bulbs to create a brighter and more inviting atmosphere.
  • Add a statement pendant light or chandelier for a touch of elegance.
  • Incorporate wall sconces on either side of the mirror for better visibility and a contemporary feel.
  • Opt for adjustable spotlights that can be directed towards specific areas, such as the shower or vanity.
  • Consider installing dimmer switches to create different lighting moods throughout the day.

Install a new showerhead

Installing a new showerhead is a simple and affordable way to update your bathroom and give it a modern touch. Here are some budget-friendly options you can consider:

  • Choose a water - efficient showerhead that not only helps reduce water consumption but also saves you money on your utility bills.
  • Look for showerheads with adjustable settings, such as different spray patterns or a handheld option, for added convenience and customisation.
  • Opt for a showerhead with built-in LED lights, which can create a relaxing and spa-like atmosphere in your bathroom.
  • Consider installing a rainfall showerhead for a luxurious and refreshing shower experience.
  • Explore the option of installing a water - saving aerator or flow restrictor to further conserve water while still enjoying a satisfying shower.

Add stylish accessories

To give your bathroom a modern touch without breaking the bank, consider adding some stylish accessories. Here are a few budget-friendly options to consider:

  1. Hang a sleek and contemporary mirror on your bathroom wall to instantly update the space.
  2. Place decorative storage containers, such as stylish baskets or chic bins, to keep toiletries organised and add a touch of elegance.
  3. Incorporate trendy and coordinating towels that complement the color scheme of your bathroom.
  4. Display decorative items like scented candles, small vases with fresh flowers, or unique artwork to create a visually appealing atmosphere.
  5. Install shelves or floating shelves to showcase decorative objects or store everyday essentials in a stylish way.

Creative DIY Bathroom Projects

Transform old furniture into new bathroom pieces to save money and add a unique touch.

Upcycle old furniture

Upcycling old furniture is a great way to give your bathroom a modern look without breaking the bank. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Repurpose an old dresser or cabinet as a stylish vanity. Add a fresh coat of paint and new hardware for an updated look.
  • Transform an old ladder into a towel rack. Hang it horizontally on the wall and use the rungs to hang towels and display decorative items.
  • Use an old wooden crate as a storage solution. Attach it to the wall and fill it with rolled towels, toiletries, or plants for added style.
  • Turn an unused chair into a unique towel holder. Remove the seat and back, then attach hooks or bars to hang towels from.
  • Convert an old mirror frame into a DIY medicine cabinet. Attach shelves inside the frame to store essentials and add a mirror to the front.

Create a spa-like atmosphere with candles and plants

Transform your bathroom into a relaxing oasis with these budget-friendly ideas:

  • Set the mood with scented candles strategically placed around your bathroom.
  • Bring in some greenery with easy-to-care-for indoor plants that thrive in humid environments.
  • Hang eucalyptus branches in the shower to release a soothing aroma during every steamy session.
  • Install a dimmer switch to adjust the lighting and create a tranquil ambiance.
  • Incorporate natural materials like bamboo or wood accents for a spa-like touch.

Make your own bath rack or storage solutions

Making your own bath rack or storage solutions is an affordable and creative way to update your bathroom without breaking the bank. Here are some ideas:

  • Repurpose a wooden ladder as a towel rack and shelf for toiletries.
  • Create shelves using crates or baskets, which can be painted or stained to match your bathroom decor.
  • Use mason jars or glass containers to store cotton balls, Q - tips, and other small items on the countertop.
  • Build a floating shelf above the toilet to provide extra storage space for towels or decorative items.
  • Construct a DIY vanity tray using a picture frame and decorative paper or fabric.

Install wall panelling

Installing wall panelling is a cost-effective way to update the look of your bathroom. It adds texture and interest to the walls, giving your space a modern and stylish feel. Plus, it can easily be installed yourself, saving you money on professional installation fees. With a variety of materials and styles available, you can choose the option that fits your budget and design preferences. Whether you opt for traditional wood panels or a more contemporary option like PVC or MDF, wall panelling is sure to elevate the overall look of your bathroom without breaking the bank.

Revamp storage with baskets and bins

Revamp your bathroom storage with stylish baskets and bins. Not only are they practical for keeping your essentials organised, but they also add a touch of modernity to your space. Consider using woven baskets or sleek plastic bins to store towels, toiletries, and other bathroom necessities. Place them on open shelves or under the sink for easy access. By utilising baskets and bins, you can keep your bathroom clutter-free while adding a contemporary feel to the room.

Affordable Flooring Options

  • Vinyl or laminate flooring is a cost-effective choice for updating your bathroom floor.
  • Painted or stenciled floor designs can add a unique and modern touch without breaking the bank.
  • Peel-and-stick tiles are an easy and affordable option for giving your bathroom floor a fresh look.
  • Area rugs or bath mats can be used to cover up any existing flooring imperfections while adding style to the space.
  • Refurbishing existing tiles by cleaning, regrouting, or painting them can provide a budget-friendly way to update your bathroom flooring.

