The Chic Décor Professionals Use When They're on a Shoestring Budget

Updated 09/21/17
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In an ideal world, we'd all have unlimited budgets to buy whatever we want to decorate our dream homes. But even if we did, would our spaces look as polished as we envision? From the myriad of interviews with various decorators over the years, there's one thing we've come to realize: The beauty of a well-designed room is always in the high/low mix. And we've been perfecting that delicate art of pairing high-end items with found pieces picked up at flea markets, thrift stores, garage sales, and on the side of the road (or Craigslist) ever since.

Athena Calderone, interior designer and founder of EyeSwoon, agrees. "For me, the design must touch upon a varied mix," she tells MyDomaine. "It's all about the yin and yang, the high and low, grit-meets-glam, and the best part is the hunt for these amazing pieces that will help transform a room." And amazing does not equal expensive. "A successful room must rely on tension," she continues. "The pairing of a sophisticated piece with something playful or unexpected. A room with all antiques or all high-end would fall flat in my opinion." Hear, hear. Ahead Calderone joins Nate Berkus, Emily Henderson, and more to share their favorite affordable décor items to pair with your favorite designer pieces (starting at as little as $20).

cheap home decor
Athena Calderone; DESIGN: EyeSwoon
AllModern Albanese End Table $275 $400
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"I am obsessed with the minimalism and dainty clean lines of this CB2 side table that I've used multiple times within my home. Sadly the retailer has discontinued the table (lookalike option here), but I have begged it to bring it back. It is elegant and unassuming, but it also makes a statement in its delicate curved profile and blacked metal finish." — Athena Calderone

Target x Project 62 Esters Wood Arm Chair $230
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"I have two of these in my living room, and at only $230, I am tempted to use them in just about every other room too. The scale, shape, and wood/textile combo is just right to work with so many styles and in so many rooms." — Emily Henderson

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Bauer Media
Target x Project 62 Globe Head LED Table Lamp $25
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"We recently used this in my 'ultimate dorm room makeover,' and I love it so much. It is modern and graphic but with such a simple shape that makes it easy to use on a desk, credenza, nightstand, or anywhere else. The diffused shade also means it casts a beautiful glow when it is on, which is always music to my ears." — Henderson

Black Woven Bamboo Pendant Shade - Natural Fiber by World Market
Cost Plus World Market Black Woven Bamboo Pendant Shade in Natural Fiber $70
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"I love this shade. It comes in black, white, and natural—all my favorite colors. It's a budget-friendly update for any simple pendant light. Try a large one or three basket pendants in a row over a long table for major impact." — Leanne Ford, Leanne Ford Interiors

cheap house decor
Bauer Media
IKEA Fado Lamp $20
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"I shouldn't give you my trade secret, but I love the Fado lamp from IKEA. It is such a good piece and looks great everywhere. I use it on side tables and windowsills or anywhere you want to be illuminated." — Tali Roth

Nate Berkus for Target Tufted Arm Chair $250
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"I love this tufted armchair from my collection at Target. It feels elegant and important but is also really affordable. I like a pair of them adjacent to a sofa or one in a bedroom with a woven throw or tassel pillow on it. It's perfect for relaxing or reading in." — Nate Berkus, Nate Berkus Interiors

cheap room decor
Alexandra Ribar ; DESIGN: Leanne Ford Interiors
marble vase
CB2 Marble Vase $40
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"Everyone needs a statement vase. I love this one from CB2, as it blends into every space and is a little bit fancy. Throw in a couple of bunches of eucalyptus, and it completely livens up your space." — Roth

Kym Fulmer Crashing Waves Art Print $29
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"Urban Outfitters has been killing the affordable apartment décor game lately. I shop its online site for affordable art for my projects all the time because it has a ton of cool stuff (abstract, photography, figural, etc.), and many of the prints are exclusive to UO. You pick your favorite piece of art, and then you can specify the size and frame option that fits your space. These are great for kids rooms, but there are some sophisticated options for grown-up kids too. Bonus points that the prints and frames are manufactured in the U.S. too." — Max Humphrey, interior designer

discount decor
Alexandra Ribar ; DESIGN: Leanne Ford Interiors
Vintiques Green Industrial Factory Lamp $185
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"I love using warehouse lights in traditional homes. You can find them in your local salvage yards. They are usually under $100, and the juxtaposition of the warehouse light mixed in with cleaner styles is a fun twist." — Ford

CB2 Marbleized Planter $13
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"Greenery is having a moment, but in reality, let's just take a moment to realize it's been here since the earth has, so you can't count it out as a trend. You can't go wrong with any version of greens—ferns, fiddle-leaf fig, cacti—you name it, they're all good. For foolproof design and style, keep the pots simple and white." — Ford

cheap room decor
Bauer Media
Nate Berkus for Target Metal Wall Art $30
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"The best part about my collection for Target is that I get to create pieces that I hope—once they are in your home—make a room feel designed. It can be as simple as adding this metallic wall art. Mix it in with framed black-and-white photos, or hang a pair on either side of a mirror in an entryway. It feels well-traveled but in a timeless way, which means it will work with whatever aesthetic you have going on." — Berkus

Schoolhouse Electric Co. Holmes Sconce $119
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"Schoolhouse Electric is my go-to source for all things domestic utility. It has great prices, but all its lighting is made in the U.S. at its factory in Portland, so you know you're getting quality goods. I especially love its line of plug-in wall sconces, which are awesome for apartment dwellers and rentals that don't have great lighting. Mount one of these guys on the wall, and it will add instant ambient light. The best part is that you can take it with you when you move." — Humphrey

Target Threshold Vista Library Cabinet $198
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"As a stylist, I am constantly looking for somewhere to house all my props and hoards, and I love this version of an updated 'library cabinet.' I am currently using it in my dining room as a bar, and it looks much more expensive than the $219 price tag that is attached to it." — Henderson

Where do you buy affordable décor? Share your favorite find with us below.

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