(BPT) - When it comes to bathroom decor, tastes and preferences are as common and varied as wrinkles on elbows. A look that delights one homeowner may disgust another, but one trend suits everyone's taste: saving money. You may want your bathroom redo to look like you spent a million bucks on it, but you can get a whole new look for a lot less than that.
In fact, some downright cheap upgrades can be quite dazzling. Here are a handful of high-impact ways to achieve a whole new look for less than $100:
* Paint is always a cost-effective upgrade, and you can buy a good gallon for $30 or less. The simple act of changing wall color can impart a designer look, and if you're careful with those edges, no one will ever know you did it yourself.
* Wallpaper is costly, messy and best left to the professionals, right? Wrong. Whether you shop online or in a big box store, you can find appealing wallpaper murals (www.muralsyourway.com) for less than $100 - and installation is as easy as pulling it out of the package and positioning it on the wall. Modern wallpaper options like SmartStick by MuralsYourWay.com, a high-tech peel and stick material, adhere to any surface, and can easily be pulled down, repositioned and even reused in a different room. If you can't find just the right image from the 750,000 available through the website, you can create your own wall mural by submitting your original photography.
* Sometimes bathroom tile starts to look faded, outdated and tired without being chipped or cracked - two problems that would require you to replace damaged tile. If your tile is in good shape, but just not perky enough for you, repainting it is a cheap, easy way to create a whole new look without the work and expense of retiling. It's easy to find a variety of tile paint colors at your local home improvement store, and prices average around $30 a gallon. While you're at it, do a little something with the grout - either regrouting entirely or using a stain to dye the grout to complement the tile.
* Treat yourself to a new showerhead. You may not realize the unhappy impact of an old, inefficient or dated showerhead until you're standing under a new one enjoying the fall of water. You can certainly spend a lot to get a new showerhead with all the bells and whistles, but you can also find plenty of attractive, efficient and stimulating options for much less than $100. Installation is well within the abilities of your average DIYer.
* Sadly, bathroom lighting often goes to one extreme or the other: either it's a bright, overhead fixture that casts enough glare to land a plane by, or it's a dinky band of bulbs above the bathroom mirror that doesn't provide adequate illumination to brush your teeth, let alone apply makeup. Most people move into a house and live with the current bathroom lighting, but switching it is easy, cheap and a great way to improve the room's safety, usability and looks all at the same time. Not sure what you need? The American Lighting Association offers a great guide to choosing bathroom lighting at www.AmericanLightingAssociation.com.
Taking your bathroom from boring to 'bam!' doesn't have to cost big bucks. Just look for low-cost improvements that deliver big impact, and you can achieve a million-dollar look on a shoestring budget.