Q: We just made our last mortgage payment on our 1980s-era rancher in Pleasanton, Calif. We like living here. There’s plenty of room for us — especially now that the kids are gone — and the neighborhood is great. Trouble is, with its wall-to-wall carpeting, off-white walls and skinny baseboards, it really looks drab and dated. And did I mention that the kitchen and both bathrooms are vintage original?

Now that we’ve got some extra money, we want to spruce up the joint. Any advice on how to bring our place into the 21st century?

A: We’ve got plenty of ideas for you, but because of the scope of this project, let’s talk about your bedrooms and living room first. We’ll save the "wet rooms," the kitchen and baths, for next week.

To put a new face on your old place, we suggest makeovers for your walls, floors and trim.

Walls: This is the easiest and least expensive makeover. We would start by picking up a few decorator magazines to see the latest in interior colors. Or just Google "hot interior paint colors." Once you have a general idea of what you like, go down to a paint store (not a hardware store or big-box warehouse) and buy some samples of colors you think you might like.

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