The art of mixing high and low furnishings like an Interior Design Pro, is one of the keys to designing a beautiful room. While the room pictured above features a new dining table, chairs and rug......the rest of the items came in at a much lower price tag. Here are my tips on how to mix high and low like an Interior Design Pro:
TIP #1: Look for Consigned or Thrifted Items that have the right scale for your design.
Knowing that the back wall of this dining space needed something large and dramatic, I kept my eye out for a large mirror or something sculptural while doing my weekly stop-ins at my favorite consignment shops. As luck would have it, I came across the oversized mirror (above) and it was only $30!! I imagine it must have been a relic from an old waterfront restaurant where a large mirror greeted patrons as they entered the door....
TIP #2: Make sure that if a used item isn't perfect, that you are able to refinish or refurbish it to meet your design need.
Originally, the mirror had a stained oak finish to it, but knowing that the scale was right, and the frame was in good condition, we used Martha Stewart's Liquid Gilding Paint (available at Amazon.com) to create an antiqued look. It's amazing how a little liquid gilding made the mirror seem high end!
TIP #3: Group high and low priced decorative items by color.
The arranged collection of blue chinoiserie jars and vases on the dining table were purchased from the San Francisco Design Center (high priced), consignment shopping (medium to low priced) and the flea market (low priced). A well curated collection of objects bound in similarity by color is the key to mixing high and low decorative objects together. This is an example of what I'm talking about.....
TIP #4: Add original art to your design mix.....and it doesn't need to be high priced!
I'm an art collector and an art consultant, so the art part in design is very important to me. I always encourage my clients to look for original art first. Why? Because I think it's more interesting .. and the journey to find it often times is an adventure that brings the meaning of the piece to the heart of the design. The owners were drawn to the colors of the piece (in the above dining room) and it reminded them of where they love to hike in the North Bay. It is from Lost Art Salon in San Francisco -- one of my favorite places to visit when I'm in the city. I'm always struck by the many affordable options that I find there, like this one, which is priced at less than $500.
TIP #5: Invest in furniture that is comfortable and well made....even if it's from consignment.
Do you have a consignment store in your area and do they have a website? If so, check out the photos, and then go in for a test drive. Read the labels from the manufacturer (look under cushions or under the piece of furniture)....and do your due diligence in researching how the product is made. Often times a consignment furniture investment is a lifetime furniture investment if it is good quality, like the Mitchell Gold sofa above at Leftovers in San Francisco.
TIP #6: Take your time.
A room looks best when it is curated over time, incorporating things that you love and that have meaning for you.
I recently found a fantastic rug for my dining room (at consignment!), and I'd been looking for 15 years! I was always fine with not having a rug under my dining table, and was willing to wait. And I'm so glad I did!
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