Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

The half bathroom is the one room in your house that should always be guest ready. Let’s chat about the best half bathroom ideas that are budget friendly and can make your small space feel fabulous.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

A half bathroom should be inviting

The half bath in your home is probably the one area that will get used the most. Not only by family, but by guests that come to visit you and spend time in your home. So although I would rank ‘clean’ among the top things that this small space should be, it should also be inviting.

Let me tell you a little tale about the half bath in our current home, before we renovated it. Can you see it in this picture? Tiny little sink in the corner and about 24 inches wide!

before renovation half bathroom

Located off what was the ‘laundry room’ when we purchased our home, the space was beyond a ‘small room’. When I first walked into it, I wondered if I could even get in there and turn around to sit on the toilet! It was sooooo narrow and bland that I knew a bathroom update was mandatory. How had the house gone this long (since 1957) with no one renovating it?

I mean, this would be the main bathroom that our guests would be using. I couldn’t imagine anyone going in there, let alone one of my grandchildren needing help from their parent. Two people would definitely not fit. It would be like a game of sardines!

The only other bathroom on the first floor was the master bathroom, and that’s just awkward. No one wants guests in their private spaces. So this would need more than a fresh coat of paint. This would require moving walls and making things right.

If your half bath is not inviting, or even properly functional for how you live, it’s time to put your thinking cap on and come up with solutions.

half bathroom after renovation Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

Basic elements of the half bathroom

The half bath in your home doesn’t need a lot. Function is the main thing, but beauty is always fun to add, especially in a small space. Here are the right elements the half bath will need:

  • toilet – obvi, it’s a bathroom. But if you are needing to replace your old toilet, this is the perfect time to upgrade. There are many water-saving options, which may be important, depending on where you live. Also, most adults will find a chair height toilet most comfortable. I would also recommend this even for kids bathrooms, as they aren’t little forever. I also like an elongated bowl which gives your bum a little more space. Make sure you have the extra clearance in your room, as these do take up several more inches than their round bowl counterparts.
  • toilet lid – yes, your new toilet will come with a lid. However, if you are buying a toilet on a budget from a big box store (like I have) you want to consider all your choices. Expect to pay anywhere from $100-$300 on a new toilet. And yes, there are many styling options. Most budget toilets will come with a ‘plastic’ lid. For about $35, I always like to upgrade and buy a new, more sturdy lid made of wood. It is still sprayed white and matches the porcelain of the toilet, but it is sturdier and feels more… well, better. Plus, if someone stands on the toilet lid for some strange reason, it won’t crack.
  • vanity – if you have the space, I always prefer a vanity over a pedestal sink. Not only will it add storage, but a vanity feels more special. Unless of course you have found some amazing stylish vintage one, or have more of a high end budget. But for budget friendly options, I believe a vanity to be best.
  • plumbing fixtures – making these special will be the jewelry of your room. Consider finish and style to enhance all the other design choices.
  • lighting – most small bathrooms lack natural light, since many do not have windows. The light fixture in the room will illuminate the space, but in a such a small room, it can really add some visual interest. I will share a fun idea of how to create custom lighting in an inexpensive way.
  • mirror – your guests will, no doubt, want to check on themselves during their pit stop. The mirror is a fun way to add style to your small bathroom.
Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

Our half bath renovation

The two main things we did that really changed the space was moving the toilet to the opposite side of the room. The way the mudroom was being laid out, changing the toilet to the opposite wall made sense for many reasons. 

We also widened the space dramatically. It’s still a tiny space, but laid out much better. Luckily this space was over an unfinished part of the basement, so changing the plumbing wasn’t too terrible on the budget.

The hardwood floors span most of the main floor and were getting patched and redone anyway. So in this space, adding more holes to the floor to make the changes wasn’t a big deal.

Once the plumbing was placed, and the walls built, the real fun could start in designing the perfect half bathroom. You can see how the neighboring room, the mudroom, turned out with the renovation.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

Decor options for a great designer half bath

A little guest bathroom can pack a lot of decor punch if given just a bit of attention. Here are some items to keep an eye on:

  • accent wall – a great way to add architectural interest in your powder room is to add an accent wall feature. This can be grooved paneling, headboard, shiplap, judges paneling, or any other moulding detail that brings some style to your small space. Also, the color that this is painted can bring big impact.
  • the ceiling – don’t ever forget to look up! Especially in a small space, the ceiling is that fifth wall that can really add personal style to a tight space. 
  • flooring – maybe your flooring flows from the rest of the house (ours does) but if not, this is a great spot to use a statement tile. If you are budget conscious, remember that you can choose a bright color or pattern at a similar price to something boring. With limited square feet, this is the place to have a bit of fun.
  • the sink – this is a great option for a place to add a lot of personal style. Whether you prefer vessel sinks or one housed in a vanity cabinet, choose one that will complement the new look you are going for. Even with a new vanity, there are shape options. I always prefer an undermount sink.
  • wallpaper – one of the best ways to add lots of style is with wallpaper. Especially in the smallest rooms, wallpaper is a great place to add color and pattern. Whether you choose traditional wallpaper, or the removable wallpaper, there are tons of patterns that can keep you on the budget, or allow a bit of a splurge.
  • accessories – you don’t really need much in such a small space, so choose thoughtfully. Always consider function first, providing what is needed for your guests (towel, tissue, soap, and extra toilet paper) then add a little plant or decorative detail to delight the space.
  • tile style – since a half bath doesn’t see all the water splashing like a full bathroom, this can be your chance to stay on budget and NOT add any ceramic tiles. But if you want something special, you may just find your look with a wall tile feature. However, this should not compete but enhance, what is on the floor if you have chosen a bold feature there.
  • the door – many times this one large thing is often forgotten. In a very small space, I always prefer a pocket or sliding door if it makes sense in the area. These take up little to no space and can add some personal style to a small room. Consider either replacing the door with something special (I love a vintage option) or painting it a bright color for big impact.
Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly sliding farmhouse door