Vinyl or laminate flooring

Vinyl or laminate flooring is a great budget-friendly option for giving your bathroom a modern look. Here are some reasons why:

  1. It is affordable and cost - effective, allowing you to update your bathroom without breaking the bank.
  2. Vinyl flooring comes in a wide range of styles and designs, including options that mimic the look of more expensive materials like wood or tile.
  3. Laminate flooring is durable and resistant to moisture, making it a practical choice for bathrooms.
  4. Both vinyl and laminate flooring are easy to install, even as a DIY project, saving you money on professional installation costs.
  5. These types of flooring are low maintenance and easy to clean, making them ideal for bathrooms where water spills and high humidity are common.
  6. With proper care, vinyl or laminate flooring can last for many years, providing long - term value for your investment.

Painted or stenciled floor designs

One way to add a modern touch to your bathroom on a budget is by incorporating painted or stenciled floor designs. This can be a cost-effective solution for updating the look of your bathroom without breaking the bank. Consider using stencils to create unique patterns or designs on your bathroom floor. Alternatively, you can paint the floor in a bold color or create a geometric pattern for a more modern aesthetic. With some creativity and DIY skills, you can transform your bathroom floor into a stylish focal point without spending a lot of money.

Use peel-and-stick tiles

Peel-and-stick tiles are a cost-effective option for updating your bathroom. They are easy to install and require minimal tools or expertise. With peel-and-stick tiles, you can quickly transform the look of your bathroom without breaking the bank. Here are some reasons why you should consider using peel-and-stick tiles:

  1. Easy installation: Peel-and-stick tiles have a self-adhesive backing, making them incredibly simple to install. You can easily apply them directly onto your existing floor or wall surface.
  2. Affordability: Peel-and-stick tiles are much more affordable than traditional ceramic or porcelain tiles. This makes them ideal for homeowners on a budget who still want to achieve a modern look in their bathroom.
  3. Versatility: Peel-and-stick tiles come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and styles. Whether you prefer a sleek and minimalist design or something vibrant and bold, there is a peel-and-stick option to suit your taste.
  4. Durability: Despite their affordability, peel-and-stick tiles are surprisingly durable. They are resistant to water, stains, and wear, making them suitable for use in bathrooms with high moisture levels.
  5. Easy maintenance: Cleaning peel-and-stick tiles is a breeze. Simply wipe them down with mild soap and water to keep them looking fresh and new.

Opt for area rugs or bath mats

Area rugs or bath mats are a budget-friendly way to add style and comfort to your bathroom. These accessories not only provide a soft surface to step on after a shower, but they also come in a variety of colors, patterns, and textures that can enhance the overall aesthetic of your bathroom. Additionally, area rugs and bath mats can help protect your flooring from water damage and provide a cozy atmosphere.

Refurbish existing tiles

Refurbishing existing tiles is a cost-effective way to update your bathroom without breaking the bank. Here are some simple steps to give your tiles a fresh new look:

  1. Clean the tiles thoroughly with a tile cleaner to remove any dirt or grime.
  2. Repair any chips or cracks in the tiles using a tile filler or epoxy adhesive.
  3. Sand down the surface of the tiles to create a smooth and even texture.
  4. Apply a primer specifically designed for tile surfaces to ensure proper adhesion of the paint.
  5. Choose a high - quality tile paint in your desired color and apply it evenly over the tiles using a brush or roller.
  6. Allow the paint to dry completely before applying a second coat if necessary.
  7. Seal the painted tiles with a clear sealant to protect them from moisture and everyday wear and tear.

Final Touches for a Modern Bathroom

Update window treatments with sleek and minimalistic blinds or curtains for a clean and contemporary look. Hang a statement mirror to add depth and reflect light, instantly elevating the space.

Refresh walls with trendy wallpaper or a fresh coat of paint in a bold color to make a stylish statement. Add greenery with indoor plants that thrive in humid environments, such as ferns or peace lilies, for a touch of natural beauty.

Finally, invest in quality towels and bath linens in coordinating colors to tie the whole modern bathroom together.

Update window treatments

Updating window treatments is an easy and affordable way to give your bathroom a modern makeover. Consider these options:

  • Install sleek roller blinds or Roman shades for a clean and contemporary look.
  • Hang sheer curtains to create a light and airy atmosphere in your bathroom.
  • Opt for patterned or textured curtains to add visual interest and personality to the space.
  • Use privacy window film or frosted glass adhesive to maintain privacy while still allowing natural light to filter through.
  • Consider adding decorative valances or cornices to enhance the overall style of your bathroom.

Hang a statement mirror

To make your bathroom look more modern on a budget, try hanging a statement mirror. Not only will it add style to your space, but it will also create the illusion of a larger bathroom. Choose a mirror with an interesting shape or frame that complements your overall design aesthetic. Hang the mirror on a prominent wall in your bathroom for maximum impact. Don't forget to position it at the right height for optimal functionality and visual appeal. A statement mirror is an affordable and effective way to give your bathroom a modern makeover without breaking the bank.

