Front entrance
Tria Giovan

Create a Grand Entrance

An old front door gives a new house instant character. This English pine door was salvaged from a ruined building. A stand-alone picket gate may seem out of place without a fence, but it adds cottage charm for less time and money.

Trim details
Tria Giovan

Elevate Common Items

For a custom look, try adding a three-inch band of striped fabric to the edge of inexpensive curtain panels. Play with levels of formality by using an unexpected material, such as rope or twine, to hang prized objects on the walls.

Trim color
Tria Giovan

Define Your Own Boundaries

"If your house lacks interesting trim or crown molding, don't fret. Pump up the edges of a room with color by painting a three-inch border around all the windows and walls. It'll be like adding instant trim to your house, and it's a stylish alternative," says Steven.

Painted details
Cottage Living, Tria Giovan

Add a Personal Touch

An inexpensive wooden desk looks like a custom piece when painted to blend with a room's color palette. For a modern look, use contrasting colors on the drawers and table frame. Just be sure to use a stain-killing primer on finished wood -- the painted coat will be more durable.

Tria Giovan

Skip the Mats

Framing prints or other art on paper between panes of glass allows your wall color to show through. This trick creates an immediate visual dialogue between the room's color and the artwork.

Home office
Tria Giovan

Use What You Have

Say goodbye to stainless steel filing cabinets and dark brown desks, and make your home office playful and inviting. We decoupaged this draftsman desk with inexpensive marine charts. The end result is a one-of-a-kind custom desk you can create in an afternoon.

Colorful paint trim
Tria Giovan

Live on the Edge

If your trim is more interesting than the walls, go ahead and call it out with color. "I don't think you have to follow the old rule that trim has to be white and color is saved for the walls," reassures Steven.

Master Bedroom
Tria Giovan

Mix It Up

Bored with a perfectly coordinated bedroom's monotony and symmetry? Try pairing mismatched bedside lamps. You can find inexpensive, interesting lamps and other accessories at flea markets; just remember to look for complementary shades that pull everything together.

Kitchen storage
Tria Giovan

Control the Clutter

Coat hooks are a thrifty and stylish answer to crowded, jumbled drawers. Stephen uses baskets, hooks, and open shelving to create a user-friendly kitchen, putting utensils (and utility) front and center. Toss out the knick-knacks and invest in well-designed, colorful appliances you can proudly display on your counter tops.

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