Where to Splurge and Where to Save on a Bathroom Remodel

If I learned anything from my own bathroom remodel, it’s that costs can very quickly spiral out of control. Setting a budget and sticking to it are not always easy when it comes to the planning process as unexpected things can crop up once you start pulling apart your existing bathroom revealing things you hadn’t expected.

In our own bathroom, this included rotted walls and a plumbing system so convoluted it snaked for meters all around the bedroom next to it. While it’s always good to set a contingency (we normally budget an additional 10% on any of our projects to ensure we have the money set aside to cover those unexpected costs), being realistic with your spend can mean the difference between getting a great bathroom at a bargain price or wildly overspending on every single element of your redesign and leaving your original budget far behind.

dream bathroom with travertine tiles

So where is it worth spending less and where is it worth spending more when it comes to your own bathroom? Today I wanted to talk about a few things where saving a few pennies will not impact your design drastically and can mean having enough for the splurge-worthy items that really take a bathroom to the next level.

I’m not going to include things like bathtubs, toilets or shower trays in this as there are so many options on the market at every different price point, it would be impossible for me to properly break down which are the best buys. So my suggestion on these is to do your research and if given the choice between good, better and best, to always opt for the ‘better’ option.

Where to Save

Vanity

If you already have a storage vanity in place that’s not warped or falling apart, consider simply replacing the doors with a shaker-style MDF door. You can paint these any colour you like, add some pretty handles and change the whole look for a lot less than replacing the entire unit.

dark-vanity-brass-pulls-patterned-tile-floor

Mirror

Skip the huge lighted mirrors if that’s not important to you as they can get quite pricey. Consider introducing a mirror that you wouldn’t normally see in a bathroom to give it a totally unique look that won’t break the bank.

Storage

You really don’t need to have a fully matching set of storage containers for your bathroom which can get incredibly expensive. Think outside the box here and use things you may already have around your own home. Lidded jars can be used for storing things like cotton wool and cotton buds, a cute mug or small vase can be used for toothbrushes and any glass pump jar can be used as a soap dispenser.

bathroom storage tray

Tiles

Here’s a great place to save money. If you have your eye on a beautiful but pricey tile, consider using it only in smaller areas (in the shower cubicle, on the floor, around the perimeter of the room) and then surround the rest of the area with a less expensive tile that works well with the style or colour of these. Metro tiles are incredibly well priced and work beautifully with nearly any style.

patterned floor tiles mixed with subway tiles

You can also consider using a less expensive plain tile and then dressing it up with a coloured or glitter grout to get a totally unique look for less.

Where to Splurge

Lighting

If you are considering saving in other areas of the room, then getting some beautiful statement lighting can really elevate an entire design. Just remember to use lighting that is suitable for the different zones in your bathroom!

statement bathroom lighting

Taps

You really can’t scrimp on cheap taps in a bathroom as this is one area you really get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a huge amount of money. There are some great mid-range options available. Consider an unusual finish other than chrome to really elevate the space. Black taps are becoming more popular for that chic Scandinavian vibe.

bathroom with black hardware

Showerhead

Here’s another area you really don’t want to go too cheap on. A great showerhead will mean the difference between a mediocre shower and one that makes you feel pumped and ready for the day ahead. If you are using things like this every single day, then it’s always best to pay a little more for a good quality showerhead that has excellent flow without wasting too much additional water.

Towels

This is really my own personal taste but anything you put next to your skin should be the best quality you can afford. Life is too short for scratchy flat towels so splurging on something that’s a little extra special will make it feel like a spa day every day.

Calacatta Marble white bathroom

Underfloor Heating

And finally, if you can make room in your budget for underfloor heating (and you may find it’s rather affordable these days so not entirely a splurge!), I would highly recommend this additional luxury. Stepping onto cold tiles with bare feet first thing on a Monday morning isn’t a great way to start any day so why subject yourself to this when it’s not necessary? Underfloor heating also eliminates any need for an additional radiator, making precious room in what’s normally a smaller space.

Now it’s your turn! Where do you save and splurge in your own bathroom? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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As a multi-award winning interior design content creator, Kimberly Duran is an Interior Design-obsessed American ex-pat, who chronicles her decorating journey and dispenses interior design advice in her personal blog, Swoon Worthy. When she’s not helplessly drooling over all the latest trends in design, she’s adding things to the imaginary ‘shopping basket’ in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects with her partner in crime, Wayne, stalking eBay for vintage bargains and filling her home with her favourite neutral – gold.