Refresh walls with wallpaper or paint

Refreshing the walls with wallpaper or paint is a simple and affordable way to give your bathroom a modern look. Consider these budget-friendly options:

  1. Choose a fresh coat of paint in a trendy color, like gray or pastels, to instantly update the space.
  2. Opt for removable wallpaper in a stylish pattern or design that complements your overall bathroom decor.
  3. Create an accent wall by painting it in a bold color or using wallpaper with a striking print.
  4. Experiment with different painting techniques, such as ombre or stenciling, to add texture and visual interest to the walls.
  5. Don't forget about the ceiling - you can give it a fresh coat of paint or use peel-and-stick wallpaper for added charm.

Add greenery with indoor plants

One way to bring a touch of modernity to your bathroom without breaking the bank is by adding greenery with indoor plants. Not only do plants freshen up the space, but they also create a calming and spa-like atmosphere. Here are some affordable and stylish options for incorporating indoor plants into your bathroom:

  • Hang a macrame plant holder from the ceiling or attach it to the wall.
  • Place a small potted plant on a shelf or windowsill.
  • Opt for low - maintenance plants like succulents or air plants that thrive in humid environments.
  • Create a vertical garden using wall - mounted planters.
  • Install floating shelves and adorn them with small potted herbs or trailing vines.

Invest in quality towels and bath linens

Investing in quality towels and bath linens is a simple yet effective way to add a touch of luxury to your modern bathroom. Here are some key reasons why you should consider upgrading:

  • Quality towels and bath linens not only look and feel better, but they also last longer. Investing in durable materials ensures that your towels and linens will hold up well over time, saving you money in the long run.
  • Soft and absorbent towels provide a more comfortable bathing experience. They can quickly soak up moisture from your body, leaving you feeling warm and dry.
  • High - quality bath linens come in a variety of colors, patterns, and textures, allowing you to personalise your bathroom decor. You can choose from plush cotton towels for a cozy feel or opt for sleek microfiber or bamboo blends for a more modern look.
  • Luxurious towels and bath linens add a sense of elegance and sophistication to any bathroom. The softness and visual appeal of quality textiles create a spa-like atmosphere that enhances the overall aesthetic of your space.
  • Quality bath linens are often more resistant to fading, pilling, or shrinking after multiple washes. This means they will maintain their vibrant colors and plush texture for longer periods of time.


In conclusion, creating a modern bathroom on a budget is not only possible, but can also be a fun and creative project. By utilising affordable updates such as painting walls and cabinets, replacing hardware, updating lighting fixtures, and adding stylish accessories, you can transform your bathroom without breaking the bank.

DIY projects like upcycling old furniture, creating a spa-like atmosphere with candles and plants, and installing wall panelling can add unique touches to your space. Consider affordable flooring options such as vinyl or laminate flooring, painted or stencilled floor designs, peel-and-stick tiles, area rugs or bath mats, or refurbishing existing tiles.

Finally, don't forget about the final touches such as updating window treatments, hanging a statement mirror, refreshing walls with wallpaper or paint, and adding greenery with indoor plants.

With these budget-friendly tips and ideas in mind, you'll be able to achieve a modern and stylish bathroom without spending a fortune.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I modernise my bathroom on a budget?

There are several affordable ways to modernise your bathroom, such as repainting the walls, replacing outdated fixtures with more contemporary ones, adding stylish accessories like mirrors or artwork, and updating the lighting.

What are some inexpensive flooring options for a modern bathroom?

Vinyl flooring or laminate tiles are cost-effective options for achieving a modern look in your bathroom. These materials come in various designs and patterns that can mimic the appearance of more expensive flooring materials like ceramic or stone.

Can I update my bathroom's look without replacing the entire vanity?

Yes, you can update your bathroom's look without completely replacing the vanity. Consider refinishing or painting the existing vanity to give it a fresh and modern appearance. Additionally, changing the hardware, such as drawer pulls and faucets, can also make a significant difference.

Are there any DIY projects I can undertake to modernise my bathroom on a budget?

Yes! DIY projects like installing new shelving units, creating an accent wall with peel-and-stick wallpaper, repurposing vintage items into storage solutions, or making your own custom-framed mirror can all contribute to giving your bathroom a modern makeover without breaking the bank.

How do I choose the right lighting fixtures for a modern bathroom look?

For a modern look, consider LED bulbs for energy efficiency and brightness. Statement fixtures like pendant lights, wall sconces, or adjustable spotlights can enhance the style and functionality of your bathroom.

What are some alternative options for modern bathroom flooring?

Affordable options for bathroom flooring include vinyl or laminate flooring, peel-and-stick tiles, or even painting or stencilling designs on the existing floor. Alternatively, area rugs or bath mats can cover existing imperfections while adding style.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Farnan Culkin

Farnan Culkin is a seasoned expert in the home improvement industry and the proud founder of BuildPro. His passion for home renovation and home extensions has led him to create a platform that educates homeowners, helping them transform their Irish homes into their dream dwellings.