Credit: Sarita Relis Photography

Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home or just looking to make some cosmetic upgrades, you don’t have to embark on a full-scale remodel to make your home appear updated and larger. Here are five budget-friendly ways to refresh your space.

1) Add a pattern with peel-and-stick wallpaper or wall mural.  Wallpaper has made a comeback, and there are countless beautiful patterns now available in peel-and-stick application. It’s fairly easy to apply (grab a friend to help) and a budget-friendly way to dramatically transform a room. Boldly patterned walls can create an upscale feel, and most projects can be completed in a weekend. Try this wall treatment in a small space, such as a powder room or an accent wall in the bedroom, to add major style while keeping costs low.

Credit: Sarita Relis Photography

2) Install board and batten on a wall.  Create dimension and interest by adding board and batten paneling to a wall. Board and batten paneling is typically installed in a symmetrical pattern, either rectangles or vertical lines to draw the eye up. This is a great way to make entryways or hallways feel larger and provide a custom, high-end look.  

3) Paint trim and walls the same color.  Typically, trim is painted white while walls may be a different color. However, painting trim and walls the same color makes a room feel larger, as your eye doesn’t have a place to see an “end.” Matching wall and trim paint can be an elegant way to give your room a fresh feel.

4) Hang curtain rods closer to the ceiling.  You can create the illusion of taller ceilings simply by hanging the curtain rods higher (almost to the ceiling) and adding floor-length, flowing curtains. Personally, I like drapes that pool at the floor for a luxurious feel. 

5) Paint the front door black.  A complete exterior makeover might not be in the budget, but painting your front door can make a big impact on your home’s curb appeal. Use a dark hue for an on-trend look, then flank the front door with potted plants. Sherwin-Williams’ Tricorn Black is my go-to paint color for front doors. According to a Zillow survey, homes with a black front door saw a whopping $6,271 more in selling price!

Christine S. Cowles is the owner of Vacation Rental Design, an interior design company specializing in short-term rental properties. She is a certified Short-Term Rental Stylist™, member of Real Estate Staging Association, and a proud WEV graduate. She can be reached at

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