Wow without breaking the bank

I love having my mind blown by amazing interiors. I absolutely love when I see something new that is unexpected. I often wonder if given the opportunity to let the creative winds blow where they may that I could come up with a space like this:

Entry way by Molie Malone, from the Chairish.com website

…or this:

A Mario Buatta designed room, taken from the Chairish.com website

Those two beautiful spaces are full of luxurious fabrics, rich woods, high end finishings and vintage treasures. Only those with the means to hire a decorator and choose pieces and finishings like the ones above in the two photos can experience living in a space so…rich. What if it didn’t have to cost so much to make a space into a piece of art? In today’s blog I am going to prove that you can have an oh-so-fabulous space without breaking the bank.

I was recently inspired to see if I could take another designer’s look and create a spin-off using items that are $100’s and even $1000’s less expensive. First I got on to Chairish.com, one of my go-to sites for design inspiration, and scrolled through dozens of photos of extravagantly designed homes and spaces. I chose five rooms and in each of those rooms, honed in on the key pieces that made that room phenomenal. Next, I searched day and night through Facebook Marketplace (FBMP for short), Wayfair.com and other sites to try to find pieces that were just as inspiring, but for hundreds of dollars less in total. Let’s take a look at this adorable nursery from this year’s San Francisco Decorator Showcase:

Designed by Dina Bandman, taken from the Chairish.com website

The key pieces in this room are the curtains and very cleverly done matching walls, the lovely white armchair and ottoman, the drum side table and gold lamp. The chair and ottoman in the photo above are likely over $1000 for the set. A real wicker drum side table could run easily $100, and more if it’s vintage. Those curtains are probably $100 a panel.  Take a look at these items I found on Facebook Marketplace and Wayfair.com that are a fraction of the cost and could look just as amazing:

The white drum side table is $62.99 on Wayfair.com. The chair is $100 on Facebook Marketplace. The curtains are only $45.99 for a set of two on Wayfair.com. The gold lamp is  $30 and the white ottoman is $75, both on Facebook Marketplace. Can’t you just picture a nursery painted in a lighter shade of coral and little white birds and flowers painted all over? I would get a soft fuzzy rug to put under the chair, and an adorable white crib. All of the items pictured above total about $380, verses the $2000+ in the Decorator’s Showcase nursery. That’s only $1 a day to create a dream nursery! Start saving those Washintons!

Let’s take a look at this amazing dining room. I absolutely love the floor to ceiling bookshelves painted in turquoise! That is definitely the star of that room! The round table with cushy, retro dining chairs, as well as the mid-century modern credenza, are all key pieces to this room. I also think that the whimsical chandelier makes a pretty bold statement, as well as that bird lamp on the credenza. I had so much fun finding the pieces to re-create this room on a budget. Take a look:

Designed by Cortney Bishop, from the Chairish.com website

This one takes some imagination and paint, but I will do my best to bring this to life for you. The tall bookshelf (84″ by 48″ and $350 on FBMP) would get fixed to a wall. Then the entire bookshelf and any wall left showing would be painted a lovely turquoise color. The piece we would use as the credenza is actually a dresser, but because of the cabinets on either sides of the drawers it could easily masquerade as a credenza. That was $275 on FBMP. I feel like I won the lottery when I saw the $225 round table with those gorgeous retro brown chairs for this post! I would paint the table white. The chairs are perfection. The $25 chandelier and the $22 Pineapple lamp would top it off! That’s a total of $897 verses the $1000’s it took to create the room designed by Bishop originally. Although I couldn’t decide if I liked this chandelier better…what do you think?

