Karen Lawley | Revere Real Estate, Malden Real Estate, Lynn Real Estate, Boston Real Estate


Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Tired of looking at a dated bathroom day after day but dread updating it knowing the average remodeled bathroom will set you back thousands of dollars? Even if you don’t have the budget for a complete makeover, there are several DIY ways you can update your bathroom.

1. Paint Tub & Tile

For many homeowners, the most outdated area of their bathrooms is the tub and shower. The good news is if your tub and tiles are in good shape, you don’t necessarily need to remove them—simply give them a refresh.

  • Thoroughly clean tub and tile.
  • Purchase a prepackaged tub and tile kit—it’ll give you a list of supplies and tools and the right epoxy, along with detailed instructions.
  • Sand down all tub and tile surfaces so you establish a good clean base for adhesion.
  • Use quality paint designed for this type of project.
  • Thoroughly ventilate your working area.
  • Give your tub a good amount of curing time before running a bath.

This project is a little trickier than simply painting walls, but with patience and know-how, you can give your old bathroom a completely brand-new look.

2. Refinish a Dated Vanity

If your bathroom vanity looks like it came straight out of the 1980s, you can easily remedy this by refinishing it.

  • Remove all hardware, drawers and the cabinet door; put them aside to paint separately.
  • Gently sand down the vanity's surface and then clean off any dirt, dust or grime.
  • Using smooth strokes with a brush or roller (you can test to see which looks better), paint the vanity’s surface and let it thoroughly dry.

Once your newly painted drawers and cabinet door are completely dry, reattach your hardware and add on some sparkling new knobs. Voila!

3. Update Your Lighting

Many homeowners find they can easily swap out old fixtures for new ones and see their bathrooms in a whole new light. Or you can get crafty and create your own. Popular styles include:

  • Pendant lights.
  • Mason jar sconces.
  • 3 or 4 bulb bath bar.
  • Lighting can make or break a room. If you're seeking a more modern look, look to change out your fixtures.

    4. Create a Unique Bathmat

    Sometimes it’s the simple touches that add flair to a room. One easy thing you can do is ditch the regular bathmat and create one out of cedar strips. Cedar is great since it’s water-resistant and it gives your bathroom a spa-like vibe. You’ll need a 1x6x10 cedar board, measuring tape, circular saw, table saw, wood glue and teak oil.

  • Cut your board into three pieces with your circular saw for the desired length.
  • Using the remaining wood, cut out three support pieces.
  • Thoroughly sand all pieces and then position them to your liking.
  • Glue pieces in the position you choose and then nail them together.
  • Once you’ve put your cedar bath mat together, allow it time to completely dry before using it.

    Giving your old bathroom a facelift, or even some new bling, can do wonders for its appearance. Identify your pain points, apply an update and see what a difference even the smallest changes can make.


    Doing a home improvement or renovation is a great way to add value to your home while learning something new. If you decide to DIY, you can enlist the help of your family and learn together.

    But, when you’re taking on a task you’ve never done before, there’s a lot that can go wrong. You might go over budget, or the project might take significantly longer than expected. Sometimes we start jobs that we don’t have the expertise (or permits) to finish and have to call in a professional sinking more time and money into what was supposed to be an inexpensive renovation.

    To help you avoid some of these common pitfalls, we’ve provided these tips for running a successful home improvement project so you can focus on your renovation and not on the headaches that come with it.

    1. Know when to call the experts

    Undertaking a do-it-yourself project can be fun and rewarding. However, some tasks are better left to the professionals. Plumbing and electrical mistakes, in particular, can be dangerous and costly if you get it wrong. You don’t want to disregard the safety of you, your family, and your belongings just to save money on hiring a professional.

    2. Call the best expert for the job

    Call multiple professionals for a quote before accepting an offer.

    If you received what seems a very low quote for a job, make sure to call other experts in the industry to see how much they would charge for the job. Getting an unusually low offer could be a sign that the contractor will rush the project or use cheap materials.

    Alternatively, if you receive a quote that seems too high, the contractor may have a busy schedule or might not really want the job, so they’ve offered you a price they don’t expect you to take.

    Regardless of who you choose, see if you can find reviews and testimonials to make sure you’ve selected a contractor who is professional and has good customer feedback.

    3. Aim high with your budget

    When homeowners take on a renovation, they tend to underestimate the costs. To avoid being shocked by going over budget, estimate what you think the total costs would be and then at another twenty percent. That twenty percent could account for damaged building materials, mistakes, or last-minute changes and customizations--all are frequent on DIY projects.

    4. Don’t work without a design or blueprint

    Even for simple home improvement projects, it’s best to start out with a plan. Having detailed measurements and drawings to refer to will help you avoid costly mistakes. We’ve all felt the temptation to “eyeball it” when working on a project--taking the extra few minutes to measure and refer to your plan will save you time in the long run.

