All Posts

7 Ways to Create Luxury Interior Design on a Limited Budget



Let’s face it. No client is hiring an interior designer to achieve a low budget aesthetic for their project. Instead, designers are almost always in a position where clients want them to produce luxurious results with a conservative budget. While setting realistic expectations is an important part of successful client relations, it’s always your goal to bring your clients’ dreams to life. With an architectural vision, the right relationships, and a strong sense of ingenuity, you can create editorial worthy interiors at a surprisingly low cost. Here are seven tips for offering luxury interior design on a limited budget:  

Ace Space Planning

It’s not all about what you put into a space, but more how you arrange it. Elegant space planning creates an enjoyable experience for people moving through a floor plan. You can use furniture and fixtures to create delineations of areas, use scale to create different moods, and maximize the impact of statement pieces, like art work or a fireplace. Make the most of everything you put into a space so that you need less to achieve the desired results. 

Layer Lighting

There is a psychology of interior lighting that can be leveraged to enhance the results you are working toward with space planning. If you intend for a space to be for socializing, warm, ambient lighting will draw out dwellers’ extrovert characteristics. For an intimate, private space, wall lighting and localized lighting via floor and table lamps, create enclosed spaces. Spotlights will draw attention to the focal points you are designing around. Color will impact the mood of a space as well. The most successful lighting plans use a layering technique that create graceful transitions from one space to the next. 

Use Paint

Paint is one of the easiest ways to make a dramatic change to an interior space. As with lighting, the psychological impact of color has been long studied and research provides a tried and true guide of how to leverage color to invoke a desired effect. Simply painting a room, or even a single wall or particular architectural detail you'd like to highlight, creates a point of view- the hallmark of professional interior design. 

Save Expensive Materials for Small Spaces

Different options within a category of material will run the gamut, price wise. For example, tile can be $1.99 per square foot, or $500 per square foot and beyond. To create a luxury aesthetic on a limited budget, determine areas within a space where a more expensive speciality material will make the greatest aesthetic impact. In a kitchen, the area of backsplash above the stove is a good place to add a special detail using more intricate tile, like a waterjet mosaic. In a bathroom, the floor is a smaller area than the walls, so choosing a more expensive tile for the floor can be balanced by a less expensive choice for the walls. An even smaller area to make a statement is the shower. The same principle can be applied to other materials, like wall and floor coverings.

Make Old New Again

Refurbishing vintage furniture can be a way to produce a luxurious result with a small budget. Find well made pieces in the style you are going for, and take them to a professional refurbisher to revive the wood. Another option is to look for restored pieces online, although if you are working on a schedule, you will need to do a combination of both in your search. Replace the upholstery on chairs and sofas to give them a brand new appearance. Taking these steps isn't always as inexpensive as one might think, but it will be less expensive than brand new trade-only caliber furniture. Another tip is to look for end pieces of fabrics for smaller jobs. If you have storage space, you can make a habit of collecting good pieces that you can restore down the line as needed for future projects. 

Rely on Your Vendor Relationships

The discounts you receive from vendors are, in some cases, a reflection of the volume of business you do there. That is one of the reasons it pays to patronize a selected group of your favorite vendors as much as possible. As covered in our previous post on working with vendors, your personal rapport with the representatives at your favorite vendors can also impact your ability to get better pricing or access to floor samples. The more boutique the vendor, the more flexibility they will have to give you preferred pricing. Utilize your relationships to find the best pricing for projects with budgets that need to stretch. 

Spend on Punctuating Pieces

When it comes to interior design, the details end up being the defining factors in whether a space looks high-end or low budget. Splurge on hardware, like door knobs and cabinet pulls. Accentuate couches with plushly textured pillows and mantels with inlay boxes and hand painted ceramics. Don’t skimp on window treatments, as windows are a natural focal point of a room.


Luxury doesn't always have to equate to expensive. You are a professional interior designer because you have the right combination of technical knowledge and creative intuition to make any vision a reality. When working with clients who have luxurious tastes and a limited budget, follow these seven tips and you will create an outcome that meets all expectations and makes everyone happy.

Margot LaScala
Margot LaScala
Margot is a writer and interior designer based in the NYC area. She is passionate about keeping up with the latest architecture and design news to not only stay informed, but inspired.

Related Posts