Today’s post is all about sharing some of mine, and other designers’ top tricks for that added detail of luxury in a space, without doubling the budget.
You’ve seen the beautiful rooms that designers create. They are always magazine ready, luxurious and look like a lot of money was spent creating them.
Of course, decorating your home is an investment, but there are tried and true tricks that we designers use to create the illusion of much more grandeur than the price tag.
If you are getting ready to embark on a decorating project of your own, here are some tricks to keep in mind
If you think about it, your bedding is usually the hardest working element in a bedroom. But how do you make sure that they look luxurious and magazine-worthy everyday when they are also meant to be functional? One major trick the pros use is to add several layers. Each layer has a different function. The mattress pad helps to protect the mattress from stains while adding a luxe layer for more comfort. The fitted sheet keeps the pad in place and helps to protect the mattress and the flat sheet is meant for getting cozy underneath. That is great for those hot Texas nights, but what about when it gets cooler? Well, that is what the coverlet is for. You may even add one more layer and bring in a quilt. However, the top layer, which is typically a duvet cover with insert is meant to be more for aesthetics than function. Typically it is folded down at the foot of the bed and not used for sleeping underneath. This is how you maintain a crisp look everyday.
Want to make them look even more luxurious?
Add batting inside of the duvet cover to make them look a lot fuller and more luxurious
use a high quality insert that has some nice weight
Use various pillows including a couple of Euroshams
You know how the duvet covers tend to move around and separate itself from the insert? I hate that! And many of my clients do too. Here’s an easy fix – add tiny buttons to the inside seams of the duvet insert, maybe 4-6 on each side. Add tiny loops on the inner edges of the insert, making sure they line up with the buttons. Button them together, and voila! Your insert stays put. You can also add ties to both the insert and the duvet cover’s inner edges, but that seems to only keep the corners in place, but definitely an easier fix than adding the buttons
High End Rugs
It is no secret that rugs can cost as much as one year’s mortgage payments for most of us. That is due to the fact that they are handmade, sometimes taking months just to make one rug, and of course the fiber content.
I sometimes see some amazing machine made polypropylene rugs, but honestly they tend to look very cheap because of the way they finish the edges. Here’s an example of what I mean
That edge is a dead giveaway for an inexpensive rug. But a lot of times the rug itself is perfectly fine.
The solution: Take it into a rug binder and have the edges cut off and edges bound using a contrasting fabric or even leather.
While this one below is not an inexpensive rug, you can see that I had the edges bound with black cotton
You can even do that with carpets. If you are looking for an odd sized rug, or you fell in love with a beautiful carpet and want to use it somehow in your home, you can have it cut and bound. That was the case with the above zebra rug. Here’s another example of a carpet turned rug. You can see a tiny bit of the antelope carpet peaking through.
In the design world, a great quality pillow can cost upwards of $500 or more each. It all depends on the size, fabric, insert and the level of detail. So how can the average homeowner afford the high-end look that pillows bring. Sure, there are some inexpensive options available on the market, but the true mark of a luxury pillow is a high quality insert, that will give it some good weight, but still soft, and the famous “karate-choppability” (It’s a thing – trust me. Haha)
Here are a couple of ways to own luxurious pillows while keeping your cost down
Get a great quality down alternative instead of actual down
Use the main fabric only on the front side of the pillow and use an inexpensive complementary fabric on the back
Purchase pillow covers and change the look seasonally without having to invest in more inserts
Add trim – they always create a more luxurious look. Trim can be added to the front as well as sides
Keep your piping small. A contrasting color always works well
I love doing color block draperies! They are usually designed from scratch custom draperies that add a bit of interest to the room using solid colors. But there are times when I do color block draperies to upgrade some lower-end ones that the client already owns. It could be store-bought panels which often don’t fit the window right, since retailers usually carry them only in certain lengths. Or it could be draperies the client already owned from a previous home and they would like to keep using them.
In this case, you add an additional complementary fabric to either the top or bottom of each panel to make up the length to fit the window. Typically store bough draperies have really thin lining, so I definitely also upgrade the lining, and even add interlining for a more luxurious look. The header is usually not that attractive either, so we typically cut that off and create new headers. The result is always a more custom and luxurious look, versus draperies that are too short
Paint Instead Of Wallpaper
I love using wallpaper. It adds a certain depth and richness to a space. But there are times when I want to create a great focal point in a room, and wallpaper might be a bit out of the budget. Sometimes you can achieve the look of wallpaper by using paint.
Image via Faux By Jenny
You can either use a stencil in a great pattern, or bring in a faux painter. The image above is from Faux by Jenny, through her “Wall Stage” visualizer tool on her website. This way you can see what your walls will look like before committing
Furniture In Unexpected Places
I am a big fan of luxury bathrooms. I believe every home should have a generous size bathroom with great looking materials that will allow each individual to feel pampered in their own home. I wish that all builders shared this philosophy. But whether your bathroom is small or you have a generous floor plan, look for an opportunity to add seating. Whether an ottoman, a bench, or vanity chair, bathrooms need to be more about comfort and less utilitarian.
If you look in most high end luxury home magazines, you will notice that the bathrooms tend to have some form of seating. That is because it immediately says luxury.
Gorgeous Mirrors In A Small Space
A big part of my job as an interior designer is problem-solving. It requires me to look at a space with challenges, and figure out the best solution that will not only make it beautiful, but also functional and comfortable for my clients. I am often working with tiny spaces that lack natural light and therefore lighting plays a very critical role.
Sometimes, there is only so much light you can add to a small space before it starts looking like they don’t belong. This is where mirrors come in.
Mirrors help to multiply the elements in the room. It reflects the room and creates the illusion that the space is bigger. The important thing that mirrors do that designers love is that they reflect and basically multiplies the lighting in a room. In a really tiny space like this powder room, I went as far as doing a mirror without a frame. That way I could maximize its reflectiveness
So there you have it, a few of the top secrets that designers use, and you should too.
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Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!