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Article written by Karen Carpino, a Harrington College of Design Interior Design Alumna, as featured in Chicago Now’s TCW

You don’t need an unlimited budget to have a luxurious looking room. The economic times are tough, but that does not mean you have to compromise on style in your home. There are many simple ways to glam up your space without breaking the bank. Here are 10 tips from designers for creating luxurious home decor without spending a lot of money.

1. Invest in a few exceptional furniture pieces. Spend a bit extra on one or two items in a room. Find a sofa with a great fabric, piece of artwork or a table with an exotic wood. They will make an impression and everything else can be worked around and decorated for less.

2. Choose one fabulous fabric to establish your scheme. Use this fabric on a key piece or pieces of furniture to set the tone of the room. You can then coordinate furnishings with less expensive fabrics.

3. Change the lighting. Make sure the lighting is soft. Harsh lighting takes away from the feeling of luxury. Place all the lighting in a room on dimmers.

4. Get organized. The most inexpensive thing you can do to a room is to get rid of the clutter. No matter what luxurious furnishings you place in a room, clutter will dampen the effect.

5. Repaint. A new coat of paint freshens up a room. Never use cheap paint. For a luxurious effect use a matte finish or eggshell finish on the walls, a satin finish on the trim and doors, and flat finish on the ceiling.

6. Attention to scale is important. Make certain the size of your furnishings work well together. For example, make certain that chairs are not too large in relation to the sofa or that a dining table top is not too thick compared to the chairs.

7. Interesting accessories. Accessories do not have to be expensive to be interesting and luxurious looking. Think of accessories that add glamour to a room like grouping large beautiful candles in varying heights, glass bowls filled with silver balls or throw pillows in a variety of colors, sizes and fabrics.

8. Makeover a favorite piece of furniture. Take a look at the pieces you love. Is there a way to give them a fresh look? Change the fabric on a sofa or change the arm detail? Change the hardware and stain color of a breakfront? Change the wood legs on a table to new modern metal ones?

9. Select deeper colors. Deep, jewel-tone colors are luxurious and elegant. If you are not daring enough to paint the walls of a room in a deep color, than think of using dramatic color fabrics on furniture or pillows, a cashmere throw or area rug.

10. Hire a designer for an hour or two. An interior designer will come to your home at an hourly fee and be able to give you ideas for updating your decor. A new trend in decorating is a professional home makeover by a designer to rearrange the furniture you currently have for an instant new look. A professional interior designer can keep you from making design mistakes.

About Karen Carpino:
Karen Carpino is a professional interior designer with more than 25 years of practice in the Chicago area and is an alumna of the Harrington College of Design. Karen’s extensive design experience includes creating interiors for both residential and commercial clients. Karen Carpino creatively designs interiors with careful attention to your specific requirements, budget and dreams. Visit her site at www.carpinodesign.com.

Photo courtesy Karen Carpino

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