Design With More Luxury, Less $$$

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WORDS BY BRIE HAYES

In these last few crazy months with so much time at home, everyone is looking to improve their living spaces. But even if hiring a decorator isn’t in the budget right now, here are five simple rules for making your home look more luxurious for minimal cost. While these ideas won’t cost a lot of money, what they will cost you is time in hunting down the right piece at the right price. But with things not quite back to normal yet, maybe you have the time!

area rugs

Idea #1

When shopping for area rugs, buy the biggest rug you can afford. Large rugs look luxurious while a coffee table marooned on a little island looks sad. Yes, wool is best, but if you have to negotiate with kids or pets, there’s nothing wrong with a power-loomed rug. Synthetics won’t last more than a few years, but they are inexpensive and the good ones are soft on bare feet. If you have a rug that you love that is too small, layer it over a large natural fiber rug – seagrass, sisal or jute. One of my favorite looks, layered rugs add texture to a room and texture equates to luxury.

window drapes

Idea #2

Whether you are hanging custom or inexpensive panels, the secret to good looking window
treatments is hanging them correctly. Hang your rod as high as possible and wide enough
that the panels will cover the trim (and not the window) when they are open to let in as
much light as possible. The panels need to be wide enough that they can fully close – the
wider they are the more luxurious they will look. Think of boutique hotels. And they can just kiss the floor or break at it, but they can not be too short!

chandelier lighting

Idea #3

Layer your lighting and make it interesting! Little pendants and basic chandeliers tend to look like they came with the house. Big statement lighting adds character and looks custom. Sconces can be an expensive retrofit, but plug-in wall sconces are a great low-cost solution to add both task and ambient light. I rarely see a room that has too many lamps! Layered lighting creates ambiance.

retro coffee table

Idea #4

Luxurious rooms always need a touch of vintage. Hunt the local antique shops for something that speaks to you that will create interest in your room. It could be a unique chair, a retro coffee table or a large statement mirror. Whether these are actual family heirlooms or not, they create a sense of history in the room and can become a focal point.

Unique art painting

Idea #5

Unique art is an absolute necessity to achieve a luxurious look. Avoid the big word signs and generic prints that dominate Instagram. Seek out originals or discover your own unique art at home. Frame photographs from a memorable trip, your kids’ artwork, or a page from a favorite book. I have clients who have painted their own modern art on canvas. Anything works if it means something to you and helps tell the story of the people who live in your home!


Brie Hays is a certified Interior Designer and True Color Expert. She is available for design work and paint consultations through Harlow Hays Design Co. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram for decorating tips, or check out www.harlowhaysdesign.com