Friday, September 6, 2013

4 Tips for Designing Your Bathroom Budget, Tip 2

This is Tip 2 of a series of 4 tips you can use to design your bathroom (or any other space) within your budget.  :)

According to Consumer Reports' March 2012 web article "Bathroom remodeling guide: Trends and Costs," the average cost of a 35-40 square foot bathroom is about $16,000.   We spent within our material budget of $2,500 for new walls, new flooring, and all new tile and fixtures in our 40 square foot apartment bathroom.

4 tips helped us get the look we wanted for a price we could swallow:

1.  Splurge on the Permanent
2.  Crunch the Alternatives
3.  Hunt Like Goldilocks (Saturday, September 7, 2013)
4.  If Can, Do!  If Can't, Hire. (Sunday, September 8, 2013)

Today, I'm focusing on how you can Crunch the Alternatives to stay within a budget you can afford.

2.  Crunch the Alternatives: Consider other options and calculate the cost of each.

Crunching numbers
When I spoke about choosing permanent fixtures to splurge on first, I introduced the foundation of our bathroom design:  an $800 shower kit from The Home Depot.
ASB Cerise 38" x 38" Round Corner Shower from
The kit is divided into two parts.  The first part is the base and round door, totalling $581 currently, although it cost us $500 a little over a year ago when we made the purchase.  The second part is the $295 Shower Wall which we were not fans of:
ASB Cerise 36-1/2 x 36-1/2 Shower Wall
As I mentioned, my husband and I decided on black tile in our bathroom, so we quickly started to consider our options with this shower.  We discussed: "What if we skip the shower wall, and install the shower door and base with a tile wall?"

We found black granite square foot floor and wall tile at The Home Depot:

M.S. International Inc. Absolute Black  12 in. x 12 in. Polished Granite
Consider Your Options
Here's one key example of how we considered our options when we set out to crunch some shower numbers:

      At $5.40 per tile x covering 36 square feet, a tiled shower wall would cost:  $194.  That's a savings of $100 in material, AND we would have a black granite shower wall, just what we wanted.
      Option 1:  $500 (the price we paid) + $295 (300) = $800 ASB Cerise Kit
      Option 2:  $500 (the price we paid) + $194 (200) = $700 ASB with Granite

We crunched the numbers for just one alternative, the option we preferred, and saw savings.  So now, our decision helped us have a $700 shower, which also is a permanent featured fixture in our bathroom.

Crunching Your Alternatives
Consider making a list of what you really want in your space, and brainstorm what could be switched and how much the switch will cost.  Note that sometimes this will not end up in savings.  It's almost like figuring opportunity cost, in a way.  Like asking: What is the value of switching an iced coffee for a soda in a meal package, and is it worth it?  Or, is 10 cents more worthwhile to spend to receive 20% more beverage?

For example, we initially were going to use leftover tile for our accent wall and backsplash behind the toilet and sink.  It was tile my mom had purchased years ago, and it was sitting in our garage storage room without use.  Had we used that tile, we would have saved $400 in pebble tile.  When I crunched the opportunities, I decided the pebble tile would be a design investment, but one that we do not regret in the slightest!  :)

Adding up our splurge items roughly, with crunched alternatives, our bathroom budget started to look like this: $700 + $300$400 = spend at least $1,400 for our preferred bathroom.

Tomorrow I'll share our tip to Hunt Like Goldilocks.  :)


  1. Your budget is much more in line for us than the average budget, so I'm totally loving these tips! This alternative with the tile wall instead of the shower wall insert that you didn't like is creative and you got what you wanted. Very nice!

    1. Are you planning to redo your bathroom soon, Sharon? :)

      It's funny how a granite wall could actually be cheaper than an acrylic wall, but it was to our benefit! =D

  2. I love your blog! I can basically remodel without dishing out too much moola. Thanks for the tips and tricks!

    1. Thank you, Nicki! I love your blog in kind; it really does make me want to be more put together, and have a little more fun to boot! =D

  3. Your alternative does look better than the original selection, and saved $100 too. That's what I call a great alternative! The numbers breakdown for each step is helpful too. This is a great tip!

    1. =D The shower example was the most surprising to me in the bathroom remodel. It's something I did regularly throughout choosing fixtures in our apartment, but also when I build my rudimentary furniture. Someone told me a few months back to buy a dining table at a big box store. "It's only $100," they said. =D It was like a challenge to see if I could make our own alternative that was cheaper.


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