High style, low price

New homeowner upgrades kitchen and bath on a budget

Bathroom
Photo: Thomas J. Story

Dressing up a small bath

Borgen's inspiration for the bathroom came from a high-end tile/fixtures store. She spent about $950 on high-impact accessories like a towel bar, toilet-paper holder, soap rack, and shelf at a designer boutique.

She shopped for bargains on typically more costly items, such as the tile, mirror, and light fixture. "Cream-colored tile is cream-colored tile," Borgen says. "I bought mine for $3 a square foot. At the high-end store, I would have paid more than $5,000."

The open shower stall is a concept Borgen had seen and was able to copy with cheaper hardware. "Once you know the look you want, it's easy to execute it," she says.

FIVE GREAT IDEAS FROM ELBA BORGEN

1. Create charming visible storage ― terra-cotta flowerpots (in glass cabinet) hold flatware.

2. Upholster dated furniture with slipcovers.

3. Get inspiration from upscale magazines and find low-cost substitutes for high-end looks.

4. Paint inexpensive furniture that has good lines ― the cream-colored kitchen table below the glass cabinet was once dark wood.

5. Use accessories, such as the line of green bottles on the kitchen table, to make a colorful statement.

More: Reinvent your stuff: 20 fun DIY projects

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