I should write a book about how to fake high-end decor! I’ve mastered this skill over decades and it is probably one of the most important design skills you can hone too. Whether your style, formal or farmhouse, refined or rustic learning how to create the illusion of putting beautifully made, expensive things in your home give it a certain polish and grace. And all homes can use that! Today, let’s master the art of the great decorating fakeout!
Let me first say… You don’t need a lot of money to create a high end looking home!!! No, no, no! All you need to know are some design secrets, how to be creative and savvy and how to master some home decor diy’s!
GOOD DESIGN TAKES TIME
I look at decorating as more of a journey than a 50-yard dash. Give yourself time to curate your look. Very few of us have the budget to put together an entire room all at once! Enjoy the journey! And even if we could decorate a room all at once would it have that beautiful “created over time” look? And that is something to strive for!
It’s good to have an overall design look in mind when working on a room but don’t get so stuck on an idea that you are not willing to change things up when one of those fabulous one-of-a-kind finds come your way!!
I’ve been working on my dining room for over five years. We started by gutting it and adding hardwood floors and repainting it.
Excuse the mess…
Our room had great bones but it had needed a makeover for about 5 years! So we started from scratch. The only thing that remains in the dining room today is the mirror and a couple dining room chairs that I repainted and reupholstered. But when we finished the floors and the painting we put all the old dining room furniture back in and replaced one thing at a time!
Little by little as our budget allowed I found amazing pieces and we replaced our older things. The first thing I replaced was the chandelier. You can see it HERE.
As you can see the chandelier was very very reasonable but I thought it has a high-end look!
And this is how the room looks today…
Is this room done? Are we ever really done? I must say this room has the look I love but there are still a couple tweaks we will be working on this summer.
So take your time and enjoy the journey. Collect and curate your look!
LEARN THE HIGH/LOW MIX
I think this is one decorating tip that will make the most difference in creating a high-end look in your home! Not everything you put into a room needs to have a high price tag!
I usually try to be very frugal when creating a room. I’m also not afraid to save my pennies and “splurge” on pieces that will make my room look amazing. In my dining room, the table and pillow covers were my splurges! I found this table at Birch Lane and as far as the table goes it was very reasonable. You can see it HERE. Unfortunately, the pillows are no longer in stock.
I think there is an art in putting a room that looks high end on an everyday budget. And that takes practice! Train your decorative eye by pulling apart rooms from your favorite blogs, Pinterest, and magazines!
KNOW WHAT THE REAL THING LOOK LIKE
When I was right out of college I worked as a bank teller for a summer. I went to a two week training and learned the ropes of working in a bank. One thing I learned stuck with me and I find it very transferable and useful in decorating my home.
To spot a counterfeit bill we studied and studied what real money looked like. There are some tale-tell signs that mark real money and are very hard to copy. I think it is a very good idea to look at home furnishings the same way. Learn what the real thing looks like! And take those high-end elements and look for them in a more reasonable piece!
Do you love Bergere chairs? Know what a real one looks like. There are so so many knock-offs you can find today for fabulous prices. You might not necessarily want a “shepherdess chair” from the 1700’s but you probably want a Bergere with a high-end look. Study the turn of the legs, the carving on the wood, the wide padded seat and every wonderful thing about this comfy french chair!
The mirror that hangs in my dining room was taken from the master bath of our second home. It was a pretty big splurge but I knew that I would have it in my homes and that decision really as paid off! It has lived with us since I was a young mother! And I have never tired of it!
I went to a very reputable frame maker when I was considering a mirror and had a lesson in how mirrors were gilding. I also learned how to guild myself. A very interesting and easier than it sounds process.
Although this frame was not really gilded is does have the “look”. So I had the frame built and a mirror fit to its size.
Now when I’m looking for mirrors that have that gilded look I know what to look for.
KEEP A TIGHT COLOR PALETTE
Keeping a color palette tight is a great way to create a high-end look even when your style is not necessarily high end! That’s one reason I love love love neutrals!
Even though the colors I use in my dining room are mostly neutrals they really vary quite a bit. There are whites, tans, taupes, gold, silver, flax, black and just a tad of muted aqua. But when put together with lots of texture they all play nicely and create a high-end look.
Also, think about limiting the patterns and motifs you work with in a room. Opt for great textures instead. Adding different textures to a room really make a room look interesting and inviting!
ADD A LITTLE VINTAGE
Whatever your style, adding something that is exquisitely made or has wonderful lines from a bygone day will give your whole room a high-end look!
Something as small as these white ginger jars that create a centerpiece on my table helps to elevate my room’s look. They are old and swoon worthy and they are a perfect representation of ginger jars made 50+ years ago! When I saw these my jaw dropped because I knew they would add an expensive vintage feel to my dining room! And I purchased them for a song!
Score! Don’t you love finding gems like these?
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER TO GET THAT HIGH-END LOOK FOR LESS
There are so many more things we can do to fake a high-end look that won’t cost us much money at all!
- Paint and Upholster- Learn how to paint furniture and upholstered chair seats. There are tons of videos on youtube to help you! One of my favorite videos are from Amy Howard At Home.
- Sell your old furnishings. Get things you don’t need or want anymore into a consignment shop or sell them on Craig’s list etc. You can make a little money to reinvest into your home!
- Hang curtains high- a real designer look!
- Edit your collections- Nothing ruins a high-end look like a bunch of little collectibles hanging around. If you love collectibles then, by all means, display them but only a few at a time. Rotate them and group them together.
- Go bigger- Use bigger accent pieces and fewer of them. High end looks often opt for gorgeous large statement pieces!
- Hang art- Go bigger with art and mirrors! Bigger is definitely better!
Getting a high end look no matter what your style is easier than you think! It just takes time, a plan, knowing what quality looks like and attention to color and patterns.
Now, what room do you want to give a little spit and polish to? Go ahead and make it a high-end beauty!
You might like to follow me on Pinterest and see what I am finding to pin every day HERE.