If your bathroom is looking a bit worn, you might be dreaming of giving it a slick new look – though the price of renovating may make you think twice. But upgrading your bathroom doesn’t have to cost a bomb. There are many small, inexpensive things you can do to give your bathroom an instant refresh – and, chances are, you’ll be surprised at the difference they make.

Aside from being budget-friendly, more good news is that you don’t need to be a DIY expert to get stuck into most of these steps yourself. From giving your radiator a lick of paint to buying colourful new towels and feature mirrors, here are 16 trendy ways to upgrade your bathroom on a budget.

1. Upgrade your tiles

Upgrade your tiles

One of the quickest ways to refresh your bathroom is to upgrade your tiles. While tiling your whole bathroom can be expensive, there are many ways you can get a new look for less.

You could only tile certain areas – for example, around the shower, sink, and bath. Ceramic tiles are cheaper than stone or mosaic tiles, and they’re also quicker and easier to install – meaning you might be able to do it yourself, cutting the cost of calling in a professional. This YouTube video from Wickes will show you how to tile a bathroom wall.

Alternatively, you can revamp tired-looking walls using peel-and-stick adhesive tiles, which typically cost less. Another quick and easy option is using tile paint to paint over your bathroom tiles rather than replacing them.

2. Paint your radiator

Paint your radiator

Whether you have an antique radiator that looks worn around the edges or an uninspiring design you don’t even notice, one of the easiest ways to upgrade your radiator – and your bathroom – is to give it a lick of paint.

This can turn even the most bog-standard radiators into a feature. Just be sure to choose a metal paint, as this provides a layer of protection against rust.

You might want to choose a metallic finish to complement other fittings in the room, or you could go for something bright and bold. You can also easily create a stylish, mono-chromatic effect throughout the room by painting radiators, toilet roll holders, and towel bars the same colour as the walls or floor. By blending the boundaries like this, you can create a sense of peace and space.

3. Clean and regrout tiles

Clean and regrout tiles

The best thing you can do to revive your tiles without replacing them is to give them a good clean and grout. Grime, limescale, and mould can make even the most stylish bathrooms look tired – but, luckily, it isn’t difficult to clean tiles like a pro.

There are specialist products you can buy that make it easy to shift tough dirt. Although, often, just a toothbrush, cream cleaner, and some vigorous scrubbing is enough to remove dirt and debris, and instantly brighten up your bathroom. Mixing baking soda and vinegar is another great homemade cream cleaner that’ll leave tiles and grout sparkling.

You can then use a grout reviver pen to really smarten things up – and at less than £4, this is a cheap yet effective way to upgrade your bathroom. You might also want to think about redoing the grouting and changing the colour. Dark grout looks very stylish with white tiles.

4. Add a fresh coat of paint

Add a fresh coat of paint

If you don’t have all tiled walls, why not give your bathroom a new look by refreshing the paintwork? From classic neutrals to bold navy tones, painting your walls is another budget-friendly way to update your bathroom and there are so many different looks you can go for.

You don’t have to stick to a single shade; why not create a two-tone look, where the lower portion of the wall is a different colour? You don’t have to limit yourself to just painting the walls either. Painting the ceiling non-white can be a great way to get your room looking more unique, and you can also give bathroom furniture a fresh coat of paint.

Just be sure to buy the right kind of paint. Ideally, it’s a good idea to use mould-resistant emulsions that are designed for bathrooms. These are usually washable, as well as moisture and steam-resistant. Quick-drying, low-odour paints are a smart choice too.

5. Update your flooring

Update your flooring

Changing your flooring can instantly lift and brighten your whole room – but, of course, retiling your whole floor can be pricey. However, luxury vinyl tiling (LVT) is a great replacement – and not only does it look smart (and a world away from lino!), but it’s also low maintenance.

If your bathroom has a wooden floor, why not paint it to give it a new look? Just remember to give the floorboards a sanding down and a wash before you start painting. Warm, dark colours tend to make bathrooms look cosy, while light colours give the illusion of space.

