High-End Bachelor Pad Decorating on a Budget

A fantastic example of a high-end bachelor pad done on a tight budget is the Midtown Atlanta home of sales executive Chris Staub. As Chris' place goes to show, when done right, bachelor pad decorating can be a marvelous thing.
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April 29, 2015

Photo By: Mali Azima

Photo By: Mali Azima

Choose a Sophisticated Color Scheme

Determined to give his 17th floor high-rise Atlanta condo a polished, masculine look, sales executive Chris Staub chose a color scheme of dark brown, red, white and silver to put a more sophisticated spin on bachelor pad style. The high-end space was created on a deceptively low budget that was maximized by mixing high and low price-point purchases with a combination of flea market finds and custom-made elements.

Mash Up the Classics

The entry of Chris' condo is a mash-up of classic menswear and midcentury modern styles. A black, silver and gold pinstripe wallpaper from Graham & Brown covers the walls while a brass helix-style chandelier purchased for $200 from a flea market lights the space.

A Living Room You Can Live In

Of all the rooms in his condo, Chris splurged the most on his living room. While the majority of the budget went to covering the walls with 70 yards of $32-per-yard metallic grass cloth, he saved in other areas. The pendant light was picked up for $199 at CB2, the sofa was purchased from Macy's for $700, and the custom shag carpet was made from backroom remnants from a local carpet showroom.

Mix Styles to Create Something New

Chris mixed modern with traditional to create a transitional design style. He paired a tailored, button-tufted, 1960s-style sofa with an ovular, bronze and glass coffee table that has more traditional lines. For rustic, masculine texture, Chris opted for end tables made of driftwood with glass tops. A pair of mid-century modern table lamps added a touch of the unexpected to the space. Altogether the furniture arrangement came to slightly over $2000. After searching for art, Chris couldn't find anything he connected with and instead had a professional photographer shoot his collectible Cutlass convertible, and then had it framed as fine art.

Play with Texture

Texture played a big part in creating the high-end, designer look of Chris' condo. To introduce a different organic texture to the already all-organic living room, his fine art photography was framed in a linen-look material from Larson Juhl.

Go Graphic

For window coverings with graphic, masculine appeal, Chris had custom draperies made from a Duralee fabric called "Buckle" that coordinated with his dark brown and fire-engine red color scheme. To keep his overall custom window-covering budget in check, he decided to stick with iron hardware from Pottery Barn that came to $240.

Pile On the Pillows

An upgrade trick that Chris learned from a designer friend was to pair cost-saving retail sofas or chairs with custom pillows made from high-end fabrics. Although his $700 Macy's sofa was bought at a low price point, the introduction of custom pillows elevates the piece to designer showroom status. The red-bronze velvet fabric used to create the pillows cost more than $120 per yard; however, one yard was enough to make two 18-by-18-inch pillows.

Stretch Your Budget

Throughout the unit, Chris stretched his budget by purchasing lighting from major retailers and by finding one-of-a-kind pieces from flea markets. This chrome and globe floor lamp is from the 1970s and set Chris back $89.

Add Personality to a Plain Space

Although many homeowners invest the majority of their home design budgets into their kitchens, it's the area of Chris' condo where he spent the least. By working with the brown and black tones of his existing granite countertops, he used color to give the otherwise basic, modern kitchen a personalized look. Glossy-black penny round tiles bought for $8 per square foot were used on all wall surfaces to add architectural interest and sheen. To help the pantry door visually recede, he had it painted the same shade of black as the tiles. Since the adjacent living room is wrapped in a black-brown grass cloth with a metallic backing, he carried the look over to the bar area to tie the two spaces together. All together, Chris' kitchen decor came to $1400.

Customize the Basics

A great source for basic, affordable seating styles that are easy to upgrade is IKEA. Chris picked up a pair of HENRIKSDAL counter stools for $69 each, had them recovered with four yards of $13-per-yard chinoiserie fabric, and had chrome nail head detail attached. Altogether the pair of one-of-a-kind, designer-grade stools came to $475.

Overwhelmed? Shop Online

Online shopping is an excellent way to find great-looking lighting at affordable prices. Since the overwhelming amount of options at lighting showrooms can be super time-consuming to look through, shopping online is also a major time-saver. These chrome and crystal pendants added a touch of Vegas style, which Chris wanted in his entertaining space. Altogether the trio came to $260 with shipping. When having pendant lights installed, budget approximately $125 per fixture to account for labor to install new junction boxes and attach the pendants.

Trick the Eye with Mirrors

Chris' unit receives an abundance of natural light. To reflect it throughout the 17th floor property, his designer friend insisted on using mirrors. Not only do mirrors help play with the light, they give the illusion of greater space, particularly when placed in smaller spaces such as the entry hall to the master suite.

Wow with Wallpaper

To give his guest bathroom bold, graphic impact, Chris had the walls covered in a brown and white pattern wallpaper from Schumacher called Balusters. Altogether the wallpaper and installation came to $1600.

Dress Up the Bathroom

Although Chris wasn't thrilled with the vanity included with the purchase of his high-rise condo unit, he couldn't justify the cost of replacing it. Instead he dressed up the vanity with an unusual choice for a mirror. To evoke an overall organic and graphic vibe, he went with a round mirror covered with reclaimed twigs.

