Everybody wants “wow” on a budget. And, guess what? You can achieve that in your home or business with a few simple steps. As you can see from these before and after pictures, that’s just what I did with this master bedroom for my clients’ second home and vacation rental.

Here, I wanted to create a space that once was inviting and luxurious, and make it photograph well to attract potential vacationers.

The first thing I needed to do was update the colors. The most affordable thing you can do with color is refresh your walls, so to anchor a modern and neutral palette, I painted the walls a contemporary taupe.

The second thing was to create an affordable focal point that oozed glam. In most bedrooms, the focal point is the bed. I simply took the large, island-style bed and put it in the guest bedroom and brought in a more glamorous look with an upholstered treatment.

Since I was on a budget, however, I didn’t want to spend on a fully upholstered bed. Instead, I found these upholstered, faux leather wall tiles and arranged 12 of them on the wall to create the look of glam.


Finally, white is “white-hot.” You can incorporate this into your trim, accents or even as the main color to instantly modernize your space. Because this is a vacation rental, I had to be careful where I went white. I used it in the window panels, lamp shades and bed skirt. The headboard is white but it easily can be wiped clean.

So the end result absolutely is “modern luxe” — a master retreat that’s as inviting, calming and luxuriant for the homeowners as it is for vacationers seeking an escape.

In my next column, I’ll share more tips on how I took this room from yawn to wow — all on a budget. Stay tuned!

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, visit cathyleestyle.com. And keep up with Cathy’s dream home makeover at her photo blog, Homefront.