Luxury for less
Designers from across Canada share tips for getting a luxurious look at home without paying luxurious prices.
These are tough economic times, but that doesn’t mean we have to compromise on style, especially in our homes. If it’s time to freshen up your home but you don’t think you have the funds for a facelift, think again. There are many simple ways you can spruce up your space without breaking the bank.
We asked 10 Canadian designers to share their ideas for living luxuriously at home without spending a lot of money.
1 Splurge on a signature item
Choose to spend a bit extra on one or two items in a room. Find a chair with great fabric or exotic wood or a beautiful piece of art. These items are what people will notice as they first enter the room. They’ll pop and everything else can be worked around and decorated for less. Terry Doiron, Oak Leaf Interiors, Halifax
2 Change your light fixtures
I almost always do this when I’m refreshing a home to put on the market. It makes a world of difference. In my own home, in order to save money, I purchased exterior lanterns and hung them over my kitchen island in a group of three. I bought the lights at Home Depot and they were less than $50 each. They cost less than one fancy interior light and I get compliments on them every time someone comes over. Jennifer Prichodko, Lemonaid Designs, Winnipeg
3 Get organized
The most inexpensive thing to do to spruce up your home is purge, organize and find functional and fashionable storage. It’s simple and can be completed over a weekend. Many people are so busy that they think a makeover will solve the problem [of too much stuff], but really they just need to get rid of the clutter. Shop at IKEA for simple storage solutions and then donate unwanted clothes to the Salvation Army, old home fixtures to Habitat for Humanity or have a garage sale. Kate Cannata, New Leaf Interior Design, Vancouver
4 Put an emphasis on accents
I love potted orchids in a fabulous pot. Also, large glass containers holding lemons, limes or apples can add a splash of colour, look current and keep you healthy. Large beautiful candles add glamour and create a wonderful ambiance during evening relaxing time. Lynda MacLachlan, Creatif Design, Vancouver
5 Shop smart
I like to shop at Fabricland for pillows that range in price from $15 to $20 each. They also carry a variety of window treatments in different styles and colours that are in the $50 per panel range. Ten Thousand Villages carries wonderful baskets made in different sizes, from unique materials. The prices are modest and as a consumer you’re supporting fair trade. They also carry decorative boxes, tapestries and treasures from around the world. Lastly, the old standby for me is HomeSense. I can accessorize an entire house in one store. Adene Lucas, Accent on Design, Calgary
A fresh coat of paint usually does the most to spruce up your space. Never use cheap paint. Buy good quality. Try painting the walls in a Sico Cashmere finish and the trim in a satin finish for a soft elegant look that will help emphasize your furniture and accessories. Beverly Barrett, Beverly Barrett Design Studio, Moncton
7 Purchase an hour or two of a designer's time
An interior designer will take the uncertainty out of making decisions and keep you from making a design mistake, which is always costly. A designer is available for the big decisions and the smaller ones, to help you to decide what colour to paint your walls, for complete makeover decisions and is available to furniture or accessory shop with you. A designer can give you a new perspective. I always start with rearranging your existing pieces, to give a room an instant new look. Karen Wolinsky, New Interiors, Vancouver
8 Give favourite furniture a makeover
Look at pieces you love and consider giving them a fresh look. Is there is an old chest of drawers or wood coffee table you love the shape of, but maybe not the leg detail or hardware? Why not change the hardware and repaint the piece using a beautiful gloss paint? The piece will look and feel like brand new. Many paint suppliers now offer wonderful environmentally friendly options which are safer for your home. And consider changing an old wood leg to a sleek metal option. Karen Williams, UW Studio, Toronto
9 Organize a swap meet
Invite your neighbours, friends and family to bring all the home decor items that they no long want and swap them for something they do want or need. Not only is this an opportunity to bring home new decor for your space without spending a penny, it’s a chance to socialize and exchange decorating ideas. At the end of the day, gather the remaining items and donate them to your local non-profit thrift store or Habitat for Humanity. Jude Barkley, Expressions of You Interior Design, Toronto
10 Bring home the bargains
My favourite place to bargain shop and find unique items is on eBay. It is a fast, efficient way to find even the most obscure items. Consignment stores are also a great place to find fabulous items at great prices. You can take advantage of other people’s cast-offs that are still in great shape. Often these shops carry designer errors that are brand new, and though they may not have been right for the intended client, they might just be exactly what you’re looking for. Tracy Kundell, Avalon Interiors, Toronto
Image courtesy of Crate and Barrel