Sorry to get TMI on you, but we all spend a lot of time in the bathroom. And many things about that room — the fact that you’re alone in there without distractions, the amount of fixed design elements crammed into a small space, the potential for dirt and clutter — give it the potential to look outdated quite quickly. No wonder it’s consistently been the most popular home renovation project in this country.
If you don’t have the $40,700 an average bathroom reno costs, though, there are still ways to upgrade your porcelain palace on your own. Here are a few great DIY tricks we’ve found.
1. Declutter with pretty things
Start with the easiest bathroom upgrade: organize that stuff that winds up scattered all over your counter, shelves, toilet tank, and bathtub ledge. Depending on your personality, this could also be the hardest fix to maintain. That’s when you might want to try storing your most-used items in this gorgeous DIY mason-jar rack. If you have the counter space, you could also store makeup brushes in a vase filled with coffee beans (bonus smell!), cotton balls and tools in teacups and creamers, or soaps and shampoos in a metal fruit basket.
2. Declutter with hidden storage
Instead of piling hair accessories and appliances in a heap on the counter or at the bottom of yucky cabinets and drawers, screw a magazine storage box to the inside of a cabinet door, use drawer organizers with wild abandon, and attach a magnetic strip to your medicine cabinet to hold all those bobby pins, tweezers, and the like.
3. Embellish the cabinet doors
Instead of replacing your entire vanity, you can just make the doors more attractive. The projects here — painting, attaching molding, using painted shims — are listed as kitchen cabinet makeovers, but as long as the materials aren’t susceptible to water damage, you can use them in the bathroom too.
4. Peel off that laminate
If you’ve got laminated cabinets, you might be able to peel them and paint on the wooden surface underneath, just as this blogger did with a whole kitchen. (Test in an unseen corner first!)
5. Frame the mirror
Pick up some more molding, paint it, glue it, and turn your face into a museum masterpiece.
6. Ditch the towel rack
Replace that ugly metal bar with cute coat hooks or even doorknobs. You can arrange them in a row or at different heights, and replace them whenever the whim strikes you.
7. Resurface your sink and vanity in concrete
If you have a marble vanity with an integral sink (such a dated look), you can copy the look you see in trendy restaurant bathrooms by basically painting on layers of concrete.
8. Refinish your bathtub
Pepto-Bismol–colored tub? Rusty-bottomed tub? You might be tempted to hire a contractor to rip the whole damn thing out. Instead, pick up a Rust-oleum Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit, a roller, and a heavy-duty painter’s mask and refinish the thing yourself.
9. Add some tunes
Anyone who’s ever owned a shower radio can tell you they’re not exactly built to last, nor are they built for their looks. By the power of Bluetooth, however, there’s now this unobtrusive bathroom fan/speaker that will have you singing in the shower and/or piping smooth tunes for your guests from your phone or computer. (We’re not going to go through all the TMI reasons that’s a good idea.)