If you finally found the perfect starter home that comes with one simple catch -- ugly, dated, pastel tile in the bathroom -- don't despair. Tile doesn't have to be permanent and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. There are several ways to remove the unwanted tile and replace it with modern, attractive versions while staying within your budget.
Do It Yourself
The biggest way to stay in your budget is to remove your tile and replace it yourself. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and spend a few tedious hours removing and installing tile as a way to save hundreds of dollars in professional installation costs.
Be Realistic About Your Budget
When you're ready to tackle your bathroom makeover, be realistic with your budget. Measure the room to see how many square feet of tile you need to replace. Research basic tile prices as well as the price of the equipment you need to complete the job, such as mortar, grout, a notched trowel, a grout float, grout sealer and something to cut the tile, such as a rented wet saw or a purchased snap cutter. Ask friends and family to let you borrow any equipment they may have from previous home improvement projects.
Although your bathroom renovation doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars, it will likely run a few hundred dollars at least. The cost of removing the tiles is negligible, as all you need is a hammer and putty knife to break up the tiles.
Shop Around for Deals
Once you've set your budget, start looking for the best deals on tile. Be patient, as different tile goes on sale at various home improvement stores each week. Pay special attention to closeouts and discontinued items, as these are likely to be marked down the most. Check online as well because some stores offer online-only deals. Remember to find a tile price that lets you buy at least 10 percent more than you think you need to account for broken tiles or mistakes when you cut the tiles.
Reuse Original Tiles
If there are some tiles in your bathroom that you like and that aren't cracked or chipped, consider reusing them in your new tiling project to save money. Remove them carefully by chipping through the grout lines with a putty knife that you tap with a hammer, which should allow you to remove most of the tiles in one piece. Rework the tiles by laying them in a diamond pattern instead of straight, or cut them into smaller pieces and use them to frame the new tile you buy.
Stick to the Basics
To stay on budget, don't get overly eager about adding decorative tile. If you find a special tile that you must have, create a design that showcases just a few of the tiles in the bathroom and try to find the tile on sale. For example, you could lay four large decorative tiles together in the center of the bathroom floor, making it the focal point. Or, you could place smaller decorative tiles around the edges of the room.
Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.