How do you get a million-dollar look on a tight budget? We asked designers across the country for their best money-saving decorating tips. With a few simple strategies and a lot of creativity, you can take your home from drab to fab without spending a fortune.
"The most effective way to enhance your surroundings is through lighting. Install dimmer switches wherever you can. Use lamps and avoid direct overhead downlighting. Since very little yardage is needed, use the more expensive fabrics and have cool lampshades made. Spend the extra money on decent light bulbs -- low voltage halogen bulbs without the pink cast. Directional downlights are more expensive than fixed ones -- so be particular in placement. Keep in mind that light can alter pattern, colour and intensity; it can serve to vary the function and mood, enhance certain features and diminish certain flaws."
-- Susannah Walker, Susannah Walker Interiors, Vancouver
"Spend your money on your window treatments. You can use a prefab rod and get your material, like silk, at a discount store. But window dressings are probably the most dramatic element in a room. That's where you get the impact."
-- Eric McClelland, Fleur-de-lis Interior Design, Toronto
"Change the fabric of the cushions on the sofa. If you can do your own sewing, slipcovering the sofa is another easy way to make a big change. You can also look around other rooms in your house and move the furniture from one room to another and break up matching pieces, for a more eclectic look."
-- Betty Atkinson-Clark, Atkinson-Clark Design, Fredericton