Decorating & Design - Budget

Update your bathroom for under $100

Bathroom renovations don't need to cost a fortune. Freshen up your bathroom with an inexpensive facelift.

From time to time, even the most elegant bathroom can use a facelift. But you don't always need to go whole hog and do major bathroom renovations; there are many ways to freshen it up for under $100. Here's a list of inexpensive spirit-lifters, from quick and cheerful impulse-buys to jobs that take little more than an afternoon (or two) of your own efforts to pay off.

1 Paint it. Unless your bathroom is truly palatial, it only takes a quart or two to change the wall colour. If you already have paint equipment in the house, such as trays and brushes, this bathroom renovation transformation will be even cheaper. Use painter's tape and plastic drop cloths to tape off fixtures and floor.

2 Buy new hand towels in a bright colour; nothing cheers up a bathroom faster and more easily. If you still have some cash left, throw in some matching facecloths and bath towels too, perhaps in a contrasting shade. Finish with a matching bathmat and it will look like you had a major bathroom renovation.

3 Most shower curtains tend to get tattered after a while. Treat yourself to a new one and buy some pretty shower curtain rings - either plastic ones in a cheery colour or sleek chrome ones. Finish off with a tieback made with an oversized tassel.

4 Change the faucet. Yes, that's right. Local building stores have many styles for under $100 and most are designed for easy DIY installation, using only basic tools, and it's great way to add to your minor bathroom renovations.

5 Bed-and-bath stores are wonderful places for accessories of all kinds. Buy a toothbrush holder, soap dish and wastebasket in a slick style, such as stainless steel, bright retro plastic, or a pretty Victorian pattern. Wicker baskets and trays are great for displaying rolled-up towels or facecloths, toilet tissue rolls or tiny soaps - the classic hotel look.

6 The drugstore is another great place to splurge on inexpensive decorating finds. Buy a set of toiletries in pretty bottles and jars and arrange them together on a shelf. Or stock up on loofahs, delicious-smelling soaps and other bath accessories for the edges of the tub.

7 Spend an afternoon detailing your bathroom; even the most immaculately kept bath is vulnerable to hidden grime. Take an old toothbrush and scrub around faucets, whirlpool jets and insides of cabinets. Use grout cleaner to clean up tile grout. Finish with a really good, overall cleaning.

8 Visit a poster store or IKEA and buy a grouping of inexpensive framed black-and-white prints, or have a photo store reprint some family photos in black and white and frame them yourself. It's an instant lift without major bathroom renovations. (If the backs are sealed, and they're not in direct contact with water, humidity is not generally a problem, but to be safe, avoid hanging valuable or irreplaceable pictures in the bathroom.)

9 Update drawer handles and knobs. Nowadays, you can get everything from plastic starfish and other sea creatures to elegant old-fashioned porcelain knobs with reproduction transfer patterns. Or, if you like, splurge and get some really elegant ones from a design store; chances are you only need five or six at most, so why not treat yourself?

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