Quick & Affordable Ways to Upgrade Your Decor
Is company coming and your home looks less than luxe? We feel for you. These simple tips and tricks will help make your place look fabulous fast, and they won’t cost you a fortune.
Master Your Mess
If you want your home to look more elegant and luxurious when guests come for a holiday dinner, remove the clutter from surfaces, says New York City-based organizational expert Barbara Reich. “Get the calendars and photos off the refrigerator, eliminate piles of magazines and newspapers, and remove everything from bathroom counters,” she says. One of her favorite tricks is to use a beautiful tray to corral clutter. “Put one on the coffee table in your den to house remote controls, and add a small bouquet of flowers to make what was formerly cluttered look chic and stylish.”
Get the Light Right
“Some things instantly make your home look better … especially at night when entertaining,” says interior designer and television personality Erinn Valencich. Instead of relying on a single light source, she suggests strategically using task lighting—such as small lamps—on the console, or a floor lamp to help spread the light and drama around the room. Dimmers and lit candles are also a must for creating a relaxed, yet sophisticated, setting: “They can really set the mood!”
Go for the Gold
Metallics and other reflective surfaces create a sparkle that always reads as ritzy. Think gold-accented champagne glasses, cocktails served on a gilded tray, mirrored candleholders that enhance a flame’s flicker, or glitzy pillows to make sedate furniture pop. Add little touches of metal to create a subtle feeling of opulence, but remember that the line between gleaming and gauche is a fine one. A little shimmer goes a long way.
Hide Your Flaws
From scuffs and chips to water rings and Magic Marker mishaps, not every dining table is in company-ready shape. True, perfectly imperfect farm tables are all the rage, but there’s a big difference between intentionally rustic and just plain beat up. The cure? A gorgeous tablecloth. When choosing the perfect table topper, forgo hokey seasonal designs in favor of always-classic crisp white linen or something with a hint of shine.
Layer Your Dishes
Pretty, opulent chargers (like these bedazzled-rim beauties) can be had for just a few dollars each, and they add drama and texture to any placesetting. But even if you don’t have time to score one, you can still create the look with what you already have, says entertaining expert and blogger Julie Blanner. “Mix and match glassware and dishes, using larger plates as chargers for smaller ones.”
Enjoy Nature’s Bounty
Table décor incorporating natural items is an affordable way to make your holiday table seem lush. Blanner likes to adorn place settings with “little snips of something fresh,” such as wheat springs. She also integrates foraged finds and fruits with candles to create gorgeously glowing fall centerpieces. Love flowers? Valencich suggests placing them throughout your home in a consistent color palette to make your home look bright and elegant.
Bring in Something Special
“One of my best go-to tricks to posh up for the holidays is to create a great dinner table,” says Michelle Workman, one of Hollywood’s most sought-after interior designers. Along with the requisite fine textiles and good china, she suggests dressing up the holiday table with a tres chic knife rest as part of your setting. “The French use them and they always add a splash of whimsical haute,” Workman says. Other small but delightful accents to consider: pretty place cards, ornate napkin rings, custom printed menus, and other refined details.
Groove to the Music
Setting a mood involves all the senses, and the right soundtrack will set the tone for the evening. “While you can’t see it, music makes a party feel more luxe,” says Blanner. Choose something low key with a great flow, and keep the sound dialed down during dinner. Soundfreaq’s petite Bluetooth speakers are cute, compact and affordable enough to buy two or more so your sound can surround.
Food, Drink, and Conversation
And then there’s the one foolproof way to make your home look spectacular—ply your guests generously with delicious food, strong cocktails, and great conversation. A good time with friends and family is the ultimate luxury.