    5. Relax and focus on the results

    Home improvement projects can be a source of frustration for many families. If you aren’t an expert, it’s easy to get angry when things aren’t going as you planned. If you find yourself frequently hitting a wall-literally or figuratively--step back from the project and refocus on the end goal, improving your home for years to come.


    If you intend to list your house in the weeks to come, you may want to complete a wide range of home improvements. That way, you can transform your ordinary house into an awe-inspiring residence, increasing the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

    Although you may have lofty expectations for your home improvement projects, it is important to note that performing myriad home repairs can be costly. And if you're not careful, you risk overspending to upgrade your residence.

    Fortunately, it can be easy to establish a home improvement budget – here are three tips to help you develop an effective home improvement budget.

    1. Determine Which Areas of Your House That You Want to Improve

    When it comes to crafting a home improvement budget, it is important to differentiate between major and minor home repairs. By doing so, you'll be better equipped than ever before to budget for assorted home maintenance projects.

    A kitchen overhaul or bathroom renovation may be considered a major home improvement. Conversely, updating the color of your bedroom may be a minor home improvement. If you assess the major and minor home improvements that you want to perform, you can put together an appropriate budget.

    Of course, you should take an objective look at you house to decide which areas that you want to improve. With an objective view, you can identify various home issues, determine how much money will be required to fix these problems and budget accordingly.

    2. Examine the Home Improvement Funds at Your Disposal

    In all likelihood, you only have a finite amount of money at your disposal. Luckily, regardless of how much money you have, you should be able to establish an effective home improvement budget.

    Oftentimes, it helps to get multiple quotes from home improvement professionals. If you receive a variety of quotes, you may find that you can save money on home repairs, as well as stick to a tight home improvement budget.

    It also may be cost-effective to complete simple home improvement projects on your own. If you possess the skills and know-how to perform quick, easy home repairs, you may be able to enhance your house without putting a dent in your home improvement budget.

    3. Set Home Improvement Priorities

    Priorities are important, particularly if you need to put together a home improvement budget. It generally is a good idea to set priorities for different home improvement projects. Then, you can allocate the necessary time and resources to complete home improvement tasks in order of priority.

    If you plan to list your house soon, home improvements may prove to be exceedingly valuable. Home upgrades can help you differentiate your residence from the competition and enable you to achieve the optimal home selling results.

    Lastly, if you need extra help prior to listing your residence, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with top-notch home improvement professionals, offer home improvement tips and insights and much more.


    When selling your home, you want to be able to get the largest return for your investment. And buyers are looking for their next place to call home. They are looking for a place that they can see themselves living and creating a future. And oftentimes, it’s very difficult for buyers to look beyond the cosmetics of a home, especially when viewing online. Therefore, if large investments are not in the cards for you or won’t bring a significant ROI, small home improvements are the way to go. These small improvements can take your home from blah to wow!

    Let’s take a look at some of the best small home improvements that will certainly provide you with a return.  

    1. Fresh coat of paint: A fresh coat of paint can make the world of a difference in a home. It can instantly brighten up a space and make the home look and feel newer—an instant plus for any seller and buyer. But be sure to choose more neutral colors as not everyone will be a fan of bold colors.

    2. Adding architectural touches: Architectural features like crown molding and a chair rail can add an elegant upgrade to any home. They can be fairly inexpensive and would only take a weekend to put up.

    3. Update front door: Your front door is a large part of your curb appeal. And a home’s curb appeal can leave a substantial impression on buyers. You can go the inexpensive route and add a pop of color that compliments your home’s exterior and landscaping or purchase a new door if a coat of paint won’t do the trick.

    4. Add a backsplash: Backsplashes don’t have to break the bank to catch a buyer’s eye. And there are so many options from subway tile to mosaic to antique tin.

    5. New hardware: Updating the hardware in your kitchen and bathroom can make the world of a difference. Adding modern hardware to cabinet doors will add a refreshing, simple update.

    6. Update fixtures: Replacing old, worn down bathroom and kitchen fixtures is a very simple home improvement. Although not the cheapest of these options, they will definitely make a big difference in those rooms.Think of a home built in the 90s that has brass fixtures. The home looks very outdated and therefore worth less in the eyes of a buyer. If you update these fixtures to pewter or brushed nickel, you are instantly bringing the spaces into the 21st century and catching the appeal of buyers.

    The amount of time, effort, and money that you want to put back into your home is a decision that you alone can make. It may seem silly to put more money into the home you are trying to sell, but it’s quite the opposite. Be smart about your updates and improvements. Try to think like a buyer and make updates that the majority will like and want.




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