This Is How You Decorate a High-End Home Without Going Broke

Updated 05/01/19
Product Disclosure
Courtesy of Studio Ashby

We all have delusions of grandeur when it comes to decorating our homes. Of course, we would love a Manhattan duplex à la Nate Berkus, with 18th-century antiques mixed with carefully selected modern collectibles and a sprawling dressing room. In reality, we're decorating our rental studio on a budget that no self-respecting decorator would get out of bed for. But what we do have is one trick that never fails us, season after season, as we slowly build our homes to reflect our current tastes and our latest trend crushes, and we borrowed it from fashion stylists.

Just like a good wardrobe, a home should never be decorated with a one and done approach. We truly believe that a good design is never finished—and the best homes are decorated over time. So just as you would set a budget for your fall wardrobe, we recommend setting a budget seasonally that will go toward refreshing your home. Most importantly, there is one foolproof rule we follow without fail: the 80/20 rule. Once you set a budget every season, 80% of it should go toward timeless, long-lasting pieces that will fill gaps in your home, while the remaining 20% should be spent on fun, trendy pieces that will make your home feel fresh and new. This way, whether you have a $500 or $5000 budget, you know that you are making smart purchases but still refreshing for the season. Ready to take your home to a whole new level? This is how we would decorate on a $5000 budget.

80% on Timeless, Long-Lasting Pieces

Alyssa Rosenheck

When looking for long-lasting pieces, think of larger furniture, gaps in your décor, and items you might want to keep for a long time. This could include anything from a sofa to additional storage, a quality rug, or luxe bedding.

West Elm Esme Sofa $999 $699
Shop

When picking a sofa, pick a shape and color you'll love for years, and don't forget to measure thrice!

Slowood Studios Anderson Coffee Table $850
Shop

For a coffee table, you'll want to make sure it's proportionate to your sofa and that it can hold all of your essentials—coffee table books, remotes, and such.

Woud Lean Lounge Chair $840
Shop

Need to fill an awkward corner? Try a statement lounge chair paired with a side table and floor lamp, and carve yourself a relaxing reading nook.

Parachute Linen Stripe Duver Cover Set $329
Shop

We spend one-third of our lives in bed, so investing in quality bedding is a little luxury that shouldn't be skimped on.

West Elm Benson 3-Drawer Dresser $699
Shop

Is your stuff spilling out everywhere? Consider a storage piece like a bedside table, bookcase, or credenza.

TRNK Vintage Beni Ourain Rug $585
Shop

Well-made rugs last a lifetime, while their budget alternatives often pill and disintegrate quickly. Buy a vintage rug that has been around for decades, and you'll know it will last another few.

Total spent on your 80%: $4002

20% on Fun, Trendy Accents

Courtesy of Studio Ashby

With trendy pieces, take risks. Get those mustard-colored salt and pepper shakers you've been eyeing, treat yourself to indulgent hand soap, buy a bold side table you love, or refresh with pillows and throws. Buying smaller pieces you truly love will infuse your house with personality and help it grow into a home that reflects your taste.

Menu Norm Bottle Grinder $70
Shop

Kitchen essentials—especially ones that are often displayed—are a fun way to update your décor. Treat yourself to new salt and pepper shakers, fresh dish towels, or a kettle you can leave out on the stove.

Hawkins NY Versa Vases $35
Shop

Everyone needs vases—you never know when you can expect flowers! And if you buy one that stands pretty on its own, you won't even need flowers.

IKEA Gladom Table $30
Shop

Side tables are another fun way to refresh your home—and it doesn't have to cost much! This $30 table is pretty and practical. 

Aésop Resurrection Duet $125
Shop

It's hard to imagine the joy of washing your hands every day with the best-smelling soap out there. But once you have, you'll never go back.

Beautiful by Mark D. Sikes $37
Shop

Get your hands on the latest best-selling décor book, and you'll get a ton of inspiration to keep editing your home—and you get a pretty coffee table accent on top of it.

Cire Trudon Rose Poivrée Candle $105
Shop

Pick up a new scent every season and you'll always associate the scent with a particular memory from that time in your life.

TRNK Irish Mohair Throw $169
Shop

Nothing feels more indulgent than buying a luxe throw to wrap yourself in when temperatures drop.

Muuto Restore Storage Basket $99
Shop

Sometimes, all you need is a basket or two to tackle clutter once and for all. Identify your storage needs and get organized.

West Elm Scandinavian Wood Table Lamp $159
Shop

Swap a lamp or add a lamp. Your home could never be too illuminated—just remember to use dimmers!

TRNK Mourne Check Rectangular Pillow $162
Shop

A pillow refresh can make a huge difference in making your home feel new again. Get a quality piece; you can easily move it around, store it away, or sell it the following season.

Total spent on your 20%: $991

Related Stories