What to Splurge On (And What to Save On) In a Bathroom Remodel

What to splurge on (and what to save on) in a bathroom remodel. Tips from interior designer Lesley Myrick.

Are you dying to renovate your bathroom, but not sure if you can afford it? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a designer’s take on what to splurge on and what to save on in a bathroom remodel before you start? Well look no further, because I got you!


  1. Vanity
  2. Accent Tile
  3. Countertops
  4. Shower Doors
  5. Curbless Shower


  1. Toilet + Tub
  2. Fixtures
  3. Lighting
  4. Flooring + Wall Tile
  5. Technology

What to Splurge On in a Bathroom

I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is bathrooms are small spaces, so you can splurge on a few things and still respect your budget. The bad news? Bathroom remodels require A TON of work, whether you decide to DIY or hire professionals. No matter which way you go, here’s my take on what to splurge on and what to save on in a bathroom remodel to get the most bang for your buck.

Splurge: Vanity

Something you should definitely splurge on is your vanity. Why? You use that thing all the time. You’re constantly opening and closing cabinets and drawers, so you want something durable. A bathroom is also a high moisture area, so you don’t want something made of cheap particle board that’s going to warp on you over time.

While a vanity is considered a “splurge” item, there are lots of well-made and affordable options. In other words, you don’t have to break the bank to find something that checks all the boxes. Focus on finding something that is sturdy, durable, and made with quality materials.

Durable vanity with gorgeous countertop and simple fixtures for a balanced and budget-friendly bathroom look.

Splurge: Accent Tile

Accent tile is another recommended splurge for your new bathroom. Why? You can use a small amount of something really gorgeous to make a big impact on the design of your space. In a standup shower, for instance, you can focus on one wall and do the other walls in something super affordable.

We actually did this in our bathroom just recently. We installed a cool vertical stripe in our shower with a more expensive handmade tile, but we did the rest of the shower in basic white subway tile. The combination is amazing, not boring at all. And the accent tile really stands out. It was totally worth the splurge!

Splurge: Countertops

If you’ve been following along, you know I have some opinions about the best countertop materials to use in kitchens. Well, countertops in your bathroom are equally as important. For the same reason as your vanity, your bathroom countertops are high-traffic areas that are exposed to lots of water. You don’t want a cheap crappy surface that isn’t going to last, so definitely splurge a little here.

Marble countertop in a primary bathroom

Splurge: Shower Doors

Time for a spendy splurge, you guys. Glass, frameless shower doors are totally worth the investment. Nothing will make your bathroom feel larger and more open, and they add amazing value for resale. Future buyers are going to be looking for chic glass showers, so spend the money and elevate the look of your space.

Splurge: Curbless Shower

A very practical splurge is a curbless shower. This is where your flooring transitions right into your shower without any type of lip to step over. You don’t need to spend a ton of money here, but you do need to hire someone who is trained to install it correctly. You won’t regret it – it’s a great investment and will definitely add value to your resale.

What to save on in a bathroom

Alright, so you’ve spent all this money on a gorgeous vanity, kickass countertops, and super sleek shower doors. Now to finish the space with rock-your-world results without totally blowing the budget. Here’s my best advice on what to save on in a bathroom remodel.

Save: Toilet + Tub

Let’s face it, you don’t need a top-of-the-line toilet or tub. In my experience, no one ever walked into a bathroom and said, “Ooh, I love this bathroom – that toilet is amazing!” It’s a toilet – get one that works and move on. Same with the tub. Something well-reviewed that is simple and white should serve you well and fall nicely within your budget.

Beautiful soaking tub with brushed nickel fixture and white subway tile.

Save: Fixtures

Fixtures fall into the same category as your toilet and tub. You don’t need anything top-of-the-line. If digital shower controls and beautiful faucets float your boat, then by all means go for it, but for most of us basic mid-range fixtures will work just fine. As a designer, I believe your money is much better spent elsewhere.

Save: Lighting

This may be a bit controversial, but you can totally save on lighting in a bathroom remodel if you do it right. Now, if great lighting is part of the whole package, then yes – go for something amazing. If you’ve got a full-blown spa suite and want to hang a kickass chandelier, by all means, DO IT! But most of us can get by with mid-range and still end up with a look we love.

Save: Flooring + Wall Tile

We touched on this earlier, but you can totally save some money on flooring and wall tiles. Going back to my shower example, we’ve got mostly white subway tile with a bit of accent tile mixed in. The subway tile is cheap, cheerful, and classic, while the handmade accent tile is elegant and beautiful. The combination of the two elevates the look of the space and makes it unique. It’s functional, affordable and we love it.

Save: Technology

One final way to save is with bathroom tech. Sure, there are heated toilets that can talk to you, play music and change colors. If that is your jam, go for it, but recognize that trendy tech products are usually outdated very quickly. There is minimal ROI in an investment like this, so don’t buy that kind of stuff unless it’s 100% for you.

Listen, bathroom remodels are a ton of work and require a lot of attention to detail. Fortunately, that is totally my jam and I’d love to help make your badass bathroom goals a reality. And now that you know what to splurge on and what to save on in your bathroom, it’s time to tackle those goals together. Give me a call and let’s do this!

What to splurge on (and what to save on) in a bathroom remodel. Tips from interior designer Lesley Myrick.