Not all rules are meant to be followed. Sorry, Mom! Here's our penny-pinching guide to upgrading a space without major overhead.

By Courtney Fishman

Break It: Just Paint it! Forget the hard work that comes with repairing or replacing floors; add a rustic feel to your room by coating the floor with color. As simple as applying nail polish, painting older floors brings new life minus the high price tag. Gretchen Bond transformed her sunroom from dingy brick to bright and bold with a high-gloss navy touch-up.

2. The Rule: Keep a Room's Original Use

Break It: Change It Up! Have extra space? Reimagine your blueprint and transform the spot into something totally unique. Bond was eager for a new kitchen, so she transitioned her kitchen into a "bar room" by removing unnecessary appliances and swapping the island for a flea market-scouted table.

3. The Rule: Simplify a Small Space

Break It: Go Big With Color and Paint! Don't shy away from a small space; make a statement. Adding a pronounced color will brighten the room while creating openness. Add in notes of the unexpected, like painting your vanity orange, to mix in richness and dimension.

4. The Rule: Match a Table and Chairs

Break It: Contrast and Complement! Swap out your grandmother's furniture for a modern take on dining room style. Embrace eclecticism by mixing and matching colors and furniture design for a tailored and uber-curated look.

5. The Rule: Work Spaces Are Boring

Break It: Make It Fun! Sure, doing laundry may not be the highlight of your day, but it's definitely more manageable when you're spending time in a space you love. An easy way to upgrade the room is with peel-and-stick wallpaper, like Bond used here. Decorated walls will add oomph and personality to the room.

6. The Rule: One Big Pattern Per Room

Break It: Mix a Few Patterns That Share a Color! Build off a bold print and incorporate pattern undertones from within. Repeating colors from pattern to pattern will help to extend your design and generate a cohesive yet fearless look.

7. The Rule: Gut a Weird Old Bathroom

Break It: Camouflage the Flaws! Not everything that's old is broken, so skip the remodel and opt for a cosmetic upgrade instead. Pulling together small details, like using the same paint on your windows and vanity, tie together a room to make a unified and integrated space.


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