Old Ugly Bathroom Makeover
increased this rental property's rental income
by over $400 per month!

An old ugly bathroom makeover doesn't have to cost a lot of money. But if you want to attract the best tenants or buyers, don't leave that old ugly bathroom alone. Use our tips for any easy, painless, inexpensive pretty awesome home improvement! We recommend starting off with a budget. How much money do you have to spend on the improvements? What's your goal? If the bathroom is located in a rental property, are you happy with the quality of tenant you've been getting? If not, consider it might be that ugly bathroom that's the main problem!! The nicer the renter, the nicer the tenant! Planning on selling the property? With these inexpensive fixes to your bathroom, you'll make potential buyers MUCH happier. BATHROOMS ARE VERY IMPORTANT to the decision making process of most every tenant and buyer. If the main bathroom is old and ugly, it WILL turn off the best tenants. And it will prevent you from getting top dollar when selling.

Before photos of the old ugly bathroom
makeover project

Old Ugly Bathroom Makeover: before photo. Rental Property Management Services, Miami.Ugly bathroom Makeover Needed Badly!
Old Ugly Bathroom Makeover: before photo. Rental Property Management Services, Miami.Old Ugly Bathroom Makeover: Before
Old Ugly Bathroom Makeover: before photo. Rental Property Management Services, Miami.

So where do you start in a bathroom like this?

Start by making a list of the worst elements. Top of the list should be the things that aren't working/need to be repaired or replaced. Slowly go down the list by prioritizing, leaving anything not crucial to the makeover at the bottom. Top of the list most important, bottom least important. From there, start your budget. Top of the list will most likely be the most costly things to address. Start doing research, asking around, getting some handymen or professionals to come in and write up estimates for you.

Our first to-do list for our old ugly bathroom makeover:

What did our list look like for this bathroom? This was our prioritized list of things we wanted to address. By "address" we mean either repairing, replacing or improving in some manner. Some improvements don't cost anything, some are very inexpensive fixes, others can be very costly. Next to each item we add a little detail, since we don't live in the property. We also take LOTS of photos, so we can go back through the list and photos whenever we need to without having to visit the property constantly.

  • Toilet: White. Must stay white. Very old, ugly, low to the ground. Replace preferred. Tank elements also old, bottom seal bad.
  • Bathtub: Yellow. Rust spots. Needs repair. Replace tub? Or resurface and change to white?
  • Light fixture above sink:  Old. Rusty. Ugly. Replace with nice looking inexpensive light fixture, 3 feet wide. Use daylight 60w bulbs.
  • Sink faucet knob cap: replace with 1.5" Moen new cap
  • Bathtub faucet knob cap: replace with 1.5" Moen new cap
  • Bathtub showerhead: ugly. Replace with silver/chrome/brushed nickel inexpensive with 5ft+ hose
  • Window crank repair: window functionality is not a necessity, repair will depend on budget and expense
  • Walls: paint them, they are dirty and look bad
  • Floor: old terrazzo, stained and dirty. Minimally clean, sand/clean/seal if budget allows

What next?

We started developing the budget by researching costs. We got some estimates, went price shipping at The Home Depot and Lowe's, and did some online research to find pricing on what we were looking for. Once we gathered what we needed, we revised the list and shortened it to include what we decided to do with each bullet point item, and the estimated cost.

To-do list with Budget:

  • Toilet: replace with $99 white Glacier Bay @ Home Depot, with $60 install fee by our handyman, 1 day job, $160-$175 w/materials

  • Bathtub: hire Bathroom Restoration company to re-coat entire bathtub, all tile, windowsill and sink white with special spray coating & rust repair, 1 day job, 2 weeks to dry, $550 total

  • Light fixture: replace with 3-light brushed nickel uplight from The Home Depot, w/60w daylight bulbs, $80 total for fixture and installation

  • Sink faucet knob cap: replace with 1.5" Moen new cap (less than $2 at The Home Depot)

  • Bathtub faucet knob cap: replace with 1.5" Moen new cap (less than $2 at The Home Depot)

  • Window crank repair: same handyman that installed toilet knew how to repair window crank (estimate $20 for labor and part)

  • Walls: paint walls light beige to match rest of the rental property

  • Floor: no money in budget to grind/clean/seal (estimate was over $1k)... clean with stone cleaner and leave

  • Electrical outlet: replace old beige outlet with new white one (less than $2 at The Home Depot, installed by handyman while installing light
  • Towel shelf: add much needed storage with a chrome shelf above toilet ($

At that point we had the plan:

The resurfacing/painting of the bathtub/tile was first.

