Low-Cost Luxury in the Lounge – When to Splurge and When to Save

Jan 7 2013

The average family spends a huge amount of time in their lounge; this is where you sit down to watch TV together in the evenings, where you entertain guests and where you just, well, lounge on those lazy Sunday mornings!

When you spend so much time in one room, you want the decor to look great. Luckily, getting that luxury look doesn’t always have to cost a fortune but bear in mind that if you cut every corner the effect won’t be quite so striking.

Here’s my guide to those corners you can cut, and which areas you’ll get most benefit from if you splash the cash...

Flooring - Save
Let’s start with the basics. A shining wooden floor or plush carpet screams luxury, whilst a boring or plain carpet has a tendency to just blend in and not get noticed. This means that holding the purse-strings tight here might not do you any favours, but it won’t cause any major problems either.

Of course, if you’ve got an ancient, thread-bare carpet or one with an ugly geometric print of the kind you find in budget hotels, it definitely needs replacing to create a luxury look! If you like the modern appeal of wooden flooring, laminate is a much cheaper alternative that looks almost like the real thing.

Want something truly unique? Check out these amazing floor ideas – the jigsaw is my favourite, but it won’t come cheap!

Sofa & Armchairs - Save
Your sofa is undoubtedly the largest piece of furniture in your lounge, so it’s got to make an impression. A gorgeous sofa and living room chairs set in real leather is the epitome of luxury, but modern faux leather looks surprisingly realistic unlike it’s plastic-y counterparts of yesteryear, so it’s a great option for those on a budget.

If you can’t afford to replace your current sofa and it’s starting to look a bit worn, covering it up is an option. A cheap throw has a tendency to create a ‘student digs’ look, but an expensive linen one or even a custom-made sofa cover is much more grown up and classy.

TV - Splurge
Let’s face it, when we’re in our lounges we spend most of our time staring at the TV! A bulky old ‘box’ TV will definitely look out of place in an otherwise luxuriously-furnished room, so it pays to splash out on the best TV you can afford; slimline, HD, LCD and a high brightness ratio are the way to go!

Want to add that special extra touch to your TV? It’s not just photos or paintings that look great framed!

Coffee Table – Save
Unlike your dining table which takes centre stage, a coffee table or side table in your lounge is not the main focus of attention so need not be breathtakingly beautiful.

Plus, there’s a big trend for ‘upcycling’ old furniture so if you’re a fan of the shabby chic look don’t go out and buy a new coffee table, simply sand down and re-paint your old one or one you’ve picked up cheaply at a local thrift store!

Lighting – Splurge
The best lighting is natural lighting so keeping your windows free from heavy drapes and old-fashioned net curtains is the best starting point, but sometimes lounges are unfortunately just positioned where they don’t get much sunlight regardless.

Lighting can really set the mood in a room, with bright lighting being a prerequisite for that clean-cut, modern luxury appeal, and dimmable lighting better for creating a plush and cosy feel.

Above all, do not buy cheap light bulbs that are going to cast a dim, yellow glow over surroundings! A fancy lamp or even a chandelier (which doesn’t have to cost as much as you might think) are perfect finishing touches to your decor.

Artwork – Save
Wouldn’t we all love an original Monet or Klimt on our wall? Unfortunately, unless you have a celebrity-sized budget chances are you’d like to spend more on your house than on a painting to go in it.

Luckily, cheap artwork doesn’t necessarily mean bad artwork. Getting a copy of your favourite painting printed out on a large canvas is relatively cheap and can look great! If you detest prints altogether, find out what local art galleries are around – unknown and up-and-coming artists are often super talented but can’t afford to be charging an extortionate amount to sell their works.

I’d love to hear from people who’ve redecorated their lounge on a budget – do you have any tips to save money without compromising on style?

Estelle Page is an interior designer who works with clients who have budgets of all sizes, and she actually prefers the challenge of creating a high-class design on a low budget! When not designing or decorating, she blogs for a Great Furniture Trading.

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