Budget bathroom ideas – 28 ways to update your bathroom cheaply but with style

Our budget bathroom ideas are full of clever tricks and mini decor projects to make your bathroom more beautiful

budget bathroom ideas, neutral bathroom with striped shower curtain and matching cafe blind, cork floor, green painted bath, tongue and groove
(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

Our uber stylish budget bathroom ideas will give your bathing space a new lease of life – from painting floorboards and baths to updating your taps and shower curtains, there's something for everyone. We also cover some clever budget small bathroom ideas as we know they're tough to update too. 

Bathrooms are one of the most used rooms within our homes, so naturally, they need refreshing from time to time. Our budget bathroom ideas will help you give yours a brand-new look, without turning into a full redo.

Whether it's giving your en suite bathroom ideas a refresh without breaking the bank, updating the downstairs loo, or turning the family bathroom from drab to fab, we've got plenty of bathroom ideas to set you on your way.

But giving your bathroom a new look, doesn't have to cost a fortune or take weeks to complete, our ideas (plus tips from the experts) are all simple tweaks, tricks and clever ideas that won't send your bank balance into the red.

Budget bathroom ideas 

Budget bathroom ideas are easier to find that you might thing, if you let your imagination run wild there are so many affordable bathroom paint ideas or bathroom storage ideas that cost less than £100 to recreate. However, if you're stuck for inspiration we've listed the very best budget ideas we've come across at Ideal Home and used in our own homes to help you tackle your next makeover.

1. Paint the top section of your walls

budget bathroom ideas, white square tiles with top quarter of walls painted bright yellow, window frame painted black, black fixtures, black chair, towel on sink

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Fancy a small change but only got some leftover paint? Painting above a picture rail will still create impact, so give it a go.

'Bathrooms generally have less windows so, if this is the case, work with a colour that thrives in reduced light. White is a safe and easy option in this circumstance as lighter colours tend to make a space feel bigger, however, why not inject some colour by painting the top part of the wall, above the tiling,' says Helen Shaw, director of marketing (International), Benjamin Moore.

'Warm tones such as yellow, terracotta, and coral will naturally bring a zest and sense of energy to a room. Yellows in particular, are known to lift a mood and evoke a feeling of warmth and joy.'

2. Upgrade a bath with a bath tray

bath with green wooden bath rack with soap, bottles on it, gold taps

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Small changes can make all the different and if your bathroom is limited with space then storage is key. Dunelm's sage green bath rack is great value and will help with your bath lotion and potions, soap and sponges. 

Match the colour to your accessories for a cohesive look. 

3. Swap out your 90s chrome for warm brass

budget bathroom updates, wall mounted double sink vanity, grey tiles, blush walls, brass taps, mirror wall light

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Metallics have always been around, but now it's time to ditch your chrome for super stylish warm brass. Replacing fittings is one of the less expensive options in a bathroom renovation that will make a bit impact. Alternatively, you could try painting them until you have the budget for a proper replacement.

'When styling a home, the bathroom is often overlooked and not prioritised. As it is the room we visit multiple times a day and use for self-care and relaxation, it’s lovely when the styling matches that feeling,' says Francesca Morris, senior buyer, Garden Trading

'We are seeing the return of brass detailing across railings, mirrors and shelving, and we have identified this as a trend for 2023. Some items fully embrace this with the antique brass finishing which provides an elevated aesthetically luxe offering with contemporary curves and rounded detailing.' 

4. Create a driftwood wall

budget bathroom ideas, white bathroom with driftwood wall on right, old fashioned drying hanging rack, vintage galvanised trough style sink, white floor, white painted wall by window

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Do you love a themed room? Coastal bathroom ideas are easy on the eye and cheap to create if you don't mind scouring reclamation yards and vintage fairs – we do!

Old floorboards can be bought cheaply, or even given away and they look fabulous as a driftwood-style wall in a white vintage bathroom. Look out for other antique pieces that will fit the look. 

5. Choose primary coloured accessories

budget bathroom ideas, bold colourful bathroom with blue painted window frame, yellow bath, red vase, red wall light, stripe blue towel, red graphic blind

(Image credit: Pooky)

Simple yet effective, changing up your accessories and moving them from room to room is a good way to change up a scheme. 

'A home filled with colour is proven to lift the spirit. Bathrooms are often one of the first and last rooms visited during a daily routine, so ensuring this space brings you cheer is crucial. One of the easiest ways to spruce up your décor and introduce mood boosting colour is through accessory switcheroos,' says Jo Plant, head of design, Pooky

'A bold colour used on bathroom lighting designs is a great way to gauge the impact of how using colour affects your mood. To go all out, consider primary colours throughout – brightly toned tub, patterned window dressings, and even a painted windowsill are all ways to fashion a unique bathroom scheme. There are no rules, so be bold and daring and follow your gut to create an interiors scheme that you’ll love.' 

