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Luxury for Less: Kitchen & Great Room Design Tips

Tips for dressing up your log home without breaking the bank. Our list of affordable ideas will have you on the road to extravagance in no time—with plenty of leftover money in your home budget .

Go ahead—indulge yourself. Luxury in the home has never been more affordable. Thanks to innovations in design and manufacturing, the high-end look is now a reality for nearly any home. From realistic faux-stone countertops to innovative kitchen gadgets, home accents have taken on an opulent flavor. Our list of affordable ideas will have you on the road to extravagance in no time—with plenty of leftover money in your home budget.

The Kitchen

It’s the heart of the home, so why not give your log home’s kitchen the royal treatment it deserves? Start by focusing on these areas: 
1. Classy Counters. If there’s only one area you can afford to update, consider the countertops. Stone and tile are especially luxurious. Quartz is one of the hottest trends, not to mention laminate countertops, which are available in realistic faux-stone designs that cost much less than the real thing. Another option is to go for a combination of authentic stone and laminate. 
2. Haute Hardware. Details really do make the difference, and cabinet hardware proves it. “You can give your kitchen an instant facelift just by changing the hardware,” says Elizabeth (an interior design specialist). Consider brass, nickel and chrome finishes, which will give your kitchen a sophisticated flavor without costing a bundle of cash. 
3. The Gourmet Chef. Ask any budding chef what he or she wants in a kitchen, and the word gourmet will probably pepper the answer. Just consider the two hottest appliance trends: stainless-steel and black finishes. These restaurant-style looks are showing up on everything from toaster ovens to refrigerators. If you want the look, but not the price tag, consider steel-finished appliances. 
4. Everyday Indulgences. Convenience is underrated—it’s one of the most luxurious gifts you can give yourself in the kitchen. Affordable features such as pull-out shelving, cabinets with lazy Susans, hidden storage and self-closing doors will make a big difference in your log home and daily routine. 
5. Beautiful Backsplash. Go for it—fall in love with the most expensive tile in your home store. Then, incorporate just a few of these tiles into a backsplash design. “You can do some really fun things with backsplashes,” says John. “Splurge a bit with the tile, because you don’t need as much as you would with flooring.” 
6. Walking on Elegance. Step up to sophisticated style by revisiting your floor treatment. If your budget allows, consider hardwood or ceramic tile for a classy look. If you like the look of these treatments but don’t have the funds to make it happen, consider faux-flooring options such as linoleum or vinyl tiles that mimic wood and stone. 
7. A Custom Look. Custom cabinetry is the hallmark of a well-appointed kitchen, but not everyone can afford it. Still, you can create a custom look by mixing and matching stock cabinet styles and colors. This is a budget-friendly choice since you can purchase surplus cabinets at discount stores or flea markets and finish them in a rich, textured paint. Another way to create a custom feel is with glass. “Adding a glass door in your cabinetry provides a high-end, luxury look,” says interior designer Barbara Elliott of Interiors by Decorating Den in Stone Mountain, Georgia. “Open cabinetry can be equally striking.” 
8. Lighten Up. Just by changing light fixtures or bulbs, you can alter the mood of your kitchen to make it feel more opulent. “Steer clear of ugly fluorescent fixtures in the center of the room, and incorporate more decorative fixtures and recessed lighting,” advises Elizabeth. “Also, under-cabinetry lighting is relatively easy to add, and it creates an impressive look.”

The Great Room

1. Architectural Elegance. Add splendor to your great room with subtle architectural details that won’t break the bank. Decorative base molding is a great way to up the style ante, as are chair rails (perfect for the dining room) and handcrafted wood furnishings. 
2. Faux Finishes. Add pizzazz to your great room walls with faux-finishing techniques and/or textured wallpaper that create a look reminiscent of Venetian plaster or marbleized columns. These wall treatments provide an illusion of rich texture, and they’re a wonderful contrast to posts and beams. 
3. Sophisticated Slipcovers. The easiest way to perk up weathered furniture is to cover it up — literally. Today, slipcovers are available in infinite colors, patterns and textures. The myriad styles are a far cry from the basic, standard-issue slipcovers of yesterday. 
4. Everyday Indulgences. Convenience is underrated — it’s one of the most luxurious gifts you can give yourself in the kitchen. Affordable features such as pull-out shelving, cabinets with lazy Susans, hidden storage and self-closing doors will make a big difference in your daily routine. 
5. Dressing Up. It’s often said that the windows are the eyes of the home. With such an important role, they need to be dressed beautifully. A great way to create instant splendor is with elegant swags of sheer fabric that cascade down the side of each frame and are tied back with silk flowers or ivy. This simple yet elegant treatment won’t interrupt your outside view.

The Master Bath

If you indulge in every possible amenity for the master bath, you’ll end up spending tens of thousands of dollars. Chances are, that’s not feasible. While the master bath should certainly be dressed with luxury, there are affordable ways to capture a touch of extravagance. 1. A Day at the Spa. Incorporate a spa flavor with smaller touches such as a shower with multiple showerheads. To add more elegance, consider a glass-enclosed shower. There are a number of do-it-yourself glass-block systems for every budget. Granite, stone or ceramic countertops also are suggestive of a spa-like setting. Since the bath counter isn’t a large space, you can probably afford to surface it with a luxury material. Faux-stone countertops are another option. 2. Toasty Toes. Radiant-floor heating is one of the hottest (literally) trends in home design today. While it can be pricey to install it throughout your house, it’s more affordable in a smaller space such as the bath. 3. Cabinetry as Furniture. "We’re seeing much more of a furniture look in the bath," explains Elizabeth. "People want a custom-built appearance, and they’re getting it by using furniture bases with feet, putting cabinets up on the counter and using open shelving to display rolled-up towels and bath lotions." The good news: You don’t have to spend a lot of money—especially if you opt for stock or semi-custom cabinets at home centers.

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