Shana Ecker, Houzz Contributor
Although we all love to drool over images of gorgeous designer bathrooms, we may not have the budget to go all-out when the time comes to spruce up our own washrooms. But that doesn’t mean your remodel has to be generic and uninspired. There are many ways to get a high-end look without a hefty price tag. Here are 10 tricks to do just that.
1. Grout color. Tiling all or most of your wall surface gives it a nice polished look, but the costs can really add up. White ceramic subway tiles are the most affordable option at most big-box stores, but the finished look can sometimes seem a little flat. Make your installation stand out by using a dark or colored grout, like in the bathroom shown here. Because guess what? Gray grout costs the same as white.
2. Larger-format tiles. Another idea is to search for an out-of-the-box dimension rather than the typical 3-inch by 6-inch format. Tile sizes like 2 by 9 inches or 4 by 8 inches will make your bathroom stand out from the rest.
3. Trim accents. Or consider giving your standard tile a punch by splurging a bit on trim pieces as accents. These will give your room an interesting, graphic element, but the small quantity needed won’t break the bank.
4. Tile rug. Most bathroom designers will tell you that if you want to splurge on any one part of the renovation, it should be the floor, because it has the biggest impact. Instead of laying a pricey stone mosaic everywhere, you can save by designing a “rug” with just a few square feet of something eye catching, and using large-format field tiles in a coordinating stone around it.
5. Upgrade knobs and pulls. If you don’t have the funds to spend on a custom vanity, don’t fret. A simple model can look one-of-a-kind with some pretty hardware, like the pulls seen here. Try a vintage or specialty store to find hardware that is unique.
6. Furniture vanities. You can repurpose a fabulous piece of furniture you already own or a flea market find into a unique vanity. If you are even a little handy, you can use one of the many DIY tutorials online that will show you how to cut holes in the surface for a drop-in sink and faucet, as well as retrofit drawers to make room for the water supply.
7. Choose stone wisely. Nothing beats the warmth and visual beauty of natural stone in the bathroom, but of course it’s not a cheap option. Check your local stone yard for remnants that fit your design and consider less exotic types that are more affordable. For example, Carrara marble is often 25 percent less than other varieties, such as Calacatta or Thassos.
8. Source the bathtub carefully. One of the most expensive features of a new bathroom can be the biggest fixture of all: the bathtub. Gorgeous versions from upscale manufacturers can run more than $10,000. To get a similar look, check Craigslist or local architectural salvage shops for vintage tubs under $500. For $500 to $700 more, you can have it professionally reglazed to get it looking as good as new.
9. Consider chrome. When it comes to picking a finish for all of your plumbing fittings, there are so many options — nickel, bronze, brass and more. Chrome is usually the least expensive. And on the plus side, it’s the easiest to maintain and keep clean, and it looks great in both modern and traditional spaces.
10. Don’t write off shower curtains. You can make smart choices when decorating your finished bathroom, too. Instead of commissioning expensive glass doors for your shower, go with a fresh white curtain. You can’t go wrong.