‘$50K Three Ways’ Reveals the Best Upgrades on a Small Renovation Budget

“Design Star” winner Tiffany Brooks has a new renovation show. Check out her fabulous design style in HGTV’s “$50k Three Ways.”

The post ‘$50K Three Ways’ Reveals the Best Upgrades on a Small Renovation Budget appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Ever wonder what’s the best way to spend your renovation budget? A new HGTV show can help you figure that out called “$50K Three Ways,” starring Tiffany Brooks.

Brooks, the 2013 winner of the network’s “Design Star,” now helps clients decide how to fix up their home when they’re working with around $50,000. She gives them three options, and they choose their favorite, then sit back and watch as their space is transformed.

The premiere features back-to-back episodes, “Forever Farmhouse” and “Breaking Bland.” In the first, Brooks helps homeowners amp up their modern farmhouse style. Then in the next episode, Brooks turns a basement into the ultimate hangout space and guest suite.

Here’s how Brooks helps her clients figure out the best way to invest their money—which might just help you make some design decisions around your own home, too.

Wallpaper makes a great impression in an entryway

This foyer was dark and needed a refresh.


In the episode “Forever Farmhouse,” clients Alan and Becky make it clear that they love modern farmhouse style—and they want their entire house to reflect that, including their foyer.

“I don’t have a lot of money for the foyer, but I want it to be dramatically different,” Brooks says. “So to me, that means wallpaper.”

plaid wallpaper
This plaid wallpaper brings the farmhouse look to the foyer.


So Brooks chooses a plaid design. “Farmhouse wallpapers tend to be more geometric and a simple repeat,” she explains.

The wallpaper is relatively inexpensive, and it’s an easy way to bring some farmhouse style right up to the front door.

Update the stairs with new spindles

This staircase does look pretty dated.


New wallpaper is an easy entryway upgrade, but Brooks has another quick fix up her sleeve.

Alan says he wants to change the dated stair railing, so Brooks makes the switch cheaply.

“One of the ways I’m stretching out that foyer budget is by swapping out those wooden spindles and bringing in modern metal ones,” Brooks explains. “It will update the look, which I know will make Alan happy.”

The spindles cost only $300, but they completely transform the staircase. For homeowners on a budget, small changes like this can be a game changer.

New spindles cost only $300.


Always renovate keeping resale value in mind

This bathroom looks great! Maybe they’ll update the master suite in the future.


Brooks also gives Becky and Alan the option of expanding their main bedroom and bathroom so it’s a sumptuous master suite. But in order to follow through, Brooks would have to demolish an extra bedroom, which could hurt the home’s resale value.

“The sanctuary plan is a risk because I did take away a bedroom,” Brooks says. “If Becky and Alan had stated that they were leaving in three to five years or so, I would not touch that bedroom. But since they’re going to be there forever, let’s design for forever.”

Alan and Becky love the idea, but decide against it. Even though they don’t plan to move anytime soon, who knows what the future brings? It’s a good reminder that it often pays to keep future home buyers in mind, although it’s also fine to break this renovation rule if you’re positive you’re staying put.

Dark trim is in

dark trim
This dark trim may be the next big thing.


Meanwhile, in the episode “Breaking Bland,“ Brooks helps homeowners Raechelle and Jeremy turn their unfinished basement into a second living space. Her design looks great, but as Brooks puts the finishing touches on the basement, Raechelle questions one detail: the trim color.

Brooks picks a darker hue, which she explains is the next big thing.

“To me, the trim is the standard color that you are going to see a lot more of,” Brooks says. “White is definitely going away, and people are going to start experimenting with their trim color.”

It’s a great trend because trim shade is an easy thing to change, and it can provide a great pop of color without going overboard.

Add some color—to the ceiling, too

At first, this paint seems like a risky color.


While Brooks says colorful trim is the next big thing, she also decides to add color to the basement bedroom walls—and not just any color, but mustard yellow. Raechelle and Jeremy aren’t sure about it when they see the room halfway done.

“The white is making it electrified,” Brooks says of the unfinished wall. “Adding more of the color will tone it down. So then I’m also putting it on the ceiling, too.”

The homeowners are shocked to hear that Brooks will be painting more of the room, but they let her continue. In the end, it’s a good thing they trusted her, because the all-over yellow creates a mood in this space, giving it a bold look that feels chic and unique.

When the paint is finished, this guest room looks great!


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