Renovation of the bathroom: 5 tricks and DIY solutions to save money

Renovation of the bathroom: 5 tricks and DIY solutions to save money

Elisabetta has renovated the bathroom this year, adopting do-it-yourself and low-cost solutions. She has renewed the style of the original bathroom by replacing the bathtub with a shower, buy best toilets on the market, the old sanitary ware and the furniture, covering the existing tiles without demolishing. He told me how he did it and how much he spent. Curious?

How much does it cost to renovate the bathroom? A very difficult question, with different answers depending on what you want to achieve and even from the starting point: a very old bathroom with broken pipes? Or simply a bathroom that needs a restyling? Sometimes it is not necessary to intervene with a total renovation of the bathroom: it might be enough to renew the style of the bathroom with low cost ideas and DIY furniture.

Elisabetta is a friend and fellow blogger – someone will already know her magazine Italian bark. I asked her to reveal the 6 tricks to renovate the low cost bathroom: her apartment is not a permanent one and she didn’t want to spend much to rebuild the bathroom. She decided not to demolish, recover, cover. Let’s see how and what?

How to redo the bathroom at little expense?

Actually, the one above is a bit of a provocative question, because the risk of obtaining a result of low quality both in terms of product and laying is just around the corner. By spending little I don’t mean “the least possible” by buying cheap furniture and entrusting the workforce to unskilled personnel, but adopting some measures to reduce the total cost of the renovation or restyling.

How? For example, trying to limit the number of working days as much as possible (labour obviously accounts for a great deal of the total cost of restoring the bathroom), and giving yourself to DIY (as far as possible), then focusing on decorative accessories to personalise the bathroom.

Elisabetta’s bathroom renovation gives us 6 ideas for a low cost restyling with a wow effect.

1. Paint the tiles instead of removing them

To remove existing coverings it is necessary to unglue (and/or split) them piece by piece. This operation has a huge impact on the cost of bathroom renovation and total working hours.

In this case, the wall tiles have been covered with a specific product (Mantoplast Hydro One-Day by Chreon, glossy white), passed on by Elisabetta’s patient helper: Richi 🙂 Renovation of the bathroom without removing the tiles is a perfect idea to reduce costs!

2. Laying the new tiles on the floor above the existing ones

Again, without splitting the entire floor, it is possible to renew the style of the bathroom with new tiles in a contemporary style: the choice here – fundamental to characterize the whole environment – fell on a black and white geometric pattern (Tonalite, Examatt collection). The tiles have been applied above the existing ones.

The curiosity: do you know that “rebuilding the bathroom without removing tiles” is one of the most sought after phrases on Google? Obviously it must be a widespread necessity (considering the cost of the total demolition of the bathroom).

3. Maintain the position of the elements without intervening on the pipes

Preserving the original layout of sanitary fixtures and fittings allows you to limit the total cost. It will be sufficient to dismantle the old pieces and install the new ones.

In this case, be careful to check the discharge of the new sanitary ware: it must be compatible with the position of the original holes. In the new bathroom have been installed toilet and bidet flush with the wall (Ceramica Cielo mod. Smile).

4. Replace the bathtub with a modern shower without breaking tiles.

Elisabeth wanted to get rid of the bathtub and install a shower. In the bathroom before, however, the bathtub was tiled, so by dismantling it all the existing cladding was demolished. In order to cover everything without any problems, a shower enclosure was chosen to be installed in the entire area previously occupied by the bathtub.

The smart goddess! To save storage space (lost with the open washbasin holder that replaces the old closed cabinet) the shower box has an open container compartment and a seat that covers the space no longer tiled. At the bottom of the post you will find photos of the bathroom as it was before.

5. Opting for a washbasin holder structure instead of a closed piece of furniture

In order to contain the cost, Elisabetta has chosen to have an iron washbasin holder structure made by a blacksmith who has made it to her design, lacquered in black. In line with the latest trends, the bathroom thus has an industrial style and chic at the same time! A ceramic countertop washbasin (Pozzi Ginori mod.Cocktail) with a hole for a single lever tap was also mounted on the structure (given the reduced depth of the top there will be no room for a hole there).

