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5 Affordable Ways to Upgrade an Outdated Bathroom

Recaulk, repaint and consider installing propane heating under the tiles.

A wise man once said, “You go to take a shower with the bathroom you have — not the bathroom you might want or wish to have at a later time.” Perhaps we’re paraphrasing, but how happy are you with your current master bathroom? This should be your oasis; an escape from the drudgery of your workday, and a place to sink into soothing bubbles with a glass of wine and mellow tunes pouring from your iPod.

That can’t happen in a bathroom that is dingy, dank and depressing.

Are you ready to upgrade your outdated bathroom? Here are some affordable ways to make your restroom truly restful:

Buy Used or Imperfect

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In a perfect world, you could be replacing your sink, countertop, tub, shower and even toilet. That can end up being an expensive proposition if you buy everything brand spanking new. Instead, be smart about your fixture purchases. Start with Craigslist; you might discover someone has a few used items in good condition from a rehab job they’re looking to unload.

Speaking of rehab, you can also check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore that sells all the materials they can’t put into a home. Lots of bargains to be had there.

As for your granite or marble countertops, think imperfection. There will be many slabs of stone that are deemed imperfect because of minor discoloration. These slabs are also less expensive than pristine pieces. Suppose those imperfections are actually around the areas you’re going to cut out or place fixtures? You might not even see the problems, but could end up saving a bundle.

Bring in the Heat

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How many times have you gone into a cold bathroom and had your toes nearly encased in frostbite from the tile flooring? Maybe it’s not that severe, but it’s still a discomfort that diminishes your ideal bathroom. If you’re going to replace tiles with affordable options, you might want to consider adding propane heating for the floor. Utilizing propane for heat can actually save on energy bills. You won’t need to blast the whole house with heat when you just want a warm bathroom. Plus, this is an upgrade feature that can add significant value to your home.

Caulk Again

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The caulk or grout around your tub, shower and sink could be looking a bit grimy. A great and affordable improvement is to scrape it up and lay down a clean line of new caulk. It’s a perfect way to freshen up the bathroom, especially if you’re not going to swap out the tub or sink.

Think Green

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As long as you’re upgrading, you might want to think green with regard to your toilet and shower head. Low-flow is the way to go, and it will help you save money on your water bill. Just remember to also check your water regulator, which is where your water is piped into the house. Lowering the pressure from that point will also not only save you money by reducing water flow, it will also protect your pipes.

When in Doubt, Repaint

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Finally, the most affordable way to redo a bathroom is to give it a fresh coat of paint. Two things to avoid:

  • the color white
  • any paint that isn’t a high-quality satin finish

When repainting a bathroom, you want to take extra care to tape off all the areas you’ll need to paint around. That high-quality satin finish will also be a good protection against mold or mildew, as it tends to repel moisture.

As for the color palette, you have a wide world of choices that can provide a splash of personality for your bathroom. White is OK, but it’s also very sterile and, some may say, boring. Express yourself!

Once your bathroom upgrade is complete, make sure you take some time to enjoy it all — because it’s a safe bet that the kitchen will be next.

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