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August 6, 2015

5 budget-friendly ways to update your bathroom

In the short time we've been homeowners, I've learned one thing: stuff is expensive. It's not that I didn't expect to spend money. It's just that even mundane, boring things cost way more than they should. That towel rack you need because the one you have is falling off the wall? That will be $30. And if you want the matching toilet paper holder and hand towel ring, that'll cost you, too. Before you know it you're basically a Home Depot shareholder.

Now, I'm not saying this is all bad. Because new homes come with costs and unless you've designed it yourself and picked out every single detail -- even the toilet paper holder -- or you have an unlimited pile of money somewhere (hi, let's be friends) you're gonna be doing some updates. But not all of them have to break the bank. Here are my top five budget-friendly ways to update a bathroom:

1. Swap out the mirror/medicine cabinet: A good mirror can set the tone of an entire bathroom -- especially if it's small. I've been stalking Home Goods because they have a ton of "designer" mirrors that you'd see elsewhere for $200-300 for well under $100. (I'm still kicking myself for passing up one that was $50 and identical to this.) You're a bit more limited if you have a medicine cabinet, but even upgrading from one of those plain mirrors to something with a frame will make a huge difference and you can easily stay under $75.
If you're renting: If your mirror/medicine cabinet is a permanent fixture, double check with your landlord/management office. Most don't mind updates because it makes their place look better and they didn't have to put out the money! Bonus if you're able to put the old one back up when you leave and take your purchase with you.

2. Add an accent wall: Super dark paints like navy blue and black are really "in" right now and can take a basic bathroom to the next level (click here for some inspo). Try painting one wall one of these deep hues while keeping everything else light and bright. Or, depending on your mastery of all things DIY, a reclaimed wood palette wall would also look amazing.
If you're renting: Try removable decals or something like this.

3. Switch out your hardware: Getting new drawer pulls and knobs was one of the first things I did in our master bathroom and it cost me less than $20. You can go as traditional or quirky as you like (Anthro has some super cute ones) because the best part is you can always change them! If all the fixtures could use a facelift, invest in a new faucet (this brass one is so pretty!) and matching toilet handle. They're easy to install and there are tons of inexpensive options.

4. Get organized: This is a no-brainer! Cutting down on clutter and organizing your space is the easiest -- and probably cheapest -- way to make any room look more sophistocated. And it definitely doesn't have to be anything over the top! Something as simple as this marble tray to wrangle all your everyday beauty products or a modern wire basket as a chic way to organize towels, magazines, etc. will instantly add character. Even displaying some fresh flowers on your sink can add a bit of glam. If your space is super pint-sized, see if you can work in some floating shelves with matching containers to create extra storage.

5. Paint/stain your cabinets -- This is a bit more extensive, but for the cost of a quart of paint or stain, you can say buh bye to those light oak cabinets for-ev-uh. Seriously. No need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a new vanity. All you need is Pinterest and a weekend. Stick with something neutral like white or a dark brown/black if you want more of a wood-like look.
If you're renting: Again, most landlords are cool with updates and will let you paint as long as you go with a neutral/normal color. If you don't ask, the answer is always no!

If you have any other tips, I'd love to hear them!

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