If you like rustic-style bathrooms, sanding down the top coat is a great way to achieve that look. Or, for more bathroom floor ideas, check out this article from Ideal Home.

6. Upcycle your furniture

Upcycle your furniture

If you have tired, lacklustre furniture that’s bringing your bathroom down, you don’t necessarily need to replace it. An easy way to breathe new life into old furniture is to give it a fresh lick of paint, or a sand or varnish – so why not see if this would work for your bathroom furniture?

Alternatively, if you think you do need to buy new pieces, bear in mind that this doesn’t have to be costly. Have a look in second-hand shops for old pieces that you can work some magic on. Upcycling is all the rage when it comes to budget bathroom ideas, and you might find a vintage cabinet that’s perfect for storage, or an old-fashioned mirror that gives your bathroom a lovely antique look.

Remember that if the furniture looks a little shabby, you can easily revamp it with some paint or varnish – or even a good sanding to give it that shabby-chic look.

To get started, have a read of this tutorial on how to upcycle a vanity unit from Ideal Homes.

7. Add a feature wall

Add a feature wall

Rather than trying to upgrade your whole bathroom, focusing on improving one wall, and turning it into a feature wall, is a great way to create a new look. One of the quickest and cheapest ways to do this is to cover one wall with some striking wallpaper. For example, dramatic floral prints tend to look very elegant in bathrooms.

While on first thought, it might seem that bathrooms and wallpaper aren’t the best combination, you can buy paper that’s specifically designed for bathrooms (such as this range from Graham & Brown). It’s stronger and stickier and won’t be affected by dampness or steam. Just remember not to hang the wallpaper where it’s going to be in regular contact with water (for example, inside the shower).

8. Add plenty of greenery

Add plenty of greenery

Having lots of plants in your bathroom is a good way to make it look fresher and inject some life – and plants also add a lovely natural quality to the room, and soften the often-harsh light that’s found in many bathrooms. Plus, different shades of green add contrast and depth to minimalist colour schemes – and if nothing else, plants are proven to boost your most and increase productivity!

There are many ways to add more plants to your bathroom, even if you don’t have much space. If you don’t have much surface space to place pots, why not think about hanging plants from the wall or ceiling, or even creating a living wall?

Just be careful to choose plants that do well in damp and humid conditions. If you don’t have much light in your bathroom, try to find plants that thrive in the dark, like Chinese evergreens or dracaena. If you have a windowless bathroom, fake plants are a better bet – and these can look incredibly real!

Our article, 11 of the best bathroom plants, offers more guidance.

9. Create a gallery wall

Create a gallery wall

Another great way to decorate your bathroom is to create a gallery wall – and this doesn’t need to cost a penny. Many bathrooms have a lot of wall space that isn’t used, so why not give it a bold new look and hang lots of pictures up? The more frames, the better!

If you have lots of pictures or paintings around your house, you can simply repurpose them and hang them in the bathroom, although it’s best to try to find pictures that work well together. If you’re creating a gallery wall from scratch and buying new pictures, you might want to pick a unified theme – things like flowers, plants, and animals all work well.

For more inspiration, head over to Pinterest.

10. Declutter


If you’d like your bathroom to feel more spacious and calming, one of the best things you can do is to spend some time decluttering. And this is another step that doesn’t have to cost a penny! Have a look through your toiletries and bin anything that’s well past its expiry date; and, if you don’t use a certain product very often, see if you can store it out of sight.

If you don’t want to get rid of your toiletries – and you have the space, you could consider keeping products neatly on shelves or ladders. If you’re crafty, making your own from reclaimed wood can be a great idea – otherwise, you can buy some cheap shelves or ladders from second-hand shops and upcycle them.

To get more help with decluttering, you might want to check out our article on the subject here.

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11. Get a new shower curtain

Get a new shower curtain

Shower curtains can quickly bring the overall look of a bathroom down, so if yours is tatty, yellowing, or beginning to go mouldy, it’s probably time to replace it. Shower curtains are usually inexpensive, and buying yourself a shiny new one can be a quick, cost-effective way to instantly update your bathroom.

