We all like our homes to look great. No matter what your style, chances are you will want to make it as cosy, beautiful and uniques as possible. Sometimes you might want to make it look a little more luxe (and I'm not talking gilded mirrors here) and elegant without breaking the bank - I certainly know everything about champagne taste and beer budget... This isn't about making your place look overtly ostentatious or surrounding yourself with enough gold to rival Versailles. It's about adding touches that are elegant without being stuffy and look luxe without breaking the bank. It's about those little things that can be tweaked in order to transform a simple space into a simple space with added charm.
- You know those beautiful, sumptuous silk curtains that billow on each side of your window? Well, yes, they would be great, but they will also cost you some serious money. Somebody might suggest that you should buy less fabric to make the curtains fit your budget. Well, that somebody would be wrong. Nothing screams "I can't really afford it" like curtains that look too flimsy and need to be stretched to close them. A much better solution is to buy vast amounts of a simple cotton fabric (try Ikea's Bomull fabric, a snip at £2 a meter) to create curtains 3 times the width of your window and which should also be long enough to sit on the floor. The sheer volume will make it more expensive looking than too little of an expensive fabric.
- Add something old. Have you ever been to a show home? I don't mean the kind marketed to the average oligarch, but the ones apparently meant for the likes of you and I. Usually (and unsurprisingly) these "homes" lack the kind of depth and faded grandeur which is synonymous with generations of wealthy family members. You can, however, achieve some of this look by adding a few well chosen items that nobody else has. This could be anything from an old oil painting to a vintage desk or a lamp. A few pieces mixed in with your furniture will add a touch of casualness and grandeur that says "I don't need to impress with bling".
- Black. Yes, every home needs something black. A few black pieces (no, I'm not talking about a chalk-board wall!) will show elegance and timelessness and that in turn will make your home look more luxe. An oversizes lampshade like the Grande by Habitat looks amazing and is a simple, but effective addition.
- Natural fabrics and materials. Nothing screams "cheap" more than cheap, manmade fabrics. A cosy sheepskin rug, a really thick wool blanket, sheets made from good quality cotton or heavy linen. A metallic piece - no, again, not the huge gold mirror, but maybe a moroccan tea pot to add some bohemian luxe or a simple metal and glass case for a more restraint look. All these will give any room a look of casual quality and class.
- Candles and fresh flowers. One single, good quality, expensive candle will elevate all the standard ones to a higher level and makes for a nice piece to display. Diptyque is my go-to candle for this as the look is sheer elegance and the scent of their candles is just beautiful. After all, you wouldn't want to ruin your carefully put together home with a cheap smell. When it comes to flowers, white is the colour to go for to achieve the expensive look. Again, I'm not talking about Elton John "blow your entire rent budget" proportions, but some well chosen stems to add life to your home. Yes, I like a bunch of summery field flowers too, but as we're talking about adding a little luxe, keeping things as simple and monochrome as possible is the way to go. Think of white roses, orchids, peonies, even a bunch of really tightly tied up white carnations looks fabulous and elegant.
Well, that's it. My little tips for luxe on a small budget. I hope you like them and if you have any ideas to add, let me know.