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Get a designer look for less with these four unique and affordable bathroom upgrades.

Custom Walls Without Tiling

Jazzy ceramic tile backsplashes, wall accents or chair rails can liven up the look of a bathroom, but tile is expensive and installing it is hard work. Get custom looks easily without spending a fortune using paintable embossed wallpapers. Made to resemble old-fashioned pressed tin or plaster ceiling tiles, these papers can be used as-is to add texture or embellished with paint to create contrast. Modern wallpapers feature bright colors, bold borders, custom cutouts and matching appliqués. Available in hundreds of designs to suit any decor, pre-pasted papers are affordable and simple to apply.

Build a Better Vanity

Is an old, peeling particleboard bathroom vanity bringing you down? Dated fixtures can dim and dull interior spaces. Bring your bathroom into the 21st century with ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinet boxes. Choose from dozens of designer finishes, door styles and cabinet shapes to create a custom vanity for a fraction of the price of having one built. Use architectural elements including table legs, molding and other embellishments to make your new vanity pop. In a smaller bathroom, consider getting rid of the vanity entirely and switching to a clean, modern look with a pedestal sink. Use hanging cabinets with glass-fronted doors for built-in storage with affordable style.

Re-Do Instead of Buying New

Refinishing your existing cast iron bathtub can save you hundreds of dollars over buying a new one, and it’s environmentally friendly. While you’re at it, rip out those sliding pebbled-glass doors. Replace them with a fashionable hand painted shower curtain to brighten the room for less than $100. While refinishing is a professional job, if you have a Jacuzzi or drop-in style tub, you can give your bathroom the feel of an elite spa by updating the frame. Get bold, unexpected looks by using unexpected recycled or industrial materials. Cement, slate or marble floor tiles create high-end effects, and because they’re larger, you’ll need fewer pieces.

Shop Low for High Style

Perfectly coordinated accessories can lead to an overmatched, fussy look that lacks true designer style. Instead, go retro or shabby chic by seeking out one-of-a-kind pieces with flair. Search local flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales for unique items than can be reused in interesting ways. Display bath beads, decorative soaps and other supplies in mason jars or tall ice cream soda glasses. Vintage cigar boxes make charming catch-alls for makeup and jewelry, and a coat of spray paint transforms a worn-out wine rack into a caddy for storing rolled towels. A striking chandelier, sunburst clock or a seashell-framed mirror can become the focal point that ties the entire room together.