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15 Ways to Refresh Your Walls on a Budget

Jazz up your bathroom with these affordable tips and designer tricks.

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Photo: Terracotta Design Build. From: Terracotta Design Build.

1: Add Architectural Interest

Turn beadboard on its side for a whole new bathroom look, says Ili Hidalgo-Nilsson, architect and designer with Terracotta Design Build in Atlanta. The horizontal lines of the beadboard can make a small room appear wider than a traditional vertical design. You can also use mirrors in multiple spots, to increase the glamour and spacious feel of a bathroom. 

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Photo: Harris Park Homes

DIY Paneling Idea

Employ simple DIY tricks for upmarket style that saves a pretty penny. Atlanta designer and builder Nancy Keenan took pieces of one-by-six lumber and nailed them into place behind this stand alone tub to mimic judges’ paneling, a more expensive architectural detail that can be bought in sheets. After cutting the lumber, nail the pieces onto your wall in squares or rectangles. Paint them all a semi-gloss color to create a stylish accent wall. 

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Photo: NKBA/Russtanna Lutt

Wall Treatment Tips

Add a special treatment halfway up the wall, to cut your costs. Tile or wood paneling, which can be cheaper, gives any bathroom a certain finished style. Designer Stephanie A. Bruntz in Nebraska used tile in this National Kitchen + Bath Association-winning bathroom, but also suggests using beadboard. If you opt for beadboard, she suggests adding chair rail around the room and a stand alone backsplash above the vanity. “It would be faster to install and less expensive on the material purchase,” says Bruntz, who lives in Nebraska.

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Photo: Haven Design Works

2: Showcase Shiplap

Embrace shiplap, the wide wooden boards that have historically been used to construct barns and older homes and a design favorite of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. Allison Worley, senior designer at Atlanta's Haven Design Works, installed shiplap in her bathroom and painted it in Sherwin-Williams Agreeable Gray. Shiplap can be done as an accent wall or installed along the entire room. Haven owner Donna Mathis adds that putting shiplap or tile just behind a vanity mirror can change the whole look of a bathroom. 

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