5 Tricks an Interior Designer Uses to Save Money

You'd never know designer Meg Braff was working with a tight budget when she decorated this Palm Beach house for a snappy, 'with it' mom of three. The decorator shares the affordable design ideas she used to stretch her budget.

living room with starburt mirrorr

1. Going with an Inexpensive Carpet.
"The quickest way to blow a budget is on a carpet. Unless you're doing something really special, keep it simple," designer Meg Braff says. She chose affordable sisal for the living room. Starburst mirror from William-Wayne. Sconces from the Brighton Collection. Pouf from West Elm.

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2. Upgrading Basic Pieces with Trim.
Braff added a bullion fringe to the sofa to bring in more blue. "You could do the same thing with a sofa off the floor at Crate & Barrel - just add a trim to personalize it," she says. The same idea also elevates plain lampshades or curtains.

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3. Opting for Balloon Shades.
For a small master bedroom, Braff chose balloon shades rather than long curtains. "That's three yards of fabric per window, instead of 10, so they're less expensive," she says. Talavera by Brunschwig & FIls fabric. Willa bed by Oly.

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4. Hanging Art in a Group.
Those glamorous, mirrored frames in the previous slide? "They came with the prints, bought online," says the decorator. Braff used the to-trade-only web site trowbridgegallery.com, but easyart.com or 20x200.com are two other reasonably priced options. And for maximum impact, hang artwork in a group - like she did here in the family room - rather than scattering it around a room. It makes much more of an impression. Bijou end tables from Hickory Chair.

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5. Pulling it All Together with Affordable Accessories.
"Before I finish a job, I'll go to places like West Elm, William Wayne, Macox Gardens, and Pearl River or check out their Web sites to look for accessories - inexpensive Chinese porcelain, trays, place mats, table settings," she says, "You can really stretch a budget and still get the last layer of personality." Fretwork side chairs from Hickory Chair. Sea Island Trellis wallpaper by Brunschwig & Fils.


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Photo credit: Thibault Jeanson. Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.