Spa-like Bath Remodeling Upgrades on a Tight Budget

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Bathroom Remodeling

Bathrooms are unique spaces where form and function come together to create an ideal space. A bathroom that’s too utilitarian and impersonal just doesn’t reach its full pampering potential.

It can be tempting to imagine your dream spa-inspired bathroom, with all the indulgent bells and whistles that come with it, but complete bath remodeling is often quite expensive, typically averaging around $18,000 for a full bath overhaul. If you aren’t quite ready to tear it all down and start fresh, you can cut those remodeling costs and still enjoy a touch of luxury with these 4 cost-saving tips.

1. A Space to Soak Your Troubles Away

Big-Ticket Version: Whirlpool Bathtub

Whirlpool tubs aren’t cheap, with average cost for purchase and installation running around $13,500 for a super high-end model. If you can go for this splurge, though, you should. These tubs are well worth it, offering luxurious massaging jets and plenty of room to submerge up to your chin and soak.

Money-Saving Alternative: Oversized Shower Head

The average head is only about 4 inches wide, with basic models offering minimal water flow customization. Upgrade and upsize your a multi-spray oversized model of 8 inches wide or larger and you’ll feel enveloped in soothing, massaging warmth every time you take a shower. Expect to pay at least $100 or potentially as much for $1000 for your fancy new shower head, with an additional $100 or so for plumbing labor.

2. Balanced Mood Lighting

Mood Lighting

Big-Ticket Version: Recessed Spotlights

Shine a light where you need it and get soothing spa mood lighting with recessed spotlights directed just so. Recessed spotlights are ideal because you can place them exactly where you need them—right above the shower and sink,  for example—and benefit from their diffused light in other parts of the bathroom. You can get dimmable recessed lights installed for about $850-$1200 to make your mood lighting setup even more effective.

Money-Saving Alternative: Flameless Candles

Candles are a fire hazard, even in a serene spa retreat, and there’s nothing worse than having to jump out of the bath because your candle managed to set the toilet paper ablaze. Keep the mood calm and the light dim by investing in some flameless LED candles instead. While the most extravagantly priced options can run you around $150 or so, there are plenty of more affordable models available, including some that operate via remote control.

3. Genuine Spa Luxury

Bathroom Remodel

Big-Ticket Version: Sauna or Steam Room

What better way to get warm than to walk into a room built specifically to generate a high level of heat? Installing a sauna or steam room in your bathroom may sound crazy, but small two-person options are available, and they take up about the same amount of room as a small closet. For an initial investment of about $3000, you’ll get spa-quality steam or sauna indulgence right in your own home.

Money-Saving Alternative: Electric Towel Warmer

Regardless of what the rest of your bathroom is like, if you can step out of the bath or shower and wrap yourself in a warm towel, you’ll be living the high life. A freestanding electric towel warmer usually costs somewhere in the neighborhood of about $350, though you may be able to find a better deal than that.

4. Comfortable, Attractive Flooring

Bathroom Remodeling

Big-Ticket Version: Radiant Floor Heating

Cold tile floor isn’t a very spa-like experience for your feet, is it? Radiant floor heating is a super-luxurious upgrade that feels amazing from the ground up in wintertime, and it doesn’t have the skin-drying effects of forced-air heating. Cost depends on the size of the room and ranges between $6000-$14,000 on average.

Money-Saving Alternative: Comfortable Bathroom Rugs

Make your existing bathroom floors, be they marble tile or linoleum, feel more sumptuous with the addition of some rugs. You’ll want to choose rugs specifically designed for bathroom use—these rugs can withstand moisture and are usually equipped with non-skid backing to boot. Depending on the size of the rug and the materials you choose, this upgrade can cost you as little as $15 or even less, though plusher and durable rugs can cost upwards of $30.

Getting the Luxurious Bathroom You Deserve

Bathroom Remodeling

Your bathroom doesn’t have to be a space of pure utility. With a few smart upgrades, you can make the space more inviting and relaxing, even if you’re on a tight budget. If you have the money to spend, why not splash out for a few major upgrades? An at-home spa is a luxury that may just change your life for the better.


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