Home Guide

DIY Room Makeovers

A little Do It Yourself works at any budget


$100 or Less
Step One: Focus on Design 
“Look first at what you are working with, determine a color and style direction and then shop the market for what you need before actually buying anything.” -Lisa Newman Paratore, Lisa Newman Interiors and Homestyle, Providence

DIY: Utilize websites such as Pinterest to gain inspiration and instructions for DIY projects.

Step Two: Upcycle and Reuse Whenever Possible
Edit the items you already own. “Take everything out of the room: take window treatments down, take art off walls, then bring things back into the space one at a time. Bring in the things you love most or that coordinate best first. When the room looks and feels good stop!” -Lee Chartier, Inside Style, Wakefield

DIY: Shop flea markets and create a new headboard from old shutters.

Step Three: Freshen Up a Room With Paint
“Since the walls of a room take up the largest amount of surface, changing color is the least expensive way to dramatically change the appearance of a room. A good inexpensive paint is C2 Studio Paint, which retails from $29.99 to $43.99.

If you are taping, make sure it is either the safe-release blue masking tape or FrogTape. They don’t pull off old paint and don’t leave an adhesive residue.” -Harry Adler, Adler’s Design Center and Hardware, Providence

When choosing paint for a bedroom, remember that dark-colored walls reflect less light. If you have trouble sleeping in on weekends, try olive green or navy walls. “I like to choose wall color last to compliment and pull together all of the other elements in the room.” -Lisa Newman Paratore

Step Four: Try New Fabrics and Light Fixtures
“Change the light bulbs to all LED in the correct color temperature for your room’s coloration, warm or cool.” -Prudence Stoddard, RI Kitchen & Bath, Warwick

Add pillows in bold colors and patterns to inject a pop of color to a neutral room. “Pillows are easier and less expensive to change than furniture!” -Lee Chartier

DIY: Change a lampshade. It can make a big difference in a room.

Step Five: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
“Purchase some wood or metal frames of various sizes and create a family gallery wall.”
-Michelle Lee Parenteau, Michelle Lee Designs, Johnston

Make a big impact with a small change. “Update your dining room by adding a light centerpiece on a dark table or a darker centerpiece on a light table.” -Lee Chartier
Add fun, personal touches to a child’s bedroom. “Benjamin Moore now mixes their paint colors in chalkboard paint. You can stick a vinyl cut appliqué of the child’s name or stencil a monogram above the headboard.” -Kristen Martone, Graceke Design, Narragansett. 

DIY: Purchase a few cans of stain and paint a dark color on your hardwood floors to contrast with white walls.

$500 or Less
Step One: Focus on Design
Clip photos of rooms you love from home décor magazines. Shop with these images in hand. 

DIY: Be your own interior designer. Purchase an affordable, user-friendly home design software (HGTV makes a good one) to guide you in your vision. You can upload your own digital photos to redecorate your existing space.

Step Two: Upcycle and Reuse Whenever Possible 
DIY: Create original repurposed art. Surround planks of old, weathered wood with a new, modern frame. 
DIY: Refinish old kitchen cabinets and use them for storage in a laundry room.

Step Three: Freshen Up a Room With Paint 
“We are seeing a trend in the increased use of warm gray paint colors, in both lighter and darker values. I recommend C2 Luxe Paint, which retails from $41.99 to $54.29. Use the best quality rollers and brushes possible. We love Corona brand. With best quality brushes, taping may not be necessary.” -Harry Adler

“Try test patches of paint and find your new inspiration color to use on an existing piece of furniture.” -Kristen Martone

Step Four: Try New Fabrics and Light Fixtures 
Add color to a room with window treatments. “Try stationary panels rather than heavy draperies that close. They will let more natural light into the room and you’ll save on fabric costs.” -Lee Chartier
DIY: Transform your bedroom into an oasis of relaxation with ambient lighting. Swap harsh ceiling-mounted fixtures for a pair of sconces flanking a wall mirror. 

Step Five: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment 
Add an accent wall of grasscloth wallcovering. “Grasscloth is very trendy right now and works in contemporary as well as traditional settings.” -Lee Chartier 

“Splurge on a stainless steel deep single bowl sink for your kitchen. Replace the backsplash with a beautiful glass mosaic.” -Prudence Stoddard

“A new area rug can help to reinvent a space, especially if you rework the floor plan around it.” -Lisa Newman Paratore

DIY: If you have vaulted ceilings in your living room or bedroom, add architectural detail with faux rustic wooden beams.

“Makeover your teenage son or daughter’s bedroom. After you paint and swap out the light fixture, add a new comforter and sheets and buy a desk for their laptop. You could also add an area rug, hang shelves for books or scatter some small ottomans for their friends to hang out on.” -Michelle Lee Parenteau

Update and organize your whole bathroom for under $500. “Replace all the hardware, towel bars and towels. Buy a new shower curtain rod and curtain. Add new organizational aids to your drawers, backs of doors and sink cabinets.” -Prudence Stoddard 

$1,000 or Less
Step One: Focus on Design 
Hire a pro. “Engage a design professional to create a master plan for the projects that you would really like to accomplish. Many of the master plans that we create are implemented over years; taking the time and the resources necessary at the outset avoids future headaches such as going over budget or having to undo last year’s project for this year’s project.” -Gregory Bressler

“When I work with clients we first take inventory of what they are working with and what they require in order to finish the project. 

We then look at a color palette and coordinate all of the selections before we purchase anything.” -Lisa Newman Paratore

Step Two: Upcycle and Reuse Whenever Possible 
“We recently renovated a kitchen in Jamestown. The building that the kitchen was in was originally a barn and the new design included colors, cabinets and appliances that were very modern. We suggested reusing some of the original framing lumber that we removed as a wooden island counter top.” -Gregory Bressler

Step Three: Freshen Up a Room With Paint 
“One trend we’re seeing is the increased use of high gloss paints. Dutch-made Fine Paints of Europe brand has the highest sheen paints available and look great on cabinets, trim doors, and even walls and ceilings. The Eurolux Matte retails for $110 per 2.5 liter can.” 
-Harry Adler

Paint your kitchen cabinets. “For $1,000 you could also install new HD laminate countertops, change the wall color and add a tile backsplash.” -Michelle Lee Parenteau

Step Four: Try New Fabrics and Light Fixtures 
“Roman shades are in great demand. You can add something to them to make them unique – borders or a double band of grosgrain ribbon. When hung inside a window frame, Romans add great visual interest to complement the decor.” -Lee Chartier

Buy a new piece of furniture. “A room’s design is the sum of its parts, so if you delete something worn or dated and replace it with something fresh and potentially of a different style, the change can be quite dramatic.” -Lisa Newman Paratore 

Step Five: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment 
“Some projects you can do yourself to save money: install prefinished hardwood floors, remove non-bearing interior walls, change out light fixtures and build first level porches – but I would not recommend a second level deck. There is so much information on YouTube for DIY.” -Steven Lawrence

Update your bathroom. “Install a new granite countertop for the vanity, accent tile around the perimeters, new light fixtures, a new mirror, new faucet, new towels, and a shower curtain.” -Michelle Lee Parenteau

“Purchase multi-purpose furniture that is modular and moveable.” -Kristen Martone

graceke designs, michelle lee designs, ri kitchen & bath, adler's design center and hardware, inside style, lisa newman interiors and homestyle, hey rhody home guide, hey rhody


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