The bathroom is one of the most-used rooms in the home, but often the most overlooked when it comes to the design and updating it to match the rest of the home. Bathroom remodelling is notoriously expensive, costing thousands of pounds, and even more if you are not careful and meticulous in your planning.

But, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to renovate your bathroom on a budget, even with the costs of design, materials, labour, and more. Below are six useful tips regarding how to keep bathroom remodel costs down during your bathroom renovation, without compromise.

How long does it take to do a bathroom renovation?

On average, a small complete bathroom remodel can be finished within four to five weeks, this timescale is if the work is carried out on weekdays only. This time does depend on the extent of the amount of work needed in your bathroom, such as which appliances are being changed or whether plumbing is being reworked. There is no definitive timescale which can be given, as each renovation is unique with different requirements.

Timescale in mind, it is always important to prepare for the unexpected, meaning tradesmen may become ill or parts may not show up on time, which could prolong the time it may take.

Do I need a permit to renovate my bathroom?

If you are looking to renovate your bathroom yourself, you may not have considered the need for a permit. A building permit is an official approval issued by the governing body of your area, which allows you to proceed with your renovation project. It ensures your plans comply with the local standards.

With the plumbing, electrical, and structural work that comes alongside a bathroom remodel, the chances are you will need some kind of permit. These permits are important as they serve as a safeguard for homeowners. So, it is important to check your local government’s permit rules. If you choose to work with a contractor on your bathroom remodel, it’s likely they’ll take care of the permitting process, but always make sure to check with them.

6 of our top budget bathroom renovation tips

Top tip 1: Planning is key

It is important to outline your design, work out your budget, and timeline beforehand. If you’re starting a bathroom renovation, overall cost is likely to be one of your biggest decisions to make. Setting a budget for a bathroom project can seem daunting and complex, not only because fixtures and fittings can be expensive, but because a bathroom design usually requires many skills that are beyond most DIYer’s abilities.

A budget is essential as it will give you a guide to stick to, so that you know what you’re going to do and spend on. Therefore, you will be less likely to get ahead of yourself and spend more than intended. Keeping track of costs, even if there are areas that go over budget, will still let you see where you’re at in terms of the bigger picture. Without such budget, it is way too easy to go overboard with purchases and not realise the full cost of the project until it is completed, and you could be left in shock

Top tip 2: Only replace the necessary items

Keeping and refurbishing your existing materials, appliances, and so on is a great option for saving money in a renovation. If problems with the appliances, such as showers, toilets, and bathtubs, are mainly cosmetic, try refinishing them. Cosmetic issues such as yellowed surfaces with cracks and dents could easily be refinished, by filling cracks and painting over them. This means you will save on not only the cost of a new bathtub, but also other potential costs which may come with a new one, such as flooring, cement board, plumbing fixtures, and more. You can change cabinet hardware instead of whole cabinets which could make them look new.

Top tip 3: Use lower-cost lookalike materials

If you must update your current items and materials, for example, if they don’t go with the new bathroom or if they are broken, then choosing inexpensive alternatives to high-cost materials is the best bet. For example, instead of solid wood flooring, choose vinyl flooring, or instead of granite countertops, use something such as quartz. Swaps like these not only help to keep costs down, but can sometimes fool people into thinking they’re the more expensive option due to advances in technology, creating materials for a lower cost which look great and are inexpensive.

Top tip 4: DIY to save on labour costs

Labour is a very expensive factor when carrying out a bathroom renovation. By carrying out the odd job as a DIY project, this can help to save a lot of money that can be spent elsewhere. For example, painting the walls yourself, or doing your own tiling. It may require some practice and patience, but most jobs can be DIYed. This prevents the need to get a labourer in and will keep overall costs down. You can find guides online regarding how to carry out DIY jobs yourself.

Top tip 5: Keep plumbing in place

You will most likely need a labourer to change your plumbing systems as this is not something that can be carried out as a DIY job. So therefore, a way to keep costs down is keeping all current pipework and plumbing in place. So if you’re purchasing new toilets, showers, or baths, then keeping in the same place is a way to save on costs.

Top tip 6: Choose green technologies

To continue saving into the future, installing greener, water saving technologies will help to make your home more efficient by saving water and money in the long run, even if the initial cost for the water saving technology is higher. Choosing shower heads, toilets and sinks with low-flow technology will ensure you are saving water, money and the environment over time, whilst improving your home’s EPC rating.


When planning a bathroom renovation, it is always best to be realistic. As luxurious as you would like your new bathroom to be, if you are on a smaller budget, then it is unlikely that you will be able to achieve everything that you would like. By spacing your renovation out over a longer period of time, or limiting your upgrades to only the necessary items, can help you renovate on the budget you have.

Planning in detail will help you to have less unexpected surprises, so it is important to go over plans, measurements, materials, labour costs, and more. Also, resisting the urge to change your mind mid-renovation is important as you may incur costs that you had not previously planned for.