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How to Remodel an Old Bathroom on a Budget

To remodel an old bathroom efficiently, consider what you can keep before you decide on what to change. The basement bathroom remodel which serves as the inspiration for this article involved just such a question. To begin with, the front of this old bathroom was covered in old cabinets and a grotesque sink. Opposite where the washer and dryer. I decided to keep the washer and dryer but eliminate the kitchen cabinets. I then enclosed the washer and dryer with drywall and folding doors to separate the laundry room from the bathroom itself.

Next, I bought a vanity at closeout and assembled it myself. A single-piece counter and sink offered a great way to achieve beauty without a high price tag. Discarding the hideous sink, I remodeled the front of the bathroom with the vanity, counter and an extremely cheap, closeout mirror that I spray painted with Rust Oleum hammered silver for an antique look.

I then moved on to remodeling the back of this old bathroom. Though the color of the toilet bowl and tank was a sickly faded green, the two were perfectly functional. I decided to keep the toilet, and to color-tone the decor of the bathroom to suit a sage green motif. The folding doors that now concealed the washer and dryer were painted with a faded lime. The back wall of the bathroom was tinged with sage and the front walls were kept in a lighter shade of cream for a bright feel.

But the most challenging part of remodeling this old bathroom was yet to come. The floor was an ugly linoleum print from the 1970s, with a hideous outdated pattern. Keeping with the spirit of remodeling on a budget, I opted to cover the old linoleum floor with new and fashionable PVC tiles. To ensure proper contact with the base floor, I scrubbed it clean with floor cleaner, then let it dry thoroughly.

Although PVC tiles come with a shelf-adhesive back, I decided to increase the durability of my old bathroom remodel by also smearing the old linoleum floor with conductive PVC tile adhesive. Starting at the far corner, I worked my way down the bathroom in a manner that kept me from having to lean or walk over freshly glued PVC tiles. To give the bathroom floor remodel a professional look, I cut the side tiles down to size using a sharp utility knife. I did not have to worry about perfect symmetry as I was yet to install base molding along the bottom of the walls. Once the old bathroom floor remodel was finished, I completed the faux grout illusion by hand sealing all the cracks between the PVC tiles, using a caulk tube.

I replaced the old 70’s light fixtures with inexpensive lights I found on closeout online. Since the color of the light fixture was wrong, I spray painted it with Rust Oleum’s silver, which blended well with the silver shower.

One of the last steps of this old bathroom remodel required moving the light switch to the hallway from inside the bathroom. Measuring the distance from the doorway, I was able to determine where on the opposite side of the wall the light switch should sit. Cutting the drywall, I then turned the electrical box around, to face the hallway and reinstalled the light switch in its more accessible position. I then followed these simple steps to fixing a hole in drywall where the light switch had originally sat.

It was when the floors and walls of this old bathroom were fully remodeled that I installed base molding along the walls and even in front of the shower stall to continue the modern appeal. Molding is cut at 45 degree angles, called meter joints. An inexpensive meter saw made the job easy.

Remodeling this old bathroom on a budget was instructive. Items that seemed too ugly to keep could be salvaged when blended in with the new decor. A little imaginative use of space permitted the bathroom remodel to incorporate an unobtrusive laundry room. Finally, an affordable PVC tile solution with a faux grout finish was able to fool the eye into thinking that expensive tile was used in this old bathroom remodel.

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