A gorgeous, glossy interior design magazine arrives in the mail. You casually flip through the pages of beautifully decorated homes and then stare off into space, dreaming what life would be like to have your own house look like those in the pictures! Your visions of designer furniture and fabric get rudely interrupted by budget talks with your husband, your child’s tuition bill for next year and that air conditioning unit that just decided to “kick the bucket.” Well fear not, listen up and turn that frown upside-down! In this day and age, beauty doesn’t always have to come with a price. We’re delighted to have Susan Lamb of Susan Lamb Interiors, share her secrets on getting that high-end interior look without having to pay the high-end pricetag!
Susan is a native Mississippian living in Nashville. Her passion for interior design has been evident since childhood. She credits her love of old homes, renovations and the design of interiors to growing up in a historic Victoria era home in the Mississippi Delta that her father restored and mother decorated. She always knew one day she would design homes too.
Susan’s design vision blends high and low, marrying price points, colors and time periods to create comfortable livable interiors. Her style blends clean crisp design ideas with the old, the new and the unexpected. She finds beauty in simplicity and uses this as a guidepost throughout all of her designs.
Susan Lamb Interiors is a full service interior design firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. They offer services for all budgets and aspects of interior design. Whether it is a simple design consultation or full scale remodel each project is given time, attention and enthusiasm.
As a designer I often have people ask how they can get a high-end look without the huge price tag. I usually tell them it’s about the mix – high and low and always something with a little bit of age, be it vintage or antique. I also like to point out that I believe beautiful homes can be created at any price point.
The following are design solutions I use often in my projects, no matter the budget, because clients are always interested in less expensive ways to get a custom look.
Go large! Scale is important. 18 inch pillows read store-bought. Even if the pillows are ready-made (and there is nothing wrong with that) when it comes to square throw pillows, I almost always buy 20 inch or larger. Use inserts made from down or feathers. They are more comfortable than polyester and give the pillows a fuller more luxurious look.
Splurge on your favorite designer fabric…a little. Don’t hesitate to invest in a yard or two of an amazing fabric. You can use it make pillows or recover a small side chair. Sure, this may not come cheap but it’s a fraction of what using the fabric to cover an entire sofa would cost. So go ahead and splurge a little!
Another area I suggest going bigger for more impact is lighting. It’s time to ditch the old builder-grade brass chandeliers and dinky table lamps. If you want a more high-end look, consider going large with your lamps and look for interesting chandeliers.
Changing out a light fixture to an attention grabbing design can transform a room. Consider having a local iron worker make something custom or even check out your local big-box home improvement store for some great finds.
There’s much to love about this room. But the shiny black ceramic lamps and iron chandelier make such an impact without breaking the bank.
Everyone knows the impact of painting your walls, but what about painting trim work and interior doors darker than your walls? It’s a simple change with impressive results. It can even transform less than ideal doors, wood work and even stair railings into something truly special.
The darker trim is so simple but really transforms this small sitting room.
I love the painted black doors and window sashes in this picture below.
Here, the glossy black door gives this entry a classic look.
Ready-Made Curtain Panels:
I’m a huge fan of linen pinch pleated draperies. They soften and warm up a room like nothing else… but they can be too much of a financial investment for some and are therefore not an option for them in a project. In these cases I like to use pre-made linen curtain panels. I usually stick with something simple and solid and for a custom look I’ll have a trim or tape sewn on to the leading edge.
There are lots of great options out there – Pottery Barn and Ballard Design to name a few. Both stores offer longer lengths 96” and longer which is must because I like to hang curtains high – typically a couple of inches below the ceiling or crown molding.
I love the contemporary rustic feel in the below living room. The chocolate brown band is a perfect example of adding details to simple ivory linen panels.
I recently finished a room where we had this Greek key trim sewn on to ivory linen curtain panels from Pottery Barn. Custom draperies were not in the budget but this detail gave the ready-made curtains a custom feel.
Flea Markets and Consignment Stores:
You don’t have to spend a lot to get unique furniture and accessories. With a little time and imagination you can find so many wonderful and interesting items for your home when shopping at flea markets and consignment shops. I tend to keep things simple, and look for classic styles and items with simple lines or unique details.
I found this wing back chair at a consignment store for $100. It was originally covered in faded blue velour but was in great condition and I knew once recovered it would be the perfect fit for my clients budget and living room.
I found this old surveyor’s tripod and beautiful chest at a flea market. I had the tripod wired to make a rustic floor lamp. And the chest was used to hold my client’s TV and other electronics.
So as you can see, there are several, fairly simple ways you can achieve that high-end look without breaking the bank. Which idea will you use first?
Thank you, Susan, for great ideas that have us eager to tackle some new projects in our home! For more information on Susan, see below!
(Images: 1-Pinterest; 2-Pinterest; 3-Phoebe Howard; 4-Susan Lamb Interiors; 5-Atlanta Homes Magazine; 6-Laura Lee Clark; 7-House Beautiful; 8-Houzz.com; 9-Source Unknown; 10-Apartment Therapy; 11-An Urban Cottage; 12-Pottery Barn; 13-Tracery Interiors; 14-Pinterest; 15-Susan Lamb Interiors; 16-Susan Lamb Interiors; 17-Susan Lamb)
Nashville Interior Design Blog
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