How To Get A High-End Interior Decor Look With Low-Cost Look-Alikes

Gillian Lazanik, Houzz ContributorThe vast majority of clients are searching for ways to get everything they want for their renovation without having to spend exorbitant amounts of money. Designers are always having to implement creative ideas and research new materials to achieve that lavish, fully done look without breaking the bank. Thanks to today’s technologies, we’re seeing amazing finishes that mimic the real thing without the associated costs. Read on for some insider knowledge that will get you close to your design aesthetic on a family-friendly budget.

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Cabinets. A painted finish is one of the most expensive options for your cabinets. It’s a lot of labor for your millworker, who has to paint, dry and sand the cabinets several times. So how do you get white or colored cabinets if you don’t want to pay for a painted finish? You may want to consider a PET finish. Polyethylene terephthalate is a resin that comes in high gloss or matte. It resembles paint, is available in a multitude of colors and is very durable. A similar option is thermofoil. It’s a plastic material that’s heated and molded over engineered wood to replicate the profile of a wood cabinet. The perk of going with thermofoil is that you can reproduce popular looks such as Shaker-style cabinets.

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Vinyl and laminate flooring. Many great vinyls and laminates out there today are so realistic that it’s almost impossible to distinguish them from real wood — plus they’re cost-effective and highly durable. Try to find something with texture that follows the image of the grain or that has a band-sawn effect. Several products on the market offer textured options.Related: See More Laminate Flooring OptionsThere’s also vinyl and laminate flooring that mimics tile. Tile can be expensive because of the labor component. If you like the look but don’t necessarily need the waterproof properties of tile, consider vinyl or laminate as a less expensive alternative.

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Butcher block. You can find cost-effective butcher block at a variety of large design stores these days. Butcher block is a great way to add character to a space with real wood counters or desktops, but it has to be maintained, so bear that in mind when choosing this material.

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Painted windows. There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to bring life to your space. But have you thought about painting your windows if you can’t afford to replace them? You can paint wood and vinyl ones (inside and outside) to achieve an updated look without having to spend on new windows. You’d be amazed at how this can transform a room.

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Painted stairs. To avoid the expense of replacing your staircase, consider painting it. A fresh coat can make the most worn-looking stairs appear new. Just be sure they aren’t too slippery, and use a runner to hide flaws and provide extra safety.

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Electric fireplaces. This is another product that has come a long way from what it used to be. In fact, these days it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish an electric fireplace from a gas model. Opting for electric can save you upward of $5,000 since all you need is a plug. There are no code requirements, no gas line, no chimney and it’s better for the environment.Related: Find Fireplaces

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Large-format porcelain tiles. Marble slabs are probably one of the most luxurious — and costly — finishes out there. With today’s technology, you can buy 5-by-10-foot porcelain slabs that look exactly like the most expensive marbles and quartzes for about half the price. The tiles come with multiple prints so they appear natural when installed. The tiles aren’t cheap, but when you compare them with the price of actual marble and the cost of engineering a space that can hold the weight of real stone, they’re a bargain.

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Melamine. Would you be able to tell that this millwork isn’t actually made from a dark, rich wood? Instead it’s made from melamine. Today it’s almost impossible to decipher a good-quality textured melamine from actual wood. The technology that’s used now is very different from what was used 30-plus years ago. Melamine costs about half of what wood costs.

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Wallpaper as art. Let’s face it, art can be expensive, especially if you’re looking for a large piece. If buying art isn’t in the budget, you may want to consider using a patch of beautiful wallpaper instead. You get the same impact without the need to splurge. And the truth is, most wallpaper designs are still created by an artist.Original article on Houzz.
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