If You Can't Fight It, Hide It

Chris' guest bathroom had contractor-grade tile surrounding the shower area. Although he wasn't a fan of the bland tile, he didn't want to spend thousands of dollars to change something in a guest bathroom that is seldom used. Instead he opted for a custom floor-to-ceiling shower curtain fabricated from brown glazed linen that he picked up for $15 per yard. For hardware he stuck with a $70 chrome curtain rod from West Elm, which was installed at the point where the ceiling and the walls meet. Altogether the custom shower curtain and installation came to $325, a much more affordable alternative to new tile.

Experiment with Bright Shades

With brown being the dominant color in Chris' condo, breaking it up with something bolder and brighter kept the unit from being too dark. In the hallway between the living room and the master suite, Schumacher's Shake It Up wallpaper was installed for a pop of color and a dose of graphic pattern.

Upgrade Your Bachelor Bedding

In Chris' bedroom, a mix of high and low created his designer bed ensemble. A custom bed upholstered in automotive vinyl was the area's biggest purchase; however, deceptively budget-friendly purchases were made for the remainder of the space. The demilune-shaped chests came from ZGallerie for $600 each, and not only do they add an elegant touch, they offer concealed storage. Table lamps atop the chests were found at a flea market and updated with red paint and new metallic drum shades. While Ralph Lauren bedding in a classic paisley print was a splurge, custom pillows made from $6.99 per yard IKEA tartan fabric kept the budget in check. To allow Chris to easily change up the looks of his bedding, the backs of each pillow were covered in a nautical print from Duralee.

High-Gloss Paint Hides Sins

When sourcing lamps with the proper scale to balance his custom bed, Chris couldn't find anything he loved for under $500 per lamp. His designer friend picked up a pair of traditional brass lamps and had them refinished in high-gloss red nautical paint. He topped off the lamps with a pair of metallic paper drum shades. Altogether the pair of lamps came to $425, less than the cost of a single lamp from a showroom.

Splurge Wisely

Although Chris' custom bed fabrication and upholstery is one of the biggest splurges in his home, he chose a more affordable upholstery material to keep it from becoming too pricy. The bed is covered in $17-per-yard textured metallic automotive vinyl, which is usually used for car seats. For menswear appeal throughout the master bedroom, he had $4-per-yard pinstripe menswear suit fabric backed with acrylic, then installed as wall covering.

Find Dude-Friendly Drapery

Who says window treatments are for ladies only? The large window in Chris' master bedroom is dressed with custom faux silk draperies that add a tailored, metallic and masculine touch. These budget-conscious custom draperies use 14 yards of $12.99 per yard fabric, and cost $175 per panel for fabrication. To add masculine flair to window treatments, choose drapery hardware that's sleek and stripped of fussy, ornamental detail.

Get a Sense of Humor

Sometimes a sense of humor in an otherwise tailored space can create a not-so-serious feeling. While Chris' bedroom walls are covered in a pinstripe wool menswear suit fabric, the juxtaposition of a white resin moose head against the tailored walls creates a light-hearted element of surprise. Since the wall application set Chris back approximately $1300, he saved on furniture by choosing a vintage wood dresser he scored for $125 at a flea market. Since dark-colored accessories could easily get lost in the navy blue tone of the pinstriped wall covering, bulky ultra-white vases were grouped together to create a strong contrast.

Scour Some Vintage Stores

Vintage stores and flea markets are the best source for buying accent pieces on tight budgets; however, just because something comes from a flea market doesn't mean it will have a second-hand look. This $300 chrome and vinyl rocking chair is updated with a custom striped pillow, which ties in with the overall color scheme of the master bedroom.

Find Your Niche

In the corner of the master bedroom, simple floating shelves where installed into a niche to create a recessed workstation. By using MDF (medium density fiberboard), his contractor was able to build and install the shelves for $300. Once in place, Chris' painter updated the shelves with two coats of high-gloss navy blue latex paint. The traditional Spanish-style chair is upholstered with navy blue leather and adorned with chrome nail heads.

Don't Forget to Accessorize

Since accessories are typically not high on bachelor's list of priorities, Chris' designer friend had to take the reigns to get the floating shelves accessorized. His designer friend suggested sticking with a mix of different shapes, sizes, scales, textures and finishes, and to always include some element of life.

Sneak in Some Menswear

For a subtle, menswear-inspired touch, Chris had the walls of his master bedroom covered in pinstripe fabric. To create custom wallcovering on a budget, the wool fabric was bought online for $4 per yard, and then the fabric was backed with acrylic in order to hang properly. Once installed, the total for the custom bedroom wall covering came to $1400.

Think Tile

Chris' master bathroom was packed with pre-selected finishes decided on by the builder. In order to add designer appeal, he had the walls covered in a 6-by-24-inch porcelain tile that added architectural interest to the space.

Make Your Office Work

Aside from the kitchen, Chris planned to spend the least amount of money on his second bedroom, which would be used as an office. Taking the advice of a designer friend, he had the room painted in a blue-grey tone from Sherwin-Williams called Krypton and had custom draperies in a modern print made from a clearance bin fabric at $11.99 per yard. Since his laptop is pretty much the only thing he needs to work from home, the room was simply furnished with a vintage desk picked up from an antique market for $600 and paired with a black woven grass chair from IKEA that was $59. To soften the area underfoot, he installed FLOR tiles in a striped pattern, alternating each tile for a parquet look.

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