How to get the look for less

Phantom Screens / July 8, 2016

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It’s very difficult to read magazines or watch TV or even surf the net these days without being tempted by the latest in upscale home design. But you don’t have to break the bank to get the look. Here are some simple ways to find just what you’re looking for.

Scour magazines

There are so many magazines that you can scour for inspiration, from Architectural Digest and Veranda through to HGTV Magazine and Country Living. And just because they feature design elements and ideas with a hefty price tag doesn’t mean you can’t copy the look within your budget.

When you look at the photos and descriptions, take note of what you like about them. Perhaps it’s the way a set of pictures are displayed or the wallpaper or even the layout of the room. Then once you know what it is you’re trying to achieve, explore other magazines to find the same for less. HGTV magazine even has a feature comparing designer items with similar items that cost less.


Pinterest exploded out of nowhere a couple of years ago and is now the go-to source for all things home decor. There are a million and one ideas of how you can create the designer look on a budget, from inspiration for full room makeovers to repurposing an old piece of furniture. It has a great search function and, because it’s primarily a visual resource, it is perfect for finding the right look for you. Plus, you can start your own board and pin the things that you love, keeping all your favorite ideas in one place.

Ikea hacks

A great way to get a new look for less is by using regular stores like Ikea and altering the furniture to suit you. There are lots of examples online, including a dedicated website that will give you a number of ways you can create designer style furniture and room sets at a fraction of the price. Whether it’s converting a set of wardrobes into a murphy bed or transforming a boring bookcase into a classy cocktail cabinet, there’s bound to be something that will get your creative juices flowing!

Discount home stores

If you’re looking for designer home accents and don’t want to spend full price, then check out some of the discount home stores like Marshalls, Winners, Ross and TJ Maxx. You’ll be able to find all kinds of bargains and get the big names for much less than regular price. Just remember that the inventory at the stores changes regularly so don’t take too long to decide because once the item is sold, it won’t be replaced.

Splurge and accessorize!

One final option for getting the designer look for less is to splurge on one major piece and then accessorize with less expensive items. If there’s a sofa that you’ve fallen in love with and you can’t find a cheaper alternative, then consider purchasing it and reducing your expenses on everything else in the room. It’s not a perfect solution to getting the look for less, but you can always alter your budget to suit.