If you're hoping to upgrade your bathroom, the first step is making a design that fits in your budget. Contrary to popular belief, you can upgrade and finish your bathroom while keeping the cost of the remodel down.

If you want to know how to bring your bathroom up-to-date on a small budget, here are some design ideas to consider.

1. Make Finishes Matter

The real difference in cost between one bathroom remodel and another is the finishes. One bathroom might have a vinyl surround on the bathtub, while another may have custom-cut marble tile. Everybody wants to have a nice finish in the bathroom, but if you're working in a strict budget, you've got to put the right finishes where they'll make the most difference.

For example, tiling around the walls of entire bathroom will drastically increase the cost of your remodel without a ton of added benefit. Instead, you could use wainscoting around the non-wet wall surfaces, while still using attractive tile for the shower and sink backsplashes.

To reduce costs further, choose a simple tile, like a white subway tile, for most of the tile work. To bring a high-end feel, choose a pricier tile, like penny marble or hand-painted hexagons, to inlay into the shower floor or above the sink. They make a statement without requiring more than just a few square feet.

Other finishes that make a difference might be a slightly more expensive faucet paired with a simple white sink. Changing out the faucet with something a little more high-end will make the entire sink look a little bit more glamorous.

2. Keep the Layout the Same If You Can

Changing plumbing around increases the cost of any remodel, but it can especially challenging in bathrooms because space is limited and rerouting plumbing takes both time and expertise. The entire floor, including the subfloor, must be lifted and replaced. In the basement or on a slab foundation, it can also mean breaking into concrete to rerun pipes.

Unless the bathroom is in a terrible configuration, it's best to leave things where they are. You do have some room to maneuver, however.

For example, if your vanity is large enough to have two sinks but only has one, it's simple to add another sink to existing plumbing. If you'd rather have a large, two-person shower instead of a tub and shower combination, removing the tub provides the space you need.

3. Save What Can Be Saved

Usually, a bathroom remodel means a new toilet, sink, and tub. However, some bathtubs, especially old ones from historic homes, can be refinished to look brand new. Refinishing a tub may be less expensive than buying a new one of similar quality.

Saving what you can means buying less to outfit the new bathroom. If your vanity is great shape, painting it may be better than replacing it. You can make an old vanity look new again with different hardware and fresh countertop.

4. Find Deals on Less Conventional Products

Many bathrooms have an advantage of less square footage, which means you can do more in a small space.

For example, you may have little if any counter space in your bathroom. If you have tiny vanity, pass over more expensive granite and marble countertops for slabs with imperfections that are being sold at a steep discount. The small amount of surface you actually see will make an imperfection invisible, especially if it is where the sink goes.

You can find deals at supply stores. A flooring store, for example, may mark down tiles because the tile is discontinued and there isn't enough for a large room. A small bathroom requires few tiles, so you may get just the right amount for your needs at a fraction of the cost.

For more advice on getting the look you want for your budget, contact us at American Icon Home Improvements.