By Kimberly Turnbull
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(Coastal Living) -- Decorating like a pro doesn't always require a professional-size budget. With some creativity and a few helpful tips, you can affordably turn any room into a chic coastal-inspired retreat.
Painting an entire room or even just one wall can dramatically change the room's appearance. From fresh white to daring greens and blues, paint gives the most bang for your buck. The right color scheme can define a room's atmosphere and set the tone for the entire house. Want a relaxing look that flows well from room to room? Try a monochromatic palette with varying shades of the same color. If you're feeling adventurous, try complementary colors (those found opposite one another in the color wheel) to add contrast and flair to your rooms.
Sweat the small stuff
Replacing a room's hardware and fixtures can enhance style without breaking the bank. Crystal or porcelain doorknobs add refined character to a simple entry, and chandeliers in place of ceiling lights definitely demand attention.
Choose seashells and fresh bouquets to bring the outdoors inside. Shells, sea stars, and sand dollars make sculptural accents on desktops, mantels, or tabletops. Try using driftwood or coral on frames or as bookends. If you can't find them yourself, shop local souvenir stores.
When it comes to art, very few people can afford to hang a masterpiece on their wall. Instead, look for local artists' work. By purchasing locally you'll have a unique piece while supporting your community's art scene. If you don't know where to start, try local galleries, art schools, or even art supply stores for artist recommendations. Another bright idea for affordable pieces is to have your own photographs enlarged, matted, and framed. Most camera and photo shops can print poster-size prints (up to 20 x 30 inches) in either a matte or a glossy finish. Digital prints can even be altered into black-and-white or sepia tones.
When it comes to furniture, remember the three Rs: reuse, refinish, and recover. Mixing existing pieces of furniture with a bargain find can instantly transform the appearance of a room. Reinvent your look in a matter of minutes with the help of paint, wood finish, and fabric. Fitted slipcovers instantly resuscitate sickly sofas or dining room chairs. While it may be safer to stick with a solid color and add panache with throw pillows, don't resist using a pattern you love. Slipcovers allow you to experiment with color and design without making a permanent commitment. Just remember to stick to your color palette.
Copyright 2007 COASTAL LIVING Magazine. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.