Make over your house without going broke

Kitchen too small? Depressed by your rooms? No matter what your budget, there's a way to solve the problem.

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Reshape the molding
Reshape the molding
If your home was built in the past 50 years, chances are you have dull trim that was essentially designed to obscure a multitude of carpentry sins. To tear it out and replace it, you'd spend as much as $2,000 for a room with four or five openings. Or, for as little as $500 to $1,000, you can give that old trim new life using the three methods below.

1. Create new lines
A well-placed cornice around the perimeter of the room can give mass-produced trim a unique look; a chair rail a few feet off the floor gives a boxy room dramatic flair.

2. Give doors a wraparound
Put a cove (a molding with a concave face) around a plainly trimmed door or window to create interesting shadows within the room.

3. Add some ornament
Hand-carved decorative pieces look nice, but they are expensive. The plastic versions offered by distributors Outwater ( or Focal Point ( are far cheaper and appear almost identical.

NEXT: Cut the deck, grow the patio
Last updated March 20 2009: 9:25 AM ET
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