Before and After: Small Bathroom Ideas on a Budget

By Brittni β€’ Updated on 08/31/2023

Challenging myself with a $350 (or less) budget bathroom makeover!

Light and bright small bathroom with white rock floors and white towel hanging from the wall

When we moved into this house, our guest bathroom really needed a pick-me-up. Like, from the start!

But we left it as is for as long as we could.

And spent our money and time on other renovations that were more important for the house at the time – like new flooring, skylights, etc.

More recently though, with those bigger renovation projects complete for now, it hit me that we really needed to do SOMETHING in the guest bathroom. Like ASAP.

So, we settled on doing a very small $350 budget refresh, for now, to tide us over until we’re ready for a larger remodel in here. And I’m so glad we did!

Wanna see how it all came together? Click through for the budget breakdown and all the before and after photos.

Before photo of small and dark guest bathroom

This is what our guest bathroom looked like when we moved in (above).

It was dark and outdated, and had a very low to the ground vanity for some reason.

But we figured we would renovate it eventually, so we weren’t too worried about it. Fast forward to now, and we’ve realized that we really needed to address some things in this space, since my son uses it everyday and we’re in here a lot too.

So, after we had VELUX Sun Tunnels installed to add some (desperately needed) natural light, it was time to tackle some cosmetic changes in here as well.

The Sun Tunnels were not included in the budget for this bathroom because they were gifted by the brand. 

Here’s the breakdown of everything that went into our budget bathroom renovation…

Before and after side by side of bathroom makeover

Bathroom Vanity

Painting the Existing Vanity

The bathroom vanity is a bit of a strange one. It was mounted very, very low.

It was like this when we bought the house and I don’t know why. Maybe it was ADA compliant?

But this is the bathroom that my son uses everyday, so the height works perfectly for him, without the need for a stool.

For this reason, and for budget purposes, we decided to keep the old vanity for now. One of the things I like about it is that it’s mounted to the wall.

So if and when I decide to redo the tile flooring in here, I won’t have to worry about taking the vanity out to do it. And I can easily replace the vanity with something new once the new flooring is in.

Again, not sure when that will happen, since I’m pretty happy with how these floors came out, for now.

Priming and painting the cabinet and switching out the knobs made a big difference.

It’s not exactly what I would do if I was fully renovating this space, but for the budget I was working with, it does the trick.

Vanity Paint Color

I mixed my own paint color for the vanity from two others because I couldn’t quite find the paint color I was looking for.

I got Farrow and Ball sample tins of Lichen No. 19 and a Treron No. 292.

Poured the entirety of each sample tin into another container, mixed them together, and that’s the color I used for the vanity.

New Faucet

I wanted to replace the existing faucet with something a bit more updated, but I was pretty limited on the type of faucet I could select.

I was limited to single hole options and also needed to look for a smaller size faucet, with the vanity being so small.

I ended up finding this gold faucet on Amazon that was super affordable and looks cute.

It’s simple, but it works great so far. No complaints.

Vanity Knobs

I get asked pretty regularly about the knobs in our kitchen, which are the same ones I used for the vanity.

So I thought I would mention them. I over ordered knobs when I did the kitchen makeover, so I had plenty of extras to use throughout the house, including these new ones for the vanity.

The knobs are from, surprisingly, and they add a lot of character with the solid wood and concave shape.

Before and after side by side bathroom makeover

Tile Backsplash + Shelf

Tile Backsplash

Because the vanity is so small and short, I thought I would beef up the area a little bit by adding a backsplash and a shelf.

The process for tiling was easier than I thought it would be.

I used a fairly expensive tile to create the backsplash (from the brand Cle – part of the new California collection), but because I needed so few tiles the final cost was less than $100 (including other tiling supplies).

Because it was such a small space that I was tiling, I thought it was important to choose something that felt really special and in line with the house.

Being in Southern California and given that my house has a mid-century vibe, I thought the new California collection from Cle was a perfect fit.

The tiles from this collection have a really beautiful look and feel to them, similar to a cool piece of pottery. Every tile is a little different, with its own color variations, divots, specks, etc.

To play off the irregularities in the tile, I went even further with it, by using several different tile colors.

The result is even more color variation, which reminds me of the colors I kept seeing in nature, on a recent trip to Yosemite and Mammoth.

Final Tile Tip

One last note about the tile…Another reason why I went with multiple colors for this tile is because you can only purchase 4 (sample) tiles of the same color from Cle at a time.

This way, I was able to stick with their rules on sample tiles, which you pay for individually, AND get my full tile order MUCH faster than if I went with one color for the whole thing.

*The tiles in this collection are made to order, which typically means long lead times.

Bathroom Shelf

The bathroom shelf, over the tile backsplash, is one of my favorite parts of the bathroom makeover. In part because it didn’t cost me anything to make, since  already had all the supplies. And also in part because I was able to add a plant a few other cute accessories. I like having these up high too, since my son uses this bathroom regularly. Up and out of the way is a good thing when it comes to breakable things and toddlers. 

