The High and Low of Decorating
People often ask me what are my rules for high/low decorating. The high and low of decorating is a tricky art to master and can go horribly wrong if it’s done wrong.
The goal of decorating on a budget is to have a high end look on a low budget… Not the other way around! Case in point: one or two tasteful Ikea hacks is ok, buying everything at Ikea with the goal of hacking it, is not.
Here are a few of my high and low decorating tips.
1. Splurge on high quality big ticket items like sofas, chairs and beds. The quality will largely outlast any Ikea sofa so you’ll end up spending the same amount on sofas over 10-20 years. Make sure these items are in classic shapes that you will love forever for a long time and the the fabrics are durable.
2. Save on trendy accessories that, let’s be honest, you’ll want to throw away in a year’s time anyway. I’m talking to you, brass menageries, suzani throws, ikat bowls, foo dog bookends, zebra rugs and starburst mirrors…
3. Splurge on textiles. People always assume that the big ticket items are the larger furniture and appliances but the hidden costs often lie in curtains, rugs, pillows, bedding… For example, curtains should be custom made. Pillows under $100 won’t last. Anything that’s soft furnishing is worth splurging on. It makes all the difference in the world. The only exception to this rule is a good vintage rug score (look on eBay)!
4. Save on antique and vintage finds. This is where resourcefulness comes in handy. I’ve gotten some of my best pieces on the curb side for nothing and all they needed was a little TLC. Go to garage sales, flea markets, local thrift shops and antique markets, look on eBay and Craigslist – you will find some real gems!
5. Mix high and low art. Large artwork from reputable artists cost an arm and a leg. But only having small prints from Etsy doesn’t do much overall. Try mixing larger prints with smaller genuine artwork, frame your own photos, ask your talented friend to paint a custom piece for you, look for art in flea markets, ask your grandma what’s hiding in her attic. Basically a mix of art will look much better without the crazy price tag.
What are your tricks to achieve the high and low look?