A beautiful bathroom can be uplifting on many levels: It improves your home’s resale value and provides you with a welcoming environment in one of the most-used rooms of your house. If your bathroom has become the room in the house you least want to visit, it may be time to consider some cost-effective upgrades.

A mid-range bathroom remodel can cost, on average, around $16,000 (and return 64 percent of that cost at the time of resale), according to Remodeling Magazine‘s 2011 Cost. vs. Value Report. You don’t have to spend thousands, however, to give your bathroom a fresh look. Here are some high-impact, awesome upgrades that you can accomplish for less than $200 each:

Work those walls


Paint is still the cheapest, easiest way to freshen a room’s look, and that’s true even in the bathroom. While painting a bath can be a bit more complicated than other rooms because of obstructions like mirrors, showers, tubs and the commode, it’s still a project well within the abilities of most do-it-yourselfers. Good paint can be had for as little as $25, and most bathrooms will only need a gallon or two.

Once you’ve repainted, consider adding a wallpaper mural. You’ve probably always thought adding wallpaper in a bath was risky, given the room’s usual humidity. But modern wallpaper options, like SmartStick by MuralsYourWay.com, can easily hold up to bathroom conditions. A patented adhesive allows you to easily place the material on nearly any surface — walls, windows, that architectural niche above your bathtub — pull it down, reposition it, and even move the moisture resistant mural to a different wall. You can even customize with your own wall photo by using your own original photography. Submit your photo through the website and the company creates a custom mural using your artwork.

Lighten up

Lighting is another low-cost way to renovate a bathroom. If your bathroom sports a utilitarian overhead fixture, or a dressing-room-style light bar above the mirror, you can create a whole new look for the room by replacing those lights with one — or more — contemporary styles.


Because your bathrooms serve several functions, bathroom lighting should be flexible too. Design pros often place more than one light source in bathrooms, even if the room is relatively small.

Adding a couple of wall sconces in addition to a main light source costs little but allows you to lower lighting in the bathroom when you’re in the mood for relaxation. And a strong, overhead light source provides practical illumination for putting on make-up or shaving, for example. It’s easy to find cost-effective lighting options at your local home improvement store.

Little things mean a lot

You can also make several small changes in a bath that will have a big impact, from swapping out cabinet hardware to replacing an existing straight shower rod with a curved one. Depending on which projects you choose, you could accomplish several for less than $200 total.