Provence Dining Room: The Look for Less

Check out these tips and tricks excerpted from the book Sensible Chic, and get a high-end look for less.


Regardless of the style of room you desire, there are tips and tricks the professionals use to get a high-end look for less. Here’s a sampling of the very best ideas you can use today.

  • When your space and/or budget do not lend themselves to custom built-in cabinetry, imitate the look with store-bought furniture painted to match the walls. For the Sensibly Chic room, Jen Jordan purchased an inexpensive sideboard and wine cabinet and painted them the same buttery yellow as the walls. This technique makes the pieces appear as though they had always been a part of the space.
  • To add display space to a room — without spending a lot for cabinetry — add shapely shelves, as the Sensible Chic team did. Use the shelves to showcase treasures or display items you use daily, positioning them so you can easily access them when needed.
  • Although Jen bought the country table new, if you’re handy, you can also cut corners by piecing together a separate tabletop and base. Salvage mismatched pieces such as wrought-iron scrollwork legs at flea markets and garage sales. If you can’t find a top, design your own surface from reclaimed lumber. Rather than buying new, look for an old table with a wood finish that looks worn and comfortable, not shiny and bright.
  • With its colors, motifs, and textures, fabric can have powerful impact — and evoke various moods and attitudes — in any space. To add a splash of cultural elegance to your dining room, purchase an embroidered silk for an Asian-style space or sturdy mudcloth for an African theme and re-cover the drop-in chair seats.
  • For a rustic European look, comb garage sales, estate sales, flea markets and antiques stores to accessorize inexpensively. For other looks — such as Japanese and Moroccan, whose beautiful objects tend to be valued treasures —seek out reproductions at local import stores.

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