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Four ways to achieve a luxurious look with an affordable price tag
Luxurious touches, like cedar planks that warm up this lounging nook, can be done on a budget. - photo by Photo Contributed

It’s not uncommon for homeowners to get the itch to move when they’ve been in their house awhile. While just picking up and moving isn’t an option for most of us, there’s another approach that people are taking: Refreshing their house to create a high-impact, high-style look, but doing it in a way that’s cost effective.

You don’t need to be an interior design expert to pull this off, either. A little creativity, adaptive reuse and the right focal point can give your home a luxurious look at a reasonable price, according to top experts who specialize in fabulous on a budget.

“Affordable luxury means achieving comfort and a high level of style for a price point that is not going to break the bank,” affordable-luxury designer Sarah Barnard says.

Here are a few ways to achieve a high-end look at a low-end cost for your next indoor and outdoor project.

Use materials that are timeless and classic

“Mix the old with the new,” says Blanche Garcia, interior designer and contestant on HGTV’s “Design Star.” “It’s about finding a balance between interjecting something really beautiful with a flea market find.”

She recommends starting with something simple - like a great desk - as an anchor piece and fill in around it. Use large pieces you already have that can endure quality and aesthetics but will not look dated or need to be replaced. Add trims around living room windows and doors to create a timeless feel.

Keep textures warm and beautiful

“Somehow, we are missing the warmth in new homes,” Blanche says. “You can change that feeling by using lines that are classic and clean.”

The simple yet elegant look of wood, such as Western Red Cedar, instantly adds a glow and beauty to any room. This versatile material holds a finish for an extended period of time and weathers beautifully naturally, making it a lasting choice inside and out for siding, wall boards, trim, posts or beams.

Create visual accents

Simple details can add a luxurious feel to your home, and accents, such as antique lamps, artwork and fresh flowers, can spark visual interest. Garcia recommends adding pops of yellow for a more vibrant look, as an easy way to add spice at a low price. To create a more dramatic effect, consider adding blinds or shutters - inside or out - in warm natural red cedar for additional function.

Think green

It’s easy to get an affordable luxury look using elements that are also eco-friendly, including locally-sourced products or natural materials. Barnard recommends looking at what’s available and what can be reused for a fraction of the price. Consider using salvaged material by re-inventing old furniture, cupboards or light fixtures.

“It’s about moving toward not just affordable luxury, but responsible luxury,” says Barnard. “Instead of industrial manufactured materials, think natural materials. They’re better for your family.”

Make use of sustainably-harvested materials like red cedar that require minimal processing while reducing environmental impacts. Add luxury outdoors, by placing a reclaimed coffee table on your deck to extend the warm, luxurious look outside while creating a relaxing space. Planters and window boxes made with natural materials add warmth and texture as well.

At the end of the day, remember not to get swept up in fashion trends. “Don’t just focus on things that are hot and new,” advises Barnard. “You want a home that reflects your personal style.”

For more details and to locate a Western Red Cedar retailer or distributor in your area, visit, and for more creative affordable luxury tips from the experts, visit the Real Cedar fan page on Facebook.