Bathroom Remodel: Tips for Planning Your Budget

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Bathroom Budgets

Budget. The “B” word of remodeling. In last week’s installment, I talked about three key questions you need to ask yourself before starting a bathroom renovation. This week, I want to talk about planning your budget and thinking about where you might want to save a little money and where you might want to splurge. I’m going to give you some great tips on ways to save on your remodel as well.

Vanities & Storage

The vanity and counter top are the work horse of the bathroom. You are going to spend the most amount of time at your vanity, compared to the other areas of your bathroom. Therefore, it’s really important that you plan for plenty of storage and counter space. Beyond that, the vanity, backsplash, and counter top can really add a lot of style to your bathroom. I recommens selecting one of the three and making it your focal point. To keep your vanity looking timeless, you will not want to combine highly decorative cabinets, highly decorative hardware, high-movement counters, and a busy tile backsplash. Try picking one or two to bring some excitement to the party, but remember to keep the look timeless.


There are lots of ways that you can save on the vanity. I like using ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets for vanities. As it seems, RTA cabinets require assembly, but if you’ve ever put together a piece of Ikea furniture, you can handle RTA cabinets. Several companies sell RTA cabinets and they vary in quality, so make sure you look for quality indicators, such as plywood construction, dovetail drawers, and solid wood doors.

Counter tops are another way to save on your bathroom remodel. What?!?! That’s right, you can actually save a little by choosing remnant slabs of granite, marble, or quartz. As long as you aren’t stuck on the idea of one specific color or style, you can easily find a slab to fit a vanity because vanities are not very big.

This vanity is an RTA vanity. Bar style pulls add a lot of style to the otherwise basic gray shaker.


Counters are also a way to splurge. I’m not the biggest fan of marble in the kitchen, but I say “go for it” in the bath! Vanities are the perfect place to display a beautiful marble counter surface!

Lighting is another vanity splurge. Nothing makes a vanity look more beautiful than a pair (or 3) sconces. Unless you already have sconces, this will require re-wiring the lights. Sconces also create a more even distribution of light across your face, making shaving and make-up application much easier.

This beautiful sconce will add a lot of style to a coastal style bathroom.


Keeping it simple and using a 3″x6″ white subway tile or a 4″x4″ white tile can save you a ton of money. These tile types can be as inexpensive as $1-2/square foot. You can use them alone for a classic look or pair them with a mosaic or accent tile for some interest.


Oh, there are so many ways to splurge on tile! One of my favorite splurges is glass tile mosaic in the shower surround. There’s just something so pretty and shimmery about small mosaic tiles.

Before and after bathroom update. We saved some on the shower surround by using subway tile in combination with a glass mosaic.


You don’t need to spend a ton of money on a toilet. Even Kohler makes a basic water efficient model for about $100. Just make sure you stick to basics. You will never regret a white toilet! I know so many who have regretted colored toilets!


One word. Toto. The Japanese toilet maker makes the best toilets in the world. If you have the opportunity to use a Toto toilet/bidet combo with a seat warmer and music, you will wonder how you ever lived with out one… And very it’s likely you’ll wonder how you’ll ever be able to potty like an American again! Have no fear, Toto sells toilets in the US market. They even have a toilet seat converter kit you can buy and add on to most standard toilets.

An incredibly beautiful and well-designed Toto toilet.

There are probably a million other ways to splurge and save on your next bathroom project, but these are some of my favorites! Hope they give you some great ideas for your next project. If you need help planning, make sure you set up your complimentary Design Style Consultation!

Next Week: Coastal loft style breakdown & One Room Challenge Starts


8 thoughts on “Bathroom Remodel: Tips for Planning Your Budget”

  1. Darla Powell says:

    Great tips for hi and low design here. I think I am going to look into those assemble yourself vanities.

    1. julielampe says:

      They are fantastic! Easy to assemble once you get a rhythm going. I use Prime Cabinetry for RTA, but there are many sources.

  2. LORI SAWAYA says:

    I agree with you about marble in the kitchen but the perfect luxury for the bathroom. It’s this kind of advice and strategy that makes a designer’s input so valuable.

    1. julielampe says:

      Thank you! When I remodel my master bath, I’m totally budgeting for Carrara marble!

  3. Great tips! The mosaic tile looks fantastic!

    1. julielampe says:

      Thank you! I always thought of it like a little waterfall!

  4. Nice post, Julie! I never thought about RTA cabinets for bathrooms, but it makes total sense as a way to save. And I looooove that sconce! 🙂 Looking forward to seeing your ORC updates!

    1. julielampe says:

      Thank you Janet! I’m looking forward to the “big reveal” on the project!

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