Want a luxe look for less? Pick up a paint brush, dust off a thrift store find and make your decor sparkle.
Thats one way the pros get that prized eclectic look without breaking the bank. Here, from The N&O Design Team, some tricks and tools to make a stellar space on a skimpy budget.
Beverly Taylor Design, Raleigh
beverlytaylordesign.com or 919-847-4717
Best use for 5 yards of fabric: Recover the seat cushions on your dining room or kitchen chairs. Just unscrew the seats from the underside, cut the fabric so that you have enough to pull tightly over all sides and staple to the bottom. Make sure that the same part of the fabric is cut for each of the seats so that you have a uniform look. As long as the repeat isnt more than 24 inches, 5 yards should be enough for eight chairs.
Most overlooked place in your home to decorate? Make the laundry room more inviting by putting a black-and-white graphic wallpaper on the ceiling, painting the walls a color that makes you happy and placing a small runner/rug that looks like real grass on the floor. These three little notice me changes will change the way you look at this hard-working space.
You have some nailhead trim. What do you do with it? Nailhead trim can be used as a decorative accent for many things. Transform the look of a small occasional table or chest by cutting a piece of leather or fabric so that it covers the top and sides perfectly. Fold the material over the side edges and secure with the nail heads, spacing them evenly. The nailheads will hold the material in place and give the piece a great new look.
What do you buy at a thrift store? You never know what you will find that can be repurposed into something new! Recent finds: retro lamps (cleaned, rewired and updated with new shades); old china lids (a great sculptural look hanging on a wall); old iron register covers (cleaned and used as placemats); and candlesticks, all sizes, shapes, metal and wood, that can be spray-painted in a fun color for party table centerpieces.
You have $100 to spend. What do you buy and why? Buy a large, stretched canvas, four tubes of acrylic paints (crimson red, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow and titanium white) and a brush to create your own abstract painting. Using these primary colors, you can mix any color and lighten with the white. Mix three to five colors and paint in thick block shapes on most of the canvas, leaving some white. Take the canvas outdoors and squirt it with the hose to create drips and mixes of paint. Repeat as many times as you like until you have a fun piece of art!
Alys S. Protzman
Alys Design, Chapel Hill
alysdesign.com or 919-265-9090
Cheapest way to fill a bare wall: Create a photo gallery to add instant interest and warmth. The ability to edit and print your photos online has made it easy (and cheap). Use similar-style frames in varying sizes to design an eye-catching collage. Remember: You want the images to be visible from far away, so add drama by printing out over-scaled prints. Play around with the arrangement before nailing into the wall by cutting out sheets of craft paper the size of each frame and then sticking those to walls with removable tape.
You have money for one decor find. What is it and why? Upholstery gets a lot of wear and tear and high-quality pieces are well worth the money. Were lucky to have some of the best upholstery in the world made right here in North Carolina, so take advantage. Look for spring-down and wood-frame construction versus less expensive foam that will sag and creak in a year. Investing in quality makes economic and environmental sense in the long run.
Best use of spray paint: Use it to breathe new life into rusty flea market treasures. Sometimes I love the rust, but there is something so satisfying about spraying an overlooked metal lawn chair with a bright red coat of paint. I also use more conservative colors like Oil Rubbed Bronze to modernize unattractive light fixtures. Its much less expensive than buying new lighting.
Best way to make a front door look welcoming: Paint it a bright color! Fire engine red, sunflower yellow, campy green are a few of my favorites. For the cost of a few cans of paint (I recommend high gloss), you can add instant charm and personality to your home. If you get sick of it in a year, repaint.
Hems & Jems Interior Design in Wake Forest
Best use for a quart of paint: Give an old piece of furniture a facelift. This was an antique oak dresser with a beautiful marble top. We wanted the little girls room to be bright and cheerful, so a little pearly white coat of paint transformed this piece from brown and boring to adorable shabby chic!
How would you spend $50 on your guest bath? I would buy monogrammed hand towels, delicious soap and a fun lamp. Also, hanging mirrors in odd numbers adds interest, reflects light and makes the space appear larger.
You like repurposing heirlooms. Whats the most successful project youve done for your home? I painted my grandmothers old oak table and chairs to match my kitchen cabinets. The cost was $40 for paint and just a little of my love and time. I also recovered the chair cushions. We use the furniture every day and remember my grandmother each time we enjoy a meal together!
Your DIY secret weapon? A sewing machine, a staple gun and a hot-glue gun. The staple gun I use to recover chair cushions and window cornice boards, and the sewing machine to make custom pillows and drapes. I use the hot-glue gun to transform ordinary picture frames into something fabulous. Heres how: Glue metal frames onto mirrors, for a mirror-on-mirror look, and then slide a picture, postcard or flowers into the picture frame. Its decorative and can be changed out as needed.
Most overlooked place in your home to decorate? A front door and porch should always be decorated. I used artificial stems native to the area to create arrangements that are beautiful and look real. Best of all, you do not have to water them, so you can be a conservationist at the same time. Now thats going green!
IA Interior Architects, Raleigh
interiorarchitects.com or 919-546-8800
Best DIY secret: Moving to an urban setting, a loft condo, meant less square footage and fewer walls. To display several pieces of art collected over the years, I took advantage of the height of my living room walls to create an art collage. This gave the room a dramatic focal point.
What do you buy at a second-hand store and how do you use it? Furniture and art are my favorites. You can take a vintage piece of furniture and add contemporary accessories to create an up-to-date look.
Hardware store must-haves? Cordless drill/screwdriver. You can use it to put things together, take things apart, hang art and sculpture. Its an invaluable tool for any DIY project!
You have $100 to spend on any room. What do you buy? Buy two gallons of paint and create a large stripe on a wall to emphasize a piece of furniture. Paint is the least expensive way to completely change a room.
Best update for an old piece of furniture: New hardware or a new finish on the piece. Then, accessorize it with those eclectic finds you picked up from that second-hand store.
Rosa Plaza Dest
Rosa Dest Interiors, Charlotte
rosadestinteriors.com or 704-362-1397
Your DIY secret weapon: Always a great flower arrangement. Be it an elegant orchid placed in a beautiful container, an arrangement of fresh roses from your garden or preserved botanicals, I love bringing the outdoors in, adding life to every room.
What do you buy at a thrift store? Vintage or antique furniture with great bones. By using fresh, crisp fabrics and trims and a little elbow grease, an old upholstered chair will become a new piece with a lot of interest. An old, slightly damaged chest or table may just need some paint or a visit to a good furniture restorer. There is quality craftsmanship in old pieces of furniture, and a keen eye and a little love can make them new again.
Cheapest way to fill a bare wall:Use paint to add interest and dimension. In a home gym I designed, the entire room was painted Carolina blue with wide horizontal bands in polyurethane. This alone would have been OK, but by painting the window frames and baseboards in black and the ceiling in silver, the results were spectacular. The effect is subtle, and the room has a sense of energy perfect for workouts.
Best quick change with a quart of paint: Find an antique or vintage large frame and paint it black. Use it as a bulletin board, frame a cool print or place a mirror in it.
Best $100 makeover for a dining space: A great table runner. It becomes a piece that can be used alone or layered. When the table is not set, a table runner can be paired with decorative items, bringing attention to the table and adding a pop of color. A runner can also be used with place mats to create a beautifully set table for a dinner party.