DIY Home Improvement: Budget Bathroom Makeover for $265

This budget bathroom makeover project started when I thought we were going to move.   I haven’t been able to redecorate like I used to before my hubby was laid off from his job 2+ years ago.  Living in limbo and not knowing what tomorrow will bring is not an ideal way to live.  We just take it one day at a time, knowing that moving is most likely going to happen sooner or later.  I figured if we do have to move I might as well get a head start as this bathroom would need to be updated if we put the house on the market.   Soon after thinking about all this,  I saw an inexpensive brown damask shower curtain while browsing at HomeGoods. I loved it and that was all the incentive I needed to get started.

Budget Bathroom Makeover

This bathroom has come a long way from the builder beige and stock cabinets that came with the house when we first moved in.  My girls were little then,  now they are 24 and 21  – they grew up using this bathroom.  My youngest is coming home tonight for a few days. I can’t wait to see her reaction.


Since my daughters are no longer living at home this bathroom is basically unused. I could make a mess and leave all my tools out. I never cleaned it all up until  last week.   It was very nice  working this way, plus I was in no rush.  I truly took my time as I did everything myself, except for putting in the new light fixture. I don’t do electrical or plumbing – that is hubby’s contribution.

I have recapped everything I did in the bathroom in this post and have included links to the actual tutorials if you would like all the specifics for each project.





Update: See the photo at the end of this post on how a changed the color scheme in the room for less than $30

How To Add a Decorative Front to a Bathtub with Beadboard and Molding

There is one of those modular shower enclosures in this bath that I had to keep as this was truly a budget project.  I wanted to make it blend into the background as much a possible so I made a beadboard frame to hide the front. The other way I made it less noticeable was to paint the room’s walls the same color as the enclosure.

My initial plan was to make the decorative front in front of the tub – level with it, but I would have had to move the shower curtain rod out and it would have landed right smack in the middle of the window. I went to Plan B which was to wrap the decorative front over the front edge of the tub so the shower curtain rod could stay where it was.





Click here for the full step by step tutorial-

 How I Added Decorative Molding Around The Tub

How to Add Wood and Molding to Frame a Mirror

Next I moved on to give the existing mirrors a bit of style. We bought them at Home Depot when we moved into the house. We installed them with mirror clips as a temp fix that lasted till well…this past month.  It turned into a long term fix, time to get it right.  I think the new mirrors are my favorite part of the makeover.







Click here for the step by step tutorial-

How I Added Wood and Molding Around the Plain Mirrors

How To Install a Board and Batten Treatment to Walls

The part of the makeover that took the most thought was installing the board and batten. Lots of things to think about – how far apart I wanted the boards, thick or thin boards, how many obstacles I had to work around, how high etc.  I had some of the boards cut to the exact size I needed at Lowes, not only to make the job easier, but so the boards would fit into my Jeep. The mitered corner cuts I had to do on my own.  The miter saw was set up in my garage, this bathroom is upstairs – I got  a lot of exercise. I just pretended I was at the gym and was on a Stairclimber. I used all pre-primed Mdf boards. I like using the Mdf because there are no wood knots and every piece is uniformly smooth. I used Liquid Nails to attach all the boards so I didn’t need a nail gun, but a level is a must to make sure your boards are vertically as well as horizontally straight when you attach them to the wall.  I spaced mine 12” apart which made it easy as I just placed a wood 12” ruler between the boards to get perfect spacing.


2 coats of paint and lots of caulking- it was done.


How to Make a Small Window Look Bigger

The window in the bathroom is not very big, it actually always looked squashed to me. I fixed that by adding a piece of plywood and crown molding above it.  It now has much more impact.



I chose the wall color to match the molded tub – I wanted the tub to blend more seamlessly in the room – not stick out. Painting the wall above the board and batten the same color creates a nice flow around the room.




Click here for the full tutorial-

 Installing Board and Batten

How to Paint and Caulk Board and Batten

How to Make an Easy No-Sew Window Valance using Foam Insulation

When I added the molding above the window I knew I would be adding this type of valance –it works with the line of the window.  It is a very simple project that anyone who knows how to wrap a gift box and use a glue gun can do.  I found the fun fabric for $6 a yard.


Click for the full step by step tutorial-

How I made the No-Sew Window Valance

How To Transform a Vinyl Floor for $10

This was the part of the project that kept me up at night thinking of ways to redo the floor without spending much.  I ended up using a trick that I used when I worked in display. It turned out better than I expected.




Click for the full step by step tutorial-

How I Transformed the Floor for $10

I am thrilled with how it all turned out, but it is a good feeling to be done. I spent under $300 on everything.

Bathroom UPDATE:

Spa like bathroom makeover for under $300

It has been over 3 years since I made over and posted about this bathroom.  Check out how I updated it with nothing more than new fabric, for the window valance,  a shower curtain, and towels.  Read about it in this post:  Why I Like Decorating with White and  Neutral Colors


I am also going to add theses Interchangeable Faucet Handles.  Beckie over at Infarrantly Creative made them  and I just thought it was such a fun idea as I have similar faucets.   I can just imagine personalizing them when guests come.  That is going to be fun!  What should I write?  Any clever ideas?


$265 Budget Bathroom Remodel


  1. Marcia says

    You did a wonderful job. I wish I would seen this months ago. And your new bathroom is great. Congrats…

  2. Diana says

    I never comment on makeovers – but WOW this is incredible.
    My partner has been out of work for a year now too – in NZ – amazing what we can do when we set our minds to it.

  3. Dani says

    marble/granite contact paper on the vanity would be beautiful!! This bathroom update gave me some great ideas. THANKS!!!!

  4. says

    That is beautiful! I am curious about the beadboard/trim treatment along edge of the bathtub. Are you not worried about that wood contacting water and so on? I have thought about doing that in my bathroom, and that’s the thought that always stops me.

    All your hard work has definitely paid off!

    • says

      Hi Kathy – The top board is not wood or MDF, it is made of PVC, called PVC board. It is for outside use and will not rot. It can get water on it and not warp. I would not have done the surround without it. Under it is wood and MDF. If the shower curtain is closed some water gets on the top PVC board, but not on anything else.


  1. Small Bathroom Makeovers On A Budget: See How I Transformed Our Bathroom Under $100 | The Fun Times Guide to Home Building/ Remodeling says:

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