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Luxury on a Budget


It doesn’t take a king’s ransom to create a lavish-looking abode. Whether you’re remodeling, building anew or just looking for a simple update, experts offer up smart tips to ensure your space is classy without being costly.

• Balancing Act. As far as decorating is concerned, it is all about proportion, said Jodi Feinhor-Dennis at Invironments Design in Boulder. Grouping items to create a more well proportioned space can make a room feel put together and cohesive. “You don’t want a tiny little painting on an empty wall,” Feinhor-Dennis said. “You don’t want it to feel too loud either.”

• See the Light. Just as important as creating luxury inside, an opulent exterior can be a boon to your home’s vanity. “Outdoor lighting can transform the feel of a property,” Matt McMullen of Architectural Manoeuvres said. “…(Using LED lighting in bushes and around trees) can absolutely transform your house.”
• Shelf Life. Built-in shelving or a built-in entertainment unit can bring a tailored look to a space. No need to call a carpenter. It’s not a difficult project for the average crafty homeowner. Don’t forget to add crown molding for a truly built-in look.

• Into the Woods. If a sense of coziness—rather than airiness—is what you want, McMullen suggests using “matching wood on the ceiling and floor. It gives a sense of comfort and protection.”

• Bits and Pieces. Not every piece of art or accessory in a room needs to be deluxe. If you are on a tight budget, pick a few lush-looking accents—from pillows and rugs to paintings or appliances. “Your eye will be drawn to that place and the luxurious piece,” Feinhor-Dennis said. Think about texture and color when you are seeking out these items.

• Water World. A water feature can transform a room and create warmth. “DIY is always the best way to do it,” McMullen said. The plumbing aspects, including reservoirs and water tubs, can be found online, and design—such as statues and stones—can be tailored to your liking.

• Seeing Clearly. Windows can make or break a room. “You want to look through the window and not at the window,” McMullen said, “so I suggest removing the trim and bringing the drywall up to the window, so there’s not a picture frame around the window. Paint around the windows the same color as the wall.”

Paint helps develop the atmosphere of a space. Cool shades like grays, blues and purples promote relaxation, while warm colors such as yellows and oranges create a more high-energy environment. Pick a color and go two shades lighter for the ceiling.

To create inexpensive art, buy three large square canvases and paint them solid colors or cover them with material. “Squares in threes have a nice visual appeal,” Feinhor-Dennis of Invironments said. Also, we suggest you visit student art shows to get first dibs on work from future masters of paint and brush.

Going green is not always the most affordable option in home decorating. Feinhor-Dennis says it can increase costs by more than 20 percent. “But the pay-off is the longevity of those items,” she said.

Glass tile is gorgeous, but it can cost up to $30 a foot. Kimberlee Smith, manager at CAPCO Tile and Stone, suggests using glass tile as an accent. Porcelain is less expensive than stone tile (and can be made to look like stone).

Use continuity with detail and materials. “Pick a theme and follow through with it. People get in trouble when they mix themes and styles,” McMullen said.

According to Invironments in Boulder, low-cost laminate in an elegant solid color or mottled black is a great alternative to granite or soapstone counter tops.

Marty Wehr at Closet & Storage Concepts said customized closets can be made more affordable by reconfiguring the space. If you don’t take the storage all the way to the ceiling, it can save up to 10 percent.

To bring a touch of style to any closet, pick out cool handles or knobs, says Mark Lestikow, CEO of Closet Factory. Or highlight drawer faces by making them a different color.


Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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