6. Paint your floorboards

coastal bathroom with grey painted panelled walls, beams, dark grey painted freestanding bath, white painted floor, large vintage style mirror, brass taps

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Painted your walls but still need a budget refresh? Consider painting your floorboards, you can do it cheaply with basic white emulsion, it won't last forever but there's something beautiful about how it wears and ends up with a vintage style look.

If you can stretch to floor paint then do, it will last longer and has more of a sheen – remember you won't need much as most bathrooms are small. 

7. Refresh one wall

budget bathroom ideas with blush wall, black tub, storage in wall alcove

(Image credit: Wayfair)

'A complete bathroom renovation can be enormously costly, and often unnecessary when there are so many purse-friendly ways to overhaul this space. For a quick and easy approach, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders in transforming the look and feel of your bathroom. Consider using light or neutral colors to give your space an airy, spa-like feel, ' says Dee Fontenot, resident style advisor, Wayfair.

8. Hang new artwork

budget bathroom ideas, blue and white bathroom, trio of artwork on blue wall, white bath

(Image credit: Beach House Art)

Hanging artwork can give a bathroom a quick update that won't break the bank. One large print in the middle of a wall will suffice, but if you can, a trio in a colour that complements the rest of scheme will be more eye-catching. 

Beach House Art have a wide range of unframed and framed prints, check out the coral range which looks wonderful on blue and grey walls. 

9. Be bold and paint your bath

budget bathroom ideas, black and white bath room with monochromatic check floor tiles, black bath

(Image credit: Carpetright)

'When planning your bathroom design, it is important to think about the unification of colour. A seamless transition between elements in your bathroom will help to create a sense of continuity and flow throughout the space, whilst also enhancing the overall visual appeal,' says Jemma Dayman, hard flooring buyer, Carpetright. 

'Matching the colour of your accents, such as your bathtub, to the colour of your vinyl flooring is a cost-effective way to create a harmonious scheme. Black accents are particularly on trend and, when paired with neutral, muted tones, can offer a zen, spa-like feel.'

10. Opt for a new shower curtain

budget bathroom ideas, neutral bathroom with striped shower curtain and matching cafe blind, cork floor, green painted bath, tongue and groove

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Shower curtain ideas are having a resurgence as a way to add serious style to a bathroom. Forget the cliches fish designs and plastic materials, they now come in range of styles that look as chic as standard curtains. You can even make your own.

'Don’t be limited by shop-bought shower curtains. Whipping up your own – with a matching café-style window curtain – will give you such a tremendous sense of achievement,' says Annie Sloan, paint and colour expert. 

'Just don’t forget to add a waterproof curtain liner or your beautiful handiwork will get soggy!' 

Bit if you're sewing skills have alot to be desired, Dunelm has a beautiful range of sophisticated curtains. Our favourites are these £12 on-trend natural micro-stripe ones that our Deputy Digital Editor has in her own bathroom.

11. Make a shelf display

Pink bathroom with white metro tiled wall and wooden shelf with plants on it

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Simon Whitmore)

Treat your bathroom just like you would any other room in the house and don't forget the plants and accessories. Pop a wooden shelf up on the wall for a place to not only keep your prettier toiletries and smellies, but also bathroom storage ideas to display framed prints, collected treasures and of course a house plant or two.

12. Bring in accents of on-trend matt black

White bathroom with all black accessories and orange towel on rail

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Whilst brass hardware continues to be a huge bathroom trend, we're seeing more and more home owners choose black as their accent colour and we are all for it for expensive and budget bathroom ideals alike! 

As most bathrooms tend to be a serene and simple white, adding in touches of black is an easy way to really pack a punch as it will pop against the background. Swap out tired taps and rusty radiators and replace with smart, matt black options instead.

13. Opt for an oversized mirror

White bathroom with large window and large window mirror over bath

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

The more natural light you can achieve in your bathroom, the better, making it much easier to apply your make-up and giving the whole space a more open and inviting feel. 

So if windows are small (or even if they're not!) choosing the biggest bathroom mirror you can fit on your wall, will then allow it to bounce the natural light coming in, to more spots around the room, all the while making the space feel bigger. Choosing a window-style mirror like this one breaks up the wall a bit too.

14. Choose an accent colour

Grey bathroom with pops of yellow and white metro tiles on wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

You might find that your bathroom suite is perfectly ok and actually its the just the accessories that need lifting, in which case, you're in luck- this is the fun bit! Adding in pops of colour with accessories one of the easiest budget bathroom ideas. 

