One of the best ways to create beautiful rooms without emptying your bank account is to mix good quality items with those that are less expensive.
The first thing to do is to assess where to save and where to splurge. There are some items that you can cut back on and there are some where you shouldn't skimp. Don't compromise quality where it really matters.
That said, there are plenty of ways you can mix high items with low. Here are a few ideas for mixing cheap with chic:
- Whenever possible, splurge on fabrics. A cheap flea market bench or side chair can be made fabulous when reupholstered with a luxurious fabric. The same goes for a second-hand sofa.
- A lot of people spend their days sitting at computer desks. Save money on the desk by purchasing a less expensive Ikea desk (or any other inexpensive version) and pairing it with a high-quality, beautiful chair that will look good and be good for your back.
- Accessorize a high-quality sofa (high-quality sofas should last about 25 years) with inexpensive accents pillows. Keep the sofa neutral and change the pillows with the seasons or as your tastes change. On the flip side, if you already have a cheap sofa it can be made to look a lot better with accent pillows in lush fabrics.
- Find cheap lamps at second hand stores (they can be found for as little as $10) and place them on more expensive tables or sideboards. If they look a little weathered they can always be revamped with paint or gilding techniques. As long as it has a nice shape it can work.
- Buy a cheap coffee table and dress it up with beautiful coffee table books and a beautiful floral display. Stores like Ikea have great, streamlined coffee tables for as little as $30.
- A table setting full of inexpensive white dishes, glassware and napkins can be given instant glamour with beautiful napkin rings.
- Chandeliers always out-glam pot or track lights and plenty of home stores (like Urban Barn) have really inexpensive versions (sometimes for as little as $20). If you find that cheap chandeliers look a little too cheap, dress them up with pretty shades.
- Spend money on window treatments. Cheap versions are plentiful, but a beautiful window treatment made from a high-quality fabric can make a stunning focal point that really ties other elements of the room together. Then you can save money by purchasing a really cheap drapery rod (it will barely be seen anyway).
- Invest in a classic dresser or cabinet then accessorize it with different styles of hardware. For the most part door and cabinet knobs and handles aren't very expensive so you can change them periodically without spending a fortune. Your piece of furniture can get a whole new look for the fraction of the price of a new item.
Just remember that you don't have to spend a fortune on everything. Invest money where it counts: high-quality fabrics, neutral furniture that will last for many years, any items you truly love and will likely keep for a lifetime. When it comes to trendy items or things that aren't likely to last, don't spend too much. Just like everything in interior decorating, it's all about balance.