You’d love to incorporate the boutique look in your upstairs bathroom, or streamline the look of your living room or your kitchen, but you don’t exactly have the budget for a full-scale renovation. Not to worry. We talked to Karl Lohnes, Metro’s Décor Moment columnist, and Frank Turco, the Toronto-based senior manager of trend and design for Home Depot Canada, to find easy ways to get high-end looks for much, much less.



White creates a timeless kitchen look, suggests Lohnes. “A simple white cabinet can look good with anything,” he says. If your cupboards are in good shape, think about just refacing the cupboard doors. “So that’s not sanding down your doors — it’s just getting new doors for your cupboards,” says Turco. Also install new cabinet hardware — think inexpensive steel knobs for doors and pulls on drawers — to complete an eclectic look.


Laminate has come a long way baby. “Get a more luxurious look with quality laminate flooring, maybe the look of wood, which could be a higher-end look for most kitchens, or a laminate that looks like stone,” suggests Lohnes. Hot looks are either dark or light — think darker, almost black floors or honey or sugar maple colours. Then freshen up your walls with colours such as teal, turquoise or the new neutral — grey, adds Turco.


Swap out your counter for a laminate one that has the look of white cararra or French marble. For a modern look, pick counters with squared-off edges and skip the curved return on the back that comes up three inches. “Instead, a slab that fits directly against the wall looks more like a real slab of marble or granite,” says Lohnes.


Why not try outdoor lighting such as an outdoor stainless steel pendant in your kitchen?
“It gives a more industrial look and it’s also less expensive than an interior light source,” says Lohnes.


“A backsplash is fairly inexpensive to do,” says Turco. “There are lots of options from glass tile to marble to ceramic or porcelain — you can get tile for under $1 a square foot or marble for $10 to $15 per square foot.”



Can’t afford a new tub? Then hide yours. “Hang your shower rod at ceiling height and then put a floor-to-ceiling curtain on it. It gives you a wall of fabric and makes it feel more like a powder room,” says Lohnes.

“You can buy curtains long now or get some standard drapery and put a liner behind it.”


Instead of installing a store-bought vanity, think about a floating vanity. “Have a contractor do a floating vanity top and then tile it or cover it with stone. It’s often really inexpensive to do,” says Lohnes.


Or Turco suggests just switching out your faucet. “Single lever faucets are a huge trend and they are typically more contemporary,” he notes.


Replace your plate glass mirror with a tall vertical mirror. “Then put your light fixture on top of that and you create almost a focal point,” says Lohnes. Or buy a mirror framed by a mirror. “It’s a cool look and can dress up a bathroom,” says Turco.


“There are a lot of veneering products now,” says Lohnes. “You can buy tiled walls now, mosaic glass tiles on a big sheet so it’s easy for a consumer to install. And there are mosaic glass tile sheets that look really good.” And while subway tiles are still popular, think bigger subway tiles such as 5 x 8 inches or 6 x 9 inches.



Pick colours to suit how you use the room. “If it’s a room where you watch TV at night, paint it a darker colour. But if you’re using the room during the day, then keep it lighter and airier,” says Lohnes. Also clean up the look of your living room by painting your mouldings the same colour as your walls.


Cut back on your pot lighting if you’re looking to change your lights. Use them in a corner, simply to brighten highlighting something on a wall. “Don’t use them all over the room like a football field.” Instead, introduce select lighting. Drum-shaped pendants are “a great way of adding some ambient lighting,” says Turco.


Get creative when replacing your carpeting. Tile carpeting is eco-friendly, and “you can just cut out one tile to replace it if an area gets worn or stained,” says Lohnes. Hate carpeting? “Laminate flooring could work in a living room because there’s no moisture,” says Turco.

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