“This is guaranteed to save you money on your bathroom remodel.”

Slogan from numerous bathroom remodel contractor ads nationwide

The above words alone are sweet music to the ears of bathroom remodelers looking to reinvent one of their home’s most essential rooms on a smart budget. The best thing about bathroom remodels is their limited space allows cost-conscious remodelers to save a zero or two in their final remodel costs.

“Because of the small space, it can be easier to implement cost saving measures,” The Spruce’s Lee Wallender writes. “Plus, do-it yourself work will reduce the cost of any contract remodel.”

It’s easy for big-dreaming designers to quickly super-size their budgets with extravagance. With HomeAdvisor pegging the average cost of an American home bath remodel at just under $11,000, this isn’t a simple upgrade.

Start with Smart Planning

Saving money on your bathroom remodel starts with strong planning. Examine your User Needs. Who uses your bathroom? What changes are needed to best accommodate everyone? What changes can make your bathroom better. Also, go over your Wish List.

Determine what of your wants are truly needs. Use a budget planning worksheet to keep track of and organize multiple redesign options – products, styles, colors, surfaces and features – as you work through your design process. A planning worksheet can also help you choose the best way to allocate your budget.

Remember, you don’t have to throw in everything including the kitchen sink to bring your dream bathroom remodel to stunning life on a smart budget.

“Those who focus primarily on ‘what I want my new bathroom to look like’ will invariably spend more,” Better Homes & Gardens notes. “Of course, everyone wants their remodel to look great! The key is to spend less and still get the results you want. … Approaching each decision with an eye toward assessing value, comparing options and finding creative ways to spend less while getting more should be the operating style of any remodeler.”

Protect the Footprint

The time-proven best way to save money on your remodel is to retain your bathroom’s footprint and avoiding making major changes to your bathroom’s existing infrastructure. A bathroom’s basic layout and structure includes: the foundation, walls (especially load-bearing walls), sinks, plumbing, fixtures like toilets, shower and bath, doors and electrical wiring.

But what bathroom remodel moves are true budget savers and what are fake news? Here’s The Spruce’s Top Seven Guaranteed Ways to trim the budget of your bathroom remodel. And again, savings begin with protecting your bathroom’s existing design footprint.

Guaranteed Money Savers

  • Retain the Bathroom’s Size and Layout: Resize only if it is absolutely necessary to accommodate your needs, because there is no cheap way to move a toilet discharge and sewer pipe.
  • Keep the Bathroom’s Load-Bearing Walls in Place: Exterior walls do the heavy lifting, holding up the second floor plus the roof. Moving or removing a load-bearing wall is a major project requiring a major financial investment. If expansion is essential to your remodel, consider expanding through non-load-bearing walls, which do not bear weight.
  • Save the Bathroom’s Drywall If Possible: Remember, the more walls you open up, the more walls you will need later on. That means buying more drywall. If any section of your existing drywall is in good shape, keep it.
  • Refinish Bathroom Elements Instead of Replacing Them: Replacing equals brand new, refurbishing means refreshing, saving and saving money. Try refreshing your bathtub with an attractive, protective coating rather than replacing it. Give your bathroom cabinets a fresh paint job rather than evicting them to the landfill.
  • Install a Prefabricated Shower of Bathtub: Throwing your shower or tub out the window and starting from scratch is setting your budget on fire. Try using a pre-formed, one-piece shower stall rather than a tiled shower. You will save big money on labor: Prefabricated showers can be installed in hours, while tiled showers take days.
  • Install a Standard-Type Toilet: This is a case where replacing is the best option. Throw out your old water-guzzling toilet with a new energy efficient model.
  • Keep the Bathroom’s Electrical Circuits in Place: Replacing your existing wiring is a must if it’s not up to current electrical code. But if your current wiring is safe and fits your needs, stay with it.

The Final Savings Word

These savings guidelines doesn’t mean you can’t splurge or include a showcase upgrade for your remodel. Splurge on one or two big attention-grabbing items, like bathroom countertops or your dream soaking tub. Also, add in affordable but flashy accents like sconces around the mirror, high end faucets or plush new towels.

Bringing a dream bathroom to beautiful life can be done on a real-life smart budget. As This Old House stresses, homeowners have redone their bathrooms for $6,000, $4,000, $2,000 and even less than $1,000.

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