You might want to pick a striking shower curtain and play around with colours and patterns – or perhaps you’d rather choose a neutral option that’ll let other features in your bathroom shine. Whatever style of shower curtain you choose, replacing plastic curtain hooks with gold or brass ones can also make it look more stylish.

12. Improve your lights

Improve your lights

Improving your lighting is one of the best ways to make a budget bathroom look more expensive. There are plenty of stylish light fixtures available, from striking ceiling chandeliers to statement pendant lights and quirky lampshades, and often these are much cheaper than you think.

Having a light, bright bathroom will make it look bigger, although it’s important to think about light colour temperatures. Warm light creates a relaxing bath time atmosphere, whereas cool light is usually better for doing things like applying makeup, shaving, or putting in contact lenses.

If you want to create a tranquil, cosy look in your bathroom, you can always choose warm bulbs for your main light, and then buy an illuminated LED mirror to use as an extra light source.

13. Buy a statement mirror

Buy a statement mirror

Every bathroom needs a mirror, so if your current mirror is a bit bland, why not buy a new statement one? You’ll probably be able to find some good bargains in second-hand shops, so this doesn’t have to be expensive. If your bathroom is a bit utilitarian, then a bold, glamorous mirror can instantly make it look more stylish.

When it comes to size, it can help to choose a mirror that’s as big as your bathroom can handle. Mirrors bounce the light around and help create a sense of space, so this is especially important if your bathroom is small.

14. Accessorise


A good way to make your bathroom look more cheerful – and have more personality – is to buy some new accessories. This is also quick and inexpensive, as most large supermarkets sell lots of different bathroom accessories for just a few pounds. Plus, if you rent and have limited options to decorate, it’s one of the easiest things you can do to give your bathroom a new look.

Think about buying some things like stylish soap dispensers, quirky toothbrush holders, colourful bath mats, and scented candles. You can also hide toiletries in storage baskets and add your own little touches to them – like tying a colourful ribbon around it for extra colour.

15. Update your towels

Update your towels

When you’re accessoring, why not spend some extra time on your towels? If your bathroom is pretty plain or mostly white or neutral, then an easy way to inject some colour and life into the room is to buy some bright-coloured or patterned towels. Similarly, if your bathroom is already colourful, some plain white, grey, or neutral-coloured towels can look chic too.

If you do buy some fancy new towels, you can also think about the way you store them – after all, pretty things should be on display! For example, hanging your towels on a simple wooden ladder is a great way to show them off, and looks stylish too.

For more ideas, check out Better Homes & Gardens’ article on 28 bathroom towel storage ideas that are pretty and practical.

16. Refresh your windows

Refresh your windows

New window treatments can quickly refresh tired-looking bathrooms, as well as give a sense of privacy to the room. There are many different types of window treatments to choose from, so it’s worth having a look online at cut-price curtains and bargain blinds to see what styles you like most.

Curtains or blinds that fit flush to your window and look bespoke will make your bathroom look more expensive, so it’s important to do your measurements carefully. Fitting your curtains or blinds yourself will also save money, and you can find tutorial videos online if you need guidance.

Alternatively, consider installing window film – which is cheap and easy to install, and comes in all sorts of run designs and patterns. We like this range from Dunelm.

Final thoughts…

From giving your floor or walls a lick of paint and creating gallery walls to buying new shower curtains and pretty towels and accessories, there are many ways you can give your bathroom a brand-new look without spending much money.

Just giving your bathroom a good clean, and making sure your grout and tiles are sparkling fresh, can make much more difference than you might think. And, once you have a clean, blank canvas, it’s even easier to make other changes, like playing around with stick-on tiles or experimenting with tile paint.

Our article, 8 bathroom design ideas, may offer some more inspiration if you’re not sure which type of look you want your bathroom to have.

Are you looking to upgrade your bathroom on a budget? Do you plan to try any of the tips here? Or perhaps you have some tips of your own you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.