The job took one full day to complete. And we had to leave the water off to let the coating dry completely for two weeks.

AMAZING transformation!!!

TIP: IF you are resurfacing a tub or tile for a rental property, include the cleaning /maintanance instructions INSIDE of any lease! Make sure your tenants know NOT to use abrasive cleaners, etc.

Old Ugly Bathroom Makeover: AFTER photo. Rental Property Management Services, Miami

This bathroom project took about 3 weeks to complete

Once everything was done, we photographed everything and listed the unit for rent. We increased the asking price by $500, because now the unit was super cute, freshly painted, clean. We hypothesized that with a nice improved bathroom (and we also added new light ceiling lights, a new refrigerator and stove to the unit) we'd attract a better quality tenant. What's a better quality tenant?  More stable income, lower risk for early terminations, higher credit score indicating they pay their bills on time.

So how did it turn out? A success!

Our old ugly bathroom makeover was a great success. The cost will be made up with the increased rent and more stable tenants within a few months, and our landlord is super happy. ANOTHER RENTAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SERVICES SUCCESS!  We kept the budget low, increased the rent higher, and the first week we put listed the rental property on the market we received seven full price rental offers. A lease was signed with a couple who had stable jobs, income above the 30% threshold (rent no more than 1/3 of what they make in a month) and great credit reports (pay their bills on time, not a lot of debt).

We found the light fixture, towel shelf and shower head on Amazon, very inexpensive.

Old Ugly Bathroom Makeover: AFTER photo. Rental Property Management Services, Miami

Towel shelf adds the needed storage to the bathroom (no cabinet space). It updated the look significantly, and looks GREAT. So very inexpensive, we were super happy we found this one. Very easy to put together (4 screws, plus two screws and plastic anchors for the wall). We put it together and onto the wall in under 5 minutes total. Really!

Old Ugly Bathroom Makeover: AFTER photo. Rental Property Management Services, Miami

Shower heads are a great, inexpensive element in the bathroom to change every couple of years. Don't wait until you need an old ugly bathroom makeover to change a shower head! Change them every 1-2 years, or between each tenancy. When they stop looking shiny and new, change it! Prospective tenants notice things like shower heads. They don't want an old, dingy one stream of water shower head. Install a nice, new inexpensive shower head after each tenant. It's a small expense that makes a big impact and is well worth the investment. 

Small things like this can sometimes mean the difference between attracting high risk quality tenants, and low risk great quality tenants.

Remember, it's usually the low risk high quality tenants that will pay their rent on time and care for your property like it was their own.

If your rental property has older, outdated or yellowing light fixtures. CHANGE THEM! New, really great looking light fixtures can be purchased VERY INEXPENSIVELY.

For the minimal expense, they bring GREAT REWARD. This light fixture we love because it can be installed as an uplight or facing down.

We like the bulbs facing up so we don't see the bulbs, and it gives a little more overall diffused lighting to the entire bathroom. This fixture was very easy to assemble and install, and takes regular bulbs. (we learned the hard way, always purchase light fixtures that take REGULAR easily purchased 60 watt, or LED equivalent bulbs). We use "daylight" color bulbs for all of our properties, rentals, homes for sale and old ugly bathroom makeover projects.

It provides a much more natural light, color, makes everything look more clean and is brighter than the regular bulbs which can seem too yellow in some spaces. Daylight bulbs also produce (in our opinion) much better photos for listings, marketing purposes when you're trying to attract tenants or buyers.

TIP: whenever replacing light fixtures... for the EASIEST INSTALLATION, choose a solid long backing. This light fixture backing covers all the bad wall holes behind it.

It pays to shop around. For these three (shower head, towel shelf, light fixture), we found the BEST deals on Amazon.com for our old ugly bathroom makeover. But for the other things, we found better pricing at The Home Depot, Lowe's and ACE. For small standard sized items like drain covers, new faucet knob caps... go to ACE Hardware of The Home Depot, they will most likely be much less expensive and they'll have them in stock. And if you aren't sure about the size, someone there will help you!

For more bathroom makeover before and after photos, and how-to's... visit HGTV for some more inspiration here.

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