The Look for Less

It’s no secret: We’d all love to decorate our homes in a fashion worthy of a glossy magazine spread. The problem? Very few of us have the budget to do so … or so we think. The truth is, you don’t have to pack your great room to the gills with pricey furniture to give it a luxurious vibe. All you need is a good eye and a solid knowledge of what we like to call “selective splurging”—in other words, knowing which items you should shell out for, and which items you can buy on the cheap. Read on for some of our favorite tricks.

Details, Details
You may not think people will notice what kind of hardware you have on your kitchen cabinets—and you may be right. But small details like these can make a subconscious impression. Think about it: Replace the boring knobs on a cheap, mass-market dresser with unique ceramic pulls you discovered at a flea market, and suddenly you have a customized piece. The best part? This is one splurge that won’t break the bank.

Fake It
Other than having a nose for sniffing out bargains, knowing how and where to go faux is key to getting a luxe look on a budget. Many materials have less pricey counterparts that look pretty darn close to the real thing. If you’re lusting for hardwood floors, look into laminate flooring, or line your hearth with manufactured stone instead of authentic river rock. Just be careful not to go overboard—you can’t fake luxury using all bargain-bin items.

Best in Show
If you don’t have tons of money in your budget, consider funneling it all toward one big-ticket item that you absolutely love. That one special piece might even provide the inspiration to determine the decor for the whole room—or even your entire home. The item you choose should be unique and speak to your personal style, but make sure it’s classic enough to have staying power. After all, there’s nothing worse than spending a small fortune on something that’s going to look outdated next year.

Read the full story in the 2007 Annual Buyer’s Guide issue of Timber Home Living.


Sausalito chairs from TLS by Design