Like it or not, we all have to live on a budget. Paying for necessities such as the rent or mortgage, food, clothing and transportation leaves most of us little room in our bank accounts for expensive furnishings and cutting-edge room décor. Thankfully, you don't have to bring in the big bucks to make your guests think you're a high roller.
Everyone wants to dwell in dapper digs, so we thought it'd be pretty rich to show you how turn even your most modest room into an expensive-looking space. We'll tell you why vinyl is good for more than your old man's record collection and how adding a bit of posh to your pad can be accomplished using only a vacuum and a sponge.
Check out the next page to find out why gold may be cheapening your environment.
5: Box up the Bling
Gold may be the real color of money, but if you truly want to class up your place, you're going to have to retire your bling. Rooms filled with gilded items are, well, tacky. The color gets a lot of play in Donald Trump's pad and in rap videos, but that's not at all the look we're going for.
Instead of gold, use silver. Silver stands out without looking cheap or overdone. Chrome, brushed nickel or metallic grey are all colors that are sleek, classy and much easier on the eyes than gold. Multiple gilded frames are usually an eyesore, but a trio or small cluster of silver-plated pictures in different sizes is sophisticated.
4: Go Vinyl
Let's face it, carpets are gross. They trap and hold dirt, absorb odors and can be easily stained. Vinyl flooring, on the other hand, is chic, easy to clean and, most importantly, cheap. You can also say goodbye to those muted creams, grays and browns that seem to compose the carpet color wheel. Vinyl flooring is available in virtually any color or pattern you can imagine and can even imitate other more expensive materials, such as hardwood, tile or marble. Vinyl's versatility makes it easy to do away with all the carpets in your house and still maintain a unique chi-chi style for each room.
3: Decorate with Flowers
Forget precious metals, wall color and floor materials -- if you really want to turn a blasé space into an expensive-looking room, use fresh flowers. There's something about freshly cut flowers that invigorates a room in a way that no other type of ornamentation or plastic plant can. Fresh flowers add warmth and personality to any environment, and they even make the air smell better (which significantly raises the value of any space, in our opinion).
Fresh flowers also make it easy to change the look or theme of a room, regardless of its décor. You can add a seasonal kick to any space through a bouquet of spring, fall or winter blooms, and you can call attention to a specific area or piece of furniture by placing a few buds on or near it. Change the flowers every week or so for a fresh, chic environment that'll keep even your most frequent guests guessing.
2: Use White
Have you ever wondered why virtually all model homes and apartments contain only white-walled rooms? The answer is simple: white works. White is clean, open, invigorating -- and it goes with anything. Use a few white furnishings to call attention to colored pieces you'd like to accent, like that blue Chinese vase. If you'd like visitors' focus to be on their chic surroundings, paint the room white to draw focus to the space's décor elements. Just make sure to keep all your white objects, furnishings and accessories clean. Dust and dirt are not the hallmarks of wealth.
1: Clean Up
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how even the most posh-looking rooms can cheapened by needless clutter. Take down any unframed posters, and stash all your remotes and video-game controllers in a drawer or basket. Organize and stack all your magazines, and if they start taking up too much space, toss them into a recycling bin. Dust, mop or vacuum frequently to make sure the room stays clean and orderly.