Most of us aspire to having a high-end, luxurious home but achieving the same finishes we see in décor magazines can be prohibitively expensive, especially with the ongoing financial constraints of a pandemic continually tightening our belts.
However, Chris Cilliers, CEO and Co-Principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Winelands believes that a tight budget should never stop someone from creating his or her dream home.
“After being in countless homes over the years, it’s become apparent that there are a number of consistent factors that elevate a home from ordinary to luxurious and which not only make it more beautiful to live in but also more likely to capture a potential buyers’ interest.
“Although at first glance, the overall effect of an upscale home is one of very expensive luxury, when you break down the main elements, you realise that it’s far more achievable than you’d think.
“And remember, it doesn’t all have to be done at once. Start with your living room which is the first room your guests see and which conveys the most about your personal taste and style then move on to the kitchen and guest bathroom and finally your personal space like bedrooms and en-suites.”
Whether your décor is in need of an upgrade or you just want to spruce up your home before putting it on the market, Cilliers recommends the following tips to do the trick:
Stick to classics – Classic items never really go out of style, so if you are going to splurge on an item, make sure it’s a timeless piece in a neutral tone so that you know will last for years and years to come.
It will be easy to update with soft furnishings and accessories so that you will in effect be able to change the entire look of a room for very little cost from time to time.
Change up the lighting – Lighting is one of the most important aspects in a space, and one that’s often overlooked. If you rely solely on overhead lighting, a room can feel harsh and cheap, especially if it’s a dated light fixture.
Replace the old overhead fixture with a statement piece to create a focal point in a living or dining room and elevates the space, and then add one or two extra light sources to add depth and ambience to the room.
Elevate the look of old furniture by switching out the hardware – A simple yet effective way to dramatically change the appearance of fittings and furniture like cabinets and dressers, is by updating the knobs and handles. Brushed steel or bronze always works well.
Hang floor-to-ceiling drapes for a sense of luxury – Soaring ceiling heights are a striking feature in many expensive homes and the easiest way to achieve this effect is by hanging curtains from the ceiling to enhance the visual height of a space by drawing the eye upward.
Hang curtain rods closer to the ceiling, and opt for long, flowing drapes to give the room a grander feel. You don’t have to have custom curtains made — simply buy panels that are longer than you need and trim them from the bottom,
Invest in large-scale art – Create a focal point and give your space a “wow” factor with an oversize, attention-grabbing piece of art which both spark conversation and create a cool, luxe feel. Look for inexpensive, fun pieces with bold designs at thrift stores and flea markets.
Include a piece with History – Or one that appears to have history, like a beautiful gilt mirror that will be the first thing guests see when they step through your front door. Scour antique and second hand furniture shops for a piece that you love.
Incorporate a medley of texture – Combining a variety of woods, glass, metals, and woven materials will give your space a custom-designed look and a sense of unmistakable opulence that you can not only see but that guests can feel.
Roll out a large rug – A large area rug that fits well under the furniture will make your room look more lavish. Don’t skimp on size or you will achieve the opposite effect. The best placement of the rug will be right in the middle of the sitting arrangement of your room.
Create an accent wall – Whether you use a bold paint colour, wood or wallpaper, an accent wall always brings a drab space to life. However, for a truly lustrous look, opt for a wallpaper with a hint of shine.
Take the time to style each area – The devil really is in the detail in this instance. Once you’ve chosen your decorative accessories, take care to purposefully arrange them in an eye-pleasing manner rather than just plonking them down. An ensemble of few simple yet expertly styled pieces will give an area an overall richer tone.
Buy matching sets for all your essentials – In décor, small things really do matter and nothing looks more stylish and neater than a set of matching containers on a bathroom vanity or kitchen counter. Using liquid soap in a dispenser and transferring things like cotton balls from a box into a coordinating container elevates the entire look.
Make the entry a focal point – If your budget is very limited, then start with improving your home’s kerb appeal and make the entrance really stand out. Paint the front door and flank it with a couple of planters. Make sure that the entrance immediately beyond the front door is clean and bright with fresh flowers if possible.
Cilliers offers a final word of advice: “Take the time to create a budget for each section of your home, and take into consideration the savings you can find by shopping around at smaller stores like second hand shops and even flea markets.
“Yes, it takes a little more imagination and work when one’s budget is limited but at the end of the day it’s also often more satisfying than simply handing over money and taking delivery.”