How to keep your bathroom renovation under $10,000

With the average bathroom renovation ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the space and choices in fixtures and finishes, costs can blow out of control. We spoke to an expert to learn how to keep a bathroom renovation under $10,000 without compromising on a quality result.

Keeping to a renovation budget is all about planning. Itemising tasks to be carried out and listing every component and purchase necessary for the build may seem like overkill, but it’s the key to keeping a lid on spending. Fixtures, tiling, plumbing and electricals all should all be allowed for in your planning.

Before the bathroom renovation takes place, make a plan and set a budget. With a renovation budget to stick to, variations that arise along the way can always be compared against a projected cost. Then, weigh your options to balance an efficient use of available time and money.

“For a full bathroom renovation, a rough guide would be to spend 40% your budget on fixtures, 35% on tiling, 20% on plumbing and the last 5% on electricals,” says Wesley Sinclair from Highgrove Bathrooms.

“Always allow for a 10% buffer for any unexpected costs that may come up along the way”

1. Fixtures

Accounting for nearly half of your renovation budget, the fixtures and fittings you choose can make or break the look and feel of your bathroom. Keeping a bathroom renovation under $10,000 means careful allocation of spending across all items. “The fixtures to splurge on are your cabinetry, toilet and bathtub (if you’re looking to include one),” says Wesley.

Ample storage space is a must for every bathroom, so choosing the right vanity and shelving for all your bathroom essentials is vital. “Opting for a wall hung vanity will free up floor space and give you the illusion of a bigger bathroom,” suggests Wesley.

When choosing a toilet, consider the WELS (water efficiency) rating as well as how easy it will be to keep clean. Wall face toilets eliminate the need to reach around and clean behind your toilet, and rimless toilets provide a more hygienic flushing experience.

“Don’t blow your budget on pricey mirrors, robe hooks, tapware, basins, towel racks and the like,” says Wesley. “Quality, affordable accessories that can coordinate your whole bathroom look are readily available and can be updated later when you’re ready for a refresh.”

If you’re planning to include a bathtub in your new bathroom, whether to splurge on a freestanding tub might add that extra touch of luxury but also make or break your ability to keep your bathroom renovation under $10,000.

2. Tiling

“The amount of your budget spent on tiling will be determined by the size of your space and how high you want your wall tiling to go,” says Wesley.

“Floor to ceiling wall tiles is a luxury bathroom trend we’ve seen emerge over the last 5 years and it can instantly add value to your home.”

With prices ranging anywhere from between $30 to $200 per square metre, your choice of tiles will go a long way to influence your bathroom renovation cost. Depending on whether you opt for a basic or opulent look you can make clever choices with a combination of tiles at varying price points. “Complex designs like mosaics and herringbone patterns are more expensive and can cost more to lay, too,” says Wesley.

“On top of the price of your tiles, the actual installation can set you back around $40 per square metre – including things like site preparation, labour, glue and grout.”

Make sure you professionally waterproof the areas around your toilet, vanity, shower and bathtub to protect the integrity of your floors and walls.

If your tiles are still in good condition, you could stick to a bathroom renovation under $10,000 by re-grouting instead of completely replacing. “Opting for a bit of facelift rather than a complete overhaul will save you lot of money, and in some cases, that fresh white grout is all that’s needed for a brand new look!” says Wesley.

3. Plumbing

Whilst saving money on your bathroom renovation may be your top priority, plumbing is not an area you want to be cutting corners. “Don’t skimp when professionally fitting your basin, toilet, shower and bathtub, as poor plumbing can lead to many problems later down the track,” Wesley warns. “A leaking tap or busted pipe will cost you so much more to fix than the initial installation fee.”

Some products are only covered by warranty if they’re professionally fitted too, so make sure you do your research.

“The hourly rate of a plumber is $80 on average, or they can charge per task,” says Wesley. “To completely renovate and rearrange the space, your plumber will need more time to extend and change the current layout to suit your new bathroom plan.”

“Always get a quote and avoid changing your original plans if possible!”

4. Electricals

Often overlooked in a bathroom renovation, the electrical elements need to be considered up front and included in your budget planning. “Think exhaust fans, downlights, LED Mirrors, heated towel rails, power points and light switches,” says Wesley. “Always plan your electrical layout before doing any tiling as it’s much easier to run the necessary wires and cables.”

Effective lighting will allow you to carry out daily activities like shaving, applying make-up and brushing your teeth. Keeping a bathroom renovation under $10,000 may be challenging if decisions take a turn towards statement lighting and smart appliances. Where budget is a key consideration it makes sense to keep it simple. “As most of these activities centre around your vanity, having wall sconces or an LED Mirror will help illuminate this area,” suggests Wesley.

Consider the big picture too in terms of running costs in the long term. Heated towel rails when fitted with a timed eco wall switch are an energy efficient way of ensuring your towel is toasty warm and dry all year round and may represent a compromise vs under-floor heating, for example. “Talk to your electrician about having the wiring run before you install your tiles though as these need to be hardwired and professionally installed,” says Wesley.

There are so many options available to complete your bathroom renovation under $10,000 and on time. Set a firm budget from the outset and speak with the experts first; your plumber, tiler and electrician. “Their advice is free and can be invaluable in helping you to avoid costly mistakes,” Wesley encourages.