How we made our half bath the perfect place

Where I began in creating the feel I wanted for the half bath was with the vanity. Finding the perfect small vanity turned out to be a bigger challenge than I was anticipating. I had vacillated over and over about whether I wanted a vintage dresser turned vanity or a new one with a fresh look.

After much searching for the best option for my budget, I settled on a freestanding vanity that had the sink shape I wanted, the right countertop material, and some drawers for storage. The plumbing fixtures were sold separately.

Color is the best budget helper

The color scheme is pretty consistent throughout the house, but the exact colors came from the neighboring room, the mudroom. You can see the changes we made for this room in this post.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

Remember, color has power and can be the one budget friendly thing that keeps your half bath from being boring. Why not make some cold choices and live with color in this small space?

Design is in the details

The architectural detail was inspired by other larger projects that had been done in the house.

I used shiplap, hung vertical on the wall, for detail on the lower walls which would be painted a bold color. I also had leftover beadboard paneling that had been featured heavily in the kitchen, and had just the right amount to add the the tiny space on the ceiling.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

Since I am obsessed with wallpaper, I wanted this to be the main focal point. I chose a medallion print, and centered the pattern above the toilet to create balance in the small space.

Putting the FUN in function

The mirror was a vintage option that I had been hoarding for awhile. To make it really sing in the space, I painted a trim area within the mirror frame a bright color that was featured in the wallpaper. 

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

The biggest problem I faced was finding the perfect lighting that was special and would make the entire space pop. I never found one, and am still on the hunt! But I needed a light and didn’t want to choose something that would kill the whole vibe.

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So with a tight budget (since this would be temporary) I purchased a lantern meant for outdoor lighting installation that had a similar shape to what I saw in my mind. Of course, my electrician was like “you know this kind doesn’t really go here” HAHAHAHA. That made it extra perfect for me!

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly custom lighting for half bath

If you don’t find what you are looking for, make it! For this lesser option, I custom painted it to make it more my style and what I ultimately want. Someday I will find my ‘star’ for the space, but for now, this looks great.

The ins and outs of the half bathroom

Obviously, privacy is key for this room of your house. And since I was completely changing my space, the door needed an update as well.

In all my careful planning for the room, I knew that a sliding door would be a must. Of course, my go to is a vintage find.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

I searched high and low and once again never found the perfect one. So I opted for a budget vintage option and painted it one of the bright colors of the neighboring mudroom. It has many panels that mimic lots of squares repeated in the mudroom, and adds a lot of personal style.

We frosted the window for privacy, and added vintage hardware for proper function. If I ever find that perfect one in the future, I can easily switch this one out by simply unscrewing it from the metal sliding door track.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

The final details of the half bathroom

I did not add any art to this room. The wallpaper was so cool, that I wanted it to be the main feature.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

Simple accessories bring style and function to the space. I remove tissue from its box and display it in a milk glass compote.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

Vintage linens in a half bath and old hand towels are a fave of mine. That made the choice easy from my stash of goodies. I’m not a fan of a towel rack, so I simply display the hand towel on top of the vanity.

Since I have grandchildren who visit often, I chose a clear plastic dispenser with colored soap that isn’t breakable. and ever-changing small plants or flowers.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

Carpet in a highly used bathroom near a toilet grosses me out too. If this is you also, chose area rugs that are washable.

Simple updates can make a big difference

Even if you aren’t needing a full renovation (like me) or you aren’t up for a DIY challenge, you can still make simple updates to your space.

Consider a new wall paint color, wallpaper, adding art and fun accessories. Whatever adds function and brings personal style to your space will be an improvement.

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly styling shelves for half bath

Quick changes like new hardware, a detailed floor vent, or new mirror will add style to this much used room in the house. Even the smallest of details will make a difference in how the room feels and functions. Add some art and a few decor items that feel special.

Don’t be afraid to add your personal style to this small space. Using some of these ideas, you can create a stylish half bath without blowing your budget. So what are you waiting for?

Best Half Bathroom Ideas That are Budget Friendly

Let me know what your go to budget choices are in the comments below. And if you decide to do a bit more, I’d love to hear about it!

If you need a bit of inspiration, check out Pinterest. I’d love to have you follow along with me on any of the platforms linked below, so we can hang out more.

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  1. Painting is a great, budget friendly way to add a little fun to your walls. Yes, do it!!

  2. As usual, this is beautiful! I could definitely use some fresh paint in my guest bathroom. Maybe that will be a project this summer.

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