Elegance on a budget: the essential how to guide

April Kennedy April Kennedy
A Traditional English Home Rosangela Photography Classic style living room
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Anyone who has ever tried to create an elegant room on a small budget can take heart in the idea that style can't be bought. In an age where so many of us are drowning in unnecessary things of questionable quality, this idea is truer than ever before.

Elegance is often defined as a restrained beauty. So in some ways, working with a small budget can actually be a benefit. In terms of interior design, this sense of restraint is created by using a small number of decorations to emphasize the essential beauty of a room. The skill lies is working out what elements to choose and how to arrange to allow their beauty to shine.

Keep reading for a few key themes and beautiful photos on how to create an elegant room. We promise to try and keep it within a small budget!

Use older style furniture

Older style or classic furniture was often made with a timeless craftsmanship that is lacking in factory made contemporary furniture. This attention to detail means that these old classics are often incredibly durable and can be perfectly usable with new coverings or basic repairs. Not only that, but with a little careful searching through secondhand furniture stores, you can often pick up a great bargain too.

Privilege Simplicity

If you are redecorating, clear the room of all the clutter and whittle it down to a few key elements or favourite objects. Your eye will tend to focus and see the form, colour and workmanship of these objects more clearly. The spatial relationships between the objects will also be more striking or jarring. While this can be a wonderful thing when working on a budget, it tends to mean that you can't get away with just filling up a space with junk. Take note of what just feels right and play around with different configurations. See how this elegant room has been composed by a series of seemingly disparate styles and colours. 

Choose parquet over other floors

Donnybrook Residence Dust Eclectic style living room

Donnybrook Residence


Parquet is a beautiful wood flooring style that was popular amongst the wealthiest aristocrats in 17th century France. It fell out of favour for a while as more modern, minimalistic styles came in fashion. However the style has made a resurgence in recent years as people have come to re-appreciate this elegant style of flooring. One of the most popular styles is the herringbone type as seen here in this design by Dust interior decorators. The woven slats of timber require expert installation, but are increasingly available as cheaper pre-cut wood tiles.

Mute colours but not too much white

There's a reason that many of the biggest brands in elegance use muted colour schemes in their campaigns. A restrained colour palette is not garish and does not demand your attention. Soft colours sends a more subtle, even subliminal message. Consider your favourite colours, then simply tone down the hue. Elegance is often associated with tranquility and your eyes need a place to rest.

Use modern lights

Contractors will often simply install standard lights. But secondhand lighting fixtures can often be bought for a small sum and spruced up. An even better alternative is to buy some modern pendant lights like this. Modern pendant lights are surprisingly inexpensive for the huge impact they have on a space. The latest trend is for a glassy translucent look that conveys modern elegance. 

Old drawings

A Traditional English Home Rosangela Photography Classic style living room
Rosangela Photography

A Traditional English Home

Rosangela Photography

Elegance is about appreciating fine design without appearing flashy and nothing quite does this like beautiful art. Old drawings or prints can easily be found at markets or online. To create a real old-world feel, hang a collection to create an art wall like this and use some old ornate picture frames to really show them off.

If you are interested in elegant homes, you would love this Ideabook An Elegant Penthouse in London.

What do you think makes an elegant home? We would love to hear in the comments below!

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