You’ll spend $3,000 to $8,000 on the typical remodel. Anywhere from 40 to 65 percent of a bath upgrade cost comes from labor. However, doing any project yourself means no insurance and added fees if something goes wrong. Hire a professional for any work you’re not comfortable doing, such as the plumbing and electrical. Consider the pros and cons of DIY vs professional bathroom remodeling.
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For your remodeled bathroom to operate well, it’s critical to install vent and drain lines of the proper size and slope. Use a 2-in. line to drain the shower and 1-1/2-in. line to drain the sink. The vents for the sink and shower can be 1-1/2-in. pipes, but a toilet should be vented with at least 2-in. material. Make sure that the drain lines drop 1/4 in. for every foot of travel toward the main stack.

Be adventurous. Design treatments that would look over the top in other parts of the home are fine in the powder room. Deep dark hues, such as burgundy and eggplant, play well in these small spaces. Not that adventurous? Limit dark hues or unusual colors to wall paint. Pricey materials such as vessel sinks, custom floor patterns, and stone counters won’t be as hard on your budget because you won’t need as much as you would in a larger bath.


The Save My Reno team definitely had a huge task on their hands. This dark and dingy bathroom was in desperate need of a little TLC.

Related: 20 Clever Ways to Save Money in Your Bathroom

The job of installing our wall-mounted fixtures was tougher than it had to be, thanks to poor and contradictory one-size-fits-all instructions, metric fittings and duplicate and missing mounting parts. Prevent hard-to-fix future problems by test-fitting the actual fixtures when roughing in framing, plumbing and blocking to make sure everything will work out. Then finish the walls. When test-fitting, simulate finished floor and wall surfaces to get the clearances right.

Planning. Both DIY and contractor remodeling jobs depend on good up-front planning in order to control costs and keep things speedy. Some of the key elements include drawing plans (essential if your remodel will involve layout changes to the bathroom), obtaining building permits, signing contracts with any pros you will use and scheduling their time, and sourcing and ordering materials. A general contractor will do most of this work for you (which is why he costs more), but to save money, you can do all the planning work yourself. 
Mixing modern with antique is the secret to this bathroom's signature look. Both the vanity and sink/faucet combination are simplistic but foster vintage and contemporary aesthetics. This single-lever faucet is easy to use, and the tall spout is the perfect height to deliver water to the vessel sink. A nickel finish on all the fixtures creates a cohesive look in this master bath.
With a DIY mind-set, the owners of this small master bathroom created a personal sanctuary on a budget. This Asian butcher table, found at an antiques shop, was repurposed for the vanity. The table maintains its authenticity with a simple above-counter sink. A new mirror adds a modern touch, while a pebble-tile "rug" on the floor adds texture and a spa-like accent.

The cheapest route of all also typically the one that takes the most time: doing all or most of the work yourself. A very (very) skilled DIYer with plenty of time and a group of willing friends and helpers may be able to finish a bathroom remodel nearly as fast as a general contractor, but very few homeowners fall into that category. And there is the issue of quality: good contractors will do the job professionally, while many DIY installations will be recognizable as the work of an amateur. 
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