Elegant interiors don’t require a big bank account—in fact, being on a budget can make you more thoughtful about the details of your home design (while having a lot to spend sometimes means expensive mistakes). Here are some pointers for making your domicile look chic and polished, at any price point:

  1. Match the switch plates to the walls. Painting your switch plates the same color as your walls is a subtle move with big impact. In my new home, I had an artist paint the switch plates in my kitchen to match the marble back splash, so it all blends seamlessly together. But it’s easy to DIY too with leftover paint or by buying a sample size container of paint in your wall color.
  2. Add crown molding. Crown molding gives an elegant, old world feel to even the simplest rooms, and it draws the eye up, making ceilings appear higher. Even if you can’t do it in every room, adding molding to just a living or dining room will have a big impact.
  3. Invest in eye-catching accessories. You know that a great pair of shoes can make clothes from Target appear designer, and it’s no different with your home. Splurging on a few key accessories can elevate the look of less expensive furniture. Think: throw pillows in a beautiful, unique fabric, chic lighting pieces, or eye-catching collectible accessories. Just be careful not to over-clutter—I have learned over the years that more is not always more!
  4. Cultivate some greenery. In my opinion nothing brings a room to life like living things, so I place potted plants and small trees wherever I can in my home. Luckily, plants don’t cost very much and you can find a beautiful selection at local garden centers, and simple, stylish containers at places like Ikea and Target. Some of my favorite indoor plants are roses, Rhapis Palm and Fishtail Palm.
  5. Invest in beautiful bed linens. If there’s one area where you can stretch your budget a bit, I suggest you do it for high-quality bedding. It looks beautiful and will make you feel like royalty every time you slip between the sheets. So buy the highest thread count cotton you can afford, and choose classic colors like white or soft neutrals.
  6. Accessorize with books. I believe that in the Internet age, a beautiful book is more of a treasure than ever. I scour both used bookstores and regular thrift shops for books on subjects that resonate with me, or ones that have beautiful or unusual covers. You can place books on the coffee table to spark conversations, leave them on bedside tables in guest rooms for a welcoming touch, and even use them as decoration by arranging them on shelves by color or size.
  7. Hang unique artwork. Nothing makes an impact and draws the eye like beautiful or striking wall art. And it doesn’t have to be a Picasso or Rothko (though I love them both!). Sometimes the most engaging art is a quirky piece you find at a flea market or from a street artist during your travels. Or take photos of a favorite building or garden until you have a great one, then blow it up, mat it, frame it and display it on your wall.  You’ll have a truly one-of-a-kind artwork that has special meaning to you and costs less than $50. (When going this route I’d recommend a simple white wood frame and white matting.)

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