A shade like sunny yellow is going to work really well in black and white bathroom ideas so choose towels, bath mats, plant pots and even shampoo bottles in this happy shade and let your room be transformed before your eyes. Yellow not your colour? Try a teal, pale pink or even lilac!

15. Save space in the loo with a caddy

Rattan cane wooden caddy hung on wall of bathroom

(Image credit: B&M)

Cloakrooms often lack space for toiletries. This handy caddy attaches to the wall and has a rail for a towel too, so the basin remains uncluttered, hoorah! Attaching a slim shelf to the wall above will also provide you with space for your prettier trinkets too.

16. Double up on bathroom storage

Bathroom with two tall storage units either side of a vanity unit, painted terracotta

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Add tall cabinets either side of a vanity unit in a bathroom. Not only will they frame the unit nicely, but they'll provide lots of extra storage. Look to Ikea hacks to DIY your own budget bathroom ideas, by adapting simple bookcases into cabinets with a smart lick of paint and fluted glass film.

17. Add a bit of bling

Silver bathroom accessories such as soap dispenser and toothbrush pot

(Image credit: Primark)

Yes this is a very practical room where washing is the main event, but that doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a bit of sparkle in there, even when working with budget bathroom ideas. 

Decant the hand soap into a smart glass dispenser, pop the family's toothbrush collection into a matching tumbler and dig out that bar of real soap you were gifted last Christmas and pop it on a pretty glass plate, and ta-dah! A posh spa-hotel bathroom CAN be yours!

18. Try a table in the bathroom

White bathroom with colourful patterned floor, a blue painted mirror on the wall and table made into a vanity

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles)

Finding the right vanity unit for a bathroom can be tricky, but actually almost any piece of furniture can be upcycled to house your basin. Here an old school desk has had a hole cut in it to make space for the plumbing and pipes.

19. Change your grout

Bathroom with white tiles and pink wall and black and white patterned floor tiles

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Dirty old grout getting you down? Then learn how to grout tiles and update it. Instead of a plain white grout, pick a colour that contrasts with your wall tiles – so if you have a white metro tile, try a black or a grey grout. Not only does these budget bathroom ideas seriously up the style stakes, it's also much easier to keep looking clean. Happy days!

20. Hang an on-trend mirror

White bathroom with large black framed mirror and pot plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

If space in your bathroom is tight (or even if it's not!) a mirror will make a room seem larger and boost natural light. Ideally place it opposite the window. Go for a black frame or Crittall-style window effect for a contemporary look, and accentuate with monochrome accessories.

21. Paper the walls

Bathroom with green wall tiles and brightly patterned leaf wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Claire Lloyd Davies)

Far cheaper than tiling, bathroom wallpaper can add stunning pops of colour and take familiar coloured tiles to a whole new level, as seen here. Our biggest tip is not to paper walls that are directly behind the bath or basin, as any splashes might cause damage. You'll also need to seal the paper with decorator's varnish once you've hung it.

22. Jazz up a plain window with film

White bathroom with green patterned window film and copper bathtub

(Image credit: Window Film Company)

The perfect solution to ensure privacy using budget bathroom ideas without having to forgo natural light, window film is cheaper and easier to install than shutters. Plus it allows you to have way more fun with pattern. Simply cut to size and apply to the glass in seconds.

The Window Film Company's chevron white print on frost provides a graphic view. 

23. Switch old taps for shiny new ones

Brass taps above white basin

(Image credit: Future PLC/ David Parmiter)

For a super-glamorous bathroom refresh, update hardware such as taps, shower heads and light fittings from tired chrome to beautiful brass or gold.

Paul Bailey, UK Leader and Category Specialist for Grohe at LIXIL EMENA says, 'If looking to create a spa-like aesthetic, brassware in rich metallic finishes can help add warmth to a room and create a luxurious and comforting environment. Coloured brassware finishes are growing in the market and becoming available at all price points so this can be a cost-effective way of creating a spa-like design.'

Or give your existing ones a good going-over using a limescale remover.

24. Treat yourself to colourful towels

Bathroom with white bathtub and bright pink rose patterned towels

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Towels function just as cushions and throws do in a living room. So if you're looking for a quick way to add colour or pattern, they're your go-to. If you decide to mix and match pattern, stick to the same colour palette for cohesion.

While we're on the topic, you might want to pair these towels with an on-trend towel rail or rack, to display them in style, whether wet or dry.

25. Create a tropical oasis

Bathroom with brown bathtub and shelf with pot plants and grey wall tiles

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Adding a cluster of houseplants to a bathroom is an easy way to freshen up a scheme. Many will thrive in the humid atmosphere and they'll help clean toxins from the air, too. Try low-maintenance plants such as aloe vera or ferns.

You could also add a few faux plants for variety. Or for full tropical jungle oasis, pull together as much green as you can muster – botanical leaf-print tiles, textured green glass accessories and emerald green tiles will all take a bathroom from drab to fab.

