Great design doesn’t have to be expensive to look expensive. A secret of many interior designers is to blend a mix of high with low, creating vignettes and spaces in which more-expensive items are paired with low-cost finds to create a cohesive look. Looking for some secret hacks? Here are some bargain tips:

1. Low-cost mirrors. Mirrors are one of the best and least-expensive decor items. Use mirrors in creative ways, and you have a winning look. Consider hanging mirrors in a grid or in a series, for maximum impact.

2. Glassware and barware. In this category, dollar stores dominate. From thick rock glasses to smoky glass, you can find fabulous glassware, as well as ceramic bowls and plates at any dollar store.

3. Shop online. For nearly any item, there will be more than one retailer selling the identical or nearly identical item for different prices. Shop, analyze and score.

4. Go outdoors. From outdoor pillows to outdoor rugs, this is a secret of many interior designers and home stagers. Outdoor products are typically sold at a lower price point.

5. Get crafty. Looking for ways to style a bookshelf? Consider framing items such as letters, postcards or wallpaper.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is a TV host and interior design and home-staging expert.