Understated Elegant Bedroom: The Look for Less

Getting a high-end look for less is easy when you learn these basic design and decorating principles excerpted from the book Sensible Chic.

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Getting a high-end look for less in your bedroom — or any room in your home — is easy when you learn these basic design and decorating principles:

  • Use memories of vacations or cues from a movie in a faraway land to set the stage for your decorating dream — but you don’t have to take the style too literally. When inspiration room designer Annie Bowman envisioned this room, she had just returned from a trip to France. Influenced by Paris flea market trends and textures, she says, "So many pieces were covered in linen; they were so simple and had so much style." Because linen is costly, a mix of linen-look and cotton fabrics is featured in the Sensible Makeover space — but the resulting look is no less stunning.
  • When shopping for bed linens, keep your lifestyle in mind. Dry-clean-only fabrics may be impractical in a home with active kids, frequent guests and roaming pets. Instead, look for multiweave, washable fabrics that require less care. For the makeover room Sensible Chic’s Jen Jordan chose a linen blend for the duvet cover that still has a natural color and texture but is easier to maintain than the real thing.
  • To add bulk to a bed — for a more luxurious, hotel-like look — without much expense, purchase one comforter for sleeping and a separate decorative cover for the foot of the bed. Fold the decorative cover in half or thirds to add height, color, and texture.
  • Approach any container as a possible planter. "You can put flowers in anything to create interesting design points," Jen suggests. An orchid in a wooden box adds height and natural interest on the bedside dresser in this bedroom.
  • Inexpensive round decorator tables can soften the look of any room and provide an opportunity to introduce texture with a covering. Here, the round shape and taupe linen tablecloth balance the strong lines of the bedposts and dark-painted dresser on the opposite side of the bed.
  • Be creative when accessorizing with pillows. The plush cushions tossed on the reading chair are fashioned from embroidered tea towels that were cut and sewn to fit a manufactured pillow form. Recycle old clothing (such as jeans with pockets for a child’s room or an apron for a kitchen chair), or stitch together kitchen towels, napkins, or canvas carryalls for budget-savvy accents in any room in your home.

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