Vail Design at Altitude column: Budget friendly interior design ideas
Whether your budget allows for a full house interior design or you have just enough to squeak out a powder room remodel, you want to know that your hard-earned money is being well spent and that you are getting the best value for your dollar. We’re going to share a few tips with you so you can get exactly what you envision and know it’s money well spent.
• Art: Your art tastes are as eclectic as you are. Some can afford a priceless Picasso whereas others prefer a unique find on Etsy. Your art should speak to you, bring you pleasure and evoke a feeling. When you’re traveling, make it your habit to seek out local markets and vendors, capturing the essence of your trip to hang on your wall. I have a watercolor I found in Paris; I had it framed with a large gold frame and expansive white mat board. Every time I look at it, I remember that Sunday in Paris when I strolled through the stalls and found just what I didn’t know I was looking for. Alternately, make a collage of photos — think wooden doors or steel bridges. Every time you look at it, you’ll be transported back to your vacation.
• Fixtures: If you’re not quite ready to rip out the dated bathroom tile and start from scratch, start by replacing all the ugly knobs, drawer pulls and even mirror or medicine cabinet. We no longer have to live with the ugly, rusted, outdated medicine cabinet from the ’70s. There are so many cool options available in all price ranges. Bonus? You can clear off the bathroom counter and put everything away. If you aren’t sure about a medicine cabinet, then try putting a large framed mirror above your sink. It brings an entirely different look to the space. Thinking of a new vanity but not ready to buy one? Spend the weekend prepping and painting the old one in a light, clean color. Instant upgrade.
• Flowers: Let nature inspire you for an inexpensive (or maybe free) color burst. Thanks to all the rain this spring, peonies are bursting, poppies are popping and lilacs have never seemed so fragrant. Make one large arrangement for your dining table, or intersperse several smaller ones throughout your house for a fragrant and lush pick-me-up. Have an indoor herb garden on your kitchen windowsill; your summer salads will pop thanks to the mouth-watering fresh flavors.
• Linens: Even here in the Rocky Mountains, reminiscent of ocean living, I love to use crisp white sheets, white linen curtains and replace my warm wool blankets with light cotton throws. Invest in a few quality items you can rotate year after year; think summer-hued pillows and vibrant tablecloths.
• Lights or a backsplash: The kitchen is the heart of the home, but can be one of the most daunting rooms to update. From appliances to flooring, cabinets to the overall layout, it can seem overwhelming and so expensive. Simple updates, however, can change the feel and maybe even inspire you to get cooking. I found some beautiful glass tile that brightened my kitchen as a glistening backsplash. The cost was minimal but the impact huge. We also added under-cabinet lights. Who wants bright overhead lights in the summer? These add enough light to see but let the natural light still stream into the area. Another fun element can be pendant lights, which come in all shapes and sizes and can really change the feel of the room.
• Countertops. Everyone is so in love with granite but there are many other options, such as butcher block wood on an island, poured concrete with sparkle, travertine tile or even upgraded formica, which comes in modern colors and styles these days.
Some of these projects are easy to tackle yourself over a few days, or you may want to hire the pros to get it done while you’re on vacation searching for that perfect print.
Yvonne Jacobs is the president of Slifer Designs. She’s been an interior designer for more than two decades and works with all budgets and timelines.