6. Betting on a few decorative elements

With taste and clear ideas on the style of the bathroom, a few pieces of furniture are enough to make the bathroom in a new and modern style: Elisabetta has used furniture Ikea, Maison du Monde, Leroy Merlin, Tiger). Below you can find the link to the post where you can find details on the individual accessories.

Total cost for refurbishing the bathroom

And now let’s come to the information you’ve been waiting for. Elisabetta really shared all the expenses incurred to renovate the bathroom, here they are:


  • Sanitaryware (Smile, Ceramic Sky) € 476.00
  • Customized iron cabinet € 400
  • Countertop washbasin € 280
  • Faucets and siphons € 161
  • Floor tiles (Tonalite, 65€/sqm) € 293
  • Paints and enamels for walls, doors and windows, old tiles covering € 150


  • Mirror (Leroy Merlin) € 80
  • Miscellaneous decor (Tiger) € 20
  • Lighting (Ikea Lamp, Maison Du Monde Wall Light) € 54


  • Delivery (Revolution, Novellini: cabin composed of shower tray, shower walls with tap column, open cabinet plus container compartment, black profiles) € 2,210

MANODOPERA for bathroom renovation € 1380

  • Disassembly and disposal of old furniture and bathtub, installation of new sanitary fixtures with taps and furniture with washbasin € 700
  • Installation of new shower enclosure with taps and fittings connection €430
  • Floor tiles € 250


If you think that renovating a bathroom with less than € 6000 is so sorry to disappoint you. Consider also that the tiles chosen are high-end and that the shower enclosure accounts for a lot of the total and can be replaced with a simple and cheaper model. Assuming to insert a 900€ one, we are talking about completely renovating a bathroom with a little more than 4000€ (remember, however, that in that case the wall of the former bathtub will also have to be repainted and probably the taps and fittings will have to be replaced with a shower column, which means intervening also on the pipes: in the end, this is not always a real saving).

In short, it seems to me an exceptional result, what do you say?

How to renovate a small DIY bathroom (or almost, come on):

If you want to take a look at the post on Italianbark that tells the restyling you can find it on his blog here. There are all the details about the brands included and the products purchased. You can also find the post with the inspirations for the style he had written before starting work 🙂

Economical bathroom renovation: what does it mean?

A lot of people are amazed at the estimates for renovating the bathroom. They probably don’t imagine the cost of such an intervention, or take it for granted that they will be able to cut the costs of anything.

In this case we are almost at the limit between a simple restyling and a real renovation with demolition and displacement of the pipes (the replacement of the sanitary and the elimination of the bathtub are two key interventions for us to talk about restructuring). If only it had been decided to move some elements or to remove the existing tiles, the total cost would have increased a lot.

What I wanted to tell you, however, is: be wary of professionals who promise you cheap and fast bathroom renovations. Check the quality of the materials (glues, pipes, mortars, ceramics) and try not to save on manpower (on the professionalism and experience of the operators I mean), leaving the DIY only superficial interventions. And if you are not in the industry, please, rely on someone competent.

Designing the bathroom does not mean having (at random) the furnishing elements on a paper map. It means knowing about problems (and knowing how to deal with them), predicting and avoiding others, finding solutions based on products on the market (and therefore being updated on collections, materials, solutions) and responding to objective as well as subjective functional needs.

Do you want to renovate your bathroom or make a restyling? Do you know that I also offer the bathroom furniture consulting service online? Take a look and contact me for a non-binding request.

This is what the bathroom was like before the renovation: dark wood door and window, decidedly demodé tiles, bulky but capacious furniture, tiled bathtub, ground sanitary ware with exposed pipes.

The difference is considerable, what do you say?

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