5 Budget-Friendly Tips For Upgrading A Builder-Grade Bathroom

When you buy a new home, you may be focused on the kitchen that needs new appliances or the living room's less-than-ideal flooring, so much so that you overlook the bathrooms. These spaces are often deemed purely functional, so many homeowners don't consider them much. But the beauty of the notorious builder-grade bathroom is that it's built out of inoffensive orange wood cabinets, oversized frameless mirrors, and usually, an acrylic resin countertop, says Builder Supply Outlet. The choice of wood adds warmth and an earthy feel to the bathroom, creating visual interest. Similarly, the massive mirrors make the area appear more prominent. 

Try to think of your builder-grade bathroom as a blank canvas that you can customize to your tastes, but if you didn't save room in your home renovation budget for the washrooms, don't stress! You still have plenty of options for giving it an upgrade. We've assembled some of the best budget-friendly tips for giving your builder-grade bathroom a stunning makeover.

1. Add a frame to your mirror

There's certainly nothing wrong with a massive mirror in the bathroom, and it can be a huge asset if you and your partner are elbowing for room during your morning routine. But it can also become a negative space if you don't find a solution to this problem. By adding a frame, you add character and flair to it and ground the glass in the room. You can do this a few ways — by using wall trim tape, creating a mirror frame from lumber, or ordering a mirror frame kit. But be warned, ordering a frame from a big box store can cost a lot of money. 

If you don't have a saw, the wall trim tape is the best choice for keeping your budget safe. Be cautious because, as Pleasanton Glass Company notes, some frames can trap moisture if not sealed properly. That is another perk of the sticky trim tape; it can adhere entirely to the mirror. 

2. Give the vanity a makeover

There's absolutely nothing wrong with a wood-finished bathroom vanity, but it's unlikely you picked the wood out, or it appears throughout your home. To make the bathroom more cohesive, consider painting the vanity with a paint color used in other rooms of your home. Your sofa, curtains, or area rug are excellent sources of color inspiration. You can use a color-matching app on your phone to get the perfect shade. Then head to your hardware to get the paint selected. 

Lowes recommends using a primer before applying any paint to your cabinets, but if your cabinets are already finished, you don't have to in many cases. Opt for some new hardware to give them an extra glamorous update, which will make a huge impact. Modern bar pulls in bronze or gold are excellent choices, leather tabs offer a rustic edge, and ceramic knobs are great for boho-leaning designs. 

3. Paint the door

Sometimes, like bathrooms, we think of doors as objects of pure function. But they are just as much an opportunity for design as the walls and floor of the washroom. Doors typically don't require much paint, so this is a super budget-friendly idea. Even standard shaker doors can have new life breathed into them, and paint can add depth to their reliefs. If you paint your vanity, you can use the same paint color on your door or choose a complementary shade if you can't get enough. 

It can be tempting to leave your door on its hinges during the painting process, but we recommend taking it off and removing the hardware for a smooth finish. Plus, as Home Decor Bliss notes, paint can ruin the integrity of your hinges, leaving them susceptible to damage in the short term. That little extra work will pay off when you don't have to replace the hinges later. 

4. Add a shower curtain

We know this one might seem like a "duh" moment, but shower curtains are a fantastic way to dress up your bathroom. Even for the minimalist who may resent cheesy rubber ducky curtains, there are plenty of options. For an exquisite and luxurious bathroom, try extra long linen curtains. You might typically see them hung in more formal rooms like the living room or kitchen, but natural fiber curtains are also very well suited to the bathroom. Even if you have a glass shower door, you can add some warmth to the room with the help of a tension rod. 

That being said, you can always go for punchier prints. Bold florals, watercolor seascapes, or soothing abstracts are all great options. But whatever you do, don't opt for plastic. As Realtor remarks that they can be an attractive choice since they are cheap, they also look it. Polyester, nylon, and natural fabrics are excellent choices and are still very affordable when restyling your bathroom. 

5. Use wallpaper on an accent wall

Consider bringing the style home if you've fallen in love with the funky wallpapered bathroom at your favorite Instagram-worthy brunch spot. Wallpaper can be shockingly expensive, so don't build your design around an entire room of the stuff. Instead, create an accent wall. We love the wall behind the mirror for this because it can break up the pattern nicely, but you really can't go wrong. If you're going for a colorful print, look for accessories that pick up some of its colors and will take your design to the next level of stylishness.

Not sure you're ready to commit to a style or want to keep the budget even smaller? Opt for peel-and-stick wallpaper instead. It is more than just cheap vinyl these days; available in a variety of patterns, finishes, and textures. But as Muse Wall Studio notes, be positive that the walls are 100% completely dry before applying, or your wallpaper will peel and can even cause water damage to your walls.