So, the shelf is just a piece of scrap piece of wood that I already had, leftover from my DIY cutting boards project. along with some L brackets (also called corner braces) I had laying around. I used the brackets to secure the wood to the wall. And attached it as close to the tile backsplash as possible.

Super easy! And then I just hide the parts of the brackets that are visible with stuff in front of it. I could also paint these the color fo the wall, but I just haven’t done it yet.

Bathroom Mirror

When I picked out the mirror originally, I didn’t have the full plan for the space yet.

I know, I probably should have waited. But I didn’t.

Overall, I think it fits in fine, but I might switch it out for something else down the line.

For now, because we haven’t had an electrician come out yet, it’s covering that ugly spot where the old light once was.

Once we get that removed, we’ll patch that part of the wall and I can figure out if I need to start over with a smaller / different shape mirror.

*Wanted to also mention that this new mirror was completely free because I had an Amazon gift card. So that was part of the appeal.

Minimal white bathroom with green accents and lots of plants


The rock flooring is something I’ve gone back and forth on.

It has a little bit of groovy/retro vibe to it, but also it looked kind of sad at the same time.

Probably because it had paint splatters on it that wouldn’t come out and just looked kind of dirty all the time (I think its the colors).

SO, I got it in my head that I would paint it. Fully expecting that if it ended up looking awful, I would remove it all together and lay new tile in here.

Something that I will continue to consider, if the painted floors don’t hold up for some reason.

With nothing to lose, I felt a bit more freedom in the process. And came up with a technique that ended up working really well.

I’ll most likely create a separate post for how I did he flooring, but you can get a sense of the process from this post on my Instagram.

I used a special floor paint to make sure I could get it to adhere and also gave it a try good cleaning beforehand with Krud Kutter.

I use Krud Kutter pretty regularly before painting things – it work as a degreaser and helps pull up anything that might cause the paint not to stick.

Be sure to use a sealer too – but I’ll detail this in that future post about painting the floors.

Backsplash with handmade tiles and wooden shelf with round mirror

Muted green vanity in small minimal guest bathroom

Painted white floors and green floating vanity in small guest bathroom with organic modern style

Backsplash with handmade tiles in small bathroom, with gold accents and a green painted vanity

Minimal organic modern bathroom makeover with white and green accents

Small Bathroom Remodel Cost (budget breakdown)

  • Sink Faucet $42.99
  • Vanity Paint $16
  • Vanity Cabinet Pulls $0 (leftover from the kitchen makeover)
  • Tile $80
  • Tile Shelf Supplies $14
  • Tiling Supplies $14.85
  • Bathroom Mirror $0 ($146.19 was the price, but I had a gift card, so it was completely free)
  • Flooring Paint $54
  • Wall Paint and Paint Supplies $0 (leftover from another project)
  • Toilet Paper Holder $55

Total Cost: $276.84*

*If I would have had to pay for the mirror, the cost would have been $423.03. If I didn’t have that gift card, I probably would have chosen a less expensive one, to keep costs down. So, I think, either way, I would have stayed under the $350 budget.

Organic modern bathroom makeover with painted white floors and white walls

Final Thoughts on the Bathroom Makeover

I’m pretty happy that I was able to stay $75 UNDER BUDGET for this project.

If you know me personally, you know this almost never happens. Lol.

But even if I hadn’t been under budget, I would have been happy with the outcome.

My goal with this refresh was to extend the life of this space. And ultimately, push off a full blown remodel for as long a possible.

It’s not perfect, by any means, but it feels updated for our family and more like ‘us’ for now, while staying relatively true to the original style of the house.

I hope this budget bathroom makeover will give you some inspiration in your next project.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. Happy to answer.

8 comments | Click here to reply

I appreciate the inexpensive little bathroom ideas. The solutions you’ve offered show off your creativity. Which concept, in your opinion, has the greatest effect relative to its cost?


Hi Colleen. Of course. The mirror is from Amazon. I removed the black rubber pat for the mirror after I got it. So that’s why it looks a little different in the photos.


What a beautiful before/after. I love it!


Really lovely! Would you mind sharing where you found the mirror?


Totally hear you on the floors, Blake. We did live with them as is for over a year to see if we would learn to like them and we never warmed up to them. So they had to go. πŸ™‚


Love the color of the sink. Though, I would have kept the natural stone flooring look. I think it would have tied in nicely with the boho look rather than painting it over white.

Blake Lockwood

Thanks Seana! Sun Tunnels makes such a huge difference when it comes to natural light, don’t they? I love ours. And yes – the floors also helped to brighten this space. Feels much lighter and more cheerful in here now. πŸ™‚


I have the Sun Tunnel over my vanity as well and it makes a huge difference in a space that otherwise would have been very dark.

I think the floor makes the biggest difference. It came out great – makes the whole space so much brighter. Brave of you to try! Didn’t know about floor paint.

Well done:)

Seana Turner
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