Cost Breakdown: Renter Friendly Bathroom Upgrades & Refresh


Last year, during the holidays I began working on refreshing our rental condo’s bathroom, to take it from dated & dull to feeling tranquil, spa-like, and Hygge inspired. While everything is always a work in progress, it was definitely one of the first places in the condo that felt “complete” and really like ours. Before I even knew the One Room Challenge was a thing, this was definitely a One Room Challenge

The transformation, with a few stylish storage solutions, cost-effective DIYs, and creative design was exactly what our little bathroom needed; and more than that, it was renter-friendly & affordable. 

But what is “affordable”? 

It’s relative is what it is! 

A few weeks ago, I made a decision that I was going to leave the term “budget-friendly” in 2018 and out of my design vocabulary because depending on the budget, the numbers may not actually be so friendly. For what I wanted done, and for the timeframe I did it in, it was affordable for us. For another, they may not see it that way, so like my one room challenge bedroom makeover, I’ll be breaking down what everything cost. 

Similarly with the One Room Challenge, this happened over a course of weeks — probably about 6 — so things were purchased a lot at a time but also over time, if that makes sense. 

I turned to my fav retailers — Amazon, Wayfair, Target, and H&M Home to name a few — and I got to shopping!

I’ve said this before but I don’t “budget” when I decide to tackle a room in our condo — don’t be like me! — but I also know ahead of time what I want to do and what’s feasible at that time so that I’m not overextending myself financially. This is a big reason behind why everything wasn’t done all at once, with the second reason being I simply need to do things in phases so that I have time to live with certain things — I need to know what works & what doesn’t before I move forward.

There are things we purchased as soon as we moved in because it was necessary — so with that, it’s very likely I won’t be able to find the exact match but I’ll come pretty damn close so that you’ll get the gist — and then there are things that were luxuries more than they were necessities.

So, here we go…

Albie Knows Renter Friendly & Reversible Bathroom Upgrade Costs

Shopping List

  • Sherwin Williams Paint Color: Zircon (SW 7667) — while I wouldn’t suggest this, painting was not the first thing I did as part of the refresh, so choosing to paint, I decided would be the kick off to phase 2.

  • wall shelf: $24.99 from Target — when we moved in we realized there was no storage in the bathroom besides the cabinets. where would we hang our towels, place our daily products, and put all the other things we didn’t want under the sink?

  • over the door hooks: $10.45 from Amazon — noting that we needed more on hand storage, getting over the door hooks was a perfect solution for us!

  • curved shower rod: $25.99 from Wayfair — when we moved in, we knew we had to get a shower rod since the one that was there was a temporary tension rod. being that it was a small tub, to have a bit more room while showering while also having the illusion of a larger, more luxe surround, we went with a curved shower rod.

Tip: In a slim space, a curved shower rod expands the shower area, keeps water from leaking out, and adds a more chic look.
— albie knows
  • marble contact paper: I paid $8.98 on Amazon, but it’s currently $9.49 — after 6 months, I finally came up with a solution for the dated counters, in hopes of giving the space a cleaner fresher look. To complete the surface, even with mistakes, I used about 2-1/2 rolls, and to get around the sinks, I used an x-acto knife.

  • 16 oz bottles (set of 2): I paid $11.99 on Amazon for each pair (I bought 2 sets), but it’s currently $12.99/set.

  • 8 oz bottles (set of 4): I paid $14.99 on Amazon for the set, but it’s currently $16.50.

  • 12 oz jars (set of 6): I paid $10.25 on Amazon for the set, but it’s currently $11.50.

  • amber glass dropper bottles: Thankfully, in our case, all of our oils — essential and otherwise — already came in amber bottles so I simply had to remove the labels for a cleaner look; but a set of 4 of the 4oz bottles is currently $10.99 on Amazon and a set of 6 of the 8oz bottles is currently $15.99.

  • gold shower caddy: $34.99 from Amazon & definitely a worthy upgrade from our previous caddy, for the larger size & gold finish.

  • gold bathtub caddy: currently $43.99 from Joss & Main & the perfect spa-inspired accent piece, while also practical for regular use.

  • gold shower curtain hooks: $12.97 for the set of 12 from Amazon.

  • acrylic tray: I paid $18.99 for a set of 2 on Amazon. While this particular model is currently unavailable, there are other sizes from the collection on the site.

  • marble canister: I got the marble canisters as a gift but I do know they were from Forever 21, so I can’t imagine them being all that expensive.

  • crystal hooks: $4.49 on Amazon for a pair.

  • cotton ball & swab holder: I paid $6.49 on Amazon, but it’s currently $7.49.

  • toothbrush holder: I paid $6.99 on Amazon, but it’s currently $10.99.

  • tumbler: I paid $5.77 on Amazon, but it’s currently $9.49.

  • runner: I purchased it at H&M Home, and while the style isn’t available anymore, the runner is $39.99.

  • gold trim wall clock: $19.99 from Target’s Project 62 Collection.

  • small accent table: $19.99 Nesna nightstand from IKEA. I upcycled this table using a gray wood stain ($11.58 from Amazon) and frosted window film ($9.99 from Amazon).

  • set of 5 flameless candles: The set I purchased is no longer on Amazon but it was $22.99 at the time, not counting the cost of all the batteries — totally worth it!

  • white hyacinth candle from H&M Home.

  • white wash cloths: I paid $10.99 at the time from Amazon for the pack of 24, but they’re currently $14.99.

  • towels: I decided to overhaul all of our towels — for look, color, and feel — so this meant I purchased 10 new complete “sets” of towels.

  • gold bluetooth speaker: The one I purchased was $14.99 on Amazon. While obviously not a prerequisite for every bathroom, this is definitely something I wanted in ours — both my husband & I like music when we shower, and I especially like to listen to a book or music while taking a bath.

  • wire baskets: I paid $7.25 each for 5 baskets but they’re currently $11.85 each. While these aren’t in the bathroom, to free up some space, I bought these to finally organize the laundry closet.

Albie Knows Renter Friendly & Reversible Bathroom Upgrades (Before)

So how much did everything cost?

Minus towels, additional storage, and additional miscellaneous pieces everything retailed $415.79!

So for less than $500 I was able to completely transform our bland & beige bathroom into a spa-like Hygge sanctuary. And while the bathroom is something that I continue to work on in small ways, with accents, the entire look, feel, and function of our bathroom has vastly improved. For less than $500, we were able to upgrade our bathroom without compromising our security deposit (which is definitely more than $500) so that for the time we do live in our condo, we’re able to truly enjoy our bathroom.

Albie Knows