How I Did My Small Bathroom Makeover On a Budget

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Earlier this year, I decided to sell my condo. It was still somewhat of a bittersweet decision as it was the very first property I’d purchased on my own, but I knew it was the right decision. I also knew I wanted to sell my condo quick while getting top dollar. Since I had renovated the kitchen just a few years prior, the plan was to give both bathrooms a full makeover to really wow any potential buyers with a truly move-in ready condo.

While it’s easy to get carried away with any remodeling project, condos are even trickier in that it’s harder to get the same returns by renovating through higher appraisals than a single-family home, making it easy to “over-renovate”. I definitely didn’t want that to happen, so I wanted to keep the renovation budget as low as possible, with as short of a timeline as possible, while still delivering a quality and beautiful end product.

Luckily, my husband works in construction, so I knew we could help out with a lot of the stuff to keep the costs down. While the bathrooms weren’t horrible before, they were definitely outdated and nothing special. Here’s what they looked like before…

Master bathroom – Before


Guest bathroom – Before



With an aggressive timeline ahead, we set out to tackle our bathroom makeovers on a budget…

Brightening up a small space

Since the bathrooms aren’t very big, we wanted to brighten up the space to make it seem as roomy as possible. Those ugly square white tiles that came with most standard bathrooms definitely had to go! We decided to go with a large 12″ x 24″ high gloss white tile for the shower to really open up the space with a clean and modern look, with an accent strip to break up the space for an added pop.

For the vanities, we knew simple white shaker style cabinets would do the trick. The guest bathroom was easy, but the master bath has a really odd configuration, as you can see from the photos, where the wall behind the vanity was divided into three sections at weird angles, which made it extra hard to find standard sized cabinets that fit properly.

We ended up getting RTA (Ready to Assemble) cabinets from, which had the largest selection of sizes and styles for the RTA cabinets I wanted, and at a reasonable cost. While the thought of assembling a bunch of cabinets might seem like a huge hassle, it really wasn’t bad at all, especially for small bathroom projects where there are only a few cabinets to deal with. Plus, RTA cabinets are much more affordable and are also readily available, versus custom cabinets that could take up to eight weeks to arrive.

We painted the walls a light gray to bring some color and warmth, and opted for gray granite countertops as well.

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Get creative with flooring

We also decided to go with gray flooring to stay with the gray and white theme.

Here’s the tile combination we decided on…

I’ve also been obsessed with herringbone designs lately, so I really wanted to do that for the bathroom floors, even though my husband gave me the evil eye when I first brought it up.

His initial reaction was, “You know this is going to take longer to do right? And it’ll waste more material, so we’ll have to get more tile.”

As much as I wanted to keep the costs down, I also wanted the bathrooms to really stand out, so we compromised at a staggered angled layout for the flooring, like in the picture above. Tiling the floor with a different design would really gave it that personal touch and make it stand out that much more.

New lighting is a must

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I can’t stress enough how important lighting is! Although lighting isn’t cheap and can easily add up, it also makes a huge difference and is definitely worth every penny. Installing new lighting actually has one of the biggest returns when trying to sell a home.

See the difference new lighting makes? =)



It all comes down to the details

The devil really is in the details, which is what really brings everything together to make it whole and establish that emotional connection. My anal and slightly OCD self definitely went a little crazy on Amazon, where I got the vessel sinks, faucets, and all new hardware including toilet paper holders and towel bars.

Here’s what our finished bathrooms looked like…

Master Bathroom – After


Guest Bathroom – After

When we were finally done, I was super proud of what we’d accomplished, seeing the transformation the bathrooms went through. I even brought over some of my own decor to stage the bathrooms. Seeing the finished piece definitely made me a little sad knowing that I’d have to say goodbye to my condo soon, but also rewarding knowing that we created this amazing space that the next owner would call home.


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