PAINT & WALLCOVERINGS
The most expensive part of painting is not the paint. It's the labor. As obvious as it sounds, my advice is to always buy the best paint and use the best painter. Even if that means waiting for them to be available. It is easy to find a painter that is available immediately but never worth the problems that may arise. An excellent paint job requires more time in preparation than it does to apply the paint. I work with painters that are as particular as I am.
After being out of favor for several years, wallpaper is making a comeback. In a big way. Wall murals are everywhere. With the advent of digital printing and photography, there are many gorgeous murals available. If you can't find one you like, you can create your own with a photo or a piece of art. This new technology often prints on 40 inch wide paper so you will have fewer seams. The murals can run $15 to $30 a square foot or more, (and again that much for installation) but are still a lot less expensive than the trompe l'oeil and hand painted murals of the recent past.