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Global Voyager Living Room: The Look for Less

If you are ready to embark on a decorating adventure -- but your budget is limited -- fear not! These excerpts from the book Sensible Chic can help you create a room that only looks expensive.

Collect one nice piece from everywhere you go to add meaning to your decor. "Decorating with things that have meaning or stories behind them," says Jen Jordan, "brings individuality to any space." Look with different eyes at heirlooms you've inherited — old books, dishware, stitchery, clothing, even your grandfather's pipe — to see how they might be displayed.

Details define the look of your room, but such nuances need not be a part of every piece. A great compromise is to purchase more expensive or larger items in a simpler style, and then invest in design-specific accent pieces to upgrade the look.

Good rugs are costly. Search garage sales and Internet auctions for better buys. Even with fading and wear and tear, used rugs can be cleaned and blemishes camouflaged, depending on how you place the furniture.

Add details to an inexpensive light fixture to give it a designer look. Coat it in a bold paint color, add fringe and beads, or change the crystals. Introduce pattern and texture by stenciling and/or upholstering the existing shades, or purchase new shades for a low-cost update.

If you can't travel to foreign destinations yourself, visit ethnic shops and villages that sell affordable handmade crafts and other decorative imports, including masks, dolls, statues, and unusual artwork.

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