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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.

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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