Contemporary Lounge: The Look for Less

Getting an expensive custom-designed look in your home for less may be easier than you think. Use these tools to assist with your next room redo. Excerpted from the book Sensible Chic.

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Getting an expensive custom-designed look in your home for less may be easier than you think! Use these tools to assist with your next room redo:

  • Substitute paint for fabric on walls. In this room Jen used a rust-red paint instead of expensive upholstery to introduce color on the walls. If you desire visual texture that more closely resembles fabric, mix the paint with a glazing medium (1 part paint to 4 parts glaze) and apply with a brush or rag.
  • Furnishings with high-quality upholstery offer an almost limitless range of pattern options; however, if you find a less expensive piece in a similar size and shape but in a solid color, dress it up with pillows or other accents that mimic the more costly original. Such was the case in these rooms: The inspiration room featured a comfy chair covered in a circle-print fabric just right for the contemporary feel, while a less expensive chair—with similar lines but covered in tan leather—in the makeover room is dressed up with a soft chenille throw for a splash of color.
  • Instead of expensive wall-to-wall carpeting, smaller decorative area rugs offer equal effectiveness—and are much less costly. And, if you can’t afford a single large rug, layer two or three rugs of a complementary size, color, and pattern.
  • Modify store-bought or hand-me-down furniture by removing legs, painting parts, and adding embellishments. Jen completely changed the look of the audiovisual cabinet by removing its legs, adding half-round moldings, and painting it.
  • Inexpensive pillows, decorative throws, and accessories add richness, color, and interest for a minimum investment—especially if you can incorporate items you already have and love into your redecorated space.

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