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Budget Bathroom Renovation Ideas for Under $5,000

By Andrew Bellino

On a value-for-money budget, you can refresh the look of your bathroom by applying some of these simple yet stunning ideas.

By the time you’ve calculated the cost of renovating your bathroom into the sanctuary of your dreams, you might find the job is well outside your budget. But there are many ways to update an existing room without breaking the bank. In fact, with a budget as low as $5,000 you can achieve a really impressive new look, especially if you are prepared to DIY on some projects. This low budget won’t allow you to knock down walls, replace ceilings, increase the size of a window or install a sunken bath, but it will buy some great options to modernise and freshen up the look of your bathroom walls, fixtures and lights. Pick and choose individual projects from the many ideas below, or bundle some together to meet your budget.



Wallpaper is a quick fix with wow factor. It can hide blemished walls; and if you use a metallic wallpaper, it can reflect light back into the room. Best of all, you can update it annually, because it’s so practical and aesthetically gorgeous! If you have fallen for a wallpaper that’s a little too expensive for the whole room, however, use it sparingly – perhaps on a feature wall or above a dado rail.

DIY TIP: Remove loose paint and fill any holes or cracks. With new ‘paste the wall application’ products on the market, you don’t need to be a wallpaper hanging specialist to transform your walls.

COST: $90; estimate based on the cost of an average 10-metre roll, paste and a brush.

The easiest way to update or lift a bathroom is by giving it a new coat of paint. But don’t stop at the walls and ceiling – you can paint your tiles and any old tongue-and-groove wood panelling, too, which is much cheaper than replacing them.

DIY TIP: Prepare the tiles by cleaning them with a tile-cleaning product. Once dry, lightly sand. This will remove the glaze off the tiles and help the paint to bond. Wipe the dust, then prime. Then, once dry, cover with two coats of your chosen colour. For durability, I recommend a satin or gloss paint over a matt finish.

COST: $100; estimate based on the cost of sandpaper, a brush, a litre of high-adhesion tile and laminate primer, and a litre of wash-and-wear bathroom paint.

Tiling will totally revamp the look and feel of your bathroom scheme. To get a seamless look, I recommend one colour and style for your wall tile and splashback. Going large scale in a white tile will make the space brighter and look larger; plus a larger tile is quicker to lay. On a practical level, gloss tiles are easy to clean.

TIP: To ascertain the area you need to cover in a square-metre measurement, multiply your wall width by room height. Use a professional tiler for this.

COST: $715; estimate based on the cost of tiles and a tiler for a 6-square-metre wall.


Uncover what’s hiding under dated vinyl, tile or laminate flooring. If you are lucky, you will find original floorboards. If so, take advantage of its natural good looks – a sanded floor is a warm feature in any style of bathroom. For a natural look that shows off the grain, sand and stain the floorboards with a clear or tinted varnish.

DIY TIP: Before sanding, hammer each nail flush or below the board’s surface.

COST: $165; estimate based on the cost of a hammer, palm sander, gloves, dust mask, ear muffs, safety glasses, stain and varnish.

For a look that’s right on trend but won’t break the bank, opt for concrete flooring with a new finish. Whether you lift up old tiles or vinyl to expose a concrete slab or have already poured a new one, you don’t need to polish the concrete. You can grind it back and cover it with polyurethane. The only downside to this finishing option is that the surface will need to be resealed every few years.

COST: $45; estimate based on the cost of a litre of polyurethane.

Porcelain is perfect for the bathroom floor as it’s non-porous. It can be glazed or unglazed and, if you choose tiles that are dark and large, you will have less grout to clean.

COST: $715; estimate based on the cost of tiles and a tiler for a six-square-metre floor.


If you have chosen a few things to update in your bathroom but are still under budget, why not treat yourself to a freestanding bath in a style you’ve always dreamed about. With a range of sizes and styles, there are plenty of options to choose from that won’t blow your budget.

COST: $2,380; estimate based on the cost of a bath similar to the one pictured, and includes the bath, freestanding bath set and plumber’s installation fee.

Introduce re-purposed furniture for a vanity. This is not only a cheap alternative but will make a charming addition to your bathroom, be it a remodelled console, chest of drawers or a vintage shop counter. Use your existing basin and have a carpenter cut out a hole in the vanity to fit it. Get a plumber to do the rest.

COST: $900 to $1,350; estimate based on the cost of the furniture item (look at lower figure if you already have a secondhand vanity piece), carpenter and plumber’s fees.

A frameless screen looks modern and sleek. You may be able to squeeze one into your layout as a walk-in placed near your existing bath and using the same floor waste, as pictured here. Then install a new shower rail, rose and taps.

COST: $2,170; estimate based on the cost of a shower screen, shower rail, shower rose, shower mixer and plumber’s fee.


A pretty or interesting pendant is a focal point in a bathroom and therefore a quick and winning way to update. Whether a chandelier or an industrial light, wire or grass-woven pendant, this is a simple way to add pizazz.

COST: $450; estimate based on the cost of the pendant and electrician’s fee.

Lining your mirror with LED strips adds mood-enhancing lighting to your bathroom and is a decorative feature, too. Best of all, lighting on the sides of the mirror means you won’t have shadows on your face when you need to closely examine yourself. LEDs are sustainable, lasting much longer than halogens and are safer, too, because they don’t get as hot. In addition to strips, you can also use LED-recessed downlights.

COST: $570; estimate based on the cost of four strips, four downlights, and electrician’s fee.

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