Designer Results at Bargain Prices

by Sandy Carter

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As I gazed at the television screen, I mused, "Of course that room looks lovely! The decorator spent thousands of dollars on European antiques and custom-made furniture." To my delight, the program's decorating team then duplicated the look of the room for a fraction of the price! I congratulated the designers aloud, "I think the less expensive result looks better!" Whether decorating your home or selecting an outfit, you can have designer results at bargain prices.

Know Your Objective

I once asked a friend how she knew an antique was fairly priced. She wisely replied, "You need to decide if you like the piece enough to pay the price." If you have the means and are willing to spend the money, you can purchase top of the line products. But, if your budget is limited, you must identify your objective. Ask yourself: do I want something that will last a long time, and stay in style for many years, or am I purchasing this item to comply with a trend?

If you want something of the lasting variety, spend most of your budget on one or two classic pieces. You will need a well-made item to handle years of use and wear. If you are purchasing a trendy piece, you do not need to spend a lot of money on quality. Today's trendy item will be out of style tomorrow, worn or not. Purchase trendy items at the more economical stores.

Know Your Style

My college roommate enjoyed having a closet filled with clothes. She loved the variety in her wardrobe, but never spent much money for any one item. On the other hand, I preferred classic well-made clothes that did not go out of style. I spent more money on each individual item than did my roommate, but I bought clothes more infrequently, and maintained a smaller wardrobe.

What's your style? Do you like variety and choices, or do you prefer making fewer, longer lasting purchases? Recognizing your style will determine whether you shop for a few items at the high-end retailer, or enjoy finding bargains at the local discount stores.

Know Your Goal

I teased my husband for having Nordstrom taste and a J.C. Penney budget. But, if you are willing to do your homework, you can achieve the expensive look without spending high-ticket prices. Study the styles and trends featured in the upscale stores and magazines. Then shop the department and discount stores to duplicate the look. With a bit of shoe leather and an eye for detail, you can create the same result at a fraction of the cost.

To achieve a more expensive look, remember that less is more. For example, an expensive outfit is often accented with one eye-catching accessory rather than multiple pieces. Solid colors and tasteful plaids give the illusion of quality, while busy prints or frills can clutter an otherwise sophisticated look.

Like the decorators who duplicated the ambiance of a richly appointed room at a fraction of the expense, you, too, can achieve great results at bargain prices!

Take the Next Step:

  • Whether decorating your home or selecting an outfit, before doing anything, know your objective, know your style and know your goal.
  • For more frugal home decorating ideas
  • To achieve that expensive look without spending a fortune, find other great ways to shop for clothing.

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