If there’s one thing that stylish people understand it’s this: being  well-dressed doesn’t mean spending a lot of money on designer labels or buying exclusively from high-end stores. Similarly, it doesn’t take a big budget or a collection of high-priced designer furniture to make your home interiors look magazine-worthy or appealing to potential buyers (just in case you’re planning to put in up for sale). Here are 6 WAYS TO HELP YOU CREATE A SPACE WITH A HUGE ‘WOW’ FACTOR WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK:

1.  Work with your space’s strengths and weaknesses – Do you have low ceilings or high ceilings? Do you lots of windows or few? Do you live in a narrow space or one that’s been subdivided into many little rooms? Just like with your own body, you have to analyze what you have and work with what mother nature gave you. If you’ve got low ceilings, you may want to consider buying low slung furniture, hang art a little bit lower and paint your ceilings white (your walls needn’t be white, though) to help make your home feel bigger than it is. If you have a narrow space, you may have to use a particular layout or arrangement of furniture to create a better flow.

2.  Spread your budget evenly throughout the space – You can blow your entire home improvement budget on kitchen and bathroom renovations and not have any money left over for furniture. These days, spending $ 20,000 to $ 30,000 (and lots more) just to renovate your kitchen is no longer uncommon. However, that $ 10,000 difference is a huge savings that can go towards something else. So even if you splurge for pricey stone countertops, for example, the key to making your money go further is to complement this with reasonably priced kitchen cabinets from IKEA, as they sell thermofoil and melamine cabinets that are less expensive than solid wood. Most people are completely fooled by the faux wood finish of thermofoil, especially if there’s expensive countertops installed over these. Think of it in terms of a woman’s outfit : that simple and inexpensive little black dress (LBD) can be significantly enhanced by adding a some pricey and sparkly jewelry. Your countertop is the expensive jewelry, while your thermofoil cabinets represents that inexpensive little black dress – get it?

3.  Incorporate some unusual lighting fixtures – Another glittering piece of ‘jewelry’ that can improve the look and feel of any space is to incorporate classy-looking (or classic) lamps, like the futuristic ‘Tizio’ desk lamp from Artemide (pictured above) for your bedroom night tables for example, or any of a number of lamps from Crate and Barrel (such as the two pictured below); or hanging ceilings lights (i.e. pendants). In addition, you can install square recessed lights used in high-end retail stores, instead of the usual round ‘pot’ lights that are commonly found everywhere.

4.  Finish off with panache by using art and accessories – Try and minimize the amount of empty walls that you have. There’s nothing like creating mood and intimacy through something very personal , like art. There are many framed black and white prints that can go into almost any room or any style of interior that you can get from Home Depot , IKEA, Pier 1 or CB2. You just have to pick ones that complement the style of your home and which resonate with you. Some people go as far as matching certain colors from a piece of artwork with a rug or the upholstery of their sofa, but that’s not necessary. And don’t forget to put interesting accessories and even plants (succulents like cactii are great for tabletops) on your coffee table, sideboard and console tables.

5.   Combine high and low – I’ll be writing about this in my next blog, but suffice to say that to achieve a ‘wow’ effect, you don’t need to purchase brand-name furniture or buy from an expensive establishment. You can dress up your home with a mixture of expensive and inexpensive pieces and achieve a spectacular result. Like putting together a stylish outfit, the trick is to pick the right sort of inexpensive pieces that won’t dilute or ruin the whole effect. You may have to consult with a professional to help you achieve this as they’ve got a highly trained eye and can advise you on which items to splurge on and which items that you can buy inexpensively. The savings they generate will more than pay for the cost of their services.

6.  Buy things on sale – There’s no need to buy things full price when you can buy them on sale. All you have to have is a bit of patience. Everything, and I mean, everything eventually gets marked down. Keep in mind that the ultra-stylish Parisians, for instance, do most of their clothes shopping only twice a year when all the high-end stores go on sale at 30% – 60% off, typically. They may be chic but they’re also practical And you should be, too. If they can wait then so can you. One of the best times to buy furniture is right after Christmas (i.e. January to February). Stores are loaded with excess merchandise at this time of year and are generally more desperate to reduce their inventory to make room for new stuff. They’ll be much more open to making a deal with customers at this time of the year.


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