1 Train your eye: Know what great high-end design pieces look like so that you can have them in mind while hunting at discount or big box stores, flea markets or thrift shops.
2 Be patient: Wait for floor sample sales (usually July and/or January) to get good deals and don't feel like you have to race to finish your space. You want to find the right thing at the right price, not just anything at the right price.
3 Paint a piece of furniture (or a few) glossy black. This works on junk shop finds or new pieces with cheesy finishes.
4 Spend some money: All on-the-cheap rooms just look cheap, not chic. Every room needs a few splurges - special pieces that announce their quality. Decide what “splurge” means to you and do it!
5 Just say no to boring mass produced “art”. Instead, get creative with large collages made from wrapping paper, wallpaper scraps or maps. Paint a large canvas with leftover paints. Pop kids art into off-the-shelf frames with mattes. Hang a beautifully patterned fabric from wooden dowels.