12/10/2014 02:06 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Small Bathroom Remodels: Spending $500 vs. $5,000

There are various factors you have to calculate and plan for when renovating a bathroom -- and the remodel of a small bathroom is no different. The first thing you'll need to do is decide how much you're willing to spend to recreate the room. For about $500 and a lot of elbow grease, you can do some minor yet impactful renovations. For $5,000 and just a little elbow grease, you can perform a complete overhaul. Want to know what's really involved? Here's a quick rundown on the small bathroom remodel -- and what it looks like at $500 and $5,000:

$500 Remodel:
If you intend to keep your small bathroom remodel budget at around $500, prepare for a lot of DIY. This is nothing to worry about. You can make a lot of updates to your home on your own with great success. But there are some projects you should leave to the professionals. Electrical and plumbing projects, for example, are complicated -- and doing them incorrectly can lead to additional repairs and additional costs.

Some projects you can do yourself for $500 or less include:

  • Purchasing and applying a new coat of paint,
  • Replacing fluorescent or incandescent lights with energy-efficient, LED lights,
  • Buying new accessories -- including mirrors, linens, towel racks, plants and artwork,
  • Building or installing shelving, hanging racks or storage containers,
  • And, if you're feeling adventurous, uprooting your old flooring and replacing it with new tile. (Be very careful with this process, and consider consulting with a tiling contractor ahead of time.)

Here are some small bathroom remodels to inspire you if you decide to invest in the $500 renovation:

Photo courtesy of Barry Holden Architect

Photo courtesy of RCH Construction, Inc.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Koelbel Architect

$5,000 Remodel:
With a higher budget, you can spend some money to have professionals help with your renovation. For example, you can hire a plumber to replace some of your older fixtures -- like your sink, your faucets and even your bathtub -- with newer, nicer models. And you can likely move some things around if their current placement doesn't suit you. For around $1,900, you can hire a professional to install new ceramic tile. But even with a $5,000 budget, there are projects you can do on your own -- like replacing your light fixtures, installing new shelving, and accessorizing your bathroom to refresh its look and make it your own.

Here are some small bathroom remodels to inspire you if you decide to invest in the $5,000 renovation:

Photo courtesy of Decorating Den Interiors-The Landry Team

Photo courtesy of Alair Homes Courtenay

Photo courtesy of DesignMine

How much should you spend?
How much money should you spend on your small bathroom remodel? That depends on several factors. Is your bathroom in pretty good condition? Does it just need some sprucing up? If so, then $500 will likely do the trick. Do you have some extensive plumbing issues, or is your bathroom in pretty bad shape? If that's the case, a $5,000 project may better suit your needs.

If you're uncertain about how much money you should spend on your small bathroom renovation, hire a bathroom designer to inspect the room. A designer will likely offer a number of suggestions -- some of which may far exceed the budget you have in mind. Just remember that you don't have to do everything at once. You can space projects out over time and still have a beautiful finished project.

Photos courtesy of DesignMine