This is fun right?! OK for our next room I chose a bedroom. This one was actually kind of tough because bedside tables are not cheap and even the cheap ones that are made cheap aren’t really that cheap (does anyone hear a bird?). The things I love about this bedroom’s set up are those long pendant lights that hang down in front of those long mirrors. The curtains also are a huge character in this story. And we can’t forget to mention the HUGE artwork acting as a headboard. Here’s the room:

Designed by Tina Ramchandani, from the Chairish.com website

Floor to ceiling curtains spanning an entire wall is a.l.o.t. of fabric. To make them yourself would be $100’s. To buy them would be $100s. That is, unless you check out the Tablecloths Factory! They make backdrops and you can get 10 foot by 10 foot of “curtains” for $37.99. You have limited colors to choose from that would be aesthetically pleasing, but ivory, white or even black could look tres chic. You can see the prices in the photos for the 4 foot long mirrors, the bedside tables and the pendant light. Artwork can be pricey, especially if you are looking for something at least 3 foot by 3 foot or larger. If you are at all crafty you can easily make your own stunning artwork. Start by perusing a site like Wayfair.com and looking at their artwork for inspiration. I mean, really, a couple a huge black blobs of paint on a canvas can look pretty darn cool. Huge blank canvas can be purchased at your local box craft supply store or even at a place like Ross, if you have them. Or you can even check out your local thrift store for some paintings to hang, or an “ugly” painting you could paint over with canvas gesso primer and start fresh. But I did find a 3’x3′ artpiece on Wayfair for right around $130. That’s a pretty good deal. So this budget version bedroom brings us to around $420.

Design by Michael Herold, from the Chairish.com website

Entryways, like the one above, and hallways can be spaces you can really let your creative juices flow. You just pass through them so you won’t feel overwhelmed by having an “overdone” space. I am in la-la-love with mural wallpaper right now. That mural is definitely the key player in this entryway. But I am telling you, mural wallpaper is not budget friendly. You can pay $300 for a mural the size shown above. So, if that isn’t something you want to budget for then I suggest pick two vibrant paint colors like navy blue and orange. Paint the wall with the blue and then do a 2 foot thick horizontal stripe of orange located about a foot below the ceiling. Or paint a huge orange circle on the wall right where you would put the credenza so it frames it. Or if you want the mural wallpaper, then check out Wayfair.com’s wallpaper category and search “murals” and go to town! The other key players are the only other players: the credenza, the chair, the sconces and the art. Here is what I found!

Finding wall sconces that made a statement was tricky. You kind of have to pay more money for sconces that inspire. But I did find a floor lamp on FBMP that had a sconce-like lamp and if you put that to the right of the credenza it would create a similar effect. The black dresser I found is free on FBMP, probably because it needs some TLC. I would give it a couple coats of glossy black paint and switch out the handles with some shiny gold handles. Don’t you love those chairs?! They were priced at “make offer” on FBMP. I’d offer $40 for both. Finally, that lovely framed artwork comes in at a mere $15. So for our amazing entry, we are paying a whopping $95 for the pieces and probably another $75 for all the paint and handles.

Our next room we are going to take a look at is this peaceful outdoor area.

Designer unknown, from the Chairish.com website

Wicker, white, red and gray are the key components of this Southwest style meets California chic. It is pretty rare to find a whole outdoor wicker patio set on FBMP, but if you have patience those come up every once in awhile. So had to be creative for this post. I found a bamboo sofa but its not cheap at $395. But it would look AMAZING so I decided to splurge a little on this one. Then for chairs I found a cool antique rocker for $50 and a lovely wicker back dining chair for $90. Two little bamboo plant stands for end tables came in at $80 and a free white wood oval coffee table. I would paint all the pieces one color, either gray like in the picture above, or white and also recover the couch pillows in white canvas and add white chair cushions for the 2 chairs.  I found some great throw pillows in Southwest colors and patterns on FBMP too. So all said and done it’s $615 for the pieces plus the cost to recover the sofa and buy paint. Take a look!

If you’ve been thinking of redoing a room or space in your home, get inspired by looking at top designer’s work. Go to Chairish.com and click on the “Ideas” tab in the menu and be inspired! You can also find other ideas for rooms by typing in “images of living rooms” (for example) in the search bar of Google. Then make a list of what you’re looking for and what your budget is, and start daily checking out Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or any site that local people can post items for sale. You can also visit your local thrift stores and hit yard sales. Its a lot of work but its so worth it. You can have a magazine worthy space without breaking the bank.

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