Designing luxurious living spaces on a budget

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Many modern homes and apartments are designed and laid out almost exactly like the neighbor on either side.  Giving your living space a personalized and luxurious appeal is often a daunting and expensive undertaking.  Its even more difficult and financially straining when you’re a college student, recent grad, or just on a tight budget.  No one aspires to have a mattress on the floor with bare walls, standard features, and dim lighting.  Most people want the insides of their homes to be inviting, comfortable, and stylish, but few have the funds or vision to achieve it.  Fortunately, a space that looks and feels luxurious without breaking the bank can be easily attained; you just have to shop in the right places and know when and what to do yourself.

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Get to Painting

Painting is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to spruce up any room, though deciding on a color can be tough. Keep in mind what sort of environment you’ll want to create to complement your activities. For example, your bedroom walls will benefit from the peaceful, calming nature of blues and greens, while your office may profit from yellow’s energy and pensiveness. Opt for a neutral tone or a shade of off-white for the most versatility, and offset by accent furniture and decoration pieces.

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Add Crown Molding to Corners

Many homes and apartments lack any detailing that tie together the points where the walls meet the ceiling, leaving the rooms with an unfinished look.  Crown molding is a great way to give any space an elegant touch; the wider the trim, the fancier the area will look.  The materials can be purchased at any home-repair store and installed yourself in less than a weekend.

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Buy Refurbished/Renovated Vintage Furniture

Expensive furniture can be thought of as an investment since it will probably be following you from home to home over the years. Unfortunately, when you buy cheap, your room will look cheap. Buying replacements for particle boarded dressers will end up costing you more in the long run. High-end looking, well-constructed pieces can be found at affordable prices at flea markets and secondhand stores.  Even beat-up and unfinished pieces with dents and chipped paint can be sanded and repainted or stained and finished with new hardware at a relatively low cost. Before spending your whole paycheck on a new bedframe or taking a trip to Ikea, shop around at local consignment shops or garage sales.

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Keep Fresh, Clean Bedding and Upholstery

One of the simplest ways to make your living spaces look, feel, and smell luxurious is by maintaining the cleanliness and organization of your bedding and upholstery.  Neatly made beds and sofas with properly fluffed and placed pillows make a room look more inviting and appealing.  Look for sales for high quality and comfortable products that won’t break the bank. Always have at least one extra pair of sheets and linens—even if you need to spend like a college student and buy dorm bedding.

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Don’t Forget the Throw Pillows and Blankets

Matching pillows and blankets are must-have accessories for any sofa, loveseat or lounge chair.  Look for department store sales on high quality materials that will provide comfort for years to come.  Mix and match sizes (overstuffed are better) and colors to match your furniture, walls, and carpeting to tie the room together and give your space a cozy draw. Don’t be afraid to experiment with patterns to provide a new dynamism.

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Swap out Hardware Finishes

Most homes and apartments come with standard hardware finishes, meaning cabinet knobs, door handles and sink fixtures.  Instead of simply settling for what was originally provided, opt for unique fixtures to add bold statements to the blandness of cabinets and doors.  Look for vintage and artisan knobs and hinges for cabinets and door. Additionally, consider switching out your kitchen and bathroom faucets for something to match your personality and budget.

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Switch Up Lighting

Lighting is much like hardware finishes, as they are often quite bland and standard among homes or apartments of the same build.  To give your space a more luxurious feel, swap out your boring chandeliers and ceiling fans for a unique, designer piece.  Flea markets, consignment shops, and online wholesalers are good places to look for expensive-looking lighting for wallet-friendly prices.

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Get Creative with Mirrors

Strategically placing the right shaped and sized mirrors throughout your home is an easy way to make a room look bigger, brighter, and more sophisticated. Giving old mirrors new life with a few DIY techniques will put your creativeness to the test and keep more bills in your wallet! Grab a glass cutter and start shaping your new room. Framing mirrors instead of pictures is also a great way to give an artsy and room-widening look to a small room or apartment.

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Make Your Home Blossom with Plants and Flowers

Fresh flowers, houseplants, cacti, and succulents are an easy and eco-conscious way to add a luxurious feel to a room.  Not only do they give a degree of freshness and brightness to the room, but they also increase oxygen levels and improve your breathing.  Bamboo is a low-maintenance and inexpensive plant that can grow directly in water to evoke a spa-like atmosphere.  Fresh flowers not only look elegant, but also give a room a garden-fresh aroma.

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With these tips, a small budget, and grand vision, you can turn any room–big or small–into a sophisticated space fit for a queen, regardless of how your home looks from the outside.  After shopping for deals, buying secondhand, and putting your DIY skills to the test, you’ll be on your way to creating the luxurious space you deserve.

Photo Sources: 1. Annette English & Associates, 2. Brown Contractors, 3. Sarah Greenman, 4. Madison Modern Home, 5. Maria Killam, 6. Atmosphere Interior Design, 7. Max Crosby Construction, 8. Meadowbank Designs, 9. Pinterest, 10. Tiffany Hanken Design, 11. Going Home to Roost, 12. Old Brand New Blog, 13. Renewal Design-Build, 14. Rikki Snyder Photography, 15. RLH Studio, 16. Jennifer Young Photography, 17. Kerrisdale Design Inc, 18. The Virginia House, 19. Domicile Interior Design, 20. Heather Freeman Design Co., 21. IKEA, 22. Merlin Glass, 23. Bernard Andre Photography, 24. Schranghamer Design Group, 25. Simpson Design Group Architects, 26. Chris A Dorsey Photography, 27. Jenkins Baer Associates, 28. Incorporated, 29. Jarlath Mellett, 30. CB2, 31. Old Brand New Blog, 32. SF GIRL BY BAY, 33. Studio V Interior Design, 34. Rikki Snyder Photography

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