3 Tips to Update Your Bathroom for Less

The time of year, where you shop, and how you design can all affect your remodel costs.

(Image credit: Eneri LLC)

You can get a better deal from contractors if you schedule the work when they’re not busy, typically between November and January, says Jennifer Bertrand, a designer in Kansas City, Mo. Most homeowners don’t want to remodel during the holidays and have maxed out their budgets right afterward. Other tips to keep bathroom-remodeling costs in check:

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Design smart. Keep the same layout so you don’t have to move plumbing, a costly job. If you need a new tile floor, wainscoting or shower surround, choose inexpensive tile for most of it and save the pricier, wow-factor tile for a dec­orative accent or the most visible shower wall, suggests Bertrand. To reduce your water bill, look for toilets and faucets with the WaterSense label.

Hunt for discounts. Visit retailers’ websites or sign up for e-mail updates to find current promotions. Look for outlet stores in large metro areas that sell retailers’ overstock items, returns and closeouts for deep discounts. Check Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, where you may find new or like-new components donated by builders and homeowners.

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Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.