26. Upcycle a vanity unit

White bathroom with old wooden vanity cabinet and grey tiles

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Dave Burton)

Create a focal piece that will impress the neighbours by learning how to upcycle a vanity unit from an old table or cabinet into a cool washstand. It's surprisingly easy and you'll be producing something truly unique that expresses your style. Use it to hide away bathroom clutter.

27. Tile a pretty splashback

Grey patchwork tiles on splash back with green pot plant

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

Statement tiles behind a basin will provide an eye-catching splashback that won't break the bank or take very long to create. If your bathroom is fairly plain, choose a patterned option to add extra interest. We're fans of this mix-and-match patchwork approach.

28. Lay a vinyl floor

White bathroom with teal patterned vinyl on floor

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Jeremy Lawrence)

If you're blessed with a plain white bathroom, but you're getting a bit bored, you could consider looking at bathroom flooring ideas. Vinyl is super affordable (you can easily find designs for less than £10 per m) and simple to fit yourself. You can even lay it over existing tiles, provided the grout lines aren't too deep.

How can I make my bathroom more luxurious on a budget?

'To create a high-end space, which also feels uniquely yours, consider hanging some artwork that complements your bathroom's color scheme. Mix & match contemporary pieces with vintage or charity shop finds to add character and keep costs down,' says Dee Fontenot, resident style advisor, Wayfair

Other options include treating your bathroom to new fluffy towels – just like those in city and spa hotels, Homesense and Ikea's Fredriksjön range has a good colour selection.

What is the cheapest option for bathroom walls?

Paint is most likely the best value option if you choose own brand products, if that's still a stretch then then check out Community RePaint, a UK wide paint reuse network that is sponsored by Dulux. The aim is to redistribute leftover paint to those who need it the most, you can also donate unused paint back to them. There are over 70 schemes covering the UK running today. 

Paint aside, other wall covering options you can check out are reclaimed wood boards – perfect for a coastal theme – or good old tongue and groove, it clicks together easily and is a DIY job that can be tackled in a weekend. 

How can I improve my bathroom on a budget?

'A bathroom should be a place of tranquillity, providing a moment where you can truly relax and unwind. A simple bathroom improvement that doesn’t need to break the bank, includes a fresh lick of grey paint – creating a calming ambience', says Will Thompson, Head of Product Marketing at Valspar Paint

If the ideas above haven't yet sparked your imagination and you want to go further with your refresh, think about where the money your spend could go furthest.

Helen Dennett, UK Marketing Communications Manager at Mermaid Panels says, 'Sometimes, bathrooms require a little more than a lick of paint to refresh the space, but this can become costly. However, there’s a simple way to breathe new life using budget bathroom ideas. Bathroom panels like Mermaid’s Elite range are a cost-effective way to achieve this - they are 100% waterproof and can be used seamlessly, wall-to-wall to really transform your bathroom, or simply within splash zones such as within your shower enclosure.'

How do you update an outdated bathroom?

'Some simple things you can do to update an outdated space using budget bathroom ideas is create a monochromatic effect by painting the walls the same colour as the floors – using a colour you love, like a rich ‘Long Water’ teal,' says Will from Valspar. ' You can also spruce up your accessories by painting loo roll holders, ageing towel bars or old bathroom radiators. Do your research to ensure you’re using the right paint  – Valspar’s V500 Kitchen and Bathroom paint is specifically made to deal with mould, so ideal for bathrooms’.

As well as thinking about how your bathroom looks, you might be thinking about how your bathroom operates too. With new smart technologies appearing in the bathroom market regularly, it might be that your shower experience needs updating too.

'Shower heads that offer a selection of different sprays can be purchased and retrofit onto your existing shower system as an affordable way to enhance your shower experience,' explains Paul from Grohe. 'Gentle rain sprays that mimic the sensation of showering under a waterfall and even pulsating massage sprays are available to help deliver a more relaxing and indulgent shower, with very little cost or installation effort needed.'

How much should I spend on a bathroom renovation?

'When planning your bathroom renovation, it's always advisable to decide at the outset where you'd like to spend more budget on where you'd like to save- as it could be a false economy to cut corners,' advises Sally Hough, Marketing Manager, Bathrooms to Love

'Investing in some key pieces that are likely to have a lot of use, such as a spacious quality showering area which will have some heavy use in a large household, is a sensible option. Or perhaps you love a long luxurious bath, so investing in a quality freestanding bath makes sense'

'Plumbing considerations are obviously key, and rarely part of budget bathroom ideas, so if you current bathroom layout of water and waste pipes works well, then stick to this existing layout to save on costs.'

Holly Walsh
Content Editor

Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.