A Bathroom Remodel For Under $1000 at the Dexter House


Back in 2016, we remodeled the original bathroom at the Dexter House for under $1000. Yes, $1000! Somehow I’ve avoided showing you this space for the better part of 3 years, despite knowing these are the kind of makeovers you guys usually love. So today I’m finally sharing how we updated this bathroom on such a small budget.

A bathroom remodel doesn’t have to cost a ton of money, especially if you can work with what’s already there. And that’s exactly what we did. Read on to see what we did to this space and a breakdown of the budget.

Bathroom Remodel for Under $1000 at the Dexter House // the Grit and Polish
The Grit and Polish - Dexter Bathroom Refresh Under $1000 3.jpg

When we first bought the Dexter house, this room was the best-looking space in the property (see above to understand how sad that is) so we gave it a good scrubbing and called it good. But after renovating the rest of the house, this bathroom felt lackluster, to say the least. Here’s what we did to the space:

plumbing fixtures

The first thing we did was replace the sink and toilet. The original sink stuck out into the walkway too far, so I found a smaller pedestal sink with a shorter depth. We also swapped out the faucet to a taller one, that feels more modern. These changes made the bathroom flow much better, especially during bath time. The toilet is also new. We actually don’t always replace a toilet and you may be thinking ‘ewwww’, but really a good scrubbing often suffices. Not so in this case. The toilet was in rough shape.

Paint + moldings

If there’s one consistent theme in our budget bathroom remodels (you can see more of them here and here), it’s paint and molding. The former is probably the single biggest thing you can do to update a space without spending a fortune. I opted for a simple black and white color palette here, which goes throughout the entire house and feels crisp. And because we used the same colors as elsewhere in the house, all of this paint was sitting in our basement (i.e. it was free!).

We also swapped out the wainscot (which was in rough shape) and brought the new panels up 4’ above the base. I highly recommend going with wood and not mdd in a bathroom. For the base, we added chunkier base that feels more consistent with the rest of the house. We also added quarter round for a more-polished look.


Lighting is the one spot we really splurged in this kitchen. And this two-headed sconce is one of my all-time favorites. I like to splurge on one big design element in every room, and accent lighting is often that element. It can really elevate a room without costing a fortune.

Making due with existing finishes: floor, tiles, tub

We really made due with what was already here/we already owned. The floor tiles got a good scrubbing with bleach. The tub and tiled surround is original (which I apparently didn’t get a picture of). Again, we just cleaned those. We also brought in some much-needed storage in the form of a kitchen cabinet that we no longer needed. Heck even the shower curtain was something we already owned (they’re actually curtains that we already owned clipped on the rod with curtain rings).

Bathroom Remodel for Under $1000 at the Dexter House // the Grit and Polish
Bathroom Remodel for Under $1000 at the Dexter House // the Grit and Polish

Budget breakdown

Here’s where our $1000 budget went:

$219 pedestal sink

$89 faucet

$380 sconce (on sale!)

$40 hardware

$120 toilet

$55 shower rod and rings

$80 wainscot + trim

$0 decor & accessories (shopped my house)

$0 paint (leftover)

$983 total

Bathroom Remodel for Under $1000 at the Dexter House // the Grit and Polish


The key to this budget renovation: working with what we already had. In that same vein, I loved Erin’s medicine cabinet makeover!

*post updated 8/17/19