Interior Designers

High End Decor on a Budget

Home decor can easily break the bank if you don’t embrace your creativity.

The idea of decorating a new home gets most people all giddy inside. The slightest bit of decor can change the whole feel of your new space. With all the beautifully styled homes online, it is hard to image that you yourself can replicate these chic looks. You have nothing to fear! We reached out to an expert, Kaitlin Madden from Lux & Concord, to give us some insight on how she transforms her home.

Where are some of your favorite places to find inspiration for your home decor?

I'm a big fan of the usual suspects: Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz, but I also really love to see things in person. Sometimes I'll just go to stores like West Elm, Room & Board or Jayson Home to see how they've got their displays set up or what's new. The same goes for flea markets and antique fairs—sometimes I'll just see an old piece and imagine all the ways I can reinvent it.

How do you begin to duplicate a high-end look without breaking the bank?

Spray paint and the internet. With those two things you can do anything. I keep a stash of spray paint in different colors in my house at all times—then if you find a set of old mismatched frames at the Goodwill, for example, you can just spray paint them all the same color and you've instantly got something that looks much more attractive and expensive. It's also pretty easy these days to go online and find Ikea hacks or DIY instructions for transforming budget items into pieces that look high end.

What are your go-to sites/stores when decorating on a budget?

I love Craigslist and resale shops. I'd say I own about two dozen things that I've bought this way. Purchasing secondhand is best for things like side tables, lamps, mirrors and art because they're easy to update. Upholstered items are a little harder because you never know if something has a permanent stain or smell. eBay is great for antiques and Persian rugs. I also like to buy floor samples from more expensive stores—they're the pieces that are actually out on the floor of the store, and a lot of retailers eventually sell them for a lower price. I've gotten a rug from West Elm, a sofa from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and all of the furniture in my son's nursery this way. It never hurts to ask a store if they sell their floor samples!

How much of your home decor involves DIY?

A fair amount. I'm always game for trying something myself before I pay someone to do it for me. Between my husband and I, we've painted kitchen cabinets, changed light fixtures, tiled floors, reupholstered cushions, made headboards and the list goes on. Right now we're in the middle or re-doing a bathroom ourselves.

What are some of the best resources you use when teaching yourself DIY projects?

People who have gone before you. My-mother-in-law taught me how to use a drill, how to recover cushions with a staple gun, how to hang wallpaper and how to tile. If you don't have a DIY expert in the family, there are plenty of bloggers out there that offer in-depth instructions for DIY projects. Young House Love has a great project archive.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new home owner, what would it be?

Take it slow! It's something I'm still learning myself, but it really helps to live in a place for a little while before you furnish or renovate it since you'll have a better idea of how you'll use the space.