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DIY Bathroom Makeover Ideas for an Instant Upgrade

DIY bathroom makeover ideas

Having admitted to hiring a pro to replace my bathtub surround, I wanted to show you all the other DIY updates I did in my bathroom.

By swapping out a few outdated items with more modern and functional pieces, replacing the old light fixture, and adding extra storage, this tiny bathroom has become one hard working space.


Have an outdated bathroom, but can’t afford a full remodel?  Here are a few thrifty DIY updates I made in my bathroom to make the space more modern, and more functional.

Replace the Towel Bar

If you have just one towel bar above your toilet (or on the wall), you’re just wasting space!

Add a lot of extra storage space over the toilet by replacing the single towel bar with an over-the-toilet shelf. These shelving systems sometimes have cabinets built in, open shelves, or hooks. They are also known as etagere (fancy word for behind-the-toilet-shelf-system).

Instead of a shelf, I opted to add a combination shelf and towel rack that I could attach to the wall. I wanted to be able to hang lots of towels from the storage system, and this one was the best choice for me.

Wicker baskets and a galvanized bucket on the shelf hold things like extra soap and shampoo.  And now more than one person can hang up their towel to dry.

You could also use my DIY Wicker Basket (made out of a Dollar Tree sun hat) to store washcloths or hand towels.

handmade wicker basket with fluffy washcloths

Get Rid of the Ugly Medicine Cabinet

The medicine cabinet used to stick out from the wall several inches.  In such a small bathroom, I always felt crowded when I was using the sink.

I replaced the medicine cabinet and towel hook with a sleek glass and nickle shelf, with a built in towel bar.

The shelf is a handy spot for things I use every day, like face wash, toner, and lotion.  Glass apothecary jars can make even cotton swabs look pretty, while keeping them easy to access.

Check out my easy DIY Makeup Brush Holder Ideas for pretty ways to store your cosmetic brushes on the countertop.

Bathroom shelf and towel
I often remove the labels from the products on this shelf, for less visual clutter.

After these photos, I added a DIY hair dryer wall mount next to my glass shelf to keep the appliance off of my counter tops.

Replace the Fixtures

For relatively inexpensive updates that make a big impact, swap out your fixtures.  I replaced the sink and faucet.  I also installed a new light fixture.

Replacing your old shower curtain rod with a curved curtain rod also makes a big difference, for a tiny price tag.

New sink, faucet, and light fixture.

Add Storage Behind the Door

The back of your bathroom door is rarely seen. Which is why it’s a brilliant idea to add storage to that prime real estate!

Adding more storage to the door keeps the items stored there out of sight, cutting down on the visual clutter in the space.

More Storage

One thing a bathroom never seems to have enough of is storage space.  In addition to my new shelves, I made more efficient use of the vanity space.

Small baskets help to keep items organized in the small drawers.  This allows me to put more things in there, without having to dig through a pile of stuff to find what I want.

Bathroom storage baskets
Baskets keep items organized in small drawers.

Add Storage Under the Sink

If you are not already using shelves and storage bins underneath the sink, you don’t know how much room you have been wasting!

There are plenty of options for choosing under-the-sink shelves that can fit around your plumbing pipes.

A wire shelf under the sink creates better vertical storage.  I used boxes and trays to contain items and keep them easy to access.

Bathroom under sink storage
A wire shelf under the sink makes better use of vertical space. Boxes and trays keep items easy to access.

Use Tip Out Shelves

Why just add extra storage to existing cabinets when you can create a new cabinet?!

Installing a tip out tray turns a false drawer front into actual usable space. It’s easy to add these trays to your bathroom cabinets. Then, you’ll have room for small items such as makeup, cotton balls, hair accessories, or even your toothbrush and toothpaste.

Tip out tray under sink

DIY Bathroom Updates

I can’t end this post without showing you one of my first bathroom DIY projects.  The soap dish in the shower fell off the wall, and I stuck it back in place.

DIY bathroom update
My first bathroom DIY project.

What!?  It worked.  I had to hold the soap dish in place with duct tape and a plunger while the adhesive cured.  I was still saving up my money to replace the bathtub surround.

Fortunately, I did finally get to update those hideous blue tub walls.  Check out that transformation here.

Hopefully you’re feeling inspired to update your own bathroom.  You don’t have to do a major remodel.  It’s amazing what a difference even small changes can make.

Bathroom Remodel

Wednesday 8th of March 2023

Great article! DIY bathroom makeover ideas can help to revamp a dull or outdated bathroom without the need for a complete renovation. Simple and affordable upgrades, such as replacing hardware, installing new lighting fixtures, or adding a fresh coat of paint, can make a big impact. Other DIY options include refinishing an old bathtub or vanity, adding storage solutions, or incorporating decorative accents such as a bold wallpaper or statement mirror. It's important to choose updates that match your style and budget, and to carefully plan and execute each project to ensure a successful outcome. With a little creativity and effort, a DIY bathroom makeover can give your space an instant upgrade that you can enjoy for years to come.

Marjorie Kantor

Thursday 5th of April 2018

I have to try the curved shower rod is inspired, and looks like it would make you feel luxurious in the shower. But does it make the rest of the bathroom feel even smaller? Mine's tiny. I use a clear shower curtain liner for a shower curtain, to make the whole bathroom feel bigger.


Thursday 5th of April 2018

Hi Marjorie. The curved shower curtain rod only sticks out more in the middle, and it's just slightly past the edge of the tub. With my bathroom layout, I didn't notice a difference in the feeling of the space in the room. But it's noticeable in the tub.