Easy Bathroom Updates on a Budget

by | Jul 28, 2023 | Decor

Starting fresh in a house built in 1978 brings a new level of challenges I’ve never had to face before. So much potential, so many ideas! Where to begin and how do I do this without going into debt? I’m going to share my journey with you, updating my new (new to me) house, starting with the master bathroom.

Updating a bathroom as a whole can feel overwhelming and costs can get out of control quickly. To keep your budget on track, be prepared to shop around and willing to do some manual labor. Always measure first and keep your receipts. 

You might remember the post I did about eclectic decorating. If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that I love color and a mix of textures, shapes and styles. I’m bringing all that I love to this house, but with a very mid-century modern vibe. Let’s dive into this bathroom!

Check List

So you have a whole house full of projects to tackle, you’ve finally narrowed it down to the bathroom. And here you are, still intimidated by all the things to do. Or is it just me?

Anyways, we have to organize our thoughts and make a plan! Here’s mine:

I put together a checklist for you to hang on the fridge to keep track of what’s next. I found this super helpful and it felt so great getting to check off items as we went.



Bathroom Update Checklist


__  Take down all items off the wall (Mirror, towel bars, toilet paper holder, etc.)

__  Paint walls then trim

__  Replace fixtures (updated lighting)

__  Replace faucet and other hardware (updated towel bars, handles, mirrors, etc.)

__  Evaluate how to organize (What get’s put away in the cabinet, what can be displayed for best function & feel)

__  Add shelves and hooks (a place for all the things)

__  Decorate (add personality with bathroom rugs, hand towels, wall art, baskets etc.)

Original bathroom

In the Beginning

Walking into this bathroom for the first time, I saw pink walls, brass fixtures (old and outdated ones, not the fun pretty ones we have today), and dingy, yellow lighting.

Now, one thing we had going in our favor… It was clean! That’s huge and a total blessing! So we (with help from my amazing dad) were able to jump right in.

Shower and sink

1. Start Here

First things first, we took everything off the walls. That included the mirror, light fixtures and all the hardware.

Tip: Remove the mirror before you paint! 


Trick: Repurpose-I took the original mirror down, but I’m planning on using it in our basement’s workout area.

Go ahead and toss or make a donate pile for all the things you don’t want to keep. I let go of all the old hardware and sink faucet.

old paint
fresh paint

2. Paint!

Nothing, and I mean nothing, will uplift a room like a fresh coat of paint. I don’t care how old or how small or any possible issue a room can have that a couple coats of paint can’t help with.

Tip: Go with neutral colors. This makes decorating easier over time. You can easily switch out decor if you get tired of it, but it’s more challenging to paint walls.

I love grey walls but let’s be real, greys are hard! In our last house, I chose a grey that I liked…. But it just was never quite right. It felt darker and took on a blue tone which wasn’t what I wanted.


2.5 Picking the Right Grey

Why is picking grey so hard? Well, grey has changing undertones and sensitivity to natural light levels. The gray in the paint swatch in the store can look very different on your own walls. I liked this one because it didn’t seem to take on other natural color in the room.

This time around, I went to one of my closest friends for advise. (I love the grey in her house!) She told me exactly what she used and I was there!

Paint I used:

Sherwin Williams: Trim-7005 Pure White

Sherwin Williams: Walls-7014 Elder White

But let’s say you don’t have a friend with the exact color that you’re looking for and you want to go a little deeper learning the process of picking the right color, grey or otherwise. I highly recommend checking out this article by Kaleidoscope Living: How to Choose Paint Colors for Your Home: 5 Simple Tips to Follow – She really knows her stuff and this article is super helpful!

3. Replace Fixtures

In this step I got to decide on what color and style I wanted for the hardware and fixtures.

Tip: It doesn’t all have to match just try to unify the style.


Trick: Buy your hardware all together then you will know the style will be cohesive throughout the room.

always measure
Amazon picks

Notice how my light fixtures are a different color then the hardware and faucet. This was on purpose! You don’t have to keep everything the same, but they need to make sense. Mixing metals can be so much more interesting when done correctly.

Trick: I knew we were not able to update the shower yet, so my light fixtures are gold to try and blend our retro gold shower with the rest of the bathroom.

Here’s my lights

Here’s my hardware

Lighting. Lighting. Lighting!

Did I mention the importance of good lighting??

Tip: Lighting can make a huge difference! I suggest using a LED 60W Daylight bulbs. 


Tip: Measure the height of where you would like your light before you purchase.


Trick: It’s easier with an assistant on this DIY.



always measure

Trick: If you don’t know, Youtube it! CLICK HERE TO WATCH HOW



Ok, there are lots of things you can order online. I much prefer purchasing online, especially Amazon with how easy it is from beginning to end even if I need to make a return.

With that said, go to the store when shopping for a faucet! There are too many variables to consider when it comes to faucet and you want to get this one right.

Tip: Go to the store on this one. Come prepared with measurements and photos of the original faucet. Height matters. 


Trick: Call a plumber for assistance.

Here’s my faucet

Bathroom Organization

4. Let’s Organize

Here we go! It’s a clean slate in here and I want with this room to not only look beautiful but be functional as well. Because the reality is, this bathroom is a small master bath and functionality is key for all of our survival.

But what a great opportunity to make this an enjoyable space to start the day!

For this task I thought through what items I wanted to be out and visible, ready-to-use, and which things to be placed away and hidden. This process is going to be different for everyone! Take your time and make the space custom for your lifestyle.

Shelf Me!

This part of the process lives in between “Organizing” and “Decorating” so we’ll discuss it here…

Now that the plan was made of where things were going to live, I felt confident to start adding shelving. I love shelves! They offer so much versatility with both structure and form.

Tip: Floating shelves help create more space.


Trick: Drill holes before you put anchors in the wall.


Trick: Buy the 4 pack.

Here are my shelves

floating shelves

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how it's going

5. Decorate

Now the funnest part! We’re at the end of the list at this point and the final touches are coming in.


This is a small detail that a lot of people miss or just forget. But having fresh, clean wall plates for your switches and outlets can really bring your updated space to another level.

Tip: Easy change for a lot of gain.


Trick: GAME CHANGER! Snap a cap over your existing outlet! Only able to find at Home Depot. CLICK HERE

Here’s my rugs

Decorating your new, updated space is a tremendous opportunity for you to bring in your personality. This is where you decided what this room is going to feel like and what it will do for you.

For mine, I wanted clean, fresh, almost spa like but with texture. So I went with lots of bright neutrals, black accents and baskets!

Tip: Baskets are functional and pretty. 

Tip: Small plants are a perfect bathroom enhancement.

Trick: Towels and rugs are easily changed for a different look.

Trick: Limited on space, roll towels and place in baskets.

Find It Here!

Have you shopped our Amazon Home Decor List?

Well, if you love any number of the pieces I used for this bathroom update, then check out our list where we have everything in one place for you!


Click Here for Transportation

shop amazon list

Here’s some more GREAT content for you!!

Check out these posts next…

wall decor
eclectic decorating
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This page may consist of affiliate links from Amazon and others at no additional cost to you. As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases. This does not cost you anything extra, but does offer opportunity for this channel. All the products we share are tested and approved by Brittany & Kristin. Thank you for your support!

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