Spend Less, Impress Much! My Favorite Interior Design Hack: Think High-Low
You are reading the title and thinking, “What the heck does she mean with that? Climbing up and down ladders?” – no (although I might do that too) that does not mean that. It simply means that I like to mix my sources for items purchased, which is turn reflects back in the purchase price.
This is one of my favorite interior designing and decorating hacks, the name high-low as it says. Some things are high, a lot are not. It is so fun, because you can apply it to virtually any space. So instead of going high end on every single piece, I like to pick my cherries and only spent the big bucks on a few items and try and source the rest either from places like IKEA, flea markets and thrift stores or even upcycle existing pieces I already own.
Let’s put this in practice! I found a super nice inspiration picture and created a mood board for it. I now want to create a dining/ sitting area that might lead of my super fun kitchen. So are we all in the same mind-set? Yes? Good, let’s go!
The key points I’m taking from my inspiration image below, are the peach and blue/ green tones paired with light wood and black metal materials, furnishings and decoration details. I love the feeling of summer evening this colour combination radiates. Just image sunlight flooding the room and bouncing of those warm features. Just perfect, right?
Below you can now see the mood board I came up with. Simple pieces arranged for an eclectic, bohemian feeling (my current personal favourite type of interior style). I just felt that the colour combination was made for this.
I now have applied the high/low interior designing method strategically. For example what do we want to spent money on? What is important in this room, so we shouldn’t go for the cheap option?
Firstly, if you want to paint the walls, I’d suggest to do that first. It would be the biggest job and if you are a handy person doesn’t have to cost you an arm and leg, by doing it yourself. Just make sure to prepare the room properly to have it easier at the end, when cleaning up. Wall paint starts around 200 SEK per Liter. But of course you can always hire a professional, who’ll do the job in no time, to a perfect finish. But let’s move on the interior decorating features, as that is the space you really can make a difference with spending less and impressing much!
So we are looking at a space where you’ll be sitting to eat, socialise over a glass of vine or coffee, therefore I feel it is important to have good chairs that are comfortable yet beautiful. So we splash out on those to start with! (Note: I say “splash” when I mean that we spend a little more on those).
The table on the other hand doesn’t have to be ergonomically speaking, high end. Dining tables really can be anywhere on the price spectrum, from 500 SEK for 2nd hand to 20’000 SEK to designer piece. The important thing is that it fits your the style and has the size you need. I found this table just at IKEA, but you might even find one 2nd hand - as long as you live it, it’s yours.
What else should we splash on? The rugs! This is by far the most important single piece in terms of making a lasting impression. Rugs are a key in giving a space the certain wow-factor and they also help to distinguish and anchor an area. Depending on size and origin, area rugs, sheep skins and cowhides just to name a few types, can vary massively in prices. I believe here it is important to check how they were made, either hand knotted or machine made and are they ethically sourced (making rugs by hand is a skill that should be absolutely rewarded fair and square). Those factors naturally can increase the price. Saying that, most retailers these days have a good overview on their business overseas, but it's always worth checking out their sourcing strategies and ethical commitments.
Note: if you do not want or need a rug, that is just as well, then you can splash on another object, like lighting, which I saved on below.
Time to save some money! Lighting, same as tables and rugs can vary in prices. if you want a designer piece, sure you have to bring the big bucks, but if you're really just interested in the look it's absolutely worth shopping around a little. The ceiling light I choose, comes from one of IKEA's regular design collaborations and only costs an "apple and egg" in comparison to high end products, but still looks awesome and distributes the type of light I want for this space - warm and natural.
Now that I picked the main pieces for my dining/ socializing space I can add other items of furniture and accessories to make it all come together, again here I would usually not go splashing but rather saving. I'd do this by checking low-cost retailers, thrift stores, flea markets and websites like Blocket (the Swedish equivalent to America's Craigslist and Britain's Gumtree) , Facebook's Marketplace and Etsy. If I already own pieces that could work but maybe not fit the color scheme I might just apply a new coat of paint or change shelving inserts to a different material.
We splashed on:
Painting the walls - big jobs I really like to give to professionals to not end up fed up with a new project before it has even started, but that's my personal take on it
Chairs - I see it as an investment in our backs
Rugs - super statement maker and area maker
We saved on:
Table - find one that fits your needs and see if you can even source it 2nd hand. a bit of character from wear is an added bonus
Lighting - ok this can go either way as mentioned above, but I am all for finding good deals, and that IKEA lamp just really does the trick for me
Shelving - again IKEA was my best friend her as I want practical yet good looking simple pieces. I probably could have sourced them also 2nd hand but that makes it difficult to show you here
Accessories - they don't have to cost an arm and leg, check out local and thrift stores, flea markets, smaller businesses and artists for example on Etsy for unique pieces. You'll be surprised what you can find
So what conclusion can we draw from this? First decide on the big spenders in terms of your own taste and needs and then pick fun, affordable and practical items that pull the room together. I really believe this space would look awesome by only spending a fraction of what I could end up with, if I would only concentrate on one brand, not broadening my scope or shop around a little. But since I work with the high-low mindset in place, I strategically source interiors according to it.
Give it a try on your next project & let me know how you got on!
O if you want me to apply this method in your home, why not send me a message or give me a call to discuss all your options?