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8. Rethink lighting. If the only light source in your room is an overhead fixture, you’re sabotaging your space. Instead, layer your lighting. Try options like a pair of matching lamps on a console table or flanking your sofa, sconces or overhead lights highlighting art, a floor lamp by an armchair, and a striking chandelier. No matter what you choose, just make sure to illuminate your room from various heights and angles with warm, layered lighting.
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4. Hang drapes. Flanking your windows with a set of drapes makes them look bigger, and it makes the room look more polished and grand. Just make sure that the drapes extend from floor to ceiling-curtains that only cover the window have the opposite of your intended effect.
“You’ll get the most bang for your buck with a dramatic piece, whether that’s a chandelier, a floor lamp, or a grouping of pendants. The tendency is to put a small fixture in a small room, but the opposite is true.” Hanging an oversize chandelier or pendant lower than expected might feel risky, but she says it’s the way to go, creating an impactful look that by virtue of its boldness feels rich.
6. Go beyond basic throw pillows. A quick, easy way to make your sofa look more sophisticated is by adding some luxe throw pillows. Instead of plain, solid cotton fabrics, look for tailored details, rich fabrics, and details like embroidery. Also, switch up the sizes and shapes so that they’re not all exactly the same, like a larger square pillow with a low rectangular pillow.
When it comes to rich-looking lighting, there’s no one thing that does it. “It’s the design, the finishes, the scale, and expression of personal style. Think of lighting as the jewelry of the room and accessorize as you would an outfit,” she told us. “Go for pieces with an interesting shape, finish, or design detail that don’t look mass-produced.” While plenty of cheapies have the tell-tale signs (like a finish that’s supposed to look like a time-worn antique but reads as a quick coat of spray paint), others don’t, and hunting them out is worth it.
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More lighting ideas we love? Come see some super-chic solar-powered options, ideal for entertaining outdoors.
Once you’ve graduated from step one, assemble pieces with various heights and bulbs. “A good mix at different levels and for different functions makes light bounce, eliminating unflattering shadows.” Nagler’s too polite to say it, but we will: Those icky shadows, the culprit of so many unflattering cocktail party selfies, would never be allowed in a million-dollar manse.
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Buying a room full of pricey furniture and accessories does not guarantee that it will look elegant and high-end. And styling a space on a tight budget doesn’t mean that it will look cheap. Instead, achieving a rich, refined look is all about adding key pieces and using some styling tricks. Check out our designer tips for creating an expensive look no matter what your budget.
2. Add trays. Instead of displaying books, objects, or floral arrangements directly on a console or coffee table, style them in a tray. Whether it’s acrylic, metallic or glass, trays help create a more refined look.
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Toss the term “expensive” in front of nearly anything and you get a vision of something that feels posh, special, and totally meant for the good life. The lighting in your home is no exception, and while we’ve all heard tastemakers and interior design stars chirp about the value of candlelight and low-sitting lamps, we want more. How else can you make sure everything in your living space (yourself included) glows as luxuriously as possible, but without spending a fortune? For insight, we connected with Hilary Nagler, the design genius behind Flea Market Rx.
1. Declutter. Before you do anything else, clean up and purge any nonessential items. There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but in general, less is more. For example, it looks more deliberate and thoughtful to display a few special pieces, like a vase and a sculptural object, than covering the surface of your coffee table with a bunch of tchotchkes.
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If you don’t have a huge budget for lighting or want to slowly build up, Nagler says your first buy should be something attention-grabbing.
3. Get a lush throw blanket. Even if you don’t have a high-end sofa, draping a luxurious throw blanket over it instantly elevates the piece. Think faux fur, cashmere, a heavy knit of contrasting texture. The throw doesn’t have to be expensive, it just has to look and feel rich.
5. Keep frames consistent. When you hang a gallery wall or a series of images, using matching frames-like all white wood or silver-creates a more upscale look. And, if you’re matting the frames, you should choose the same color for these, too.
7. Update your lampshades. You don’t need to buy all new lamps to achieve a more high-end effect, but you might want to replace the shades. Swapping out tapered lamp shades for light, crisp drum shades will make your space look fresh and modern, and sticking with a uniform style throughout looks clean and consistent. For an additional, rich detail, add a finial to the top of your lamps.
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“They add style and vintage glamour to any fixture, and the amber glow they put out creates the most flattering and romantic ambient light. They’re making the vintage style bulbs in LED now, which imparts the same glow and light quality while being energy efficient.”
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She suggests everyone install dimmers for instant luxe, scooping up simple floor pieces that you plug lamp cords into for various light settings (look on Amazon or any home improvement store). And beyond wattage, a visible bulb allows for another posh moment. Nagler loves vintage-style Edison filament bulbs.