What You CAN totally DIY in a bathroom remodel

So we've been slowly chugging away at a complete bathroom remodel and I've mentioned before how I've begrudgingly handed over most of the bathroom remodel to a contractor. As someone who spends an awful lot of time on Pinterest, it's really hard to look at my own failures and hand over large amounts of cash that are explosive compared to the numbers you see from DIYers. But there are things that I have DIYed myself for the space, even if it's not tile work or electrical. So I thought I'd share what I've been able to do for any of you who may also be feeling exasperated with your own skills.

10 things you can totally DIY in a bathroom remodel

Here are things you CAN totally DIY in a bathroom remodel

(for those of us limited in time, skills and money)

  1. Paint: Having a room painted is ridiculously expensive. Skip the pro and do it yourself. With quality paint tools and a decent paint, the job won't be as difficult as you may imagine. And starting with a small space like a bathroom can give you confidence to put those quality paint tools to use in other spaces (and you'll earn back your money spent many times over with this DIY job).

  2. Assist Your Contractor: This may not be an option depending on who you work with, but many are happy to cut you a discount for helping them get the job done faster. Whether it be helping unload materials, or if you're extra skilled, helping install floors, drywall or tile, you could save yourself some cash by helping them save time.

  3. Build Pieces: A lot of times, cabinets and vanities come dismantled to make it easier for shipping and storage.

  4. Install Shelves and Cabinets: Anything that's not connecting to plumbing or electrical- totally try to put it in yourself! The worst that could happen is that you may have to have your contracor do it anyways. And I doubt that'll happen because you can totally do this.

  5. Install Lighting: Installing new lighting is actually pretty easy. I spent a long time terrified of doing anything with wires, but I've practiced and I've taken precautions. If I can do this, you can do this (unless you're dealing with questionable electrical or a complicated light fixture- please do not hurt yourself or your home).

  6. Hang Window Treatments: A power drill is so easy to operate. Start practicing on small things like hanging curtains and blinds. They're never as complicated as they may look. Have fun looking for a style that suits your space and put it up according to the instructions. You can even find youtube videos that will walk you through the process for most types of window coverings.

  7. Make decisions: I'll call this "project manager." If you've got a bit more time, you can skip a contractor and contact individual craftsmen to do the work in the bathroom. An initial phone discussion should let you know who needs to come first so you can schedule those appointments in an order that goes smoothly (and be prepared if you're going with #7). Plumbers, Tilers, Drywallers- they all work individually with clients outside of a contractor.

  8. Make purchases: A contractor isn't going to scour craigslist for a good deal, nor are they going to spend a lot of time choosing the best bang for your buck for the look you want. Even if they did, you're paying for their man hours searching for that product. By ensuring your contractor/floor guy/tiler is willing to work with the product you choose, you cut out paying for their shopping time and you'll save money. Many contractors get special deals by working with certain companies. But they get those deals because the product is already more expensive (hence why they have room to wiggle). Be careful with taking on the job of buyer, you don't want to ruin a good relationship by bringing in tile completely different than what you and your tiler agreed on. They quote you based on labor and a large tile takes less time to install versus a small one. One light over the mirror involves less time than two sconces flanking the mirror.

  9. Demolition: It's fun! Have your bathroom tested for asbestos and lead and if you're clear, tearing out tile and drywall is an easy way to save some money. There's a few tools you'll need, but they aren't nearly as expensive as paying someone to do the labor for you. It doesn't require much skill and a friendly contractor will give you a bit of guidance.

  10. Final Clean Up: You may not realize it, but to get a shiny bathroom for reveal day, cleaning up has to happen. Do you really want to pay someone to clean or do you want to save yourself some cash and clean it yourself. You're going to have to clean the bathroom again anyways, so might as well get in there when it's (hopefully!0 it's worst.

With a willingness to use your own time and labor, you can totally play a part in your bathroom remodel. No fancy tools required! From as early as demolition, to choosing tile and hiring tradesmen, to cleaning up your finished space, DIY is more than Pinterest deep. You can do this!

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what you can DIY in a bathroom remodel- the no experience list! (Yes, you- the one who's never remodeled anything, you can do these things!)



  1. This is such good advice! When we bought our home my husband taught himself to install light fixtures - mostly because when I came home with something I didn't want to wait for an electrician to see it! I've helped him with it and it's very straightforward. He bought a voltage detector for maybe $20 that lets you know for sure that the electricity is off where you're working. Not really necessary if you know what you're doing, but totally worth it for peace of mind. Not to mention that the money you save means you can spend more on what's important - killer light fixtures!

  2. This is an equity problem that can’t be solved easily. A top-down approach for education won’t fly in America. It was tried a few years ago with the introduction of Common Core Curriculum.


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