8 DIY Bathroom Remodel Projects
These projects can be simple updates or combined for a full DIY bathroom transformation.
Installing tile can add color and character to your bathroom.(Getty Images)
Remodeling a bathroom is a major undertaking even when you hire a professional, since it requires plenty of design decisions, careful demolition and installation, and skilled electrical and plumbing work. But overhauling your bathroom as a do-it-yourself project? That's a whole new ball game – but it can be done.
Most homeowners chicken out when it comes to updating their bathrooms. As much as 83% of homeowners who renovated their bathrooms in 2019 hired a professional for at least part of the job, according to the 2019 U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, which surveyed 1,360 homeowners.
But a DIY bathroom remodel can be successful if you take your time and approach every step of the process with plenty of research and preparation. As long as you have access to another bathroom while you’re working, you can take the time to complete each aspect of the project right.
“Always give yourself more time than you think you’ll need,” says Kevin Busch, vice president of operations for home improvement company Mr. Handyman in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Here are eight bathroom remodel projects to consider:
Update the Tub or Shower
The shower or tub in your bathroom is likely the focal point of the room, so if it looks outdated or needs repair, it's worth the investment.
You can reglaze a tub that’s seen better days, though it’s important to follow the process of cleaning and prepping the space to reduce the chances that the glaze will crack. Replace old, cracked caulk surrounding the tub and shower, and consider installing a pebble tile shower floor in a plain shower basin, which is a popular look that will make the shower look more luxurious.
A simple way to upgrade your shower or tub is to focus on the faucet and showerhead. “Consider upping the tech in your bathroom with light therapy shower heads or shower heads that stream your favorite playlists (or) podcasts, which not only updates the look of the space but also adds therapeutic touches,” Caroline Harmon, trend strategy manager for home improvement company Lowe’s, wrote in an email.
Tile the Floor and Walls
New tile can help brighten a space, add a level of waterproofing and make your bathroom easier to clean.
“Laying tile can be a time-consuming project that appears ambitious, but it’s a great project for DIYers that have the time and patience to do it right,” Harmon says. “Properly prepping a tile floor and selecting tiles that best fit your project’s needs are critical when installing tile floor properly.”
Tile comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and patterns to match your budget and preference. You may also consider peel-and-stick tile that might make installation easier. As with any DIY project, you should research how to install tile before doing so. YouTube tutorials can be helpful, and by watching more than one from beginning to end before starting the project, you'll begin with a bit more knowledge.
Replace the Vanity
For a project that requires relatively little skill but changes the entire look of the bathroom, trade out the vanity for something new. A vanity with drawers or cabinet space beneath the sink can increase your storage options in the bathroom.
“Replacing a vanity is a lot easier than in a kitchen where you’re replacing a whole wall of cabinets,” Busch says.
Add New Light Fixtures
You’ll be surprised how new lighting can make a room feel new. Trade out a dated over-the-mirror fixture for one that matches your preferred design style, and make sure you’re using lightbulbs that are bright enough.
Hang a New Mirror
It’s time to trade out the cheap funhouse-style mirror the last homeowner hung before you bought your house. Especially if you’re strapped for storage space, a mirror upgrade to a medicine cabinet can help keep your bathroom looking clean and uncluttered.
Hang Hooks, Shelves or a Towel Rack
Improve and update your storage options by replacing hooks or towel racks, and consider hanging shelves or floating cabinets to hold extra rolls of toilet paper, towels, cleaning products and toiletries.
Embrace a New Color
An easy cosmetic update and a typical last step in remodeling a room is giving the walls a fresh coat of paint. Bathrooms are a great place to get a bit more daring with color and pattern that might intimidate you in another part of the house.
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Opt for Trendy Finishing Touches
Even if the DIY work you’ve done on the bathroom isn’t exactly perfect, you can draw the eye away from any flaws by finishing it like you would any newly renovated room. Harmon recommends adding a plant or two to the bathroom to liven up the space.
Additionally, update your bath mat and towels with new options that embrace current bathroom trends. Teak bath mats and other finishes that evoke the feeling of a spa are currently popular and can help make your bathroom feel new, Harmon says.